[linux-elitists] Seperating Content from Presentation

Mike MacCana mikem@cyber.com.au
Thu Jun 10 01:10:42 PDT 2004

On Thu, 2004-06-10 at 17:41, Ben Finney wrote:
> On 10-Jun-2004, Mike MacCana wrote:
> > On Thu, 2004-06-10 at 13:34, Ben Finney wrote:
> > > For HTML email, you *must* have an HTML-capable client, that
> > > correctly parses the flavour of HTML in the message.  That's a
> > > sharply limited set.
> > 
> > Not as much as most people think - again, as before, most maintained
> > mail clients support this. mutt, evo mail.app, whatever. 
> You still seem to be limiting your definition of "mail client" to
> "interactive, user-controlled mail client for desktop workstations".

Well, that is what most clients are, but indeed, there's more to it than

> Examples of mail clients excluded by this are low-memory PDAs, 

Who typically display less than 80 characters a line.

> low-spec
> desktop workstations, 

I was  including them too.

> web-interface mail archives, 

Again, most of these don't display email in a monospaced font.

> and (most
> importantly) *devices we can't think of* yet.

Indeed. 80 character monospaced displays are coming less common over

> Plain text is easily displayed on devices where an HTML parser smart
> enough to handle the botchery of HTML email is entirely inappropriate.
> This allows plain text email to be read easily on mail clients *not yet
> designed*.  I consider this to be a worthwhile attribute.

Ah, you're talking about HTML. I  think (when used unnecessarily, ie
most of the time) that isn't great either.

But, realistically, its more likely that devices not invented will read
HTML email better than they'll display 80
character-monospaced-forced-display messages.

> > > For plain-text, line-wrapped mail, any client that understands plain
> > > text can show the message content for reading.  
> > 
> > But not properly. 

> Eh?  Who decides "properly" again?

Common sense. My definition, but you're a smart guy, so probably yours

As mentioned before...
" One line (with lots of i characters) is half as long an another (with
lots of ems). Sounds unreadable to me."

> > I'm adamant that the amount of in-use mail clients that can show an
> > HTML message properly is less than the amount of in-use mail clients
> > that can read a 80-monospaced-character forced mail properly.
> Well, I've tried to help you see that line wrapping *doesn't* force 80
> columns on the user (hint: if they can read plain text, they can read a
> plain text line-wrapped message), so if you still insist that's so I'll
> bow out of the discussion.

You haven't responded to what I've quoted above. I think that's because
you missed it somehow. If you didn't, but just don't intend to respond,
we should indeed end the discussion.


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