Re: HTML support (was Re: Simplification of preferences)


On 2002.11.14 11:30 Carlos Morgado wrote:
> On 2002.11.14 10:14:33 +0000 Brian Stafford wrote:
>> On Wed 22:45, 13 November 2002 M. Thielker wrote:
>>> I am strongly considering working up a private patch to suppress HTML 
>>> if text/plain is present in multipart/alternative.
>> This would be a good thing for the reasons you describe below, amongst 
>> others.
> simple, build --without-gtkhtml :)

Unfortunately, that's what I want, but not what I need. I receive 3 kinds 
of email:

- Messages that have both text/plain and text/html parts with equal 
content. With those, I would want the default to be text/plain.
- Messages that have both text/plain and text/html parts with _differing_ 
content. In most cases the text/plain part only contains the message that 
my mailer is unable to render html and I should use another mailer to view 
the message. In that case, I need a simple way to render the HTML, 
launching an external browser for that is too cumbersome.
- Messages that have a text/html part only. On those, html should be 
rendered by default.

The change I require would be the option to prefer text/plain over 
text/html, if present. Now, I know that some others here have in the past 
voices similar opinions, but were overruled by the ones I mentioned in my 
original posting.
It is my opionion that, given a message contains both htlm and plaintext, 
I, not the sender, should be able to decide which I want to see first. I 
don't need to see fancy stationery and hard to read "script" fonts in 
impossible colors that blend into the background. All I need, all I ever 
will need, is the raw information contained within these messages, 
presented in a way that strains neither my eyes nor my brain by it's 
presentation. I believe in user empowerment, I believe I, as the reader, 
should be allowd to coose the way I want to read mail. For me, that's 
black, fixed width letters on white background in a letter size I can 
easily read. With HTML, that's hardly ever the case. It's annoying to have 
to switch manually. I use the keyboard mostly and when I do use the mouse, 
I do so with minimal movement, using the mouse wheel and buttons instead. 
Operating a scrollbar is clumsy, time consuming. I receive about 300-400 
messages per day, 40% of those are html. It is, as the volume increases, 
turning into a serious time factor.
Once the time I waste scolling html messages to the bottom and clicking the 
"correct" representation, text/plain, approaches the time I would need to 
make a simple patch, I will make one.
If there is general interest, I would mke it into a pref and post it. If 
there is no interest, I will simply make a private patch that hardwires the 
change I want. In either case, it will be done.
As browsers allow to override the colors used in web pages by default, so 
should a mailer allow to override the choice of content representation the 
sender made.
This is especially true because the sender usually does not make that 
choice, but his mailer does it for him. In all cases I have seen, text/html 
came before text/plain, there is no option to change that in any mailer I 
know of.
This, I believe, is mainly because M$ thinks html in mail is a GoodThing. 
So, they have no pref for it, and because they don't, nobody else does. To 
me, that's no reason at all.
Balsa hasn't reached this point yet, since it does not have a html mail 
composition option.

Disagreeing with Brian, I have to say that I don't believe that anything 
much "richer" than plaintext is needed in email. It would be ok to have 
bold and underline attributes. I wouldn't want font size control, much less 
font face control and I definitely would not want background graphics. 
Illustration graphics would be ok, though, but it would IMHO be sufficient 
if they are sent as attachments. COlors I also wouldn't want. In all cases 
I have seen, any of these attributes (font size, font face and text color) 
were used to make things harder to read. Many people seem to think that 
bright green on white is ok, I can barely see that combination. Yellow on 
purple or green is also common, it hurts my eyes to see it.
So, to me, html is for the birds, a last resort choice when there is no 
plain text.

That's my $.02



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