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TSE  May 2002

TSE May 2002

Subject:

List proc and mail weirdness

From:

"Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 13 May 2002 11:38:50 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (95 lines)

This is off topic but it explains why there is often confusion about
who wrote what in various posts so please read anyway.


The TSE list handler takes HTML mail sent it and converts it to plain
text and resends the message with both. It also includes indicators in
the mail that the two parts are essentially the same thing.  Mail
readers will display the HTML if they can and, if not, they display
the plain text translation.  This causes confusion when a poster using
HTML to compose messages cuts from previous posts and shows them in
one color and has his response below in another color.  The list proc
converts both types of paragraphs as plain text and the prior post
does not have the "> " marker in front to indicate that this text is
what is being replied to.  Thus, unless you recognize the wording in
the post as being something you read in a prior post, it appears the
the current poster wrote both paragraphs (did you read this Arwin?  ;-)


Tom Gray wrote:

> I would disagree that HTML takes up much more room
> than text. It is just a mark up language based on
> traditional mark up used by editors.

As your example showed Tom, HTML need not take up much space but in
practice it does.  Microsoft products convert text to HTML
terribly. Often each line has its own markup specifying the font, its
size, its color and other things when the markup could have been
placed once in the <p> tag (or, as in your example, omitted).  MS Word
does the same bad job converting .doc to .htm.  It also does that
stupid apostrophe to question mark conversion.

I often use a mail reader that is not smart enough to show me one or
the other renditions of the post (the stuff mentioned at the top of
this post: text vs. HTML) and so with that reader I see both parts
(and the full message header including routing information and other
mail indicators not usually shown in GUI mail readers.)  Thus I can
attest to bloated HTML.  In another list I was on I saw a message as
sent in HTML taking up about 7,500 bytes while the list proc
translated that into the plain text portion of the message as 250
bytes and no information what-so-ever was lost.  In fact the plain
text was better because the HTML message indicated that an incredibly
small font be used in the display. (I was curious enough to do the
count because I was going to send a post about it but changed my mind
when I remembered that that list has high turnover.)

One further thing.  On Macs text files have lines that end only with a
Carriage Return character.  In Unix the lines end only in Line Feed
characters.  In Windows the lines end in a Carriage Return followed by
a Line Feed (old typewriters used to advance to the next line when a
CR was done but a Line Feed and a CR were physically different.)  Mail
readers (and browsers and other programs that get files from many of
these systems) should know how to convert the text from one system to
that of the local system.  The other day though Marcia's reader was
just seeing text overwriting text because her reader was not seeing
any line feeds in the text (because Macs don't normally put them in.)

Sorry for all the geekness.

Regards,
    Rick Parker


EXAMPLE - PART OF A RECENT MESSAGE AS TEXT:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

In a message dated 5/10/02 5:13:02 PM !!!First Boot!!!,
[log in to unmask] 
writes:

> May I point out that a prominent Republican Congressman recently advocated 
> the mass removal of all Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza? Of 
> course, ethnic cleansing is easier to defend abroad than at home...  
> 


AS HTML (with angle brackets changed to square brackets):
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

[HTML][FONT FACE=arial,helvetica][FONT  SIZE=2 FAMILY="SANSSERIF"
FACE="Arial" LANG="0"]
In a message dated 5/10/02 5:13:02 PM !!!First Boot!!!,
[log in to unmask] writes:[BR]
[BR]
[BR]
[BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=CITE style="BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff 2px solid;
MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px"]
May I point out that a prominent Republican Congressman recently
advocated
the mass removal of all Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza? Of
course, ethnic cleansing is easier to defend abroad than at
home...&nbsp; 
[/FONT][FONT  COLOR="#000000" style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff" SIZE=3
FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0"][BR]
[/BLOCKQUOTE][BR]

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