Re: "Mailto" Command

Dan Connolly (
Sat, 05 Apr 1997 11:55:19 -0600

Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 05 Apr 1997 11:55:19 -0600
From: Dan Connolly <>
To: Carl Morris <>
CC: Jukka Korpela <>, WWW HTML List <>
Subject: Re: "Mailto" Command

Carl Morris wrote:
> | My note was about sending form contents as mail messages. That is,
> | what should happen if the ACTION in a FORM element specifies a
> | mailto URL? The HTML 3.2 spec is not clear about this;
> |
> | mentions such situation but does not specifically _require_ that
> | it should work, and it seems to me that popular browsers do not
> | seem to have wide support to it; see Notes at
> |
> |
> | RFC 1867, section 5.6, says:
> | 'Independent of this proposal, it would be very useful for HTML
> | interpreting user agents to allow a ACTION in a form to be
> | "mailto:" URL.'
> |
> | And it seems to me that neither HTML 3.2 nor any other specification
> | has made this a _requirement_.

It's important to keep the HTML spec independent of the URL specs.
Note that the HTML spec doesn't mandate any list of graphics formats

Someone could write an "applicability note" or whatever that defines
a browser platform, ala "you must support HTML 2.4, gif, Java, tcl,
and PDF, and the http:, ftp:, news: and mailto: URI schemes."

(This is a FAQ. We need to be sure that the next rev of the HTML spec
tells folks explicitly not to expect requirements about URL schemes,
graphics formats, etc.)

> And I blame no one!  Since when should a WWW form not be returned to
> the WWW server that originally served it????

At least as early as 1993, when HTML + and forms were first being
kicked around:

>  Technically it is
> incorrect to send the form anywhere but the server that served it.

Incorrect with respect to what? Your opinion?

>  The
> problem is all too common though, many people place forms in their
> pages that go back to WEBCRAWLER or other search engines.

In my opinion (and as I recall, Dave Raggett, Tony Sanders, Marc A,
and the other designers of forms) this is a feature, not a bug.

Dan Connolly, W3C Architecture Domain Lead
<> +1 512 310-2971
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