Re: Subject line in Mailto forms

Walter Ian Kaye (
Sun, 15 Jun 1997 11:22:16 -0700

Message-Id: <v03102800afc9ddcc6a6c@[]>
In-Reply-To: <>
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997 11:22:16 -0700
From: Walter Ian Kaye <>
Subject: Re: Subject line in Mailto forms

At 11:35a +0200 06/15/97, Arnoud "Galactus" Engelfriet wrote:
 > 1) it breaks all other clients, as RFC 1738 defines the value of
 > mailto to be an email address only. Thus, mail from those clients
 > will bounce, as "" is not a valid host.

So update the client -- it's easy to add support for this. Perhaps it
would also be good form to "mark" enhanced mailtos as such, so the user
can be aware of the extra params if using an old client.

 > 2) Adding other headers in the same way is tricky

Not really... just:

 > 3) You have to URL-encode the value of the subject line, which
 > few people will do, as it's not intuitive.

It'd be quite easy to develop a little "mailto-maker" program. Hmm,
maybe I'll go write one for MacOS now...

 > 4) You only have 1024 characters for subject and other headers (assuming
 > you do 2).

You don't need more than that -- it's only meant for creating a template
email message, not a long dissertation. 1024 characters is a lot! :)

 > > Wouldn't %-escaping cover any conflicts?
 > It would only solve problem 3. A much better solution IMO would be
 > <A HREF="">Mail me!
 > <PARAM NAME=subject VALUE="Look ma, a really long subject,
 > and it's not even URLencoded!">
 > <PARAM NAME=x-silly-header VALUE=Yeah..whatever>
 > </A>
 > or perhaps adding an attribute a la USEMAP (USEAPP? PARAMLIST?)
 > to A that links to a list of parameters, then you could even re-use
 > the information in multiple mailto links.

And how would you pass that to other applications? Placing it all into the
URL lets the other app take the single URL string and parse it. User clicks
on a URL in MSIE, MSIE passes the mailto URL to Eudora, and Eudora parses
the URL and creates the email message.

Perhaps a new URL scheme, say "email:"?

  Walter Ian Kaye <boo_at_best*com>    Programmer - Excel, AppleScript,
          Mountain View, CA                         ProTERM, FoxPro, HTML     Musician - Guitarist, Songwriter