W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > July 1998

RE: <a href="mailto:email address">

From: Walter Ian Kaye <walter@natural-innovations.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 1998 09:39:36 -0700
Message-Id: <v03130300b1ca9a599830@[]>
To: www-html@w3.org
At 11:31p -0700 07/08/98, Jukka Korpela wrote:
>I just tested on two browsers that seem to still be useable on
>Unix systems here, X Mosaic 2.7b4 and Netscape 1 something. When
>following a link with HREF="mailto:address?Subject=something",
>they invoke a mail user agent putting address?Subject=something
>into the To: field. I think you know what happens then. 

I suppose it says something that Netscape's invention is not even
backwards-compatible with their own product... ;->

>Archaic browsers? Perhaps. (I remember the time when most people
>seemed to identify Mosaic with the Web. :-)) I have seen people
>report that the ?Subject thing breaks on new browsers as well
>when configured to use an external E-mail program.

Breaks where? On the browser or on the E-mail program? I've never
had any problem like that; my browsers have always passed the URL
intact to Eudora (which I think added support for the extended
mailto in v3.1).

>If the syntax is radically changed according to the proposal, browsers
>would be forced to parse the entire mailto: URI and invoke a mail
>user agent in a more complicated manner

No, it should be opaque.

>- or one could use only
>such mail user agents which can accept data in the new URI format.
>This is _restrictive_ instead of adding functionality.

I agree it was a bad idea, but how do you get people to stop? ;)

>If desired, a new scheme like message:
>or msg: could be defined for (partially on entirely prefilled)
>E-mail _messages_.

Too bad we can't go back in time and tell Netscape before they
do the deed.

>And there would be no law against browsers
>having error recovery which internally converts
>mailto:address?somedata to msg:address?somedata
>(for symmetry, one might have the recipient specified in the msg:
>syntax in To=address).

Of course then we'll have the same problem again, just in reverse. :/

>In HTML, there would be little need for such URIs, since in HTML
>one can use _forms_ much more effectively and in a manner which
>works fine on virtually all browsers. 

Yup, even Lynx 2.4 supported forms (GEnie still uses a 2.4-FM).

At 1:01a -0700 07/09/98, Jukka Korpela wrote:
>On Thu, 9 Jul 1998, David Norris wrote:
>> It is browser specific in that it would only work in HTML.
>That's an interesting new definition for "browser specific".  

Rather, would only work in HTML-grokking user agents, i.e. browsers.
It's specific to web browser-type apps. Sorry for the ambiguity. :)

>> A URI is designed to be used outside of HTML, by itself.
>It should also work within HTML, shouldn't it? And I still haven't 
>seen an explanation of why one needs URIs for _messages_ or message
>templates. (See my previous message.)

Here is an example:

List-Software: LetterRip 2.0 by Fog City Software, Inc.

>And if they would be needed,
>a new scheme should be designed just for them. (See my previous message.) 

Fine by me, but at this point what's the difference between awaiting new
software revs to support a new scheme, and upgrading to software which
supports the extended mailto scheme? Six of one, half a dozen of the
other. The proposal isn't perfect, but it does leverage the inertia.

>It is a working draft which is often referred to as if it were official.

Only because its implementation already has a deep market penetration.
It's become de facto, warts and all.

>And the use of the ?Subject hack is _very frequently_ suggested, without
>any word of caution.

Lots o' self-perpetuating ignorance in the world. ::sigh::

Received on Thursday, 9 July 1998 12:42:24 UTC

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