Re: HTML for email (was: Re: document writing/editing tools used by IETF)

Viktor Dukhovni <> Mon, 01 March 2021 19:51 UTC

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Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2021 14:51:04 -0500
From: Viktor Dukhovni <>
Subject: Re: HTML for email (was: Re: document writing/editing tools used by IETF)
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On Mon, Mar 01, 2021 at 12:05:49AM -0500, Keith Moore wrote:

> Ok, but to be fair: HTML is a disaster for email.

Mostly in the case of badly machine-generated HTML.  I have
little-difficulty with email sent by humans, where the MUA also emits a
sensible text/plain variant.

> Way back in the mid-1990s most of us thought it would work out ok, and
> more likely to succeed than text/richtext.   But we didn't really take
> the time to understand the nature of the problem in either case.   
> It's hard to write a good html editor for email, especially one that
> handles inline replies properly, and every single HTML editor for
> email I know of botches this.

Way back in the 90's I for one expected that HTML would work more poorly
than it turned out.  As for editors, Apple's does a fine job of
editing both HTML and non-HTML email, and handles quoting and inline
replies well.  It is mostly Outlook that's historically poor at RFC2822
and MIME support, because ... MAPI and NIH.

This is not a hard problem, the real issue is that the industry has not
for some time been investing much effort into improving MUAs, its all
walled gardens and cloud now.