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Re: [Lynx-dev] lynx -dump changes formatting

From: David Woolley
Subject: Re: [Lynx-dev] lynx -dump changes formatting
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 08:18:34 +0100
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20080707)

Ulrich Scholz wrote:

I use lynx -dump to read html-formatted messages in ascii.  Unfortunately,
lynx -dump removes lines from the ascii output that solely consists of
<br>.  In html, these lines are interpreted as empty line.

This is historically correct behaviour. The interpretation of <br> as a hard newline only arose with GUI browser, and probably because their authors didn't actually understand the assumed behaviour of <br>, which was based on TeX an troff line break logic. Currently, it is best to say that the handling of br is ambiguous in this respect.

However, I believe that Lynx does have an option to avoid collapsing adjacent br's. Incientally, note that HTML 4.01 specification requires empty p elements to be collapsed, and I believe that the CSS border collapse rules conspire to achieve this.

This behaviour changes the formatting of the emails and makes them hard to
read.  Can I change the behaviour of lynx -dump?

They should send their email in HTML if they use HTML markup. The real problem is that, to a greater or lesser extent, HTML email is not HTML, but simply HTML elements used for their typical presentational behaviour on GUI browsers. It would have been much better if the brand leader email programs had implemented MIME Rich Text, which has a much more presentational bias than HTML. Proper HTML markup for the email would use p elements for paragraphs.

Collapsing of mulitple br's is not a problem for correctly written HTML as one should never need them, and should use CSS to achieve the visual effect of extra blank lines.

David Woolley
Emails are not formal business letters, whatever businesses may want.
RFC1855 says there should be an address here, but, in a world of spam,
that is no longer good advice, as archive address hiding may not work.

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