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Re: [Nmh-workers] cleaning out the cobwebs

From: Jon Steinhart
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] cleaning out the cobwebs
Date: Wed, 03 Nov 2010 13:07:22 -0700

> Jon Steinhart wrote:
> >> While reading much nmh code these days, I also feel that parts of the
> >> code are ancient. I'd like to support any effort in renewing it.
> >> 
> >> Autoconf is something I dislike.
> >
> >I suppose that I'm willing to do some work here too if I'm not alone.  My 
> >main
> >interest, which I expressed years ago, is to figure out what sbr/m_getfld.c 
> >is
> >really doing and rewrite it so that I can add additional functionality 
> >without
> >breaking anything.
> I'm not entirely sure what you mean by this. Yes, m_getfld is an
> incomprehensible piece of code. Yes, it really shouldn't be digging into
> libc internals in the 21st century. Yes, it has optimisation decisions made
> based on "what is fastest on my VAX?". But that has nothing to do with
> implementing better handling of attachments, nicer MIME capabilities or
> anything else. m_getfld() has a very simple purpose: it lets you read
> headers and message bodies out of an RFC-822-style text file. You don't need
> to care about the internals unless they're actually buggy (and I don't know
> about any current bugs, though I did fix one or two a few years back). It
> doesn't need any new features because MIME doesn't change the format of
> RFC-822 messages, it just adds new things piggybacking on top, which the
> caller of m_getfld will eventually need to parse.
> Any attempt to rewrite or replace it ought to be preceded by the buildup
> of the kind of test suite mentioned in the comments in m_getfld.c and
> subsequently (alas) lost to history. (Some of the code in test/tests/inc
> is trying to make a start on that.) But if you just want to make nmh's
> handling of MIME or attachments better or improve its UI, you don't need
> to spend time doing anything with m_getfld anyway.
> -- PMM

This made sense to me until the last sentence.  The particular changes that I
want to make involve parsing the mime stuff inside of the 822 style message
bodies.  I suppose that you could argue that I should make a new function that
would parse the bodies.  Maybe that's the way to go.


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