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Re: [Nmh-workers] The attach feature

From: Jon Steinhart
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] The attach feature
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2012 09:28:38 -0700

address@hidden writes:
> Instead of saying what information should be in what man pages, and what man
> pages should exist, let me opine a desideratum:
> Granted that what goes on under the hood (relationship of attach to send etc.)
> needs documentation, there ought to be documentation for the user-clod like 
> me,
> who sees the attach facility as a separate entity. It should include such 
> things
> as: (these are examples)
>      The syntax of attach: multiple files, escapes etc. (David, isn't this
>      already more than one paragraph?)
>      Recipients will only see base names of the arguments to attach
>      Extension names are case insensitive.
>      What happens if a file has an unrecognized extension
>      ...
> All of this might be obvious to you, but it wasn't to me. And a lot of it
> probably still isn't.
> Lest my griping mask my pleasure with the attach facility, let me make it 
> clear
> that I'm delighted by it.
> Very naive, stupid question: Why wasn't attach implemented as a shell level
> command. Don't need to know, just curious.
>     Norman Shapiro

Attach was "implemented as part of whatnow" because that seemed to be the place
to put it for one who uses comp/repl/forw/etc. like I do and I implemented it.
It couldn't be done as a shell command combined with the above because that
would have meant you'd have to leave the editor, suspend whatnow, run an attach
command, resume whatnow, and then send.  Cumbersome to say the least.

But, the reason for the quotes above is that attach is really implemented as 
of send.  I went to great pains to make it something that would work given the
separate-shell-command nature of nmh.  That's why attachments are listed in 

One of the nice things about this is that YOU can implement attach as a separate
command if you want to; would take less that 5 lines of shell script.  The 
do do stuff like this is a main reason why I use nmh.

I do agree that there is some difficulty in figuring out the appropriate place 
extensive documentation on attach.  That's because the work is done using 
by send when an attachment header is present whether or not it was added by 
It might make sense to have a detailed description somewhere and reference it 
other places.  I think that to make things clear any description should 
the appropriate RFCs; there are things here that you imply were nmh decisions 
nmh is just implementing the RFCs.

Now, on to the part that always gets me into trouble.  Norm, you've had a lot of
questions about things that are not obvious to you.  My experience is that if 
have these questions many other folks who are two shy to ask have 'em to.  So
please take the knowledge that you've extracted from all of the responses and
make the manual pages better.  Time to step up!  Propose something, get no 
implement it, and then field the complaints :)


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