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Re: [Nmh-workers] Editing MIMEd messages

From: Jon Steinhart
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] Editing MIMEd messages
Date: Thu, 02 Feb 2006 11:03:35 -0800

Jerry wrote:
> > MIMEd messages really shouldn't be edited
> I had to disagree.  One of the reasons I like the sort-of arcane
> MIME setup in MH/nmh is because I *can* edit the message draft with
> vi (or whatever).  For instance, after I type "mime" to build the
> draft, I can remove the header fields from a forwarded message that
> reveal some personal details about my mail-handling setup (such as
> the annotations that come from "anno", forwarding, etc.).  I can
> delete bloated quotes, remove or rearrange body parts, change the
> separator string to make multipart/alternative into something else,
> and so on.  Most monolithic mailers hide those details from me.
> I hope nmh never does.

You can always use vi to construct mime messages from scratch too; wc
is especially useful for getting the content length :)

I like the fact that mh allows access to the guts for those who are
interested.  But, I also like the fact that it's a usable system; I
can do show > foo rather than having to learn a special command that
saves to a file.

The mhbuild stuff allows access to the guts.  But, it is not a viable
user interface for non-geeks, and is too difficult to use for casual
attaching files to messages.

Nothing in the attachment code that I added eliminated the mhbuild stuff.
It just adds an easier-to-use user interface that invokes mhbuild.

I think that there are three issues here, with the rest of the discussion
just going off the deep end.

#1  Combining both methods (whatnow attach and mime composition file)
    does not work,

#2  Some would like the ease of use of whatnow attach combined with the
    flexibility of mime composition files, and

#3  Because of #1, using whatnow attach and forw/repl -mime doesn't work

As I've stated earlier, I haven't had a problem with the way that things
are so I'm not motivated to make changes.  For those who are motivated,
I suggest the following:

1.  Add an -attach option to mhbuild that is similar to the one that I
    added to whatnow and send.  If set, mhbuild will process attachment
    headers in addition to the mime-composition file body.  This is a
    bit tricky because the whatnow attach code treats the message body as
    a normal file, but should work because the user will either be
    invoking whatnow mime or automimeproc which will mhbuild the message
    before it gets to the send attach code.

    This change allows both methods to be combined, and allows the mimed
    message to be viewed and edited.  And, it should be a pretty simple

2.  Add a -forward option to repl, forw, whatnow, and send as per my
    earlier email.  This will allow the forwarded message to be typed
    as an 822.

3.  Write a shell script that can be run using an editor escape that
    takes as many or as few options as you like and spits out mime
    composition file lines.  I think that that's the best way to get
    easier to use functionality than mime composition files without
    breaking the current whatnow attach functionality.


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