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Re: [nmh-workers] Forwarding html email

From: Ken Hornstein
Subject: Re: [nmh-workers] Forwarding html email
Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2019 22:46:11 -0400

Thank you for your reply!

>Yes, I did look at the forw(1) man page, tho obviously not as carefully
>as I should have.

Well, it is good to understand where things went wrong; I appreciate
your explanation.  I'm sure we could have done better, but I'm not sure
exactly what to do in this case; I will have to think about it.

>And yes, I do recall seeing that section. The error I
>was making was in not using the -mime switch. As a result, in the email
>I was trying to forward:

>aalinovi:~$ show 1
>aalinovi:~$ forw
>What now? mime
>mhbuild: unknown directive "#e2e2e2"

So, this shows an example of the challenges we face.

Normally we run mhbuild (the program that runs at the "mime" command)
all of the time to ensure that the outgoing message has proper MIME
forwarding.  But directives to mhbuild to generate MIME content start
with a '#', so when mhbuild is run automatically it does NOT process
directives.  When you run it at the MIME promot it DOES process directives,
but the user has to know to escape any lines that start with a '#' with
an extra '#', otherwise you get errors like this.  And if you HAD manage
to run it successfully, you would have ended up sending out a text/plain
content with raw HTML in it, which is almost certainly what you didn't
want.  So given the current architecture, we are a bit stuck in presenting
an "obvious" user interface.

>Another thing that confused me was that when I used forw I was seeing
>the raw html. I guess I was thinking I should see the text as I do when
>I use repl.

Right, that would have just been a plaintext version of the HTML and
not the HTML itself, which would have been BETTER, but probably also was
not what you wanted.

>Thinking about it, I suppose one mistake I made was turning to Jerry
>Peek's book first and then to the man pages. Don't misunderstand me - I
>think the book is good and has helped me a lot but I'll admit to getting
>frustrated and confused trying to follow his instructions where nothing
>I did seemed to work and I couldn't figure out why.

Sigh.  I think Jerry's book has a lot of good information in it, but
it was last updated when nmh FIRST came out, many years ago.  nmh has
changed a lot since then (not as quickly as I would like, but we're doing
our best), but his book hasn't kept up.  So while a fair amount of that
book still works, some of it does not or we have better ways of doing
things in there.  Jerry used to be on this mailing list but I haven't
seen him send anything in years, and I suspect he wouldn't mind updates
to his book but THAT is also a huge job that no one has been willing
to tackle.  So many projects, so little time.


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