I wrote the author a note via Github asking him to consider changing the license.
I live in Peru, most people still use IE out of ignorance here, not because they can't. Browser evangelism is sure useless to an HN reader but it's very needed for common users and I encourage it very much.
As some other commenters noted, the site tries really hard as well but 1300-px-wide content is awful in any light. It's just form, not function, but the irony from a site that pushes the uniform display of email and uses (web and email) resolutions that most users can't see without scrollbars isn't helping the message any.
I used to spend half of my time when building a new site on its structure, content, layout, etc., and then the other half on trying to get it to work with the various Explorers. IE 8 did not improve that situation, and neither has IE 9. Unlike this website developer, I just gave up on website development for people altogether -- it just wasn't worth it anymore.
I know a lot of people are restricted to IE for one reason or another, but at this point, the only way the situation will improve is if developers start doing some effective "evangelism".
Why would I want my Mail window to be any bigger? I have all the space I need for comfortable reading and filing and more than half a screen to do something useful with. I don’t really see how the size and resolution of the monitor figures into the size of the window of your mail app at all.
Yes, displaying a list with as many messages as possible and as many mailboxes as possible for comfortable filing might require additional space (beyond the 700px I like) but that seems to be inconsequential for the size with which you display the actual email message (my 400px to 500px), i.e. you don’t have to maximize the window of your mail app to achieve that.
Anyway, why use fixed width layouts at all? Are mail apps so backwards that fluid layouts are not possible?
Outlook uses Microsoft Word's HTML rendering engine. So, in short, yes.
In reality, you can't trust all browsers to behave the way standards dictate. If you're doing business online, through email, etc. you need to be able to reach as many people as possible and that may mean sending 600px wide emails instead of 900px.
Also 900px wouldn't be a problem if not for a vertical split. 900px < 1024px. JoelSutherland is assuming that the window is divided, with some kind of a navigation pane taking up part of the width. This is the case in most email clients.
For example, both emacs and the Java JSplitPane call a "horizontal split" a split of the horizonal axis, resulting in two left/right panes. Meanwhile, vim calls the same operation a "vertical split."
Seems like the designers of both must be using widescreens...
- width CSS property is not supported by Outlook 07, Notes 6 and 7
- height CSS property is not supported by Outlook 07, Notes 6 and 7, Blackberry
- line-height CSS property is not supported by Notes 6 and 7, Palm Treo (Palm Garnet OS), Blackberry
- display CSS property is not supported by Outlook 07, Palm Treo (Palm Garnet OS), Blackberry
Let me fiddle with the code, and try to fix this up. And like the others, the three tables with 300px cells are not the best of ideas.
However, we actually don't use tables when it comes to our templates; we apply styles to divs and ps when we flatten the HTML and CSS.
Happy to chat further if you're interested!
HTML Email, just say NO.
It's very obvious you've never used an opt-in email list to build and grow a commercial business.
You think Groupon (and the ilk), or Newegg, etc, would see the huge returns from email they do if they were sending out plaintext?
The only thing that really bothers me about your posts, though, is that you try to say things with such a tone of authority. But you just don't know what you're talking about.
I'm against over-using formatting, but just because some websites are ugly it doesn't mean that the web in general doesn't benefit from being marked up for presentation.
This plain-text only crusade is a sad remnant from a time when the individual bandwidth consumed by each message actually mattered and/or there was a real risk that some people for valid reasons had an e-mail client incapable of displaying HTML emails. Neither is valid any more, and what's more, there's a rich selection of quality e-mail clients available that will happily only show you the plain text version of the e-mail you're looking at: Be liberal in what you accept and conservative in what you send.
I don't think this site is advocating spamming at all, nor do services designed to facilitate sending HTML emails (MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, etc.)
I do like pleasant stuff. Please, if you want me to read your email, don't send me plain text emails.
It's only when I don't know you and you're trying to sell me something that you need to make the email visually appealing.
(not much can be said for badly designed marketing messages though)
To give a very practical example, I sign up for newsletters from FontShop so I can be updated about new fonts. The email includes images to show how the fonts look. The utility of these emails would be drastically reduced if they were to use plain text.
There's a reason why in the real world, brochures and flyers aren't done up on a typewriter. People are visual creatures and if you're running a startup and marketing products or services and you're not using HTML email, you're doing a disservice to your investors, shareholders, prospects, and customers because the vast majority of people would rather opt-in to receive emails that look good.
I also prefer plain text, but I'd rather have useful tools to deal with the needs of the business, while offering plain-text as an option for people who prefer it.
There's ONE THING ONLY that html email is good for. And that's alerting me to a sender's failure to understand the fundamental natures of the different coding schemes for the written word.
Maybe it is just that most people have never been exposed to properly formatted text emails?
I'm sure people find most of the websites they visit and the emails they read, filled with columns of extra garbage, to be cumbersome and difficult to read. Executives think that's what people want, but I doubt there has ever been an thorough examination of all the formats and their effects on people.
Comment nesting must have been awful. Or did you cheat and use pseudo-graphical characters to overcome the obvious limitation of plain-text for such a purpose?
Do you eschew the use of typographical techniques that aid reading, both speed and comprehension, such as emboldening, headings, breaks, italics, font and colour changes?
I never understood this "email should be only plaintext" argument. Getting information across is easier with options for images and textual enhancements. Do you use lynx for web browsing?
When the KMail people were refusing to allow people to use HTML to reply to HTML emails properly one guy argued with me that to send photos to family members I should use FTP, send an address so they could log on and dl the photos to view - that this was somehow better than having the images there ready to view in the MUA.
It is interesting to note that some of the most important works produced by mankind can be reproduced in essence without these aids . Moreover, these well-meant aids are perceived as undue distractions and hence disabled by many , most of which are not die-hard plain-text users.
Gutenburgs top projects are Kama Sutra, Sherlock Holmes and Punch - whilst Burton's original translation was text only I think you'd be hard pressed to argue that the first of these has no need of illustration. The second is a [series of] novels, plaintext is fine there though often even novels have images ("plates") of some kind. The third, Punch is probably best known for it's illustrations and it's conveyance of political satire specifically through imagery (eg http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20759/20759-h/20759-h.htm).
Readbility uses background colour highlighting, keeps some formatting such as pulls and retains images.
You're welcome to prefer plaintext, some prefer black and white TV I'm sure, I just find it rather lacking in presenting the diverse types of information I wish to send and receive by email.
And just to note, Readability actually preserves bold, headings, breaks, and italics, while providing a different set of fonts and colors based on the user's preferences.
I see what you are saying, and I partly agree, but I am of the opinion that language is rich enough to emphasize relevant points without further aids. But it's becoming SO common to use _SO_ many aids that this is already standarized with two levels in HTML, namely the em and strong tags. How long until we need a third semantic level of emphasis? Of course, I enjoy freedom and choice, so assume people/the market must prefer your style by and large.
For the record, I know that italics typography has been used for centuries as an aid in emphasis. Still, I humbly feel this is an unnecessary artefact, which more often than not turns into a crutch.
Buttons for clothing have been invented, pretending that my coat doesn't need buttons and then holding it together with my arms so I don't freeze doesn't make sense to me.
Aweber and Mailchimp, for example, provide the basics needed for sending HTML plus plain text emails.
Sorry, I haven't been able to load the site in this post as it's not loading, so I can't comment on any specifics.
Is it a template for emails that look like the website? I'd ignore any emails that look like this website, but then I'd never see them, as I don't have HTML email enabled by default, for lots of reasons.
Coding HTML emails is a very painful task since CSS support is spotty and there are a wide variety of email clients with strange quirks in almost all of them. In order to get things to render reasonably consistently you have to use some really ugly code with tables for layout and inline styles all over the place.
This project collects all (or most) of these hacks into one template that is pretty easy to modify.
That said, in this day and age is an HTML email even, neccessary? An incredibly large amount of users these days don't even bother checking their email unless it's something specific they're looking for. Social Networking has made a large footprint in that market and a status update as to new products/services gets just as much attention.
There are however many interesting uses for wider than normal emails. In any case, I updated the example table to be 600px wide.
It's increasingly difficult to design HTML email templates which render well across all clients, this usually leads to design for the lowest common denominator. Usually Outlook and Gmail.
I'm sure there are loads of considerations for ISP's with regard to spam and other issues, but forcing design/rendering of HTML to 1990's type style and functionality is rather restrictive.
At some point I hope things will change, but with the popularity of mobile clients growing (and their small screen issues), I suspect if anything it will not.
And, as a fan of Space Balls, the creator misspelled
Also, all our communications (website, snail-mail letters) use our corporate branding. So why not use it in our emails?
Whether you like it or not, most business emails will be sent in HTML. People want it to look nice, people want to be able to put links in their emails so recipients can click through and they make money, they want to put tracking codes, etc.
Regardless of anyone's personal preference, emails will be in HTML for a long, long time.
How would I make the pdfs? Please keep in mind that these are internal corporate emails, over several counries and firewalls, with a highly restrictive IT system.
edit: I am admitting I don't know how to put tables in a mime email. I also didn't realise I could embed images.