[development] HTML emails

Sean Burlington sean at practicalweb.co.uk
Mon Jul 21 13:57:12 UTC 2008

Matt Connolly wrote:
> That's a great spec for constructing multi part messages, but it doesn't 
> really go in to HTML at all.

see http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/ ;-)

> Is there a standard, for example, for using content-inline-disposition 
> links to use an attached image in the html document?

see 9.3 Example with relative URIs to embedded GIF pictures

But there's a whole swarm of related RFCs on this subject

Each tends to be fairly focussed on a particular subtopic - you have to 
do a lot of cross referencing to get the full picture

> Does HTML email conform to HTML3 HTML4 XHTML1.0, etc?

Surely that depends on the doctype - it's up to the author.

Mail clients don't provide very good support of the standards - but the 
standards do exist.

> Anyway, I agree that the data should remain structured for as long 
> possible. Perhaps drupal can detect if there's a string (or array of 
> strings) then it's an old school email, or if it's a keyed array of 
> attributes, then construct the multipart message, using drupal render to 
> a default theme or theme function (perhaps specified by a '#theme' key).

that sounds good to me.

To render the email will require different CSS

Mail client rendering is back in the dark ages - <font> tags and tables 
for layout are far more common in this area (Bad - yuk - I know - but 
Drupal should not prevent it).

To mitigate against the accessibility issues: sending 
multipart/alternative AND allowing the user the option of plain text 
only are both important.

mailing to a $user could check the receiving preference - and strip out 
the formatting if required.


Sean Burlington


More information about the development mailing list