[development] HTML emails

Ivan Sergio Borgonovo mail at webthatworks.it
Fri Jul 25 11:12:35 UTC 2008

On Thu, 24 Jul 2008 22:32:34 -0700
David Metzler <metzlerd at metzlerd.com> wrote:

> True, but it doesn't mean HTML mail is not useful with or without
> css.
> I use HTML messages in Drupal applications to bring emphasis  
> (h1,h2,etc) tags, transmit bold and italics, and show data in
> tables. I don't use the drupal mail apis because they don't

I'd say that while layout helps increasing efficiency of
communication in some cases (have you noticed how much italics, bold,
colors are used in a science book compared to a literature book?)
HTML emails are still to be used with extreme care.

In a browser you can turn off images, you've a stop button, you can
chose a textual browser that will avoid to download css and js....

You don't have so much freedom in an email reader and while email is
some how pull content (you chose to pull emails from the server) it
looks more like a push content (think about spam).

When you really need more control on "layout" in an email most
of the times you'd be better to add a suitable attachment or provide
a link.

Most of the times we are required to provide html emails it is for
"spammish" reasons. Still among non geeks there is an unbelievably
high percent of people that prefer to receive html emails when they
are given the choice.

If we're honest about why we generally have to send html emails from
drupal we could build something that could really be useful.
Most of the times we send out html emails to replicate the look&feel
of the web site.
I'm perfectly aware of the limitations of such approach... but
readability is surely not the most frequent (reasonable?) reason
why we are required to send out html.

If readability was our first concern we wouldn't send out html

mimemail already does a good job since it includes css directly from
the website.
What maybe is missing is a bit more logic on the core side to
dynamically manage the added css and template according to different
When I had to send html emails I didn't use mimemail because my first
target was actually to have well formatted textual content out of

> support html :)

In a perfect world we shouldn't.

Ivan Sergio Borgonovo

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