Re: now available (see Jon Bosak's notes on email examples, 2-28-97)

From: Eugene Eric Kim (
Date: Sun Oct 15 2000 - 19:32:20 PDT

Thanks for the reference, John. I wasn't aware of this particular DTD,
but I am aware of several others that are floating around on the 'net.
They are all fairly similar -- e-mail is a simple format, after
all. Jon's examples are mainly a demonstration of DSSSL stylesheets,
however, and does not actually address some of the unique requirements of
the OHS.

Our e-mail DTD has the following requirements:

- Augment-style addressability
- Responses-as-links
- Categorizable
- Appropriate for RFC822 transcoding

Augment-style addressability is easy to achieve, and is in my current
e-mail DTD. The responses-as-link requirement is difficult, but not
overly so. However, I didn't address it properly in the current DTD, and
would welcome feedback in that area. Categorizability is also more
difficult, but as I stated earlier, we can probably borrow some of these
ideas from the work that others have done with RDF.

The transcoding requirement is a tricky one. I addressed this by making
all e-mail body content fixed-font, a solution to which I think Lee
objected. My reasoning was this: People do funky things with text
formatting -- witness the ohs-dev and unrev-ii lists alone -- and I felt
that a transcoder had to garble less than five percent of all e-mail
content in order to be effective. However, my solution is a lazy one; I'm
sure we can come up with a more effective and more sophisticated
transcoder with a little bit of thinking. Even one that uses a mix of
<para> and <code> style tags, like Bosak's DTD, is probably better than
mine, which relies entirely on <code> style tags.

Here's another interesting thought regarding e-mail DTDs. You can attach
any type of file to e-mail by MIME-encoding it. So then the question is,
what's the best default set of tags for the body of an e-mail? Should we
adopt a simple two tag system like Bosak's? Or should we adopt a standard
like XHTML or DocBook, and possibly just use a subset for transcoding to
make life simpler?


+=== Eugene Eric Kim ===== ===== ===+
|       "Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they        |
+=====  can have an excuse to drink alcohol."  --Steve Martin  ===========+

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