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Re: Word wrapping messages

On April 28, 2005 at 11:02, East Coast Coder wrote:

> Many MUA's insert newlines after every 80 chars.  Now, when the
> message gets converted by MHonArc into HTML, these are stored as
> <br>'s - hence, we have an HTML message wrapped after every 80 chars.

You are still mixing two things.  The email is _not_ an HTML message:
it is a plain text message.  During archiving by mhonarc, the semantics
of plain text is preserved, hence the <br>'s.

If the email was authored as an HTML message (i.e. content-type of
text/html), then mhonarc does not put in <br>'s.  There is nothing
in mhonarc's HTML filter code that even has the string "<br>".

Therefore, you must be refering to how mhonarc converts text/plain
messages, NOT text/html messages.  Since you also refer to the
existence of <br>'s, then you have changed the default behavior
of the text/plain filter (m2h_text_plain::filter).

By default, the filter uses a PRE element for rendering the textual
data with _no_ <br>'s added -- since they are not needed.  The
true semantics of a text/plain message (excluding format=flowed types)
is to render the text as-is.

Since you mention <br>'s, I would guess that you have specified
the "nonfixed" option to m2h_text_plain::filter.  In this case,
you are explicitly overriding some of the semantics of text/plain
(i.e. do not user a fixed-width font to render text).  However,
mhonarc attempts to preserve all other semantics, like line breaks
(hence the existence of <br>'s).

If you want to avoid the confusing wrapping, then add the
keepspace option to m2h_text_plain::filter.  This way, lines will
not get wrapped if the HTML window is reduced, always preserving
the original line semantics of the email message.

> However, HTML UA's (that is, browsers) handle line wrapping
> automatically - as the user likes it.  The user can squeeze the window
> less than 80, in which case the br's will annoyinngly fall midline -
> or he can make it much wider (for a wide screen, or to print) - except
> that the br's will prevent this.

_NO_ HTML browser will auto-wrap lines in a PRE element unless
explicitly specified via a stylesheet.  Mhonarc, by default, uses
the PRE element to wrap plain text messages.  Have you defined options
to the m2h_text_plain::filter that changes this behavior?  If so, this
may be the source of your confusion.

> This is one of the founding principles of HTML: encode only content
> and structure, and allow the UA to handle as much of the formatting as
> possible.  In general, it works quite well, and I think in this case,
> MHonArc would benefit.

I think you are confusing various concepts.  I'm well aware of how
HTML works.  I think you are not clear on how email works, especially
the role of media-types (aka content-types) and mhonarc's preservation
of the their semantics.

You may want to read RFC 2646, especially section 3.


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