Compose HTML formatted letters occasionally

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mbalazs

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Jan 10, 2010, 9:37:44 AM1/10/10
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Dear Thunderbird Developers and Community,

I've been using Thunderbird for about five years. Lately I discovered
that I don't need to send my messages in both HTML and Rich Text
format, because I don't use advanced formattings in my mails that
would require Rich Text/HTML format. Moreover this keeps a lot of
internet traffic and server performance from wasting. So I went Tools -
> Account Settings -> (my default email address) -> Composition &
Addressing and deselected "Compose messages in HTML format". I was
doing great for months since I first needed to send a formatted
letter. I clicked Compose button, and looked for Options -> Format,
but wasn't there. I rolled through all header menus (File, Edit, View,
Options, Tools), but found nothing like Format. I realized that
"Compose messages in HTML format" should be turned on to have this
menu item, but if it's turned on I have to change the format of every
letter before sending if I don't want to waste internet traffic or
SMTP performance. If it's turned off, I can't compose a HTML letter
even if I want to. I find this kind of illogical and looking for a
solution to be able to send plaintext letters by default while being
able to send HTML letters occasionally without rolling through the
Options menu and turning "Compose messages in HTML format" on/off.

If there's no solution, consider this post as a feature request.

Greets
mbalazs

Peter Lairo

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Jan 10, 2010, 10:15:15 AM1/10/10
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On Sun. 10.01.2010 15:37, mbalazs wrote:
> Dear Thunderbird Developers and Community,
>
> I've been using Thunderbird for about five years. Lately I discovered
> that I don't need to send my messages in both HTML and Rich Text
> format, because I don't use advanced formattings in my mails that
> would require Rich Text/HTML format. Moreover this keeps a lot of
> internet traffic and server performance from wasting.

I've never understood this reasoning. How many YouTube videos do you
watch per month/year? One? One video takes up as much bandwidth as 5
years worth of HTML e-mails (yes, I made that statistic up to
illustrate). My test HTML message (with formatting!) is 3 kb. So one 5
MB video divided by one 3 kb message = 1,600 messages for just one video!

> So I went Tools -
>> Account Settings -> (my default email address) -> Composition&
> Addressing and deselected "Compose messages in HTML format".

I'd suggest to reselect it. Variable/HTML text is much easier to read.

I'd also suggest to select: Tools / Options / Composition / General /
Font: *Arial* (because many e-mail clients don't understand Variable Width)

> I was
> doing great for months since I first needed to send a formatted
> letter. I clicked Compose button, and looked for Options -> Format,
> but wasn't there. I rolled through all header menus (File, Edit, View,
> Options, Tools), but found nothing like Format. I realized that
> "Compose messages in HTML format" should be turned on to have this
> menu item, but if it's turned on I have to change the format of every
> letter before sending if I don't want to waste internet traffic or
> SMTP performance. If it's turned off, I can't compose a HTML letter
> even if I want to. I find this kind of illogical and looking for a
> solution to be able to send plaintext letters by default while being
> able to send HTML letters occasionally without rolling through the
> Options menu and turning "Compose messages in HTML format" on/off.
>
> If there's no solution, consider this post as a feature request.

Solution: SHIFT+Compose, SHIFT+Reply, SHIFT+Forward

> Greets

Dieses Wort gibts im englischen nicht --> Greetings. ;-)
--
Regards,

Peter Lairo

Bugs I think should be fixed ASAP:
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=250539
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=391057
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=436259
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=446444

Islam: http://www.jihadwatch.org/islam101/
Israel: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths2/
Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster: http://www.venganza.org/
Anthropogenic Global Warming skepsis: http://tinyurl.com/AGW-Skepsis

mbalazs

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Jan 10, 2010, 10:39:19 AM1/10/10
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Dear Peter Lairo!

Thank you for your quick reply and support, your solution really
helped me out :)

> I've never understood this reasoning. How many YouTube videos do you
> watch per month/year? One? One video takes up as much bandwidth as 5
> years worth of HTML e-mails (yes, I made that statistic up to
> illustrate). My test HTML message (with formatting!) is 3 kb. So one 5
> MB video divided by one 3 kb message = 1,600 messages for just one video!

Comparing YouTube or any multimedia content to email is kind of crap,
but if you want to do that, take my answer: I watch a lot of YouTube
movies, but I don't download them twice just once (this is the point),
even if I want to save them I get them from browser cache. This is
"don't take what you don't really need" attitude (or reasoning). By
the way, thanks again for your help!

Regards
mbalazs

Peter Lairo

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Jan 10, 2010, 12:56:03 PM1/10/10
to
On Sun. 10.01.2010 16:39, mbalazs wrote:
>> I've never understood this reasoning. How many YouTube videos do you
>> watch per month/year? One? One video takes up as much bandwidth as 5
>> years worth of HTML e-mails (yes, I made that statistic up to
>> illustrate). My test HTML message (with formatting!) is 3 kb. So one 5
>> MB video divided by one 3 kb message = 1,600 messages for just one video!
>
> Comparing YouTube or any multimedia content to email is kind of crap,
> but if you want to do that, take my answer: I watch a lot of YouTube
> movies, but I don't download them twice just once (this is the point),
> even if I want to save them I get them from browser cache. This is
> "don't take what you don't really need" attitude (or reasoning). By
> the way, thanks again for your help!

You need to download each video at least once. Right? So that one video
alone is like sending 1600 messages. Or, if you want to count the
bandwidth of the recipient, it's like sending + receiving 800 messages.
Since downloaded messages are stored in the cache AFAIK, I don't see
your point about "I don't download them twice just once".

BTW: You're welcome! ;-)

Arivald

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Jan 10, 2010, 12:58:30 PM1/10/10
to
Peter Lairo pisze:

> On Sun. 10.01.2010 15:37, mbalazs wrote:
>> Dear Thunderbird Developers and Community,
>>
>> I've been using Thunderbird for about five years. Lately I discovered
>> that I don't need to send my messages in both HTML and Rich Text
>> format, because I don't use advanced formattings in my mails that
>> would require Rich Text/HTML format. Moreover this keeps a lot of
>> internet traffic and server performance from wasting.
>
> I've never understood this reasoning. How many YouTube videos do you
> watch per month/year? One? One video takes up as much bandwidth as 5
> years worth of HTML e-mails (yes, I made that statistic up to
> illustrate). My test HTML message (with formatting!) is 3 kb. So one 5
> MB video divided by one 3 kb message = 1,600 messages for just one video!
>

I agree.
Internet is for people, not people for Internet.

>> So I went Tools -
>>> Account Settings -> (my default email address) -> Composition&
>> Addressing and deselected "Compose messages in HTML format".
>
> I'd suggest to reselect it. Variable/HTML text is much easier to read.
>
> I'd also suggest to select: Tools / Options / Composition / General /
> Font: *Arial* (because many e-mail clients don't understand Variable Width)
>

But here you are wrong.
If You have selected "Variable Width" as default font, then TB will not
send any font information. So receiver will read such mail in his
preferred font.

--
Arivald

Peter Lairo

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Jan 10, 2010, 1:21:49 PM1/10/10
to
On Sun. 10.01.2010 18:58, Arivald wrote:
> Peter Lairo pisze:

>> I'd suggest to reselect it. Variable/HTML text is much easier to read.
>>
>> I'd also suggest to select: Tools / Options / Composition / General /
>> Font: *Arial* (because many e-mail clients don't understand Variable
>> Width)
>
> But here you are wrong.
> If You have selected "Variable Width" as default font, then TB will not
> send any font information. So receiver will read such mail in his
> preferred font.

Most clients (i.e., Outlook and Lotus Notes) have as default font for
no-font-defined incoming messages Times New Roman, which IMO looks like
crap, and no-one selects it knowingly (so it's not really a "choice"
that was consciously made). Strangely, these clients *send* in Arial as
default. In my company (30,000 employees) we all send as Arial, but if I
send a message to my company in "Variable" font, it will arrive as Time
New Roman. It looks conspicuously out of place among all the other
e-mails we send and receive.

So yes, theoretically giving the recipient a choice sounds good, but the
reality is that most users' clients can't handle that choice, and
sending without a font looks like crap on the vast majority of recipients.

Until the main clients (Outlook, Notes) handle no-defined-font better,
I'll stand by my original recommendation.

Related: Bug 250539 is the biggest eye sore in Thunderbird - since 2004.
(https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=250539)

mbalazs

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Jan 10, 2010, 2:51:06 PM1/10/10
to
> You need to download each video at least once. Right? So that one video
> alone is like sending 1600 messages. Or, if you want to count the
> bandwidth of the recipient, it's like sending + receiving 800 messages.
If you turn on the electric heater, it consumes 3000Watts, so just
leave all standby-appliances turned ON 24/7 that consume around
15Watts allover which is too small in comparison with the heater. If
200 households think and do like this at a time they consume so much
energy for NOTHING (so they waste it) that would be enough for another
(201th ) household to be heated. Why would you waste something if you
_don't need_ it even if it seems to be a small quantity (for you)?

> Since downloaded messages are stored in the cache AFAIK, I don't see
> your point about "I don't download them twice just once".

I was talking about videos.

Peter Lairo

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Jan 10, 2010, 4:13:04 PM1/10/10
to
On Sun. 10.01.2010 20:51, mbalazs wrote:
>> You need to download each video at least once. Right? So that one video
>> alone is like sending 1600 messages. Or, if you want to count the
>> bandwidth of the recipient, it's like sending + receiving 800 messages.
> If you turn on the electric heater, it consumes 3000 Watts, so just

> leave all standby-appliances turned ON 24/7 that consume around
> 15Watts allover which is too small in comparison with the heater. If
> 200 households think and do like this at a time they consume so much
> energy for NOTHING (so they waste it) that would be enough for another
> (201th ) household to be heated. Why would you waste something if you
> _don't need_ it even if it seems to be a small quantity (for you)?

I see: HTML e-mails aren't "needed". Granted. However, you said earlier
that you watch a "lot" of YouTube movies. Do you "need" those videos?
How is the need for those videos so great, that the huge amount of
bandwidth they use is more important that the comparatively tiny amount
of bandwidth used to make each e-mail more legible? Unless you consider
HTML to add exactly zero improvement (which would be a hard case to
make). It sounds like "penny wise, and dollar foolish" - or possibly a
religious conviction (HTML = evil).

Anyhow, you're of course free to choose and enjoy plaintext... ;-)

mbalazs

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Jan 11, 2010, 4:37:36 AM1/11/10
to
> I see: HTML e-mails aren't "needed". Granted. However, you said earlier
> that you watch a "lot" of YouTube movies. Do you "need" those videos?
Yes, I do need them. If I didn't need them I wouldn't watch them.

> How is the need for those videos so great, that the huge amount of
> bandwidth they use is more important that the comparatively tiny amount
> of bandwidth used to make each e-mail more legible? Unless you consider
> HTML to add exactly zero improvement (which would be a hard case to
> make). It sounds like "penny wise, and dollar foolish" - or possibly a
> religious conviction (HTML = evil).

I'm not telling HTML is useless. I'm just saying, in most cases it's
not necessary. MTAs (like Thunderbird) can be configured to display
plaintext using a variable-width font, thus can be viewed as "more
legible". If there's no need for extra formatting there's no point of
using HTML.

> Anyhow, you're of course free to choose and enjoy plaintext... ;-)

Yes, I'm glad about that, but more people should realize what I'm
saying.

Greets
mbalazs

Michael A. Puls II

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Jan 11, 2010, 5:04:38 AM1/11/10
to dev-apps-t...@lists.mozilla.org
Opera's built-in mail client "M2" has "Use HTML formatting" and "Use plain
text" radio buttons in the compose window so you can switch back n forth
between compose modes. Most webmails have the same thing.

Most webmails are lossy when switching from rich text mode to plain text
mode. However, Opera does it differently where if you switch from rich
text mode to plain text mode, add more content and switch back, your
formatting will be restored. (Of course, it's still a little bit buggy in
doing that, but it works alright). Clearly, Opera would go to that trouble
if no one wanted to do that. In fact, since M2's compose mode is plain
text by default, this works out great. That way, if you ever need to
compose as HTML, you just do it after you open the compose window.

Anyway, it's clear that people want to be able to switch from the default
compose mode via some type of control in the compose window. Thunderbird
should have this too via some action you can do with the mouse (newbies
are generally not keyboard users). If you find yourself having to switch
modes a lot, going all the way into the account's preferences each time is
a pia.

--
Michael

Arivald

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Jan 11, 2010, 2:44:45 PM1/11/10
to
mbalazs pisze:

> I'm not telling HTML is useless. I'm just saying, in most cases it's
> not necessary.

Did You do any research in this matter? or You can cite other people
research? I mean real, scientific research.

In my practice most of mails needs some formatting. Even making
paragraphs is much more user-friendly with HTML. I use a lot of ordered
and unordered lists... Yes, I can do list manually, i plain text. But
I'm not stupid, I prefer automatic HTML offers.
I also use inline images. It is much easier to refer images if they can
be viewed inside text. When I got plain text mail, with attached lot of
images, and sender refer images by name, it makes me angry if i must
manually open every single attached image... It is waste of my time.

Even this post... it may look much more readable in HTML. But for news,
and this group, standard is plain-text, so I use plain text.


> MTAs (like Thunderbird) can be configured to display
> plaintext using a variable-width font, thus can be viewed as "more
> legible". If there's no need for extra formatting there's no point of
> using HTML.
>

There is almost always need for formating.

Can You imagine reading book without formatting? Or newspaper without
formatting an images? It will be pain... It is why, in thousands years
of writing, people invent formatting for text. Paragraphs. Inlined
images. Various font faces. Headings. Subscriptions. And many more.


Insisting for plain-text is stupid for me.

Plain text is remnant if computers childish days, when displaying text
formatting was impossible. But it is possible now.

--
Arivald

David Ascher

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Jan 11, 2010, 2:58:42 PM1/11/10
to Arivald, dev-apps-t...@lists.mozilla.org
Hi folks --

As far as I can tell, this thread has nothing to do with Thunderbird
development.

I suggest it be continued somewhere else. Thanks!

--david

Peter Lairo

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Jan 12, 2010, 8:36:49 AM1/12/10
to
On Mon. 11.01.2010 10:37, mbalazs wrote:
> MTAs (like Thunderbird) can be configured to display
> plaintext using a variable-width font, thus can be viewed as "more
> legible".

Interesting suggestion! I'm not sure displaying *all* plaintext messages
with variable font is the best solution: The author might have had a
reason for using plaintext (e.g., ASCII art). Also, *wrapping*
(format=flowed) seems to not work (at least for your post), and I can't
seem to find the *Arial* font under Tools / Options / Display /
Formatting / Advanced / Monospace [Font Name].

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