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  1. #1
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    HTML mail displays wrong in Netscape Mail

    BoardGeek Eileen told me to bring my silly-@$$ question down the hall here. ;-> So, here I am.

    My company's been publishing an email newsletter in HTML, created using Word 2000, that works fine for everyone except some who use Netscape for mail. For them, the content gets piled up in a blob, as if line space was set to zero.

    A search of MSKB turned up two articles, both similar to my symptom but neither a direct hit. Worse, both articles say the workaround is "don't do that."<g> (It says to just attach the .DOC, not send it as HTML.)

    Anybody know what the problem is, and/or if there's a fix? (I personally suspect mischief in Redmond, like "Oh, gee, look, Word HTML works fine in Outlook but not in Netscape! Imagine that! Better not use Netscape." But that's just the conspiracy theorist in me, heh heh.

    deB

  2. #2
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    Re: HTML mail displays wrong in Netscape Mail

    I suspect it might be the *stylesheet* problem. Do any you guys know if it's possible to bypass the <STYLE>...</STYLE stuff in an html email?
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Eileen_sig.gif>

  3. #3
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    Re: HTML mail displays wrong in Netscape Mail

    Eileen,

    Why don't you give him the code you used for the board to test for Netscape, etc. He should be able to create a Word autotext entry with it so that he can reuse it.

  4. #4
    navir
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    Re: HTML mail displays wrong in Netscape Mail

    I had the same experience sending HTML email. There are several "don't dos":

    1. Don't use linked or embedded stylesheets. (Inline styles are OK.)

    2. Don't use any IE-specific markup; e.g., marquee.

    3. Don't use Word to generate HTML. There's nothing nefarious about Word's HTML or Microsoft. (MS knows precisely how to write valid HTML and XML.) The problem is Word's HTML output includes markup to maintain formatting and "roundtrip" the HTML that chokes non-IE-specific browsers.

    4. I don't want to start a browser war here, but Netscape versions before Netscape 6 comply with many fewer W3C standards than does IE 4 and onward, Opera, etc. Try nudging Netscape users toward IE or Netscape 6. (Be aware Netscape 6 is more like IE than it is like previous versions of Netscape, and Netscape 4+ script may not work with Netscape 6.)

    So, you're a little out of luck with Netscape users. A quick solution is to post the information online and send a link to it, with, or instead of, HTML email. (That by the way, is why Outlook allows you to specify whether someone in your address book gets Plain Text or HTML.)

    Sending HTML email may be attractive, but it can use a lot of Network resources. Many system administrators often set up laptops for example, to reject email containing more than 50KB of information.

    I'll be interested in others' responses.

    Regards,
    Ivan

  5. #5
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    Re: HTML mail displays wrong in Netscape Mail

    I have but I think Ivan has the definitive answer.
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  6. #6
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    Re: HTML mail displays wrong in Netscape Mail

    One comment, One question:

    I agree with discouragingunnecessary html mail. I run two mailing lists and this is a recurring issue. I encourage the use of HTML when mail contains formatting, like bold and italic, but try to explain why it should not be used for messages that are just plain text with a font.

    My question is about Netscape 6. I keep hearing about the bugs. Is it worth installing now or waiting? (I lied, two questions) Is Netscape 6 and the Mozilla Open Source the same?

  7. #7
    navir
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    Netscape 6

    Hi, Art:

    There is a separate forum for Netscape, and I saw a couple questions posted there. That would be an appropriate place to ask Netscape 6 questions. But I'll give a quick response.

    Netscape 6 (the Mozilla browser) did a great job adhering to W3C standards, and now exceeds Internet Explorer in this regard. But everyone has their "favorite" N6 bug. Mine concerns XML parsing. N6 "chokes" after a few pages.

    The bigger problem is, exept for specific intRAnets, something like 85% (or more) of all browsers accessing websites on the IntERnet are IE4+ or IE5+. You'll have to design for IE, even if you favor Netscape 6. This is not a big problem, because Netscape 6's DOM is more like IE than it is like previous versions of Netscape.

    Which is the reason there may not be a lot of N6 adoption. Sites are already designed to handle previous versions of Netscape. So designers will hesitate designing for a browser that is a fractional proportion of less than 15% of all the non-IE browsers available, and requires them to change their code.

    Talking about browsers is like debating religion; one of the three things my Mother told me to never talk about in public!

    Regards,
    Ivan

  8. #8
    navir
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    content v presentation

    There are few reasons to use HTML email. Although I have a 1Gz, 256 MB RAM computer, I always opt for Plain Text rather than HTML email for email, newsletters, and the like. And my default authoring is Plain Text.

    I like to ask writers "What does bold mean?" Does it mean the bolded item is a new term, or a word to be "strongly emphasized" when pronouced, or what? In fact, most people are adding formatting primarily "for looks", and quite frankly, most people are not graphic designers and don't do well designing "for looks". And the additional formatting adds no real, unambiguous information. In fact, it often distracts from the content.

    I ask writers to use Notepad as their principle authoring tool, adding no formatting. Once a writer can write appropriate words, in clear sentences, arranged into logical paragraphs, there is often little reason to add any formatting at all.

    If I wanted to start a fight, I'd say the same thing about HTML email as I do about screenshots (for help systems): They are the last resort of a poor writer.

    Finally, if (like I do) people download email, then read it offline, all those clever animated GIFs and other images are inaccessible.

    If you want to send me something where images and formatting are critical to my inderstanding, either send me a URL, or send me an attachment.

    OK: Enough!

    Regards,
    Ivan

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