HTML E-Mail: Resignation

Once I was a valiant warrior against HTML in email, and rallied against it every chance I got. Now I am tired from that fight. There are still lots of reasons not to use it, but I’m not going to argue with the dean, and today modified the Events database to send out formatted announcement emails, rather than plain text. Felt like a traitor to “the good fight” for about five minutes. Then the feeling passed.

PHPMailer enhances the native PHP mail() function with all kinds of goodies, including ability to send 100% standards-compliant HTML emails that work as well in text mailers as they do in Entourage (yes, I pine tested :)

Music: Mike Watt and the Secondmen :: Boilin’ Blaze

9 thoughts on “HTML E-Mail: Resignation

  1. matthias (in a ghost shirt)

    I’m down on HTML email too, but over the past couple of years, I’ve started to feel like a luddite, or like one of those guys who collects lp’s because “vinyl sounds better”.

    I do think it’s important to keep plain text alive, and I do shudder to imagine the day that Microsoft releases some client that only does formatted text. And there is a kind of solidarity to be found in plain text email exchanges with my geekish friends.

  2. chris

    modified the Events database to send out formatted announcement emails, rather than plain text. Felt like a traitor to “the good fight” for about five minutes.

    Scot, why do you hate America?

  3. griff

    I felt the same about html email, but gave in about 6 months ago.

    I changed my mind for usability issues. Tired of incoherent, rambling, pointless emails at work, I have made it my own personal mission to write emails that are usable. HTML formatting alows me to quickly do formating things that make my emails easier to skim, find important information, and memorable.

    I even have a subject line conventions (project name all caps, dash, detailed subject). I hope to change the world through example, one email at a time.

  4. David Huff

    > Scot, why do you hate America?

    Huh ? I’m afraid that one made a big wooooshing sound as it zoomed right over my head…

  5. Scot Hacker

    David, I think Chris is being wry, saying that to oppose HTML in E-Mail is downright un-Amurican. I was just playing along.

    Just for the record, in case anyone is in doubt, I don’t hate America! Really!

  6. baald

    er, i think it was the “traitor to the good fight” line that elicited chris’ comment.

    i think there are 3 classes of email to consider:

    1. commercial email. never had a problem w/ html there, in fact am quite a fan of it, form both a biz and consumer standpoint

    2. personal email. i agree with the post above about formatting. doing it all w/ ascii art gets tiresome. then again, when i get formatted email fomr people it always tends to have 4-pt font for some reason….

    3. mailing list email. since i take digested lists form some places i absolutely want to kill those who send html mail to the list. as well as those who don’t know how to edit the responses.

    b

  7. Scot Hacker

    baald, in #1 are you distinguishing between solicited and unsolicited commercial email, or are you comfortable with commercial HTML email no matter the source?

    In #2 — exactly — one has much less control over how HTML email ends up being rendered by the client than on the web (because HTML renderers in mail clients are much less sophisticated than in browsers).

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