XML Mail

Clark Evans clark.evans at manhattanproject.com
Fri Feb 19 02:13:50 GMT 1999

David Megginson wrote:
>  > 2) Leave valid XML/HTML alone if possible.
> Wrong -- or, to put it differently, it should leave content with
> text/html and text/xml alone, but it should not try to recognise
> markup in text/plain.

In theory I agree, however, practical circumstances 
dictate otherwise. :)

I have been showing associates (end users) how to 
markup their e-mail using XML.  I hope to classify
e-mail according to the markup contained within,
and use it to update a database with such information.
Furthermore, I have found so far, that my end users
are not "resisting" XML as much as I would have thought.
As long as I stay practical, and explain clearly
that the tags are used to tell the computer program
how to deal with their information, everything goes well.

Thus, I intend to use the e-mail to populate a 
database, based upon it's contents.  Anyway, I would
like to proceed with this experiment to see how
it works in reality.  Eventually I picture an 
structure-aware-e-mailer that replaces traditional
forms based processing with a more stream oriented
approach.  The editor would allow multiple DTD's
to be validated against their mail before they 
send it.  I see this as logical evolution from 
centralized forms based processing to a more 
flexibie, distributed information system.

For now, I can tell my end-users not to use < > and &
unless they are doing markup, but my biggest problem
so far is the darn e-mailers which use > to mark
e-mail that is forwarded... I'd love to change the
character to | 

Anyway, hope this makes sence.  Comments?

>  > 3) Add a <mail> </mail> and <p> </p> for non-xml
>  >    non-html mail.
> I don't think that adding <p>...</p> is a good idea -- if the body of
> the message is text/plain, then it should be treated as a blob of
> text.

Perhaps you are right.. although I like what Parand did:

Parand Tony Darugar wrote:
> > The rewrite program would:
> >
> > 0) Transform reserved characters > < & into
> >    &gt; &lt; &amp; and handle other trivial
> >    conversions such as this.
> Does this. For the main message, I wrap it in a
> big CDATA[] and leave the reserved stuff unchanged.
> > 1) Transform the 'headers' into XML structure.
>   Does this also. See example output below.


> Hope everyone likes it.  We had to make it under 10k which restricted us
> quite a bit.
> ]]></BODY>
> ------------------------------------------------------------

This is very nice.

>   I promised someone I'd package it and put it somewhere
> on the web months ago, but I've procrastinated. I guess I
> should really do that.

Wonderful.    Please do.



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