OT: Quote of the day

steve harley pdml at paper-ape.com
Fri Oct 2 19:43:33 EDT 2009

On 2009-10-02 16:35 , Joseph McAllister wrote:
> In this age of wide screens, large screens, variable text sizes, and
> non-monospaced fonts, I'm curious as to why so many of the URLs I see
> posted are wrapped, for one thing, and not maintained after that wrap as
> a link?

the standard for email transmission is pretty old, and it does specify a 
maximum line length; you might say, "update the standard" but this isn't 
so simple because there are millions of servers and billions of email 
clients that would have to be updated as well; in any case, the mail 
standards provide two ways to avoid the problem:

1) use a content-type switch in the email headers, Format="flowed"
2) enclosing the URL in angle brackets

1) Format="flowed" instructs the receiving email program to 
automatically rejoin lines that have been split due to the maximum 
length, based on a marker of an extra space at the end of a line; this 
works great if a) the sender uses that content-type switch, and b) the 
receiving email program is smart enough to obey the switch

2) <angle brackets> are defined as a standard way to delineate URLs, and 
the standard specifically states that such URLs broken by line ends 
should be recombined

in this case, Bob W's email did not use format="Flowed" in his email; 
whether this is a choice by Bob or a feature of his client i don't know 
(Bob's client also didn't provide a user-agent header); Bob also did not 
add angle brackets to his URL, but few people know about or bother to do 
this; the upshot is that the URL in question was broken on the sending end

as a test, i believe my email client uses format="Flowed", and i'm also 
enclosing it in angle brackets, so if your receiving email program is up 
to snuff, it has two chances to do the right thing with the following URL:


if it's broken, we can probably blame your email client -- most of the 
popular ones mess up URLs and/or long lines sometimes; but maybe the 
listserv or one of the many MTAs en route had a hand in it

(that URL happens to be an affiliate link from theonlinephotographer, 
just because it was handy)

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