Papercuts discussion - Composer related enhancements
pidgeot18 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 19 02:56:39 UTC 2012
On 7/18/2012 6:15 PM, Axel wrote:
> I don't think that this "sacrifice compatibility" is something we need
> to actively /drive.
> In fact this process of eroding "major compatibility" is already an
> ongoing one, but actively and instigated "from the other side". Since
> Microsoft has decided to drop Triton and use Word as HTML rendering
> engine in Outlook 2007; please have a read at this:
>> *Q: "Are there any plans to add support for the other HTML and CSS
>> standards to Word’s engine?"*
>> *A:* "The Word team is continually examining HTML and CSS support
>> based on customer feedback."
> so here is the deal and my thought process behind this - if we add
> simplified editing support for CSS3 features like gradients,
> border-radius and box-shadow, this won't "break compatibility" with
> word, but you get *better usability and high fidelity *within
> *Thunderbird corporate environments and with private Thunderbird
> users*; for the web based email clients it wouldn't be hard to
> gradually add support for these features (they would just have to be a
> bit more cautious "ripping out" "undesired" layout) [- also, have a
> look at what they make of emails authored with Outlook.]
> At the same time, Word as text editor integrated within Outlook is
> doubtless "A Neat Thing" which enables outlook users to very simply
> generate highly complex layouts that can be truthfully transmitted
> within the boundaries of the platform (basically, Exchange networks).
This is getting off-topic, but let me tell you another viewpoint that
reads between the lines (and incorporates some cynicism). At the time
this announcement was made, Microsoft was commencing work on IE8, which
is roughly the first IE version that can be considered to have decent
modern HTML/CSS support. I recall some of the press around the decision
to use Word's engine in Outlook mentioning something to the effect that
it would help Word-Outlook compatibility, which is vital to Microsoft's
userbase. My interpretation of the announcement amounts to "a modern
Trident screws up the HTML that Word uses, so instead of dealing with
people complaining that their old emails no longer work right, we're
just going to keep using a crappy renderer to keep our users happy."
Microsoft is in the very unenviable position that
backwards-compatibility is absolutely vital to significant segments of
its userbase; whatever their press releases about what they want to do
in the future say, the fact remains that it's not really an option for them.
> I would really like a similar level of "ease of use" when creating
> emails that are sent between Thunderbird users, and whether we think
> this is a good or bad thing, we should agree that HTML is the
> platform, and CSS is the way to do the layout - why stick to
> deprecated standards?
Outlook isn't the only problematic email client. Gmail support is also
surprisingly abysmal--it only supports inline CSS, nothing in a <style>
tag! Here's a page which gives you an idea of who supports what:
<http://www.campaignmonitor.com/css/>. Executive summary: webmail
clients are moderately crappy (which is probably due to the fact that
they really have to sanitize everything), anything Outlook-based is
crappy, most mobile clients (excluding Windows Mobile and the Android
gmail client) appear to be very good, and desktop clients are in between.
Also, according to that, it seems the Outlook 2013 preview doesn't
improve on Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2007. So your claims of "Outlook is
working on this" are just not true.
Desktop clients have it easy: we can just take our favorite rendering
engine and bolt some content security controls onto it, which means
advanced CSS/HTML support is very cheap. Webmail clients can't leverage
that fact, because the needs of the legacy web are such that the content
security policy they get is way too loose. Sandboxed iframes might be
able to solve the problem, but I don't think they're powerful enough to
disable access to external resources, which makes it a bit weak. Even if
they are, it's not a sufficiently widely supported to be usable yet,
which means it's a solution that's a few years away at best.
True HTML/CSS support is not a simple task; we're spoiled in that we get
this for free, but a large number of email clients don't.
News submodule owner
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