Ben Langhinrichs

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January, 2009
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Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Fri 30 Jan 2009, 03:05 PM
In this post, I talk about email once more, and about a topic particularly nostalgic for me, sections.  In 1995, my youngest son was born, and Lotus put out Notes R4.  I have to meet with my son's guidance counselor next week to decide what courses he will take in high school next year, and IBM (which bought Lotus shortly after that) has just released Notes 8.5.  But why is the topic of collapsed sections nostalgic?  The reason is that even before R4, my first Notes API add-on, the @YourCommand Toolkit, worked with rich text a bit, but with the advent of LotusScript, Notes R4 started to feel like a "real development environment:.  With the advent of collapsed sections, rich text went from mundane to magic, reflecting the games of peekaboo I would play with my son (this was long before the web and JavaScript and CSS magic).  Finally, in Notes 4.1 in 1996, the LSX Toolkit was introduced, and I started my first serious forays into rich text programmability with my Midas Rich Text LSX.  But I digress...

You might think then that IBM could not possibly fail to correctly implement collapsed sections in email.  After all, unlike my previous topic, tabbed tables, sections are a fundamental part of the email experience.  But if you thought that, you might want to read the previous five posts in this series to get a true feel for IBM's commitment to rendering.

I want to be clear that sections are handled better, although not perfectly, in the Domino 8.5 server rendering, but since more people use the Notes client rendering, I focused on that.  Besides, I think this example will show clearly how more than just looks is lost with poor email rendering. 


Two sections in a Notes 8.5 client

Sections in rich text



Two sections in a different Notes 8.5 client after being rendered by the Notes 8.5 client

Sections in Notes 8.5 after Notes 8.5 client rendering



Two sections in Outlook after being rendered by the Notes 8.5 client

Sections in Outlook after Notes 8.5 client rendering



Two sections in GMail after being rendered by the Notes 8.5 client

Sections in GMail after Notes 8.5 client rendering



Two sections in Outlook after being rendered by iFidelity (beta)

Sections in Outlook after iFidelity for Lotus Notes rendering



Two sections in GMail after being rendered by iFidelity (beta)

Sections in GMail after iFidelity for Lotus Notes rendering



Previous Topics in this series

In Part 1, I showed how IBM's rendering of MIME messages could lead your customers to think you were still running Notes R5, and how our upcoming iFidelity (sign up for the beta) would allow you to send out more professional looking email, rendered as it is in Notes.  In Part 2, I showed how content rendered by Domino on the web was likely to make prospective customers think twice, or more, before buying Lotus Notes, and how CoexEdit could dramatically improve that default rendering.  In Part 3, I showed how rendering is made even worse when the rich text is edited on the web, and how CoexEdit can improve that process as well.  In Part 4, I showed how HTML signatures are prone to some of the same rendering issues (as well as different ones) as we have seen elsewhere.  In Part 5, I showed how tabbed tables do not translate well through email, and how iFidelity could help. 

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