Ben Langhinrichs

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All your base are belong to IBM: MIME rendering

Fri 12 Dec 2008, 03:32 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
Translation can be funny, as when a Japanese game producer included the immortal words "All your base are belong to us!" as a translation of something that made much more sense in Japanese (I hope).  Translation, or any data conversion, is far less funny when it makes you look bad.  With Notes/Domino 8.5 due out in the not too distant future, I want to show a few different examples of how Notes/Domino 8.5 (beta) still translates poorly when sent outside to your customers and friends.

Part 1: Formatted e-mails sent to the Internet

It will come as no surprise that e-mail sent from Notes does not look the same as e-mail sent from other e-mail systems.  IBM is bashed about this all the time, and has been for a decade.  The really surprising thing is that so little improvement has been made in the past several major versions of Notes/Domino.  Let me show you an example that came directly from a customer to me several years ago.  The text has been made generic, of course, but the table has otherwise been left alone.

1) E-mail as it appears in Notes 8.5 (beta)

E-mail in Notes 8.5 (beta)

2) E-mail in GMail after being converted to MIME by Notes 8.5 (beta)

In GMail sent by Notes 8.5 beta

2a) E-mail in GMail after being converted to MIME by Notes 8.5 (beta) - With annotations of a few of the issues

Inline JPEG image

3) E-mail in GMail after being converted to MIME by Notes 6.5.3 (virtually identical to Notes 8.5 beta)

In GMail sent by Notes 6.5.3

4) E-mail in GMail after being converted to MIME by iFidelity (aka CoexLinks 3) (beta)

In GMail sent by CoexLinks 3 (beta)

5) For comparison, here are just the tables from Notes.  Compare with the tables from iFidelity above, and see how all annotated issues are addressed.

Tables in Notes 8.5 beta client

Conclusion: Notes 8.5 (beta) does little better at sending e-mail with full fidelity than it did in Notes R5.  iFidelity will allow your mail to go out looking the way you created it, not as translated by Japanese video artists might translate it.

Copyright 2008 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

735.1. Erik Brooks
(12/12/2008 07:35 PM)

Looks great, Ben. A tiny bit of extra space on the Coex version between the two tables, and the numbers below "Modes of Transport Preferred" are lining up a little differently, but overall a 10000% improvement.

735.2. Ben Langhinrichs
(12/13/2008 08:28 AM)

Erik - Thanks! As for those issues you mention,they are why the product is still in development. The goal is as close to 100% fidelity as we can force it, as that is what our customers expect, "slam dunk easy and drop dead perfect".