I was only considering earlier today whether it might be time to give in to all my principles and ‘convert’ to the ‘standard’ that Microsoft probably should have but in fact never invented – HTML email*. Up until now, all my emails have been resolutely plain text, monospaced affairs designed to take up as little space as possible. However, in today’s world, everyone else is using HTML mail and I’m not — so perhaps it’s time to give in and convert.
The big disadvantage, of course, is that your email basically needs to be sent twice, once as a text/plain MIME part for the ‘legacy’ mail readers that can only understand plain text, and once as a text/html MIME part for the HTML-capable readers. This does noticeably increase the size of an email, but then again in today’s “broadband” world this probably isn’t anywhere nearly as much of a problem as it used to be. The downside of HTML email is that it does dramatically increase the scope for nasties to enter into your e-mail client by use of nefarious HTML tags. Thankfully modern email clients are much better at sanitising HTML, and also not loading remote images by default so much of this risk is reduced, but not all. The upside of plain text is that it is just that — plain text. Nothing to go wrong.
Another ‘attraction’ of HTML mail is that you can make your mails much ‘prettier’ using colours, boxes, CSS, whatever (I think you can even put in a background if you’re that desperate!), as well as different font styles/sizes (although this is limited to what fonts are on the client machine, which basically forces you to specify either “serif” or “sans-serif” and hope for the best, unless there is a way of embedding fonts these days.)
Perhaps I’ll trial it and see how it goes. I can always go back to my old-fashioned ways if it doesn’t work out … :)
* Believe it or not, it was Netscape!