The Email Standards Project

Many years ago the Web Standards Project (or WASP) fought the fine fight to pressure browser manufacturers into complying with some sort of standard version of HTML. Prior to that we almost had to build separate sites for Netscape and Internet Explorer – it was horrible.

We have come so far with browsers, but unfortunately most email clients are, well, a long way behind. If you have ever tested an HTML email in a few different clients you’ll know the frustration.
Yesterday’s launch of the Email Standards Project hopes to remedy this situation. Some people love it, some hate it, but HTML email is here to stay. And if we could have the proper standards support in email clients then it’s probably fair to say that a lot of those opposed would change their mind.

We have a long way to go, but at least now we have a vehicle!


A Blatent Grab At A Freebie

Well, day one of Web Directions South 07 is over. And they announced that they would be giving away some prizes to anyone who blogged about it overnight.

I’ve had a few beers and am not in the right frame of mind to write anything deep and meaningful – I’m just submitting this post on the odd chance I might get a freebie tomorrow!

Well, you never know…

We Just Have to Work With What We Have

Roger Johansson recently posted a bit of a rant about how much he hates HTML email. He also wrote how if anyone thinks otherwise they’re weird/wrong/stupid:

“Some people even like receiving HTML email.” (I have replaced his italics with my bold.)

Okay, so I’m weird, wrong and stupid.

But the thing that gets me the most is this:

“I still don’t do HTML email though. As long as support for Web Standards in email clients is as crappy and unpredictable as it currently is, well I’m sorry, but I’m not going back to nested layout tables and spacer GIFs just to create an email. Until the situation improves I’m happy to hand over the job of creating HTML email to somebody else.”

Well, I’m sorry too, Roger, but in the real world we just have to work with what we have. Were we all evil in the 90s for using tables and spacer GIFs for layout? No, we weren’t. We were just doing the best we could with the available technology.

Imagine saying back then, “I’m not developing any websites until browser manufacturers improve their browsers.”

Yep, right.

I’m not saying we should be happy with the status quo either, and David Greiner’s excellent post on why we need improvement in the area of standard support in email will hopefully shake a few things up.

I’m sure the day will come when we have decent standards support in our mail clients, but in the meantime those of us that flirt with reality have to deal with HTML email. That includes using layout tables and all sorts of other ‘evil’ measures.

But we just have to do the best with what we have.

Firm sues forum to silence critics

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that software maker 2Clix is suing community site Whirlpool for comments posted on its forum.

This could set a nasty precedent. Does that mean that nobody will be allowed to criticise anything online for fear of getting sued?

Do we have follow America’s lead in getting lawyers involved in everything?

Anyway, here’s the story.

Simple Live Chat on Your Website

Installed Plugoo last week on our client login area – it allows visitors to your website to contact you via Messenger, without them knowing what your actual messenger signin is.

Actually, they don’t even know what IM software you’re using!

It’s all pretty seamless and appears to work quite well.

The only real gripe is that if you embed the object on the page, once the visitor navigates away from that page the conversation ends. Makes continuity a bit hard. I’ve overcome this by placing their object in a hard-coded popup window, and made a little ‘live help’ button instead.

Hat Tip

ACCC Sues Google

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has decided to sue Google over the sponsored links on its site.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald:

“The ACCC also alleges Google engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct by causing the Kloster Ford and Charlestown Toyota links to be published on the website. [In ads placed by used car rival, the Trading Post]

And then:

“Google also failed to adequately distinguish sponsored links from ‘organic’ search results, the ACCC alleges.

Geeze – don’t worry about the price of fuel in regional areas compared to capital cities. Don’t worry about Woolworths (supermarket giant here in Australia) squeezing out smaller operators. Don’t worry about issues that affect everyday people. Tackle something for cheap publicity instead.

If the ACCC doesn’t like ads placed on Google by the Trading Post, shouldn’t they be chasing the Trading Post?

Oh, but there are no headlines in that, are there?