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How to send HTML and Plain Text E-mail blasts
how do i know what type of client my recipient has?
lebhead




msg:964943
 4:28 pm on Apr 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi all,

I'm a newb to the area of e-mail broadcasting and am trying to send out an e-mail newsletter to about 500 clients. I've created both a plain text and an HTML version of the newsletter, but now I'm stuck as to how to figure out who gets what.

How do I know what type of client (HTML vs. plain text) each user has? I assume there's a simple if/else client-side validation involved, but after a long time of searching the net I have yet to figure it out.

I'm planning to send the broadcast from a Windows server using ColdFusion (or whatever else would do the job).

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

 

choster




msg:964944
 6:50 pm on Apr 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm pretty sure you'll need to ask each user, then set a flag in your database (or however you store the information) as to which version each user should receive.

Please note additionally that some people have HTML-capabable e-mail clients but prefer to receive text nonetheless.

Alternatively, you can send a multipart message, i.e. both the text and the HTML to all users, though the bandwidth load can become unwieldy (and annoying to the text users).

lebhead




msg:964945
 9:18 pm on Apr 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

i have a pre-existing list that i will be using that does not have a client preference flag. i know that would be the easiest way, but at least for this mailing i won't be able to do that so i've decided to send both plain text and html in the same mailing.

i know that i have to do something with the mime encoding/type, but i'm not sure what. does anybody know the exact syntax to encode an e-mail to pick either HTML or text dependant on the user's client?

again, thank you for any help.

Filipe




msg:964946
 1:16 am on Apr 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Send both plain text and HTML in the same mailing? Do you mean, send two to each user?

My recommendation is to send just plain text (usually more acceptable anyway) and make a note at the top like:

We are sending this out for the first time. If you would like to receive HTML-based e-mails in the future, go to this address: [blahblahlah...] or reply to this email with the subject line "HTML"

or something to that effect. You get the idea. If you try to cram something down users throats, or end up sending them jibberish, then you might earn yourself a bad reputation and end up with a much smaller list next month.

Oh, and don't forget that you have to let users opt-out of your mailing list =)

lebhead




msg:964947
 2:59 am on Apr 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

there's a way to send both plain and HTML formats in the same email, but the user only gets one version depending on what their e-mail client supports. i know it's possible, but i just don't know how.

and don't worry. we do have an opt out feature. :)

choster




msg:964948
 4:11 am on Apr 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

No, not sending two separate messages to each user, but using multipart e-mail-- multiple versions of the content are bundled together in a single message, from simplest (usu. plain text) to most complex. The recipient's mail client looks for its preferred format among the MIME types included and displays it only. The other parts may be converted to attachments.

The exact method for sending multipart messages will depend on what system you are using to send e-mail.

If you are sending using a regular e-mail client (whether you're sending to a listserv/bot, or if you're using a massive bcc list), simply adjust the setting in your e-mail client. In Netscape and Mozilla the option is under Preferences>Mail& Newsgroups>Send Format. In Outlook, use Options>Mail Format>HTML. IIRC Outlook automatically generates the plain text based on the content of the HTML and there does not seem to be a way to suppress or edit the plain text.

If you're generating messages using mailing software or your mail server, you need to configure the system to produce multipart/alternative messages, something beyond the scope of my expertise. Try www.ics.uci.edu/~mh/book/overall/mulmes.htm or something else that comes up on a web search.

lebhead




msg:964949
 5:45 am on Apr 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

No, not sending two separate messages to each user, but using multipart e-mail-- multiple versions of the content are bundled together in a single message, from simplest (usu. plain text) to most complex. The recipient's mail client looks for its preferred format among the MIME types included and displays it only. The other parts may be converted to attachments.

i think we're talking about the same thing. maybe i just wasn't clear. sorry about that. but yes, i want to send a multipart email that will include both plain text and html versions.

i'm pulling the e-mail addresses from an Access database and i'm planning to send them using ColdFusion's mailing capabilities. i'm just not sure where to put the mime encoding information in my script.

sorry if i'm not being too clear.

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