By Kevin Yank

A New Standard for HTML Email

By Kevin Yank

The following is republished from the Tech Times #174.

If you’re one of the many lucky readers of the Tech Times who use Outlook 2007—whether by choice or not—then chances are you’ve noticed this newsletter and many others haven’t looked quite right since the upgrade from Outlook 2003. Could the solution be standards for HTML email?

“A New Standard for HTML Email” in the SitePoint Forums

Long time readers of the Tech Times may remember my rant in Tech Times #156 about Microsoft’s choice to replace the Internet Explorer rendering engine in Outlook 2003 with a new engine based on Microsoft Word in Outlook 2007. Yes, that Microsoft Word. Clippy is reading your email as we speak.

The fine folks at Freshview, the makers of the Campaign Monitor service for creating and sending high-quality HTML email newsletters, have led the ongoing efforts to get Microsoft to see reason and reverse this move, which frankly sets email technology back a decade.

As it seems these pleas continue to fall on deaf ears, Freshview has proposed a new tack: define a (relatively) easy-to-support subset of HTML and CSS as a standard that HTML-capable email clients may strive to support. By setting a more achievable goal than the full HTML/CSS support we expect of web browsers, the theory goes, we may be able to drum up some interest in improving the HTML email landscape from vendors like Microsoft.

This plan is outlined in a very thoughtful post on the Campaign Monitor Blog, which has since been followed up by an initial proposal for the baseline standard.

Do you believe creating a new standard for HTML email will help improve the sorry state of standards support and interoperability in email clients?

“A New Standard for HTML Email” in the SitePoint Forums

  • santouras

    Something must be done really sooner or later. With every reader handling emails slightly differently its a nightmare to test for compatibility in hotmail, gmail, yahoo, the many versions of outlook etc etc. In the end its easy to see why so many places decide to either use text only email or just a big ugly image. Its long been my view that email needs to be scrapped completely however thats a ouch bigger animal of a topic. I think a subset of html for email is a fantastic idea tho and I hope enough people get behind it to turn it into a reality.

  • engkiat

    i agree, its time that standards take over the html emails…its such an important tool for marketing.

  • How about eHTML?

  • Anonymous


  • kogent

    Standards is an obvious must for the web, I don’t see how e-mail is any less obvious… it’s a necessity that is long over due.

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