Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.
Cool Uses For MTTF
Author: firstname.lastname@example.org Posted: 2/8/1999; 6:31:40 PM Topic: A new toy! Msg #: 2753 (In response to 2691) Prev/Next: 2752 / 2754
Below, I will outline how I've been using UserLand's Mail to the Future (MTTF) service. I will also share some of the tips I've discovered.
I run a site called CamWorld. It is essentially a site who's front page is updated every day, pointing to links around the Internet that strike my fancy, or help distribute important information. Very much like (and modeled after) Dave's Scripting News web site.
Many of my readers have asked if it would be possible to get my links distributed in a daily email. Not being a programmer, and not having access to a Frontier 6 web server, I couldn't do much except beg my programmer friends to write a CGI in Perl.
However, because of UserLand's great new service, I am able to schedule my mailings to be sent out at exactly the same time every night. Each mailing contains the links and text from the front page of CamWorld.
MTTF has certainly made this process much much easier. It's not quite automated (as CamWorld is not a Frontier-maintained site) but it's as close to automation as I'm going to get without some fancy server-side scripts parsing the data at a scheduled time.
Over the past few days, I've been able to use MTTF on a daily basis, testing it, seeing what kinds of HTML code it supports, and how it renders the email. For a sample of the email I send out each night, click below:
I've discovered that you should treat MTTF as a regular email client. Don't stick any HTML tags in there, as they won't be read in as HTML. Don't use numerous dashes (hypens) stuck next to each other as a visual break in the page, as MTTF will assume you want a horizontal rule and stick one in there.
URLs should be stuck between a left and right bracket, which I believe is a standard format for email clients.
The best thing about MTTF is it supports long URLs. Most mail clients will break a URL at 72 or 80 characters, unless you specify otherwise. MTTF treats URLs that are stuck betwen brackets as long strings of text. Very nice.
There are only a few drawbacks to MTTF. It only supports numerous email recipients in a single recipient field. You can past in a long list of recipients (seperated by commas), but then those email addresses are available to everyone.
A better option would be for MTTF to support a BCC field. Or better yet, have a built-in mailing list feature. An address book would be very slick, too.
Thanks UserLand, and thanks Dave!
There are responses to this message:
- Re: Cool Uses For MTTF, Dave Winer, 2/9/1999; 6:26:58 AM
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