Re: mailto links (was RE: Subject line script)

by =?iso-8859-1?Q?St=E9phane?= Bergeron <stephberg(at)>

 Date:  Mon, 23 Jul 2001 13:21:57 -0400
 To:  hwg-techniques(at)
  todo: View Thread, Original
At 09:24 2001-07-23 -0700, you wrote:
><<However, you really shouldn't use mailto links.  You're assuming that the
>web site user has email software setup on the same machine.>>
>there's been a lot of discussion about this lately, and i'd like to throw a
>quick comment into the ring:
>the blanket statement "you shouldn't use mailto links" is, in my opinion,
>wrong.  personally, i use mailto links when i want to send an e-mail.  i
>like them.  they do what i want quickly.

I'm sorry but "doing it quickly" is hardly a reason to use such an=20
unreliable hack as mailto links.  Are you really sure that it does what you=
want?  My own experience says otherwise. The statement that you shouldn't=20
use mailto links is most definitely true if you need a fails safe, reliable=
way to send email from a Web site.  There are many reasons for that=20
including the fact that many older browsers do not support them. You also=20
have to rely on the good will of the user to let his/her email program load=
(that's if one is installed or configured to handle mailto links) and=20
actually write the message in it and hit the send button. It's also=20
confusing to many users.  I personally hate Web pages that launch apps=20
without asking (as mailto links do) and I usually kill Eudora before it's=20
fully loaded when that happens.  I have a fast, powerful machine but for=20
some people, launching an email program while they are already running many=
other apps can freeze or crash their machine (I've seen it happen many=20
times).  Not very good...

Using mailto is certainly easy... for you, but it's not even a remotely=20
appropriate way to handle sending emails from a Web pages because of all=20
the potential trouble it can cause users as well as the unreliability=20
factor.  It might be ok for low traffic personal sites but I would=20
certainly never use it on a client's site...  Using a form and server side=
script is the way to go.  It's far more reliable and is transparent to the=
user because it doesn't tax their machine further.

St=E9phane Bergeron

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