Pleasant HTML Mail

I’ve always found HTML email to be unpleasant (even before I knew about HTML vs plain-text email), but it’s always been just an annoyance. However, I now use a TUI mail client so HTML emails are downright unreadable.

I solved this by preprocessing HTML mails with lynx -dump -stdin, which turned out to be surprisingly pleasant. Because Lynx behaves like a filter in this mode, it just turns HTML emails into nicely-formatted plain-text emails. I say “nicely formatted” because lynx indents its output according to the document’s structure, which is particularly nice for long newsletters.

For example, the FSF is really good about providing a plain-text alternative to their newsletters. The problem, though, is that their newsletters are really long, so parts of it can easily get buried.

Here’s an example of their plain-text newsletter:

# Newsletter Title

## First article title

Paragraphs and paragraphs of text.

## Second article title

Paragraphs and paragraphs of text.

## Third article title

You get the picture.

But then here’s an example of their HTML newsletter run through lynx:

                               Newsletter Title

First article title

   Paragraphs and paragraphs of text.


Second article title

   Paragraphs and paragraphs of text.


Third article title

   You get the picture.

I normally wouldn’t write a post about such a small thing, but I was so pleasantly surprised by this that I wanted to share it.