Composing MIME Messages

MIME messages are created using the Composition window. Either plain ASCII text or MIME Enriched Text can be entered into the window. Enriched Text attributes are applied by marking text with left-button drag-select, then pulling down the Edit menu, which contains options for the various available attributes. The Composition window is a wysiwyg editor. When attributes are applied to text, they are displayed as they should appear to the recipient.

There is no way to guarantee that the appearance of the message in the Composition window will exactly match what the recipient sees. First, the recipient may not have a MIME-capable mail tool. Second, MIME-capable mail tools may not always handle Enriched Text, or if they do, they may not do so in exactly the same way as Ishmail. Third, even if the recipient is using Ishmail, you may choose a font for the Enriched Text that is different than the one your recipient is using to display it.

Other data types can be added as body parts. Body parts can be either in-line or external. External body parts are most useful for large data files that you don't want to physically copy, but rather send a pointer. Body parts are added to the message from the Include/Attach -> options on the Message pull down menu. The former creates and in-line body part while the latter creates an external body part. (See Include/Attach Option for more information.)

Ishmail does not have the ability to create or edit anything other than text (plain or Enriched). Files containing data of another type must be created by some other program.

Each body part can have a description tag, defined by the user. After a body part is created, a place holder box is left in the composition window, containing a button and the description tag. The button is labeled Delete. Pressing it causes the body part to be discarded.

MIME messages actually consist of 7-bit ASCII text. Rich Text attributes are included as mark up tags. Other data types are encoded using a process, similar to uuencode, which converts binary data into 7-bit ASCII characters. If a MIME encoded message is sent to a recipient whose mail reader can't handle MIME, the message is still readable. However, the Rich Text markup will appear in the message. For example:


* This message has been encoded using the Multipurpose Internet Mail
* Extensions (MIME) format. The mail reader you are using does not
* support MIME. To display the non-text portions of this message you
* will need a MIME-capable mail reader.
Content-Type: text/richtext;

Here is a sample message with some rich text.
<Bold>this is bold face.</Bold>.
<Italic> this is italic.</Italic>
<nl> <Center> <Underline> This centered text is underlined. </Underline> </Center> <nl>
<Indent>This is indented text.</Indent><nl>
This is how a GIF body part would be shown:
Content-Type: image/gif
Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64
Content-Description: The company logo

Preceding Section: Reading MIME Messages
Following Section: MIME Data Types
Parent Section: A Brief Discussion of MIME Message Content
Contents of Ishmail User's Guide