Genii Weblog

Coping with the inadequacies of Gmail

Wed 15 Jul 2009, 10:43 AM



by Ben Langhinrichs
One of the really annoying parts of developing and enhancing iFidelity is that the recipients of the emails are not all using modern, web based rendering engines.  Lotus Notes 8 and above use IE, Firefox or Safari web rendering to ensure the highest standards-based rendering of MIME emails (yes, Notes does this - my complaint with Notes is what happens when it forwards/replies such emails or cobbles them with iNotes preprocessing).  Outlook 2003 uses an Internet Explorer interface, and similarly cruds up the emails when it forwards/replies, although not as badly as Notes.

But even if you have the greatest telephone in the world, the person you are talking with won't get good sound quality if they are using a tin can and string.

I could ignore this, but my goal is not just to improve the inbound and outbound rendering in Notes, but also to take into account what the recipient might be using.  This can mean using a layered approach, such as I do with checked lists.  For example, Gmail isn't sophisticated enough to recognize image bullets, but Outlook 2003, Notes 8/8.5 and most webmail systems can, so I include both the image bullets and the circle/disc setting.  You may recognize this as one of the columns in our standard samples, but watch how the checked list displays correctly (and with correct indentation) in Outlook 2003, as it would in Notes 8 or web mail systems.  We do the best approximation we can, but the limitations of Gmail (e.g., the tin can on a string email system) forces an approximation rather than exact rendering.


Original in Notes
Outlook 2003 (iFidelity)
Gmail (iFidelity)
Inline JPEG image
Inline JPEG image
Inline JPEG image


Just in case you may see this as a reason NOT to use iFidelity, I'll leave you with a reminder of the same rendering done by Notes 8 without iFidelity.  Not just ugly - it's also flat out wrong!

Original in Notes
Outlook 2003 (Notes)
Gmail (Notes)
Inline JPEG image
Inline JPEG image
Inline JPEG image

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