Aggregating Web Content in Newsgroups

When the Microsoft and Netscape messaging clients display plain ASCII messages, they automatically activate URLs found in those messages. If I compose such a message, using a messaging client that’s set to text mode (see the following tip), I need only mention the site in a message that I post to a newsgroup or email to you. Your message reader will render the URL’s text as a clickable hyperlink. By merely reproducing a correctly spelled URL, we become—in a limited but important sense—hypertext authors. In the text-mode messaging environment, nobody has to know that the HTML representation of that link is <a href=""></a>. You can just type a URL, or better yet, cut and paste one into your message.


The Microsoft and Netscape messaging clients can compose either in text mode or in HTML mode. People are most familiar with text mode. It produces messages whose bodies are just lines of ASCII text, typically not longer than 65 or 70 characters. Alternatively these clients can operate in HTML mode. In Outlook Express, you turn on HTML mode using Tools → Options → Send → Mail Sending Format (or → News Sending Format); the choices are HTML and Plain Text. In Collabra, you use Edit → Preferences → Mail & Newsgroups → Formatting; the choices are “Use the HTML editor” and “Use the plain text editor.”

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