The ‘orror of HTML email arrives – but with good reason.
Matthew Phillips of Sine Nomine Software has announced the release of version 3.43 of relational database package Impact, bringing with it a new version – 1.03 – of ImpEmail, the email mail-merge software.
The update to Impact brings various bug fixes and minor enhancements to the software, and includes version 0.22 of the Impulse module. Impulse, originally developed by Computer Concepts (now Xara), provides a mechanism for inter-application communications, command execution and data transfer, and it recently emerged that Sine Nomine’s update to version 0.21 of the module resulted in it interfering with Impression, stopping it from working properly, causing any loaded (or newly created) documents to be treated as read only. Version 0.22 was released to solve this problem.
ImpEmail, the software that enables the generation of mail-merged emails from an Impact database, has been updated to allow the generation of HTML emails – probably the first time this has been possible in a seamless and easy way on the RISC OS platform.
“Why would we even want that?” I hear most sensible RISC OS users ask, “Email should be text only! The only HTML emails I ever receive are from clueless users of other platforms, and spam!”
Well, to answer that, over to Matthew:
As well as single fields, Impact can send whole tables of data through to ImpEmail for inclusion in messages. ImpEmail makes a very good job of displaying tables as plain text, including handling multi-line text fields and correctly aligning columns of numbers, but if there are too many columns to display, the resulting message will inevitably be hard to follow.
Most email software on other platforms can display HTML (the mark-up language which is used for building web pages). If ImpEmail detects that a table has been merged into the message, then as well as building a plain text version of the email, an HTML version will be included, which will tend to display better. You can turn this off via the Choices window.
So there you go: ImpEmail will generate an HTML version of the email if a table is to be included, so that the results can be better displayed on the recipient’s computer. Matthew mentions the possibility that there may be difficulties reading a text version of the email if there are too many columns in a table, but I’d add that tabulated data containing any number of columns can be a problem to read in a text only email when the recipient’s email client isn’t set to display the text in a monospace font, which I’ve found is often the case. My experience is such that the only people who have their email software set to use a monospace font for text-only emails are those who are more likely to be sending text-only emails – and that’s probably a very small percentage of users of other platforms.
Registered users of Impact version 3.41 or above can download the new version for free, otherwise the software costs just £40 for new users, with reduced prices for upgrades from older versions. A demo version is available to download, as well as the full, 198 page manual.