Next: , Previous: Viewing Attachments, Up: Reading Mail

6.3 HTML

MH-E can display messages that have been sent in HTML. The content of the message will appear in the MH-Show buffer as you would expect if the entire message is HTML, or there is an inline HTML body part. However, if there is an HTML body part that is an attachment, then you'll see a button like this:

     [1. text/html; foo.html]...

To see how to read the contents of this body part, see Viewing Attachments.

The browser that MH-E uses is determined by the option mm-text-html-renderer. The default setting is set automatically based upon the presence of a known browser on your system. If you wish to use a different browser, then set this option accordingly. See the documentation for the browser you use for additional information on how to use it. In particular, find and disable the option to render images, as displaying remote images can tip off spammers that the email address they have used is valid.

If you're confused about which mm-text-html-renderer to use, here's a brief description of each, sorted by name.

gnus-w3m
The ‘gnus-w3m’ browser requires an external program. It's quick, produces pretty nice output, and it highlights links. It renders ‘–’ and ‘®’ okay. It sometimes fails to wrap lines properly. It always downloads remote images.
html2text
The ‘html2text’ browser requires an external program. Some users have reported problems with it, such as filling the entire message as if it were one paragraph, or displaying chunks of raw HTML.
links
The ‘links’ browser requires an external program. It's quick, and produces nicer output than ‘lynx’ on single column mails in tables. However, it doesn't show links and it doesn't do as nice a job on multi-column tables as some lines wrap. It does do a good job of fitting text within 80 columns. It appears to render special characters using ASCII equivalents. For example, ‘®’ appears as (R). It does not download images.
lynx
The ‘lynx’ browser requires an external program. It's quick and produces pretty decent output but it doesn't show links. It doesn't seem to do multi-column tables which makes output much cleaner. It centers the output and wraps long lines more than most. It does not always handle special characters like ‘®’ or ‘–’. It does not download images.
nil
This choice obviously requires an external browser. With this setting, HTML messages have a button for the body part which you can view with K v (mh-folder-toggle-mime-part). Rendering of special characters and handling of remote images depends on your choice of browser.
shr
This choice does not require an external program, but it does require that Emacs be configured at build time to use ‘libxml2’. It is fairly quick, it highlights links, and it supports HTML color declarations. It renders ‘–’ and ‘®’ okay. It sometimes truncates text, particularly if the message tries to have fancy text layout. By default it does not download images; this behavior is controlled by the options mm-html-blocked-images and mm-html-inhibit-images (see section Display Customization in the The Emacs MIME Manual).
w3m
The ‘w3m’ browser requires an external program. It's quick, produces pretty nice output, and it highlights links. These can be clicked with mouse-2 to view the content of the link in ‘w3m’. The ‘w3m’ browser handles tables well and actually respects the table's width parameter (which can cause text to wrap if the author didn't anticipate that the page would be viewed in Emacs). It does not download images by default; this behavior is controlled by the option mm-w3m-safe-url-regexp (see section Display Customization in the The Emacs MIME Manual).
w3m-standalone
This browser is quick, but does not show links. It handles simple tables but some tables get rendered much wider than the Emacs frame. This browser renders ‘–’ and ‘®’ okay. It does not download images.

For a couple more sources of information about mm-text-html-renderer, see section Display Customization in the The Emacs MIME Manual and the documentation for the Gnus command W h (see section Article Washing in the The Gnus Manual).

A useful key binding that you can add to ~/.emacs is the following which displays an HTML link or textual URL in an external browser when clicked with S-mouse-2. This binding works in any buffer, including HTML buffers.

     (global-set-key [S-mouse-2] 'browse-url-at-mouse)