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Subject:

Re: Template Formatting

From:

Eric Thomas <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

LISTSERV list owners' forum <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 1 Mar 2001 23:51:21 +0100

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> My only question is WHY?!?!  It does not make sense to have done this on
> purpose.  All I want is a few carriage returns inserted into the document
> that I want sent back to people, to break up multiple paragraphs.  Just
> because the default is to send back short snippets of text, it should not
> mean that I should be forced to do the same.  Looks like short-sidedness on
> the programming end to me.

There is some amount of confusion around what mail templates do, so let
me start with the technical explanation of how they work.

The result of processing a regular mail template is that a new e-mail message
is sent. No data is returned to the procedure that asked for the template
to be processed (other than a success/error code). When sending a new
e-mail message, you have full control over subject line, 'cc:', formatting,
you name it.

The result of processing a linear mail template is that a character string is
returned to the procedure that asked for the template to be processed, and
no e-mail message is sent. Because of this, template features that set the
subject, provide 'cc:' recipients and the like have no effect. Formatting also
has no effect in 1.8d.

What can be frustrating is that, in some cases, a LISTSERV command will
run a linear template (or several linear templates) and use the resulting text
as a fragment of an e-mail message made up of multiple pieces. Even though
an e-mail message is sent as a result of executing the LISTSERV command,
it is not sent by the template processor, and requests to change the subject,
"Reply-To:" or the like in the template have no effect. In 1.8d, formatting is
also ignored.

In the next version, the procedure that calls the linear template determines
whether formatting is preserved or not, based on what it is planning to do
with the result. For most of the templates that users typically see, this means
you will be able to have paragraph breaks (line breaks will still be ignored).
The majority of linear templates cannot handle line breaks, but they are often not
seen by users. For instance, there is a template containing a translation of
month names in the local language (January, etc), while another provides a
list of site-specific web pages that need to be automatically generated by
the web interface.

  Eric

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