[Mailman-Developers] Re: Future of pipermail?
Chuq Von Rospach
Tue, 21 Nov 2000 20:52:26 -0800
At 11:23 PM -0500 11/21/00, Bill Bumgarner wrote:
>- archival of messages is a lot more than just writing the bodies to
>a web server and then generating some kind of automatic TOC/index.
agreed completely. I'd take it a step further and say it probably
shouldn't generate indexes at all, but that indexes should be
generated when a user wants to access the archives, dynamically.
That's probably the single major weakness of mhonarc.
> MIME based email content is not only a reality, but it is often the default.
and since AOL 6.0 for windows no longer has any provision for
text-only operation, you now have no choice but to deal with MIME in
some way. they no lnoger HAVE the option to turn MIME off. So the
server has to figure it out.
And IMHO, from my research, we're currently making the switch to
style-capable e-mail in the mainstream. A year from now -- lists that
don't support it reasonably (and I don't believe "strip it to the
text part and throw the rest away" will qualify as "reasonable" --
it's a transition stopgap) wll be looked on negatively. People want
enclosures and HTML, because the tools to deal with them are
maturing. Looking forward, it's going t be standard, and that means
all of the tools need to deal with them properly, and taht includes
displaying them, transporting them, and protecting users from them as
> Mailman needs to more gracefully handle mime-types; automatic
>filters would be one solution [very desirable for things like a pure
>discussion list] and automatic decoding/filing/handling of
>attachments is another solution [and very desirable for things like
>project discussion lists, etc].
agreed, and it's been talked about here. We need to properly support
it, plus we also need the ability to filter adn edit it -- to strip
.exe files, for instance, to store HTML and graphics on the server to
show properly in the archives, to generate what I call TOC-digests
(simply a list of pointers into the archives), and other stuff.
>- message rewriting is a really powerful concept and should be an
>abstract and first class part of the Mailman core processing
It's something I'm doing pre-design work on now, in fact.
>- the current solution for creating an archive is lacking-- that
>doesn't mean it doesn't work.
It's very much an older-technology base -- where it's falling behind
a rapidly changing technology. A year ago, pipermail was great. Now,
it's not. Fortunately, I think we're close to the end of the rapid
evolution of e-mail, or at least where we can take a breath, figure
out reality and catch up a bit. But it's been really interesting
trying to NOTICE all of the changes, much less manage them...
> It works and it works very well, but it is *not* modular, does
>*not* follow the design patterns of the rest of the tool and makes
>it *very* difficult to slap in replacement models for archival (has
>this changed since, say, may?
A concept I've been sort of beating into the ground, but if there's a
weakness in open source software, it tends to be written by
programmers used to the "I want this, therefore I shall write it",
and interfacing stuff to other pieces of similar stuff is low on the
priority list, or missing. And the future of the software world are
those damn C and I words I keep using...
this is not a criticism, but a recognition that the paradigms are
changing. I'm seeing these concepts adopted into open source as well
as commercial software (probably faster in much of the open source
world now, in fact) -- but the way we wrote stuff a year ago isn't
how we'll write stuff in a year. We're seeing what Apple wanted to do
with OpenDoc actually starting to happen, IMHO. Pluggable
extensibility. Object-oriented systems, not object oriented software.
>- for the archival of plain text messages, WebDAV is overkill [as
>Chuq mentions]. However, as soon as you move to archiving mime
>attachments, it quickly becomes extremely advantageous to archive
>various properties with the archived message pieces.
but you can do that with a lot less overhead in MySQL by doing a
focussed database. In fact, you could program a system to do this via
DBI that'd work in any DBI-capable environment, so users could roll
their own based on what they've already adopted. unless WebDAV gives
us enough extra capabilities to be worthy of the specialization, my
argument is (and will be) we program to a more general API (like
DBI), so that we work in many environments, and if someone wants,
they can program a DBI->WebDAV interface to attach to it. This way,
we get DB, MySQL, PostGres, Oracle, ODBC, yadayada more or less for
free, giving us functionality across multiple environments that users
can tailor. If we program just to WebDAV, we don't get that.
So it's choosing what the appropriate interfaces are that's as
important as having interfaces. you don't program to a technology
unless you have to -- you program to an interface that enables
technologies. (image: this is chuqui. this is a dead horse. This is
chuqui holding a whip...)
>- ....restoring decoded attachments and reencoding back to their
>original state with their original headers is an extremely cool
Truly. And if we can support BLOBs in DBI, well, we don't have to
write anything to disk and can generate an entire message out of a
DBI database -- portable to any decent database.
>- if we are to manage the complexity associated with the integration
>of numerous technologies, it is only going to happen through well
>refined and highly modular APIs....
agreed. and to make ti clear, I'm not arguing against WebDAV. I'm
arguing that for something like this, you define the interface and
see if you can build it in a way that you don't JUST get WebDAV, but
support at a more abstracted level that gets you a range of supported
technologies (and future capability for that yet discovered) for an
incrementally greater amount of work. the trick is to find the right
abstractions and the proper technology layer to attach that to.
Chuq Von Rospach - Plaidworks Consulting (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
Apple Mail List Gnome (mailto:email@example.com)
The vet said it was behavioral, but I prefer to think of it as genetic.
It cuts down on the liability -- Get Fuzzy