[Mailman-Developers] Re: [Mailman-Users] Re: MIME messages

J C Lawrence claw@kanga.nu
Thu, 07 Jun 2001 09:26:19 -0700

On Thu, 7 Jun 2001 10:15:15 -0400 
Barry A Warsaw <barry@digicool.com> wrote:

>>>>>> "JCL" == J C Lawrence <claw@kanga.nu> writes:

>>> The point is that there's a lot we can do very cleanly at the
>>> Python level, but that the more configurability we expose at the
>>> web/email interface, the less usable it becomes, IMHO.  So, I'm
>>> thinking seriously about ways to preserve the power Mailman can
>>> provide to the Python hacker while employing abstractions to
>>> reduce the cognitive load on the list administrators and users.

JCL> One problem with this approach is that you tend to require list
JCL> admins to have shell access.

> It does mean that list admins will be more dependent on the site
> admin for customizations beyond the canned themes.  Maybe that
> won't be good enough.

I'd look at it the other way around:  Mailman then implicitly
requires site admins to be responsive to and handle list owner
requests in regard to MIME handling configs.  As a SiteAdmin, I'd
look at that as an unwelcome chore that some bloody software went
and created for me.

Consider a site like SourceForge: In one swell foop you've upped
their SysAdm expenses significant;y.

> If not, then an approach would be an onion-type interface, where
> normally the list admin is given a simplified UI, but can drill
> down to a more complicated interface if necessary.  

I'd be tempted to do the following:

  Mailman has a default set of configs that recognises various base
types of MIME objects, text/html, text/plain,
multiplart/alternative, etc etc etc.  It then presents a simple list
of these items each one with a set of four radio buttons:

  1) Ignore
  2) Strip from message 
  3) Discard message if present
  4) Reject message if present

You then have a small text field in which the list admin can hand
enter additional MIME types that he's interested in.  Upon such
entry they join the previously extant list of recognised MIME
objects list and also gain the above four radio buttons.

A seperate section would then have the following two controls:

  a) Flatten quoted printable?
  b) Flatten base64 encoded text/* parts?

> One thing I /don't/ think will be appropriate is to allow list
> admins to upload or write Python code without vetting from the
> site admin, because then we're in the realm of restricted
> execution, etc.  

Absolutely.  That would be bad.

> Of course, we /could/ target Zope as the platform, in which case
> we'd get a lot of that for free...

. o O ( <shudder>! )
J C Lawrence                                       claw@kanga.nu
---------(*)                          http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/
The pressure to survive and rhetoric may make strange bedfellows