Re: Forms, mailto-URLs, and The Right Thing
Fri, 27 Jan 1995 14:20:44 +0100

Steinar Bang writes:
> [sorry about the resend! Forgot to include the reference at the end -sb]
> A local user asked today how he should create a link that would let
> web surfers mail him feedback on his home page. He had tried to use
> someone else's setup that used a CGI script that was not installed on
> our server.
> The current way we have been handling forms, have been to let a CGI
> script create a mail message, and send it to the appropriate
> person. I've always found this a bit unsatisfactory, because it means
> that all mail from the form, gets as the sender. You
> have to rely on the person filling out the form to set the correct
> address (perhaps augmented by some code that checks the address
> against the domain name of the client).
> So I dug up the July 1994 HTML 2.0 RFC draft, and started reading. If
> I read page 2-25 correctly, it doesn't put any limits on what type of
> URL you can use in the "action" attribute. It didn't say that you
> could use a "mailto" URL there, but as far as I can see it doesn't say
> you couldn't.
> Well, I have 3 browsers at hand that I know have both forms and
> support for "mailto" URLs (Lynx 2.3, Tuebingen XMosaic 2.5.something,
> and Netscape), so I decided to experiment a little [1] (if I start
> getting obscure messages from this, it'll disappear. Please just
> look!).
> I found that the only browser of the three that did (IMO) The Right
> Thing, was Netscape.
> The Right Thing here would be:
> Where the action attribute in a <form> element is a "mailto" URL, and
> the method attribute is "post", create a message on the fly and send
> the contents of the <input>s of the form to the mail address given by
> the URL

Emacs-w3, AIR Mosaic, and I believe OmniWeb do this as well.