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The only desktop email client I am familiar with is Outlook. Outlook allows the user to attach an email to another email. In fact it allows multiple nested emails with attachments. May I know if this feature a standard as like SMTP, IMAP and POP? Or is it just a MS feature?

EDIT: I asked because I have some users having problems with this like blank mails etc so I suspect some mail servers are parsing the content incorrectly somehow. I am personally against this practice because i feel it breaks the architecture/structure of the email-vs-attachment relationship. Also, I found Attaching Email in Lotus Notes 8 tells me that lotus notes does not support it.

So I am wondering if I should preach it as a non-recommended practice.

EDIT: Ok, I found this... http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc1341/7_3_Message.html but I also found many issues about malformed headers. etc. Surprises me that out of such a matured protocol, there still exist a part where mail clients and servers have trouble with.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Exchange 2010 attaches email messages in many scenarios where the server auto-forwards a message. One example of this is when a journal account is used.

That's not to say that Microsoft is the bastion of good practices, so take it for what it's worth.

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I have used the ability to attach an email fairly often in tracing servers that are having slow delivery problems. It is often easier to get the email attached to a message than to get the user to extract and copy the headers.

For replies I have seen the original message body attached or the text intermingled. Either is acceptable, but I find that long message chains often result. I prefer to have the non-essential parts of the history stripped out of replies.

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I know it's useful for troubleshooting headers. Been using that too. But I find that it complicate things for normal usage at times due to servers/client not supporting the file format or have problems parsing it to the point I thought that it is not a specified standard; or other issues like unable to search for the mail. For long chains, I personally trim them before forwarding. –  Jake Jul 25 '11 at 6:36
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Servers that can't handle the format are seriously broken. I haven't had any problems with clients. I would consider client's that can't handle the format broken as well. Do you have any examples of either? There may be cases where Outlook generates strange or broken formats in the email. I have noted problems with attachments getting dropped on forward. –  BillThor Jul 25 '11 at 11:46

Its just a way of formatting the message. Some clients may put it as nested indentations, others may show them all as separate e-mails.

I do not know why some users are gettting blank e-mails, but I would be curious to know if they can even see the HTML of the message. It is not a standard practice, but that is because many clients do not support it. Most just give a break or something between the messages. I would recommend against it, but its not so terrible.

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Sorry, you replied a tad too early before I can edit my post. Will you kindly check my question again and see if you want to add anything else? Thanks! –  Jake Jul 25 '11 at 1:46
    
Done. (now for filler) –  soandos Jul 25 '11 at 1:49

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