If you're one of the many lucky readers of SitePoint's email newsletters who use Outlook 2007—whether by choice or not—then chances are you've noticed this newsletter and many others haven't looked quite right since the upgrade from Outlook 2003. Could the solution be standards for HTML email?
Long time readers of the Tech Times may remember my rant in Tech Times #156 about Microsoft's choice to replace the Internet Explorer rendering engine in Outlook 2003 with a new engine based on Microsoft Word in Outlook 2007. Yes, that Microsoft Word. Clippy is reading your email as we speak.
The fine folks at [Freshview, the makers of the [URL="http://campaignmonitor.com/"]Campaign Monitor](http://www.freshview.com/) service for creating and sending high-quality HTML email newsletters, have led the ongoing efforts to get Microsoft to see reason and reverse this move, which frankly sets email technology back a decade.
As it seems these pleas continue to fall on deaf ears, Freshview has proposed a new tack: define a (relatively) easy-to-support subset of HTML and CSS as a standard that HTML-capable email clients may strive to support. By setting a more achievable goal than the full HTML/CSS support we expect of web browsers, the theory goes, we may be able to drum up some interest in improving the HTML email landscape from vendors like Microsoft.
This plan is outlined in [a very thoughtful post on the Campaign Monitor Blog, which has since been followed up by [URL="http://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/archives/2007/09/help_us_form_a_baseline_for_st.html"]an initial proposal for the baseline standard](http://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/archives/2007/09/why_we_need_web_standards_supp_1.html).
Do you believe creating a new standard for HTML email will help improve the sorry state of standards support and interoperability in email clients?