Tommi Space

Ode to Plain Text

As a geek who is not a developer but admires developers and their work, I cannot but embrace and share a valuable philosophy most of them pursue: the KISS principle, Keep It Simple and Stupid.

For this reason, I always look for and pursue the simplest possible way to do things.

Most of the time, this means using plain text.

I leave the explanation of what plain text is and how does it work to people who know this best.

plain text is any text that isn’t formatted. It does not take any special formatting, such as varying fonts, font sizes, bold font, or italics. It also only contains standard characters, which are those found in the default set of characters that an application can display. It can also refer to a document that only contains these unformatted characters.

Vann Vicente, What Is Plain Text?

Allow me instead to focus on how wonderful it is. There is nothing much to point out, to be honest, it is plain clear how cool plain text files are: why exploiting complicated, different, useless-feature packed software to achieve what can be done by using a simple text file?

Email

Plain text emails are to be preferred. Of course HTML formatting looks better and provides more features, but it is not worth the trade-off in terms of simplicity and deliverability.

Most information about why and how to prefer and write plain text emails is collected on the very insightful useplaintext.email:

[…] HTML emails are a security nightmare, are mostly used for advertising to you and tracking you, are less accessible for many users, and don't offer anything especially great for it.

It would be great if there existed a client that could send and receive emails in plain text, but with Markdown syntax. By doing so, Markdown could be rendered by the client, even though the original email is in pure plain text. here is my proposition

Resources

  • ASCII Art: a collection of art creations made with ASCII characters.

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