Outlook 2007

There was a big scare yesterday when someone saw a blog article saying that Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 uses the HTML parsing and rendering engine from Microsoft Office Word 2007 to display HTML message bodies. The blog stated that this could take email design back 5 years.

This is the original blog post

We maybe not...in fact quite doubtfully! (If that's a word?)

This move from Microsoft will just force people to adhere the html and emailing conventions that the industry has been trying to spread.
There are still many confusions about xhtml and now html emails are taking off matter have been getting worse.
The way it's always been:
External Style sheets sre stricly a no go,
Absolutely no javascript - internal or external.
Style tags in the html is not the end of the word.
Absolutley no CSS positioning, everything should be in line. Which would mean using tables to structure the email.

The problem with this is that web page conventions in the last three years has pretty much abandoned tables and started using css positioning instead. Then the html email revolution starts and people making web pages are being asked to make emails cos they think it is now the same!!!
The defintative Email Marketing Newsletter: No Man's an Island Email Marketing Reports newsletter for 29/01/2007 - Now sponsored by Pure. Had this to say:

Microsoft themselves published an article describing the various things that Outlook 2007 will not be able to cope with. These include:

  • Forms
  • Background images
  • Animated GIFs
  • Flash
  • Float or position commands
  • Alt tags in images
In a nutshell, this places a lot of restrictions on email design. Needless to say, email designers are not happy.

The fires of protest first sparked into flame via an article in Sitepoint's newsletter. This led to a now-famous blog post by David Greiner, with the memorable title "Microsoft takes email design back 5 years."

Our most knowledgeable leader and Technical Director, Mr Mark Hla had this to say:
"As always with these things, it's best to read several articles to get a balanced view. Having read this article, the Microsoft supported CSS document and a pro-Microsoft partner website, I would put forward the following:

1. This change has been forced upon Microsoft due to the legal issues of making their other software dependant on Internet Explorer.
2. CSS are supported, but only a sub-set. We would generally recommend that clients keep their use of CSS to a minimum anyway, and the basic elements are still available for use.
3. This change is accompanied by a "this is what you'll see" type application that can be plugged into one of a handful of HTML editing applications. It may be beneficial for some clients who send to a large number of Outlook uses (i.e. B-2-B).

I would recommend allocating some of Ash's time to review the following article and provide advice for clients on what CSS elements they can and cannot use, and indeed if there is any change to our advice."

This is the Microsoft knowledge page

There is no panic about this, it will just force everyone to create best practice emails