Peter (digipete) wrote in lj_dev,

Damn Those Mail Clients!

One of the many problems with mail clients (e.g. Eudora, Outlook Express 6) is that they don't all handle form data using the POST method (though they handle GET just fine). When users reply to comments via e-mail they see:
Error : You must be logged in or using a username/password to reply to this protected entry.
This is misleading and generates support requests from confused users ( 1 2 3 4 ). It should say something like "Your mail client isn't compatible with LJ."

Easy Fix:
When a mail client fails to send form data, change error message to reflect this.
CONS: User has to go back to e-mail and click on "talkread.bml" link, then hit reply, then re-type reply.

Good Fix:
Same as above, but add a link "click here to reply." This would require using GET and POST data at the same time. (GET would contain itemid# or replyto#, POST would send everything else).
CONS: would have to be modified to allow GET and POST at the same time. Easy to do, and it shouldn't have any averse affects, but is used by pretty much every page on the site, so I think Brad would have to say yay or nay on this one.

Total Fix:
Just use GET instead of POST for the whole form.
CONS: We'd have to make sure server logs aren't logging everyone's posts, and there may be other security issues I am unaware of. There is also a limit on the length of GET data. I've tested over 256 chars without problems, but it does crap out on really long posts paragraphs long. Some mail interfaces, most notably Hotmail, actually filter LJ's form through their own GET form anyway, so what's one more GET between servers?

I'm leaning towards the "Good Fix." I can do all the coding, I'm looking for a sanity check.

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