mha-mhedit - MH/nmh reply editor for multipart, non-text/plain messages


mha-mhedit - MH/nmh reply editor for multipart, non-text/plain messages


  repl -editor mha-mhedit


mha-mhedit nicely formats MIME messages for use with MH/nmh's repl(1) command.

A big deficiency with MH/nmh's repl is that it is not MIME aware, or more technically, repl filters are not MIME aware. Consequently, if replying to a multipart, non-plain text message, and your repl filter includes the body of the message being replied to, all the MIME formatting is included, which can be messing for binary data, like images, and for quoted-printable text.

mha-mhedit is designed to be used as the repl editor:

  repl -editor mha-mhedit

mha-mhedit is designed to functional transparently. mha-mhedit formats and quotes the reply-to message body for editing in the message draft. After the formatting is complete, mha-mhedit invokes your regular editor for final composition.

mha-mhedit does its job by using MHonArc, <>, with a specially crafted MHonArc resource file, and by using a text-based HTML viewer, like w3m, <>. Of course, a tool can be developed that does not depend on these types of tools, but I did not feel like developing one and these work well for what I wanted.

mha-mhedit can be invoke by default when using repl by having the following in your .mh_profile:

  repl: -editor mha-mhedit

However, since using mha-mhedit adds some extra initial overhead before your regular editor is invoked, you may choose to define a shell alias instead:

      alias mrepl repl -editor mha-mhedit
      alias mrepl="repl -editor mha-mhedit"

Therefore, if replying to a MIME messages, you enter mrepl at your shell prompt and continue to use repl for plain text messages.

Note: It is recommended to have something like the following in your .mh_profile:

  mha-mhedit-next: <your-editor>

This way, at the What now? prompt, if you enter edit, it will invoke your regular editor again instead of calling mha-mhedit, which will cause all your edits to be lost.


Options can be defined in your .mh_profile like any other MH/nmh component. For example:

  mha-mhedit: -editor vim

The following options are available:

-editor editor
Text editor to invoke at the end. If not specified, the value of the Editor profile component, the EDITOR environment variable, or vi is used.

Arguments to the editor can be defined by setting the mha-mhedit-editor profile component. For example, if your editor is set to vim, the following can be added to your .mh_profile to have vim start at the end of your reply:

  mha-mhedit-vim: +

-htmlconv command
Command that converts HTML to plain text. The command must be able to take HTML from stdin and dump plain text to stdout. If the command requires arguments. If not specified, then w3m is used.

You can define arguments to give the specified converter by defining the mha-mhedit-htmlconv profile component in your .mh_profile. For example, the following represents the default arguments used if -htmlconv is w3m:

  mha-mhedit-w3m: -dump -cols 76 -T text/html

The following works well if -htmlconv is set to lynx:

  mha-mhedit-lynx: -stdin -dump -force_html -nolist -width=76

-linelen number
Maxium line length of formated reply text. If the orginal message contains lines longer then -linelen, the lines will be wrapped. Default value is 76.

-mharc pathname
Pathname to mhonarc resource file. If not specified, the file mha-repl.mrc in your MH/nmh directory.

Note: If a resource file is not found, mha-mhedit aborts execution. If using a custom resource file, be careful of settings that could create extra files during mail-to-html conversion.

-mhonarc pathname
Pathname to mhonarc program. If not specified, mhonarc is used.

You can define extra arguments to give mhonarc by defining the mha-mhedit-mhonarc profile component in your .mh_profile. However, I'm unsure if you will ever need to.

-quotechars chars
List of characters denoting the start of a quoted line in a message. This option affects is used during line wrapping when detecting for quoted lines.

The default value is >.

-quoteprefix string
String to prepend to each line of text being responded to. The default value is ``> '' (greater-than sign followed by a space).

-tmpdir pathname
Pathname to directory to use for temporary files. If not specified, then the TMPDIR environment variable is used or the path location of Draft-Folder profile component.

Display help information.

Display entire manpage.


Copy the mha-mhedit program to somewhere in your search path. Copy mha-repl.mrc into your MH/nmh directory.



Profile definitions.

MHonArc resource file. The resource file can be explicitly defined via the -mharc command-line option.


Arguments to mha-mhedit.

Arguments to pass to editor invoked by mha-mhedit, where editor is the name of the editor.

Arguments to pass to html-to-text converter, where htmlconv is the name of the html-to-text converter program.

Extra arguments to pass to mhonarc.

Text editor.


Default editor.

Location of temporary files.


MHonArc, <>, is used to translate the raw message into HTML. MHonArc is used since it conveniently combines multipart, non-plain text, messages into a singe HTML document.

w3m, <>, is used to translate HTML generated by mhonarc into format plain text.

An alternate converter program can be used via the -htmlconv option. It must be able to take HTML as standard input and dump formated text to standard out.


$Id: mha-mhedit.html,v 1.1 2003/01/04 21:11:26 ehood Exp $


Earl Hood,

Copyright (C), 2002. This program comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY and may be copied only under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

 mha-mhedit - MH/nmh reply editor for multipart, non-text/plain messages