[uf-discuss] An idea for an application

Angus McIntyre angus at pobox.com
Sat Mar 24 17:33:20 PST 2007

On Sat, March 24, 2007 6:53 pm, John wrote:
> I just thought of a possible application for hcard:
> A Mozilla plugin would allow you to enter a URL for a person instead of
> full details in the addressboox. Then Thunderbird would check with that
> webpage regularly and see if their e-mail address has changed to update
> its addressbook.

One problem here is that many people may be unwilling to publish their
email addresses on a web page, because of the certainty that the address
will be picked up by spammers. This may limit the number of cases where
this would be useful.

Incidentally, one workaround I'm currently using with hCard is to write
the email addresses in human-intelligible format - 'user' at 'example' dot
'com' or similar - but give the element a unique ID. Once page load
completes, a Javascript changes the 'innerHTML' for the element to an
actual <a href="mailto:..."> link.

Visitors to the page see a clickable link, the correct address is
accessible to the Operator extension, and it degrades gracefully for users
who don't have Javascript. However, spammers - who don't yet seem to have
put Javascript engines into their crawlers - don't see the address.

The half-life of this trick isn't infinite - sooner or later spammers will
catch up - but it seems to work reasonably well at the moment.


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