mh-draft - draft folder facility for nmh message system
any nmh command
There are a number of interesting advanced facilities for the
composition of outgoing mail.
The Draft Folder
The comp, dist, forw, and repl commands have two additional switches,
-draftfolder +folder and -draftmessage msg which allow you to
manipulate the various draft messages you are composing.
If -draftfolder +folder is used, these commands are directed to
construct a draft message in the indicated folder. (The “Draft-Folder”
profile entry may be used to declare a default draft folder for use
with comp, dist, forw, and repl).
If the swith -draftmessage msg is given, the specified draft is used to
compose the message. If -draftmessage msg is not used, then the draft
defaults to ‘new’ (create a new draft) unless the user invokes comp
with -use, in which case the default is ‘cur’.
Hence, the user may have several message compositions in progress
simultaneously. Now, all of the nmh tools are available on each of the
user’s message drafts (e.g. show, scan, pick, and so on). If the
folder does not exist, the user is asked if it should be created (just
like with refile). Also, the last draft message the user was composing
is known as ‘cur’ in the draft folder.
Furthermore, the send command has these switches as well. Hence, from
the shell, the user can send off whatever drafts desired using the
standard nmh ‘msgs’ convention with -draftmessage msgs. If no ‘msgs’
are given, it defaults to ‘cur’.
In addition, all five programs have a -nodraftfolder switch, which
undoes the last occurrence of -draftfolder folder (useful if the latter
occurs in the user’s nmh profile).
If the user does not give the -draftfolder +folder switch, then all
these commands act “normally”. Note that the -draft switch to send and
show still refers to the file called ‘draft’ in the user’s nmh
directory. In the interests of economy of expression, when using comp
or send, the user needn’t prefix the draft ‘msg’ or ‘msgs’ with
-draftmessage. Both of these commands accept a ‘file’ or ‘files’
argument, and they will, if given -draftfolder +folder treat these
arguments as ‘msg’ or ‘msgs’. (This may appear to be inconsistent, at
first, but it saves a lot of typing) Hence,
send -draftfolder +drafts first
is the same as
send -draftfolder +drafts -draftmessage first
To make all this a bit more clear, here are some examples. Let’s
assume that the following entries are in the nmh profile:
sendf: -draftfolder +drafts
Furthermore, let’s assume that the program sendf is a (symbolic) link
in the user’s $HOME/bin/ directory to send. Then, any of the commands
constructs the message draft in the ‘draft’ folder using the ‘new’
message number. Furthermore, they each define ‘cur’ in this folder to
be that message draft. If the user were to use the quit option at
‘What now?’ level, then later on, if no other draft composition was
done, the draft could be sent with simply
Or, if more editing was required, the draft could be edited with
Instead, if other drafts had been composed in the meantime, so that
this message draft was no longer known as ‘cur’ in the ‘draft’ folder,
then the user could scan the folder to see which message draft in the
folder should be used for editing or sending. Clever users could even
employ a back-quoted pick to do the work:
comp -use ‘pick +drafts -to nmh-workers‘
sendf ‘pick +drafts -to nmh-workers‘
Note that in the comp example, the output from pick must resolve to a
single message draft (it makes no sense to talk about composing two or
more drafts with one invocation of comp). In contrast, in the send
example, as many message drafts as desired can appear, since send
doesn’t mind sending more than one draft at a time.
Note that the argument -draftfolder +folder is not included in the
profile entry for send, since when comp, et. al., invoke send directly,
they supply send with the UNIX pathname of the message draft, and not a
-draftmessage msg argument. As far as send is concerned, a draft folder
is not being used.
It is important to realize that nmh treats the draft folder like a
standard nmh folder in nearly all respects. There are two exceptions:
First, under no circumstancs will the -draftfolder folder switch cause
the named folder to become the current folder.
Obviously, if the folder appeared in the context of a standard +folder
argument to an nmh program, as in
it might become the current folder, depending on the context changes of
the nmh program in question.
Second, although conceptually send deletes the ‘msgs’ named in the
draft folder, it does not call delete-prog to perform the deletion.
What Happens if the Draft Exists
When the comp, dist, forw, and repl commands are invoked and the draft
you indicated already exists, these programs will prompt the user for a
reponse directing the program’s action. The prompt is
Draft ‘‘/home/foobar/nmhbox/draft’’ exists (xx bytes).
The appropriate responses and their meanings are:
replace - deletes the draft and starts afresh
list - lists the draft
refile - files the draft into a folder and starts afresh
quit - leaves the draft intact and exits
In addition, if you specified -draftfolder folder to the command, then
one other response will be accepted:
new - finds a new draft
just as if -draftmessage new had been given. Finally, the comp command
will accept one more response:
use - re-uses the draft
just as if -use had been given.