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11.7. Non-Web Links and Protocols

Linking to other web pages using the HTTP protocol is by far the most common type of link, but there are several other types of transactions that can be made using other standard Internet protocols.

11.7.1. Mail Link (mailto:)

The mailto protocol can be used in an anchor tag to automatically send an email message to the recipient, using the browser's email application or an external email application. Note that the browser must be configured to support this tag, so it will not work for all users. The mailto protocol has the following components:


A typical mail link might look like this:

<A HREF="mailto:jen@oreilly.com">Send Jennifer email</A>

You can also experiment with adding information within the mailto URL that automatically fills in standard email fields such as Subject or cc:. As of this writing, these additional functions are supported only by Navigator 4.0 and higher, Internet Explorer 5 (Mac), and Internet Explorer 5.5 (Windows), so use them with caution and do lots of testing:


Additional variables are appended to the string with an ampersand (&) symbol as follows:


Spaces within subject lines need to be written as %20 (the space character in hexadecimal notation). The following is a sample mail link employing these additions:

<A HREF="mailto:jen@oreilly.com?subject=Like%20your%20book">Email for Jen</A>


A word of warning: when you put a link to an email address on a web page, the address is prone to getting "spidered" (automatically indexed) and added to spam mailing lists. If you don't want to risk getting junk email, keep the email address off the site.

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