Signature Handling

Signatures are pretty standard and down right required in most business situations where conversational email can benefit most. For that reason many of us must use signatures. While outgoing signatures are handled, incoming signatures are not so nice.

On the flip side of the equation, chat messages don’t do well with quoted text or signatures which obscure the reply. Spike does a pretty good job of this (although their interface is very clunky). So here’s my suggestion on how to make the email conversation more seamless:

  1. Hide quoted replies, but only when they quote a previous message.
  2. Hide the bottom part of the email which is a duplicate of a previous message footer.

On number 2 clarification is in order…
When messages are loaded into this chat view, they are parsed into a separate array of strings less than 1024 characters trimming the start to the first new line. Then that string is added again trimming to the next new line until there is no more signature left. Then we can do a simple compare against these strings for each of the messages to see if they match the signature. In cases where the entire message matches one of the previous “signatures”, we know that there is at least one line of text that should not match. (perhaps someone is just sending a thumbs up in reply…) So in the case where everything matches show the first line.

I think this accounts for the cases of signature handling simply and elegantly.