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Wrangle EML files with these cool tools


Remember EML files? Of course you do, but if not, I've blogged on the topic here previously.

If you need to edit or view the raw headers or source from an email message, you can always just rename that file's extension, changing it from ".eml" to ".txt" and then opening it up in your favorite text editor.

But what if you want to do more? Here are three cool tools that allow you to visualize, extract or edit the content from EML files. What's great about these is that each of the tools has a different focus.

First, there's emailpreview from Stephanie Griffith. Upon visiting, the first words you'll see are, "Saving emails is a pain in the ass. We made it easy." She's right on both counts. Using this cool tool, you can take an EML file, or a URL, or raw HTML, and create an email preview image that you can output as a PNG, JPEG or PDF.

Next, there's Parcel's "View an EML" tool. Parcel, by Avi Goldman, is an email coder's best friend -- an editor and development platform focused on email creation. In this tool, when you drag and drop your EML file, it gets imported into the Parcel editor. There you can see both the HTML code that makes up the email design, and a live preview of that HTML, in side by side panes.

And finally, here's a "Front-end Email Parser Demo" put together by Andris Reinman. Andris is a very talented node.js developer, creating things like ZoneMTA, Email Engine and Mailauth. This time around, it's all about viewing the contents of an EML file. Very simply operated, you just select your EML file and boom, it shows you the text and HTML content, along with a bit of header info. Perhaps not quite as stunningly visually designed as the other tools, this is still quite impressive as it's (A) a rather small chunk of code overall, and (B) might just be the right bit of code you need to enable EML parsing and display in whatever email platform you might be building.

All in all, three great tools, all with different focuses on EML file handling. It's so cool to see all of these out there on offer.

In theory you can take that EML file into a text editor and extract away, but modern email messages using MIME are likely to use Quoted-Printable or even Base64 encoding, making it less than easy for the average joe to easily extract editable HTML source. It'll usually be much faster for you to use one of these tools if you want to visualize, render or extract that HTML code from the EML file.

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