julienblanchard.com $home


2022-07-14 11:17:00

Inspired by rawtext.club friSBEe and a recent article on browsing the World Wide Web via e-mail I made this terrible service which I called smolmail.

So what is this? It’s an email adress you can send an URL to and it will reply with the content of that URL if it can. It currently supports gopher, gemini, http and finger protocols. Pretty cool, isn’t e-mail the best medium to read content after all?

Why you may be interested? I had two real use cases in mind:

How it works? It’s quite simple, I already had my e-mail server running with smtpd on OpenBSD. What I needed to do is create an account in my /etc/mail/aliases and instead of directing emails to a folder I pipe them into a script I wrote like this:

smolmail:       | cat | /usr/local/bin/smol

The script parses the URL in the mail subject and outputs gopher or http content via lynx -dump --display_charset=utf-8, gemini is retrieved via a simple ruby script I wrote that mimics lynx output and finger is just finger.

I’m just scratching the surface here but I really believe there are endless possibilities to create fun stuff with emails and scripts.

In the meantime if you want to try it just send an e-mail to:

smolmail AT typed-hole.org

with an URL in the subject (and just an URL) and you should get something back. As usual users of Google Mail, Outlook… might have to look in their spam folder to find it. I have a screen recording of what it looks like here.