I received a question recently from subscriber Bill Depierri:
Terry: In your item about e-mail formats, you mentioned that e-mail in the HTML format is viewed using Internet Explorer. Is this still the case if Firefox is the default web browser on the machine in question? Great article!!! Bill DePierri
Specifically, in that article, I was referring to emails viewed in Microsoft’s Outlook and Outlook Express. The answer, with respect to them, is "Yes." They don’t view HTML emails by embedding a window from the default web browser, unless that happens to be Internet Explorer. They use one of IE’s OS interfaces. Microsoft makes it easy for programmers to embed IE functions into their programs. That was part of the infamous "IE is embedded in Windows and can’t be removed" issues.
Eudora, my email program of choice, has its own HTML interpreter, but also offers (via its configuration settings) the option to "use Microsoft’s HTML viewer."
About the only program I know of that doesn’t use IE at all for interpreting HTML, other than competing web browsers like Opera and Firefox, is Microsoft FrontPage’s "Preview" function. Even as late as FrontPage 2003 (the final version of FrontPage), the built-in Preview function often showed results that little-resembled the page as it would be viewed in IE, Firefox or Opera.