Drag and Drop on Mail Dock Icon

Programming Quotes, Sayings about Programmers, Software Developers, Application Development:

"The only way for errors to occur in a program is by being put there by the author.  No other mechanisms are known.  Programs can't acquire bugs by sitting around with other buggy programs.  ~Harlan Mills"

The last time I updated to OS X 10.5.2, some developer inserted this extremely annoying bug into Mail-- dragging any file onto its dock icon would crash it! This is particularly annoying because I already had it wired onto my reflexes to perform a drag and drop every time I want to send an attachment to someone.

Eventually I was able to find the solution: change Mail's composing preference to RTF instead of plain text. Well that isn't really a solution since that means that I will have to compose all my e-mails as RTF which is something that I don't agree on. E-mail messages should be plain text whenever possible! RTF might be better than HTML but it is still egregious compared to plain text.

Anyway, I found an alternative solution. Instead of dragging the file to the dock icon, create a new empty message first and then drag the file onto the body of the message. This involves the extra step of creating a new empty message but at least it does not crash Mail nor force me to use RTF. Being able to drag the attachment into the mail message body without crashing it (even with the plain text setting) just illustrates that this is a bug that could have been avoided/fixed since there is nothing inherently wrong underneath with Mail. Instead it's probably just the drag and drop component that needs some reworking.

Yesterday I upgraded to OS X 10.5.3 because I wanted to install the latest iPhone Beta SDK. The README specifically said that OS X 10.5.3 is required.

And I was rather disappointed (but not really surprised) to discover that this Mail bug has not been fixed yet. Fortunately I could use the alternative solution which will suffice until this bug gets fixed (if ever). I'd rather have less features (for instance remove the useless Stationary/Template feature from Mail) than to have a program crashed on the most rudimentary of tasks.

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