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MH gives you a lot of ways to find particular messages -- and to specify one or more messages without giving the message numbers. Here are a few examples.
If you type scan at a shell prompt, you'll get a list of all the messages in your folder. The list looks like the one you get with inc, but it shows all your messages:
% scan 1 01/09 Joe Doe Here's the first message you asked 2 -01/09 Joe Doe Another test<<Well, this is another 3 01/09 To:Joe Doe What's happening -- did you send the 4+ 01/09 To:angelac A long message<<AWK(1) USER COMMANDS AWK(1) 5 01/09 To:Joe Doe Thanks for helping!<<You said that 6 01/09 Sample MH/MIME me Sample MIME message for online MH bookThe dash (-) next to message 2 means that you've replied to it with the repl -annotate command. The plus sign (+) next to message 4 means that it's the current message. If you sent a particular message, scan shows To:recipient as demonstrated in messages 3-5. (To make this work even better, read about Defining Alternate Mailboxes.)
If you have a lot of messages, you don't have to scan all of them. You can specify message numbers, ranges, and MH sequences. For example, to scan the range of messages number 2 through 5, inclusive, type:
% scan 2-5To scan the current message and the last three messages, type:
% scan cur last:3Many MH commands let you give more than one message number at a time. There are quite a few ways to do this. Here are some examples. Compare them to the explanations that follow:
% show 3 7 22 % show 3-7 22 % scan last:20 % scan first-curThe first show command shows message numbers 3, 7, and 22. The second show command shows messages in the range 3 through 7 (like 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, though not all of them have to exist) and also message 22. The first scan command scans the last 20 messages in the folder. The second scan command starts scanning at the first message in the folder (which isn't necessarily message 1) and continues through the current message. For more information, see your online mh-sequence(5) manual page.
(Of course, this is most useful when you have more than five messages in your folder.)
The MH pick command lets you search for messages by what's in a header field or body. If you wanted to find all messages which have the word "oyster" in the header or body:
% pick -search oyster 1 4 %Messages 1 and 4 contain that word.
Of course, the message numbers usually aren't enough. You'll usually want to scan the messages or read them or something -- and retyping the message numbers is a pain, especially if there are a lot of them. MH has sequences, stored lists of message numbers with a name. MH commands that accept message numbers also accept sequences -- just type the sequence name. You can tell pick to store matching message numbers in a sequence, too. For instance, the next example shows how to pick all messages you sent to the user freddie and save the numbers in a sequence called picked. I use the stored sequence twice -- first, to scan the messages; then, to forward them:
% pick -to freddie -sequence picked 3 hits % scan picked 6 01/10 To:freddie Plans for the new project, part 1 12 01/10 To:freddie Plans for the new project, part 2 14 01/11 To:freddie Oops -- read this<<Freddie, I mad % forw picked To: ehuser cc: Subject: Messages I sent to Fred F. ...Time savers: You can abbreviate most MH switches; for example, you can type -seq instead of -sequence. Also, as with other MH commands, you can save typing by storing default switches like -sequence picked in your MH profile.
There's much more about pick in the Section Finding Messages with pick and the pick(1) manual page. (Here are the manual pages.) And, as with all MH commands, you can get a quick list of all pick switches by typing:
% pick -help includeFooter('$Date: 2006-05-31 15:13:43 -0700 (Wed, 31 May 2006) $', 'OReilly: 1991, 1992, 1995; Jerry: 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004'); ?>