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1. There's no formally defined way to do this. There are some conventions that many1 person found this helpful
email clients follow, and you can write some heuristic code that tries to recognize use
of those conventions.
2. Depends on how good a job you want to do. :-) If you just care about the simple cases
it's not too hard to write a scanner/parser that recognizes the tags and removes them or
replaces them. If you actually want to interpret the tags and format the plain text in some
similar way, that's more work. Doing a really good job is very difficult, and you'll probably
want to find some existing library that will parse html and render it as plain text.
So I have to get a lot of coffee and hit the keyboard ;-)