I save a received msg as .eml file. Later I can open it with TB.
I write exactly the same .eml file with a php program. When I open it with TB, I only see subject and To: list, but nothing else.
The message is a line of text with an html signature and a .jpg attachment
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CHAMP0You are unlikely to see a file decription for a Thunderbird EML file. This is because the EML format is described in a collection of internet RFC.
To quote Wikipedia
The Internet email message format is defined in RFC 5322, with multi-media content attachments being defined in RFC 2045 through RFC 2049, collectively called Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions or MIME. Prior to the introduction of RFC 2822 in 2001, the format described by RFC 822 was the standard for Internet email for nearly 20 years. RFC 822 was published in 1982 and based on the earlier RFC 733 for the ARPANET
Links to all these RFCs are included in the original article
Note that using HTML means you are using the MIME RFCs
Yes, thanks to Matt, it is now clear that the answer to my question is simply: "TB expects a file structure matching the specification for an EML file as described by the RFC".
Every program creating an EML file must follow the same specs. My php program did not. It took me some hours of file comparison to discover, at last, a couple of misplaced hyphens!
This closes the problem. Feeling happily grateful to Matt.