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|| The TCP/IP Guide|
9 TCP/IP Application Layer Protocols, Services and Applications (OSI Layers 5, 6 and 7)
9 TCP/IP Key Applications and Application Protocols
9 TCP/IP File and Message Transfer Applications and Protocols (FTP, TFTP, Electronic Mail, USENET, HTTP/WWW, Gopher)
9 TCP/IP Electronic Mail System: Concepts and Protocols (RFC 822, MIME, SMTP, POP3, IMAP)
9 TCP/IP Electronic Mail Message Formats and Message Processing: RFC 822 and MIME
9 TCP/IP Enhanced Electronic Mail Message Format: Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME)
MIME Basic Structures and Headers
(Page 2 of 4)
Basic Structure Types
The exact method by which data is
encoded in the message body and MIME headers are included depends on
the overall structure of the MIME message. There are two basic structure
types, which are described based on the kind of media the message carries:
- Simple Structure (Discrete Media): MIME
messages carrying a single discrete media type, such as a text
message or a graphical image, use a simple structure. Only one encoding
of information is present in the body of the message.
- Complex (Composite Media) Structure: Some
MIME messages carry a composite media type, which allows multiple
different media to be contained in a single message, such as a text
message and a graphical image, or to encapsulate another
e-mail message in its entirety. Many of these use a more complex structure
where the body of the message contains several MIME body parts.
Collectively, both whole MIME messages
and individual body parts are called MIME entities. Each set
of MIME headers provides information about either type of MIME entity:
a MIME message as a whole, or a body part in a composite message. When
a MIME message is received, the recipient first examines the headers
in the message as a whole (the RFC 822 headers) to determine the overall
message type. This then indicates if the message uses a simple or complex
structure. If the latter, the body of the message is parsed and each
individual body part is individually interpreted, including its individualized
topic on composite media types has more
details on how these body parts are formatted.
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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