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Table Of Contents  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)

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MIME Content-Type Header and Discrete Media: Types, Subtypes and Parameters
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MIME Content-Transfer-Encoding Header and Encoding Methods
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MIME Composite Media Types: Multipart and Encapsulated Message Structures
(Page 1 of 6)

MIME discrete media types allow MIME to represent hundreds of different kinds of data in e-mail messages. This alone would make MIME an incredibly useful technology, but the MIME standard goes one step further, by defining composite media types. These allow MIME to perform even more “spectacular feats”, such as sending many types of data at once, or encapsulating other messages or information into e-mail.

The use of a MIME composite media type is indicated via the Content-Type header of an RFC 822 message. Instead of one of the six discrete media types (text, image, audio, video, model and application), one of these two composite media types is used:

  • Multipart Media Type (multipart): Allows one or more sets of data to be sent in a single MIME message. Each piece of data is represented as an individual discrete media type.

  • Message Media Type (message): Allows a message to encapsulate another message. This may be another e-mail message previously sent, or a message of some other kind. This media type also provides flexibility for sending partial messages and other special types of communication.

Key Concept: There are two MIME composite media types: message, which allows one message to encapsulate another, and multipart, which allows multiple individual media types to be encoded into a single e-mail message.



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MIME Content-Type Header and Discrete Media: Types, Subtypes and Parameters
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MIME Content-Transfer-Encoding Header and Encoding Methods
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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005

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