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Re: XHTML2 MIME type

From: Mikko Rantalainen <mira@cc.jyu.fi>
Date: Wed, 09 Apr 2003 15:55:59 +0300
Message-ID: <3E94185F.10003@cc.jyu.fi>
To: www-html@w3.org

[This is getting a bit offtopic and I'm not really expecting any 
replies. I'll post some thoughts to help future archive diggers.]

Masayasu Ishikawa / 2003-04-09 14:43:
> Mikko Rantalainen <mira@cc.jyu.fi> wrote:
>>If we get XHTML2 out relatively fast I don't see any problem with using 
>>application/xhtml+xml for it too. Though I'd rather use text/xhtml+xml.
> The HTML WG first tried to register both 'text/xhtml+xml' and
> 'application/xhtml+xml', and that was met by very strong resistance
> at the IETF, so we gave up to register 'text/xhtml+xml'.  For
> background discussion, see "text/xhtml+xml vs. application/xhtml+xml"
> thread on ietf-xml-mime [1].
>>Another way to think this: how about MIME type application/xhtml2 
>>(without the +xml part).
> The '+xml' convention was established by RFC 3023, and the TAG finding
> "Internet Media Type registration, consistency of use" states that
> "[t]he conventions and framework established by RFC 3023 SHOULD be
> followed when registering an Internet Media Type for a language
> that uses XML syntax" [2].  Unless we have very good reason to not
> follow this TAG finding, that's unlikely to happen.

OK. This is the first time I actually viewed RFC 3023 and I want to say 
that I consider "+xml" extension as an ugly hack. Though, I understand 
that it's for backwards compability. I'm still wondering why they choose 
to use "+" as a separator if the meaning is "this file can be considered 
as something OR xml". When I first time saw application/xhtml+xml I 
immediatly thought that it meant it's an xhtml file with possible 
additional namespaces. As I have some programming background I think 
application/xhtml|xml would have been much better and the pipe was 
available in addition to the plus sign.

After reading the references you provided I still feel that we need a 
new top level mime type. We have various file types that are basically 
text but not plain text. If MIME types make difference between image/* 
and video/* I think it should also have types like textual-content/* and 
interactive/* (I cannot come up with better type names). 
textual-content/* would contain HTML, MS Word, RTF and other stuff that 
mostly contains text and some extra information. interactive/* would 
contain file types that specifically allow interaction with the user 
like SMIL animations with action triggers or possibly forms that are 
meant to be filled and submitted somehow.

If the reason for not having another top level MIME type for xml/* is 
that we want to specify TYPE instead of SYNTAX then the text/* shouldn't 
be considered as plain text syntax either and it should be used for all 
file types that mostly contain text.

I think the application/* top level type shouldn't be used for XHTML 2 
just because one needs an application to easily read the content. 
Following the same logic we should move all of image/*, video/* and 
audio/* types to application/* because you cannot view any of those 
without an application either.

Perhaps application/* should be renamed to misc/* or other/*?

Leaving valuable references intact:
> [1] http://www.imc.org/ietf-xml-mime/mail-archive/threads.html#00612
> [2] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2002/0129-mime#registration
> [3] http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc3023.txt

Received on Wednesday, 9 April 2003 08:55:25 UTC

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