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[uriMediaType-9] Layout of MIME Media Types pages

From: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 17:36:30 +0100
Message-ID: <10684031578.20030228173630@w3.org>
To: webmaster@iana.org
CC: www-tag@w3.org, ned.freed@mrochek.com

Hello IANA webmaster,

  Firstly congratulations are in order for the new IANA media type
  pages, they are much clearer, and it is good to have a single URI
  for each media type.

  However I do have some comments.

  For each type, there is a page of subtypes that seems to have three
  columns. The first column is the subtype, and mostly links to the
  registration document (some do not link to anything). The second
  column, often blank, is the full name of the format. The third
  column is confusing - it is either a link to the RFC that defines
  the type (in such a case, the first column does not link to
  anything) OR an indirect link to the email address of the person
  that sent in the registration documents.

  I believe this is confusing. Imagine headings for each column (which
  there should be, for accessibility reasons) what would the columns
  be called?

  Also, where can one consistently get the specification for
  each of these formats?

  For example, image/png refers to the then current but highly
  unstable draft-boutell-png-spec-04.txt whereas the defining document
  is currently http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-png.html

  As an example, for the image type
  http://www.iana.org/assignments/media-types/image/

  there is the image/cgm type, which links to
  
  http://www.iana.org/assignments/media-types/image/cgm

  which is the registration document for the image/cgm media type.
  
  Then in the second column there is the full title, Computer Graphics
  Metafile, and finally in the third column the text 'Francis' which
  links to http://www.iana.org/assignments/contact-people.htm#Francis
  which in turn has the name, email address and date of registration.

  However, image/tiff has no link, says "Tag Image File Format" and in
  the third column says "[RFC3302]" with a link to that RFC, which is
  the image/tiff MIME Sub-type Registration.

  In other words, the table organisation is different depending on
  whether the registration was by email, or by RFC.

  The proposed new registration procedures in
  draft-freed-mime-p4-00.txt
  http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-freed-mime-p4-00.txt would
  allow registration in the 'standards tree' (previously the IETF
  tree) with notification by email the IETF-recognised standards body.
  So if the intent was to distinguish 'IETF' from 'nonstandard'
  registrations, that distinction will shortly become more subtle.

  Actually it was already, because image/cgm for example was
  registered by Francis as an action item from ISO/IETF JTC1 SC24 who
  developed the CGM international standard.

  I suggest the following changes

  a) The first column should be the subtype string, as now, and should
  always link to
  http://www.iana.org/assignments/media-types/typename/subtypename

  The TAG is discussing this
  http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/ilist#uriMediaType-9
  http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2002/01-uriMediaType-9
  
  and in this regard it is very encouraging to see that both top level
  types and media types have unique URIs. I would like that to be
  extended to all media types, not just most of them.
  
  The contents of the linked-to resource might be an archived
  registration email, as now, or an archived registration notification
  from another standards organisation, or a short file that says 'this
  subtype was registered in RFC wxyz' with the RFC wxyz being a link
  to that RFC.
  
  The heading for that column might be 'subtype'.

  b) The second column should contain, as now, the name of the format,
  which is or should be provided for all types. (Ned - An additional
  field in the registration form that explicitly asks for this string,
  for documentation purposes, would be great).

  As an example, the name for image/png is 'Portable Network
  Graphics'; the name for text/css is 'Cascading Style Sheets'; the
  name for model/vrml is 'Virtual Reality Modelling Language'.

  I suggest that this string should also be a link, and should point
  to the published specification of the format. This information is
  available for all registrations in the 'Published specification'
  part of the template.

  (If the registration was in HTML or another structured format that
  allowed fragment identifiers, then in the case of a non-online
  published specification this could link to that part of the
  registration form.) Lacking that, perhaps just linking to the whole
  archived registration document would be sufficient and people can
  search for the 'Published Specification' part. Or, if people have
  used the form at
  http://www.iana.org/cgi-bin/mediatypes.pl
  the handler for that for could generate a short text or html
  document containing the "Published specification" part.

  This would also, incidentally, encourage the use of online, publicly
  available specifications.

  The heading for that column might be 'specification'.

  c) The third column, which does not seem super necessary and could
  be omitted, would be a link to the person that registered that type
  or wrote the rfc that registered it or wrote the email that
  registered it or whatever. I don't see a lot of use for this,
  really.

  The heading for that column might be 'registered by'. Currently,
  that column is sometimes 'registered by' and sometimes 'defining
  RFC'.

  My main concern here is consistency, regularity and ease of
  navigation.

  If I can help, by providing the format names for example for formats
  that W3C has registered or references, please let me know.

  

-- 
 Chris                          mailto:chris@w3.org
Received on Friday, 28 February 2003 11:36:41 GMT

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