Re: multipart/alternative extension

At 14.53 -0400 01-05-07, Keith Moore wrote:
>Even with multipart/mixed, if the desired content is presented as an
>attachment, this can effectively cause information loss if the recipient
>doesn't understand that the version he/she understands is in that
>attachment, and/or he/she doesn't know how to read that attachment.

Yes, right, that is a problem. One solution might be that the first
body part (since mailers usually display at least the first body
part inline) should contain a list of the other body parts. Something
like this:

     After this text or as attachments comes the message in
     different languages:
     - English
     - French
     - German

Another alternative might be that if you have an original
in English, and translations to French and Germany, then
use multipart/choice with four body parts. The first body part
would include all three language versions, plus some text
in the beginning, explaining that the message contains the
same text in more than one language. The other three parts
would contain each language version.

An MUA supporting the new contstruct would then ignore the
first body part. Since most mailers display the first
body part inline, this would give adequate result with
existing mailers.

At 15.49 -0400 01-05-07, Keith Moore wrote:
>perhaps.  but it seems that we're starting to argue about which kind
>of brokenness is more widespread - brokenness on handling multipart/
>alternative vs. broken on handling multipart/foo.  historically
>these kinds of arguments have been difficult for IETF to evaluate.

My original proposal was based on tests of some of the most common
mailers. Before I made these tests, I was all for multipart/alternative.
It was the test results which caused me to understand that multipart/
alternative could not be used.

The full test report can be found as an attachment at the end of

I tested the following mailers:
Eudora 5 Macintosh
Pine 4.21 Unix
Netscape 4.7 Macintosh
Outlook Express 5 Macintosh
First Class 5.611 Macintosh
KOM 2000 web-based
Hotmail web-based

Jacob Palme <> (Stockholm University and KTH)
for more info see URL:

Received on Tuesday, 8 May 2001 09:47:57 UTC