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Unknown content types

From: Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net>
Date: Tue, 08 Jul 2003 11:34:13 -0700
Message-ID: <3F0B0EA5.1060102@prescod.net>
To: WWW-Tag <www-tag@w3.org>

Someone sends me an email attachment (strictly speaking out of the realm 
of the Web but I think it is close enough for our discussion).

It has the following header:

Content-Type: application/octet-stream; name=foo.pdf

My Mac tries to dispatch this to the same application I used for the 
last application/octet-stream. That's not very useful.

Obviously the sending machine did not know the content type of the data 
(they usually don't because Windows tends not to remember content 
types). Was it right to send "application/octet-stream" or should it 
have left the header out altogether? Should my Mac have interpreted 
"application/octet-stream" as "I don't know what this is...you can guess 
if you want."

Somewhere we lost the information that nobody knows the content type and 
that guessing or asking the user is better than treating it as if it was 
well-known. I'm trying to determine who made the mistake.

  Paul Prescod
Received on Wednesday, 9 July 2003 11:29:39 UTC

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