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Re: The use of MIME on the web: issues, toward a revised "finding" or joint W3C/IETF document

From: Graham Klyne <GK-lists@ninebynine.org>
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 2010 20:55:53 +0100
Message-ID: <4BBB91C9.4040904@ninebynine.org>
To: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
CC: Sebastien Lambla <seb@serialseb.com>, Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org>, "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>
It seems that even IANA, which I'd say is the definitive source for this 
particular feature, is a little unclear about the appropriate definitive 
terminology - cf. http://www.iana.org/assignments/media-types/.

Reading that page, I'd say the term "media type" covers a gamut of values that 
can be expressed through a MIME Content-type header, including "Content types", 
"Content subtypes" and more.

The term "Media Type" also appears to be sometimes used interchangeable with 
"Content Type", and sometimes to mean more (cf. 

So I guess we all have some cause to be unsure what to call these things?


Dan Brickley wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 4, 2010 at 3:06 PM, Sebastien Lambla <seb@serialseb.com> wrote:
>> As both a web framework author and trainer, I find that there is lots of confusion introduced when various names are introduced for various areas, such as the Internet Media Type being referred to as MIME, as in "MIME sniffing" or "The use of MIME", as opposed to the historical MIME type.
>> For me, tomatoes and tomatoes, but for the people that I introduce to those standards, I feel that those things are a barrier to wider communication.
> Yes, this is a good point. I've been involved in standards plenty but
> have only a pretty vague instinct for how I'm supposed to refer to
> this stuff. Generally I tend to *say* "MIME-type", but have this loose
> guilty sense that the real label is "Media type", but that as a phrase
> seems somehow less specific whereas "MIME-type" has the feel of a
> precise technical term. In either case I mean "those things like
> 'text/html' and 'application/rdf+xml'". It would be great to have a
> terminology summary / bluffer's guide.
> cheers,
> Dan
Received on Tuesday, 6 April 2010 20:22:29 UTC

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