Re: can multi-content-type in a message?

Robert Wang said:

> I want to program a cgi to transfer a piece of audio together with a text/html
> back to the browser. The audio can be a explanation to the file or even a some
> music. I need it because the file is in English and the audio explanation is
> in Chinese, and the audio should be immediately played without a user to click.
> So, can I transfer different types of contents in a single message? From the 
> http draft I can see no hint whether it is possible or impossible.

This topic has come up before, and the consensus seems to be that the
spec lets you do it (multipart Internet Media types), and creative use
of Internet Media types lets you use an external synchronising "viewer"
on a suitable multipart message, but that existing browsers do not
support it.

On Fri, 3 Dec 93 12:46:45 PST Vinay Kumar (vinay@eit.COM)[1] said:

    Yes, XMosaic itself cannot handle sync.  multimedia.  However, the
    way i am handling synchronized multimedia is by spawning off my
    external viewer, a MIME Multiplayer.  It creates synch.  MIME
    multipart+parallel messages that can be stuck in the Web.  Using
    XMosaic's ".mailcap", one can spawn off this external viewer from
    XMosaic to play MIME multimedia messages.  As of now, i can handle
    Synchronized Graphics, Audio and PointerMotion Gestures (no video

So, this works provided the multiple parts are all suited to being handled 
by external viewers.

On Sun, 05 Dec 93 16:36:32 +0100 Axel Belinfante 
([2] said:

    In addition to the above use of MIME multipart messages, it would be
    nice to be able to return a html document together with audio or
    video, it would eg be nice for my 'esperanto demo', as it would
    allow me to combine:

    (click on an object, see its name, _and_ hear its pronounciation).

    I suppose that one could return a MIME message that contains both
    html and audio, but if it is handled to metamail, where does the
    html show up?  A quick hack could be to write a 'html-viewer' script
    that talks to Mosaic via the 'external control' feature (very nice,
    btw!).  Is there a similar way to do this with the other browsers?
As Axel notes, the problem is when one of the multiple parts is HTML,
which you probably want the browser to display. There is no single user 
interface to get different browsers to display a particular file. Mosaic 
has had two different ways, Netscape has a different way, and so on.

On Wed, 08 Dec 1993 13:42:32 +0100[3] said:

     Perhaps what we really need is URLs that point to a group of files
    which should be fetched and presented simultaneously (a "compound
    node" in the terminology of the Dexter hypertext reference model).
    I don't know enough about HTTP, but possibly a variant of
    Content-type:  multipart could be used here?
I have suggested before (but cannot now find the reference, so I will 
say it again) that one of the multiple parts should be some sort of 
synchronisation data, to allow more subtle orchestrations than "start 
everything together, then stop".

For example, with a synchronised audio/basic, video/x-fli and text/html
if the user pauses the video should the audio pause or continue? If the
user rewinds to an earlier part of the video, should the audio continue 
(for example, as with background mood music) or rewind to the equivalent 
point (as with a speech commentary). Should the scroll bar or equivalent 
device on the HTML viewer also be sensitive to such movements? (for 
example, with audio and video of a play, the actors lines and stage 
directions being marked up in HTML).

What happens if the displaying platform cannot play the video part 
quickly enough - should it drop frames to keeop in sync, slow down the 
other components, or what?

Possibly the ISO work on PREMO[4], amongst other things, could provide 
clues here.

[1] <URL:>
[2] <URL:>
[3] <URL:>
[4] <URL:>

Chris Lilley, Technical Author
|       Manchester and North HPC Training & Education Centre        |
| Computer Graphics Unit,             Email: |
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| M13 9PL                            BioMOO: ChrisL                 |
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Received on Tuesday, 22 August 1995 07:18:08 UTC