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RE: Binary attachments to XP

From: Mark A. Jones <jones@research.att.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 09:38:52 -0800
Message-ID: <3A6F132C.DC131268@research.att.com>
To: xml-dist-app@w3.org
> Message-ID: <006601c084a8$0fb0efc0$308f3b9d@redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
> From: "Henrik Frystyk Nielsen" <frystyk@microsoft.com>
> To: <rayw@netscape.com>
> Cc: "Frank DeRose" <frankd@tibco.com>, <xml-dist-app@w3.org>
> Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 11:18:08 -0800
> Subject: RE: Binary attachments to XP
> . . .

I'd just like to make a few general observations about the discussion on
transporting binary.

This issue came up more than once in the Redmond f2f [1].  As I recall the
discussion, it was acknowledged that some kind of direct support (not base-64
encoded in XML) for binary/application data was important.  The issue was more
how to reconcile this with the charter.  Although amending the charter appears to
be nigh unto impossible, some of the heat seemed to be taken out of the debate
with the observation that the principal intention of the charter was not to
exclude this group giving consideration to the handling of binary data, but
rather to discourage the reinvention of another means of doing so:

     2.1 Direct Handling of Binary Data

     XML Namespaces provide a flexible and lightweight mechanism for
     handling language mixing as long as those languages are expressed in
     XML. In contrast, there is only very rudimentary support (base-64
     encodings etc.) for including data languages expressed in binary
     formats.  Such formats include commonly used image formats like PNG,
     JPEG etc. Although it is inconceivable to imagine a Web without such
     data formats, it is not considered a priority of this Working Group to
     solve this problem. This is in part because other organizations (e.g.
     ebXML and RosettaNet) are already addressing the issue using an
     approach based on MIME multipart. The Working Group can consider
     solutions proposed by other groups as a matter of low priority, if
     there is sufficient interest.  [2]

I think that the discussion at Redmond and on this list demonstrates there is
sufficient interest, and even alarm at the prospect that there may be some
gotchas if we don't carefully consider these "solutions proposed by other groups"
and even recommend one that we know works well with the other mechanisms of XP
that we design.  I would recommend that we give more visibility to this issue in
the work of the committee, through a requirement if necessary, possibly through
an additional binding (MIME-multipart?) and certainly through usage scenarios/use

[1] http://www.w3.org/2000/xp/Group/0/12/f2f-minutes
[2] http://www.w3.org/2000/09/XML-Protocol-Charter

Mark A. Jones
AT&T Labs - Research
Shannon Laboratory
Room A201
180 Park Ave.
Florham Park, NJ  07932-0971

email: jones@research.att.com
phone: (973) 360-8326
  fax: (973) 360-8970
Received on Wednesday, 24 January 2001 12:38:26 UTC

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