Re: Keeping HTML Simple & Format negotiation between Browser & Server

Jay Weber (
Thu, 27 May 1993 09:35:44 -0800

At 09:46 AM 5/27/93 -0400, wrote:
>Elements needed:
>1) an ever-growing dictionary of pre-defined format names and
>agreement on what those format names mean. It has to be ever-growing
>because it's a fact of life -- there's always going to be new types of
>data formats coming onto the scene. The server and the browser
>(client) both need access to this dictionary, perhaps getting a new
>version of it every once in a while (either automatically, or perhaps
>upon the user's request)

That's easy, MIME types are registered with the Internet Naming Authority,

>2) The document format (HTML, HMML, whatever) needs to accomodate
>documents which have multiple items in it, which could be different
>types, such as an embedded graph and a mathematical formula. AND each
>of the items themselves COULD be expressed in a number of different
>format types.

I'll wave the MIME flag again and point out that MIME has a modular
bundling mechanism -- the embedded object can be of type multipart/mixed.

> The information which the two alternatives convey would
>not have to be exactly equivalent -- sometimes a picture is worth a
>thousand words! But if text is all your device can display, you might
>settle for the words. The person who maintains the document can put
>both text & image in the document, and the image would be displayed if

MIME again! The MIME type multipart/alternative allows you to specify
a series of alternative objects, ordered by preference.

More HTML enthusiasts should check out MIME.

Jay Weber