MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions)
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) is an Internet standard
that extends the format of email to support:
- Text in character sets other than ASCII
- Non-text attachments
- Message bodies with multiple parts
- Header information in non-ASCII character sets
Although MIME was designed mainly for SMTP protocol, its use today has
grown beyond describing the content of email and now often includes
descriptions of content type in general, including for the web (see
Internet media type) and as a storage for rich content in some
commercial products (e.g., IBM Lotus Domino and IBM Lotus Quickr).
Virtually all human-written Internet email and a fairly large proportion
of automated email is transmitted via SMTP in MIME format. Internet
email is so closely associated with the SMTP and MIME standards that it
is sometimes called SMTP/MIME email.
The content types defined by MIME standards are also of importance
outside of email, such as in communication protocols like HTTP for the
World Wide Web. HTTP requires that data be transmitted in the context of
email-like messages, although the data most often is not actually email.
MIME is specified in six linked RFC memoranda: RFC 2045, RFC 2046, RFC
2047, RFC 4288, RFC 4289 and RFC 2049, which together define the
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