Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions Type

What Does Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions Type Mean?

Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) type is standard that helps in classifying the types of files used on the Internet. MIME types were originally developed as a standard to identify the message of an email body. A MIME type consists of two parts, namely the type and subtype, which are separated with the slash symbol (/). The Request for Comments 2045 helps to define how MIME handles different media types.

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Techopedia Explains Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions Type

Standardization and publication of the classifications related to MIME types are overseen by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). All MIME types must be registered using the IANA registration process. Internet applications such as Web browsers and Web servers have a list of MIME types which help them to transfer files in the same fashion regardless of the operating system they are associated with. MIME types help Internet applications such as Web browsers to determine the actions that can be performed on the file. Apart from the type and subtype, the MIME type can contain additional attributes after a semicolon.

There are certain advantages associated with MIME types. For Web servers, the response to the external Web browser can be sent based on the MIME type for the file. Transfer of files or any other file operations can be easily and conveniently done if the MIME type is known to the operating system. The MIME type also helps in determining the application kits to be used, especially the editor kits that are used for word document processing.

Although one may view the list of MIME types, it would be difficult to associate the extensions associated with the files. In other words, it would be difficult to guess the MIME type associated with a particular file type.

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.