MIME types

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File Format
Name MIME types

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions file type designators, commonly shortened to MIME types, and formally called media types to reflect that their usage has grown beyond identifying email attachments, are a handy way to refer to file formats. IANA hands them out upon request/review. The identifiers were originally defined in RFC 2046 for use in email sent through SMTP, but their use has expanded to other protocols such as HTTP, RTP and SIP. These types were called MIME types, and are sometimes referred to as Content-types, after the name of a header in several protocols whose value is such a type. The original name MIME type referred to usage to identify non-ASCII parts of email messages composed using the MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) specification. Without MIME types, email clients would not be able to understand if an attachment file were a graphics file or a spreadsheet etc. and would not be able to handle the attachment appropriately.


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