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Re: [Nmh-workers] I need to learn more about MIME

From: Ken Hornstein
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] I need to learn more about MIME
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:36:04 -0400

>In order to participate more meaningfully in these discussions I need to learn
>more about MIME.
>Studying and becoming familiar with the relevant RFCs is much more than I want
>to or am able to do. I tried starting with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIME,
>but the tree of links overwhelmed me. Can anybody suggest a course of study so
>that I can learn enough about MIME to able to participate, meaningfully, in
>most of these discussions?

We have a set of links here:


RFC 2045 is sort of a broad overview of the format of a MIME message.
That explains the extra headers you need for a MIME message.  It's going
to be pretty dry reading, though.  As a companion with that, look at
RFC 2046 to cover the common media types (like multipart).  I see the
Wikipedia entry is a bit confusing, as it covers a lot of MIME types that
are not used by email (HTTP also uses MIME types).

My advice is:

- Take a look at this message, and compare the headers here to the
  descriptions in RFC 2045.  This should be a pretty simple message,
  so it should be easy enough to undertand.  I know, I know ... you're
  reluctant to look at the RFCs.  At least give RFC 2045 a try; looking
  at an example message might make it more concrete.  I wouldn't try
  reading the whole thing from start to finish; jump around and read
  the text for specific headers.

- Take a look at a multipart message, and see the description in
  RFC 2046 how multipart messages are formatted.

- There is a pretty good example of a more complicated message in
  RFC 2049, Appendix A.

The basic framework is actually not very complicated; it's just a lot
of stuff you need to know is spread out over multiple documents.  At
this stage you can ignore much of the extra stuff until you master
the basics.

And of course feel free to ask questions if you're confused!


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