Definition[edit | edit source]

The Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension (MIME) is a protocol that makes use of the headers in an IETF RFC 2822 message to describe the structure of rich message content.

It defines the standard ways of packaging one or more separate objects into a message so that any compliant mail system can use it. It specifies how to encode and encapsulate non-text attachments, such as voice and animation, to e-mail.[1]

Overview[edit | edit source]

Internet email was originally sent as plain text ASCII messages [RFC 2822]. The Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) [RFC 2045] [RFC 2046] [RFC 2047] allows email to contain non-ASCII character sets as well as other non-text message components and attachments. Essentially MIME allows for an email message to be broken into parts, with each part identified by a content type. Typical content types include text/plain (for ASCII text), image/jpeg, text/html, etc. A mail message may contain multiple parts, which themselves may contain multiple parts, allowing MIME-formatted messages to be included as attachments in other MIME-formatted messages.

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