Plug and Play XML

Peter Murray-Rust peter at
Sat Dec 20 16:20:50 GMT 1997

At 00:14 21/12/97 +0900, MURATA Makoto wrote:
>Rick Jelliffe writes:
>>When is each appropriate?  I think the idea is to use text/xml in the 
>>normal case, and application/xml as a fallback
>I believe that this is the idea of the XML WG and also the idea of W3C.  
>However, it is still not cleary presented in the XML PR.
>Rick Jelliffe writes:
>>I think I first suggested it, but it certainly was not my preferred 
>>option: I would prefer everything to be application/xml, because I do
>>not like the idea of dumb HTTP/MIME systems fiddling and transcoding data,
>>which they may do for text/xml. Application/xml is a binary transmission;
>>no bits are molested en route.
>You might want to try this once again in the XML SIG.  If everybody agrees 
>on this, I am more than happy to agree.  But I do not want to have 
>both text/xml and application/xml for HTTP, as this is likely to confuse 
>people.  Is it possible to persuade people *not* to use text/xml?

There are two conflicting messages here, and I think it's critical that
this is addressed *quickly* :-). Otherwise a large number of servers will
have been set up where people guess the type (probably as text/xml), and
the chance of uniformity will have been missed. Personally I am neutral,
although given the effort that has gone into i18n, the thought of anything
tweaking the bits en route sounds horrid. The application has enough to do
without mending documents that have been tweaked for humans to read.

I would hope that there is only one MIME type for XML as it will be
impossible for most people to work out the difference. Two will simply
confuse people and they (the types) will simply serve as synonyms. From
what Rick says, application seems more logical, but I imagine there are
lots of text/sgml documents out there already and people will go by analogy.


Peter Murray-Rust, Director Virtual School of Molecular Sciences, domestic
net connection
VSMS, Virtual Hyperglossary

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