Binary Data in XML

Peter Murray-Rust peter at
Wed Sep 30 20:42:45 BST 1998

At 12:11 30/09/98 -0400, Jonathan  A. Borden wrote:
>The Web has exploded in use not because of HTML itself, rather this in
>conjunction with HTTP's MIME variant -- to be realistic what would the Web
>be like without pictures i.e. gif and jpeg). If base64 is used within XML, a
>similar typing mechanism is also required.

This seems reasonable to me - and could be accompanied by a mime attribute
- e.g:

<CML:molecule xml:packed="base64" xml:mime="chemical/x-chemdraw">... base64
encoding of horrid binary file ... </CML:molecule>

I know that this can also be done using NOTATION but also that - like many
others - I don't know how to do it and have never seen a NOTATION used in
XML documents. I therefore support Tim's suggestion of bolting xml:packed
into the language and suggest xml:mime as a companion.


I also know - and approve - that it can be done with XLink, but note that
these are untyped so would also benefit from xml:mime, e.g:

<p> This is a <a href="mol.cdw" xml:mime="chemical/x-chemdraw">molecule</a>
... </p>


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

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