Network Working Group
Request for Comments: 1521
Category: Standards Track
This RFC specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for improvements. Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet Official Protocol Standards" for the standardization state and status of this protocol. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
STD 11, RFC 822 defines a message representation protocol which specifies considerable detail about message headers, but which leaves the message content, or message body, as flat ASCII text. This document redefines the format of message bodies to allow multi-part textual and non-textual message bodies to be represented and exchanged without loss of information. This is based on earlier work documented in RFC 934 and STD 11, RFC 1049, but extends and revises that work. Because RFC 822 said so little about message bodies, this document is largely orthogonal to (rather than a revision of) RFC 822.
In particular, this document is designed to provide facilities to include multiple objects in a single message, to represent body text in character sets other than US-ASCII, to represent formatted multi- font text messages, to represent non-textual material such as images and audio fragments, and generally to facilitate later extensions defining new types of Internet mail for use by cooperating mail agents.
This document does NOT extend Internet mail header fields to permit anything other than US-ASCII text data. Such extensions are the subject of a companion document [RFC-1522].
This document is a revision of RFC 1341. Significant differences from RFC 1341 are summarized in Appendix H.