|Applications Area Working Group||A. Melnikov|
|Updates: 2046 (if approved)||J. Reschke|
|Intended status: Standards Track||greenbytes|
|Expires: October 24, 2012||April 22, 2012|
Update to MIME regarding Charset Parameter Handling in Textual Media Types
This document changes RFC 2046 rules regarding default charset parameter values for text/* media types to better align with common usage by existing clients and servers.
Discussion of this draft should take place on the Apps Area Working Group mailing list (firstname.lastname@example.org), which is archived at <http://www.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/apps-discuss>.
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This Internet-Draft will expire on October 24, 2012.
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[RFC2046] specified that the default charset parameter (i.e. the value used when it is not specified) is "US-ASCII". [RFC2616] changed the default for use by HTTP to be "ISO-8859-1". This encoding is not very common for new text/* media types and a special rule in HTTP adds confusion about which specification ([RFC2046] or [RFC2616]) is authoritative in regards to the default charset for text/* media types.
Many complex text subtypes such as text/html [RFC2854] and text/xml [RFC3023] have internal (to their format) means of describing the charset. Many existing User Agents ignore the default of "US-ASCII" rule for at least text/html and text/xml.
This document changes RFC 2046 rules regarding default charset parameter values for text/* media types to better align with common usage by existing clients and servers. It does not change the defaults for any currently registered media type.
The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].
The default character set, which must be assumed in the absence of a charset parameter, is US-ASCII.
As explained in the Introduction section this rule is considered to be outdated, so this document replaces it with the following set of rules:
Each subtype of the "text" media type which uses the "charset" parameter can define its own default value for the "charset" parameter, including the absence of any default.
In order to improve interoperability with deployed agents, "text/*" media type registrations SHOULD either
In accordance with option (a), above, registrations for "text/*" media types that can transport charset information inside the corresponding payloads (such as "text/html" and "text/xml") SHOULD NOT specify the use of a "charset" parameter, nor any default value, in order to avoid conflicting interpretations should the charset parameter value and the value specified in the payload disagree.
New subtypes of the "text" media type, thus, SHOULD NOT define a default "charset" value. If there is a strong reason to do so despite this advice, they SHOULD use the "UTF-8" [RFC3629] charset as the default.
Specifications covering the "charset" parameter, and what default value, if any, is used, are subtype-specific, NOT protocol-specific. Protocols that use MIME, therefore, MUST NOT override default charset values for "text/*" media types to be different for their specific protocol. The protocol definitions MUST leave that to the subtype definitions.
The default charset parameter value for text/plain is unchanged from [RFC2046] and remains as "US-ASCII".
Guessing of the charset parameter can lead to security issues such as content buffer overflows, denial of services or bypass of filtering mechanisms. However, this document does not promote guessing, but encourages use of charset information that is specified by the sender.
Conflicting information in-band vs out-of-band can also lead to similar security problems, and this document recommends the use of charset information which is more likely to be correct (for example, in-band over out-of-band).
This document asks IANA to update the "text" subregistry of the Media Types registry (<http://www.iana.org/assignments/media-types/text/>), to add the following preamble: "See [this RFC] for information about 'charset' parameter handling for text media types."
IANA is also asked to add this RFC to the list of references at the beginning of the Application for Media Type (<http://www.iana.org/cgi-bin/mediatypes.pl>).
|[RFC2046]||Freed, N. and N. Borenstein, “Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) Part Two: Media Types”, RFC 2046, November 1996.|
|[RFC2119]||Bradner, S., “Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels”, BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.|
|[RFC3629]||Yergeau, F., “UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO 10646”, STD 63, RFC 3629, November 2003.|
|[RFC2616]||Fielding, R., Gettys, J., Mogul, J., Frystyk, H., Masinter, L., Leach, P., and T. Berners-Lee, “Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1”, RFC 2616, June 1999.|
|[RFC2854]||Connolly, D. and L. Masinter, “The 'text/html' Media Type”, RFC 2854, June 2000.|
|[RFC3023]||Murata, M., St. Laurent, S., and D. Kohn, “XML Media Types”, RFC 3023, January 2001.|
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Many thanks to Ned Freed and John Klensin for comments and ideas that motivated creation of this document, and to Carsten Bormann, Murray S. Kucherawy, Barry Leiba, and Henri Sivonen for feedback and text suggestions.