Re: default return is "text/html"?

Garrett Arch Blythe (
Wed, 13 Jul 1994 22:34:16 +0200

On Wed, 13 Jul 1994 wrote:
> > Since content-type: is optional on the return value from a HTTP GET,
> > the spec should say what the default is. I propose that the spec say
> > that the default is text/html. (The spec currently doesn't say, as far
> > as I can tell). This corresponds closely to the original spirit of
> > HTTP 0.9 (where everything was text/html), is the presumption of
> > Mosaic, and could easily be of Lynx, and it's better to have a
> > default.
> I prefer that the default be text/plain. This is the default for
> MIME, but more importantly, I much prefer seeing the occasional HTML
> source interpreted as plain text (when text/html was omitted) than
> seeing a non-HTML text file mangled by a "forgiving" HTML parser. I
> don't buy the argument about compatibility with HTTP 0.9 (there HTML
> was the only reasonable choice) nor with Mosaic (it's still called
> "World-Wide Web", not "Mosaic" :-).
> > HTTP servers probably should try to include a content-type: text/html
> > anyway, if that's what they mean.
> Exactly.

Sorry, but lets just switch positions for just a moment. Say that we
consider text/html as the default. Say that you wanted to download a
text/plain document. Then the above would read:

HTTP servers probably should try to include a content-type: text/plain
anyway, if that's what they mean.

I mean, come on. We are connecting to HTTP, "HyperText" Transfer
Protocol, shouldn't the default be text/html?


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Dust covers my face.
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Revealing a hard empty space.

Garrett Arch Blythe (913)864-0436
User Services Student Programmer/Consultant
University of Kansas Computer Center