MIME Tag types home page


This page contains the information about a MIME type for exchanging data between some types of application in such a way that the information is also useful for people who are not using an application which understands the new type.

The format is intended to deal with sending a number of elements where each element has common attributes - possible applications include descriptions of books, financial transactions, recipies etc. Many of these things are exchanged in tag-like formats already, but all would benefit from using the same overall structure. Different applications can use different fields but there are core applications which can operate on any tagged type.

Thus we can take advantage of common functions across tagged types, for example project management systems have topological dependancies on actions which are very similar to the topological dependancies in a package management system.

Whew - that all sounds very complicated, but in fact it is very simple - an example may help

Tag-vehiclelog-version: 1.0
Description:: END_D
This file provides a convenient place to put information about events in the
life of a car, such as when they got filled up with petrol (or gas if you
prefer), and when they were serviced.
Vehicle: Ferrari
Odometer: 23097
Type: Fuel
Fuel: 38.56
Cost: 22.33
Where: Lands End
Date: 1-Apr-1998
Comments: Strange wailing from behind at 100, dies away at 150
Odometer: 23274
Type: Service
Date: 2-Apr-1998
Description:: END_D
Took car into dealer, complained about noise, they stripped
the engine down but couldnt find anything
Cost: 500
Odometer: 23285
Type: Fuel
Fuel: 36.22
Cost: 21.48
Date: 3-Apr-1998
Odometer: 23320
Date: 4-Apr-1998
Type: Misc
Comments: Speeding fine
Cost: 100

We can pass a file in this format to a person, and they will be able to understand what it means, but it is sufficiently structured to allow us to write a program which will, for example, calculate the total cost of motoring over a period of time.

These programs, and this data format, aim to fill the gap between text markup systems, which are very flexible, but hard for a program to process, and things like tab separated fields, or the various speadsheet export formats, which are easy to process, but a bit too rigid for some cases.

Thus there is a hierarchy of interchange formats, starting with text/tab-separated, then text/prs.jlines.tag, then text/xml, then text/html, then text/plain. In general it is easy to convert automatically in the direction of text/plain, but processing by an application is easier in the direction of tab-separated.

On this site you will find some specifications for the tag format, and some programs which manipulate it.

The current software version is 0.0.9



Author: John Lines john+tag-types@paladyn.org