Re: default return is "text/html"?
Wed, 13 Jul 1994 21:08:25 +0200

> 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.


--Guido van Rossum, CWI, Amsterdam <>