Network Working Group               P. Resnick
INTERNET-DRAFT                      QUALCOMM
To-obsolete RFCs: 1523, 1563        A. Walker
Category: Informational             InterCon
                                    January 1996

                   The text/enriched MIME Content-type

Status of this Memo

This document is an Internet-Draft. Internet-Drafts are working
documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its areas, and
its working groups. Note that other groups may also distribute working
documents as Internet-Drafts.

Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
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or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

To learn the current status of any Internet-Draft, please check the
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MIME [RFC-1521] defines a format and general framework for the
representation of a wide variety of data types in Internet mail. This
document defines one particular type of MIME data, the text/enriched
MIME type. The text/enriched MIME type is intended to facilitate the
wider interoperation of simple enriched text across a wide variety of
hardware and software platforms. This document is only a minor revision
to the text/enriched MIME type that was first described in [RFC-1523]
and [RFC-1563], and is only intended to be used in the short term until
other MIME types for text formatting in Internet mail are developed and

The text/enriched MIME type

In order to promote the wider interoperability of simple formatted text,
this document defines an extremely simple subtype of the MIME
content-type "text", the "text/enriched" subtype. The content-type line
for this type may have one optional parameter, the "charset" parameter,
with the same values permitted for the "text/plain" MIME content-type.

The text/enriched subtype was designed to meet the following criteria:

  1. The syntax must be extremely simple to parse, so that even
     teletype-oriented mail systems can easily strip away the formatting
     information and leave only the readable text.

  2. The syntax must be extensible to allow for new formatting commands
     that are deemed essential for some application.

  3. If the character set in use is ASCII or an 8- bit ASCII superset,
     then the raw form of the data must be readable enough to be largely
     unobjectionable in the event that it is displayed on the screen of
     the user of a non-MIME-conformant mail reader.

  4. The capabilities must be extremely limited, to ensure that it can
     represent no more than is likely to be representable by the user's
     primary word processor. While this limits what can be sent, it
     increases the likelihood that what is sent can be properly

There are other text formatting standards which meet some of these
criteria. In particular, HTML and SGML have come into widespread use on
the Internet. However, there are two important reasons that this
document further promotes the use of text/enriched in Internet mail over
other such standards:

  1. Most MIME-aware Internet mail applications are already able to
     either properly format text/enriched mail or, at the very least,
     are able to strip out the formatting commands and display the
     readable text. The same is not true for HTML or SGML.

  2. The current RFC on HTML [RFC-1866] and Internet Drafts on SGML have
     many features which are not necessary for Internet mail, and are
     missing a few capabilities that text/enriched already has.

For these reasons, this document is promoting the use of text/enriched
until other Internet standards come into more widespread use. For those
who will want to use HTML, Appendix B of this document contains a very
simple C program that converts text/enriched to HTML 2.0 described in


The syntax of "text/enriched" is very simple. It represents text in a
single character set--US-ASCII by default, although a different
character set can be specified by the use of the "charset" parameter.
(The semantics of text/enriched in non-ASCII character sets are
discussed later in this document.) All characters represent themselves,
with the exception of the "<" character (ASCII 60), which is used to
mark the beginning of a formatting command. A literal less-than sign
("<") can be represented by a sequence of two such characters, "<<".

Formatting instructions consist of formatting commands surrounded by
angle brackets ("<>", ASCII 60 and 62). Each formatting command may be
no more than 60 characters in length, all in US-ASCII, restricted to the
alphanumeric and hyphen ("-") characters. Formatting commands may be
preceded by a solidus ("/", ASCII 47), making them negations, and such
negations must always exist to balance the initial opening commands.
Thus, if the formatting command "<bold>" appears at some point, there
must later be a "</bold>" to balance it. (NOTE: The 60 character limit
on formatting commands does NOT include the "<", ">", or "/" characters
that might be attached to such commands.)

Line break rules

Line breaks (CRLF pairs in standard network representation) are handled
specially. In particular, isolated CRLF pairs are translated into a
single SPACE character. Sequences of N consecutive CRLF pairs, however,
are translated into N-1 actual line breaks. This permits long lines of
data to be represented in a natural looking manner despite the frequency
of line-wrapping in Internet mailers. When preparing the data for mail
transport, isolated line breaks should be inserted wherever necessary to
keep each line shorter than 80 characters. When preparing such data for
presentation to the user, isolated line breaks should be replaced by a
single SPACE character, and N consecutive CRLF pairs should be presented
to the user as N-1 line breaks.

Thus text/enriched data that looks like this:

     This is
     a single

     This is the
     next line.

     This is the
     next section.

should be displayed by a text/enriched interpreter as follows:

     This is a single line
     This is the next line.

     This is the next section.

The formatting commands, not all of which will be implemented by all
implementations, are described in the following sections.

Formatting Commands

The text/enriched formatting commands all begin with <commandname> and
end with </commandname>, affecting the formatting of the text between
those two tokens. The commands are described here, grouped according to

Parameter Command

Some of the formatting commands may require one or more associated
parameters. The "param" command is a special formatting command used to
include these parameters.

          Marks the affected text as command parameters, to be
          interpreted or ignored by the text/enriched interpreter,
          but not to be shown to the reader. The "param" command
          always immediately follows some other formatting command,
          and the parameter data indicates some additional
          information about the formatting that is to be done. The
          syntax of the parameter data (whatever appears between
          the initial "<param>" and the terminating "</param>") is
          defined for each command that uses it. However, it is
          always required that the format of such data must not
          contain nested "param" commands, and either must not use
          the "<" character or must use it in a way that is
          compatible with text/enriched parsing. That is, the end
          of the parameter data should be recognizable with either
          of two algorithms: simply searching for the first
          occurrence of "</param>" or parsing until a balanced
          "</param>" command is found. In either case, however, the
          parameter data should not be shown to the human reader.

Font-Alteration Commands

The following formatting commands are intended to alter the font in
which text is displayed, but not to alter the indentation or
justification state of the text:

          causes the affected text to be in a bold font. Nested
          bold commands have the same effect as a single bold

          causes the affected text to be in an italic font. Nested
          italic commands have the same effect as a single italic

          causes the affected text to be underlined. Nested
          underline commands have the same effect as a single
          underline command.

          causes the affected text to be in a fixed width font.
          Nested fixed commands have the same effect as a single
          fixed command.

          causes the affected text to be displayed in a specified
          typeface. The "fontfamily" command requires a parameter
          that is specified by using the "param" command. The
          parameter data is a case-insensitive string containing
          the name of a font family. Any currently available font
          family name (e.g. Times, Palatino, Courier, etc.) may be
          used. This includes font families defined by commercial
          type foundries such as Adobe, BitStream, or any other
          such foundry. Note that implementations should only use
          the general font family name, not the specific font name
          (e.g. use "Times", not "TimesRoman" nor
          "TimesBoldItalic"). When nested, the inner "fontfamily"
          command takes precedence. Also note that the "fontfamily"
          command is advisory only; it should not be expected that
          other implementations will honor the typeface information
          in this command since the font capabilities of systems
          vary drastically.

          causes the affected text to be displayed in a specified
          color. The "color" command requires a parameter that is
          specified by using the "param" command. The parameter
          data can be one of the following:


          or an RGB color value in the form:


          where '#' is a hexadecimal digit '0' through '9', 'A'
          through 'F', or 'a' through 'f'. The three 4-digit
          hexadecimal values are the RGB values for red, green, and
          blue respectively, where each component is expressed as
          an unsigned value between 0 (0000) and 65535 (FFFF). The
          default color for the message is unspecified, though
          black is a common choice in many environments. When
          nested, the inner "color" command takes precedence.

          causes the affected text to be in a smaller font. It is
          recommended that the font size be changed by two points,
          but other amounts may be more appropriate in some
          environments. Nested smaller commands produce ever
          smaller fonts, to the limits of the implementation's
          capacity to reasonably display them, after which further
          smaller commands have no incremental effect.

          causes the affected text to be in a bigger font. It is
          recommended that the font size be changed by two points,
          but other amounts may be more appropriate in some
          environments. Nested bigger commands produce ever bigger
          fonts, to the limits of the implementation's capacity to
          reasonably display them, after which further bigger
          commands have no incremental effect.

While the "bigger" and "smaller" operators are effectively inverses, it
is not recommended, for example, that "<smaller>" be used to end the
effect of "<bigger>". This is properly done with "</bigger>".

Since the capabilities of implementations will vary, it is to be
expected that some implementations will not be able to act on some of
the font-alteration commands. However, an implementation should still
display the text to the user in a reasonable fashion. In particular, the
lack of capability to display a particular font family, color, or other
text attribute does not mean that an implementation should fail to
display text.

Fill/Justification/Indentation Commands

Initially, text/enriched text is intended to be displayed fully filled
(that is, using the rules specified for replacing CRLF pairs with spaces
or removing them as appropriate) with appropriate kerning and
letter-tracking, and using the maximum available margins as suits the
capabilities of the receiving user agent software.

The following commands alter that state. Each of these commands force a
line break before and after the formatting environment if there is not
otherwise a line break. For example, if one of these commands occurs
anywhere other than the beginning of a line of text as presented, a new
line is begun.

          causes the affected text to be centered.

          causes the affected text to be left-justified with a
          ragged right margin.

          causes the affected text to be right-justified with a
          ragged left margin.

          causes the affected text to be filled and padded so as to
          create smooth left and right margins, i.e., to be fully

          causes the running margins of the affected text to be
          moved in. The recommended indentation change is the width
          of four characters, but this may differ among
          implementations. The "paraindent" command requires a
          parameter that is specified by using the "param" command.
          The parameter data is a comma-seperated list of one or
          more of the following:

               causes the running left margin to be moved to the

               causes the running right margin to be moved to the

               causes the first line of the affected paragraph to
               be indented in addition to the running margin. The
               remaining lines remain flush to the running margin.

               causes all lines except for the first line of the
               affected paragraph to be indented in addition to the
               running margin. The first line remains flush to the
               running margin.

          causes the affected text to be displayed without filling.
          That is, the text is displayed without using the rules
          for replacing CRLF pairs with spaces or removing
          consecutive sequences of CRLF pairs. However, the current
          state of the margins and justification is honored; any
          indentation or justification commands are still applied
          to the text within the scope of the "nofill".

The "center", "flushleft", "flushright", and "flushboth" commands are
mutually exclusive, and, when nested, the inner command takes

The "nofill" command is mutually exclusive with the "in" and "out"
parameters of the "paraindent" command; when they occur in the same
scope, their behavior is undefined.

The parameter data for the "paraindent" command my contain multiple
occurances of the same parameter (i.e. "left", "right", "in", or "out").
Each occurance causes the text to be further indented in the manner
indicated by that parameter. Nested "paraindent" commands cause the
affected text to be further indented according to the parameters. Note
that the "in" and "out" parameters for "paraindent" are mutually
exclusive; when they appear together or when nested "paraindent"
commands contain both of them, their behavior is undefined.

For purposes of the "in" and "out" parameters, a paragraph is defined as
text that is delimited by line breaks after applying the rules for
replacing CRLF pairs with spaces or removing consecutive sequences of
CRLF pairs. For example, within the scope of an "out", the line
following each CRLF is made flush with the running margin, and
subsequent lines are indented. Within the scope of an "in", the first
line following each CRLF is indented, and subsequent lines remain flush
to the running margin.

Whether or not text is justified by default (that is, whether the
default environment is "flushleft", "flushright", or "flushboth") is
unspecified, and depends on the preferences of the user, the
capabilities of the local software and hardware, and the nature of the
character set in use. On systems where full justification is considered
undesirable, the "flushboth" environment may be identical to the default
environment. Note that full justification should never be performed
inside of "center", "flushleft", "flushright", or "nofill" environments.
Note also that for some non-ASCII character sets, full justification may
be fundamentally inappropriate.

Note that [RFC-1563] defined two additional indentation commands,
"Indent" and "IndentRight". These commands did not force a line break,
and therefore their behavior was unpredictable since they depended on
the margins and character sizes that a particular implementation used.
Therefore, their use is deprecated and they should be ignored just as
other unrecognized commands.

Markup Commands

Commands in this section, unlike the other text/enriched commands are
declarative markup commands. Text/enriched is not intended as a full
markup language, but instead as a simple way to represent common
formatting commands. Therefore, markup commands are purposely kept to a
minimum. It is only because each was deemed so prevalent or necessary in
an e-mail environment that these particular commands have been included
at all.

          causes the affected text to be interpreted as a textual
          excerpt from another source, probably a message being
          responded to. Typically this will be displayed using
          indentation and an alternate font, or by indenting lines
          and preceding them with "> ", but such decisions are up
          to the implementation. Note that as with the
          justification commands, the excerpt command implicitly
          begins and ends with a line break if one is not already
          there. Nested "excerpt" commands are acceptable and
          should be interpreted as meaning that the excerpted text
          was excerpted from yet another source. Again, this can be
          displayed using additional indentation, different colors,

          Optionally, the "excerpt" command can take a parameter by
          using the "param" command. The format of the data is
          unspecified, but it is intended to uniquely identify the
          text from which the excerpt is taken. With this
          information, an implementation should be able to uniquely
          identify the source of any particular excerpt, especially
          if two or more excerpts in the message are from the same
          source, and display it in some way that makes this
          apparent to the user.

          causes the affected text to be interpreted as belonging
          to a particular language. This is most useful when two
          different languages use the same character set, but may
          require a different font or formatting depending on the
          language. For instance, Chinese and Japanese share
          similar character glyphs, and in some character sets like
          UNICODE share common code points, but it is considered
          very important that different fonts be used for the two
          languages, especially if they appear together, so that
          meaning is not lost. Also, language information can be
          used to allow for fancier text handling, like spell
          checking or hyphenation.

          The "lang" command requires a parameter using the "param"
          command. The parameter data can be any of the language
          tags specified in [RFC-1766], "Tags for the
          Identification of Languages". These tags are the two
          letter language codes taken from [ISO-639] or can be
          other language codes that are registered according to the
          instructions in the Langauge Tags RFC. Consult that memo
          for further information.

Balancing and Nesting of Formatting Commands

Pairs of formatting commands must be properly balanced and nested. Thus,
a proper way to describe text in bold italics is:


or, alternately,


but, in particular, the following is illegal text/enriched:


The nesting requirement for formatting commands imposes a slightly
higher burden upon the composers of text/enriched bodies, but
potentially simplifies text/enriched displayers by allowing them to be
stack-based. The main goal of text/enriched is to be simple enough to
make multifont, formatted email widely readable, so that those with the
capability of sending it will be able to do so with confidence. Thus
slightly increased complexity in the composing software was deemed a
reasonable tradeoff for simplified reading software. Nonetheless,
implementors of text/enriched readers are encouraged to follow the
general Internet guidelines of being conservative in what you send and
liberal in what you accept. Those implementations that can do so are
encouraged to deal reasonably with improperly nested text/enriched data.

Unrecognized formatting commands

Implementations must regard any unrecognized formatting command as
"no-op" commands, that is, as commands having no effect, thus
facilitating future extensions to "text/enriched". Private extensions
may be defined using formatting commands that begin with "X-", by
analogy to Internet mail header field names.

In order to formally define extended commands, a new Internet document
should be published.

White Space in Text/enriched Data

No special behavior is required for the SPACE or TAB (HT) character. It
is recommended, however, that, at least when fixed-width fonts are in
use, the common semantics of the TAB (HT) character should be observed,
namely that it moves to the next column position that is a multiple of
8. (In other words, if a TAB (HT) occurs in column n, where the leftmost
column is column 0, then that TAB (HT) should be replaced by 8-(n mod 8)
SPACE characters.) It should also be noted that some mail gateways are
notorious for losing (or, less commonly, adding) white space at the end
of lines, so reliance on SPACE or TAB characters at the end of a line is
not recommended.

Initial State of a text/enriched interpreter

Text/enriched is assumed to begin with filled text in a variable-width
font in a normal typeface and a size that is average for thecurrent
display and user. The left and right margins are assumed to be maximal,
that is, at the leftmost and rightmost acceptable positions.

Non-ASCII character sets

One of the great benefits of MIME is the ability to use different
varieties of non-ASCII text in messages. To use non-ASCII text in a
message, normally a charset parameter is specified in the Content-type
line that indicates the character set being used. For purposes of this
RFC, any legal MIME charset parameter can be used with the text/enriched
Content-type. However, there are two difficulties that arise with regard
to the text/enriched Content-type when non-ASCII text is desired. The
first problem involves difficulties that occur when the user wishes to
create text which would normally require multiple non-ASCII character
sets in the same text/enriched message. The second problem is an
ambiguity that arises because of the text/enriched use of the "<"
character in formatting commands.

Using multiple non-ASCII character sets

Normally, if a user wishes to produce text which contains characters
from entirely different character sets within the same MIME message (for
example, using Russian Cyrillic characters from ISO 8859-5 and Hebrew
characters from ISO 8859-8), a multipart message is used. Every time a
new character set is desired, a new MIME body part is started with
different character sets specified in the charset parameter of the
Content-type line. However, using multiple character sets this way in
text/enriched messages introduces problems. Since a change in the
charset parameter requires a new part, text/enriched formatting commands
used in the first part would not be able to apply to text that occurs in
subsequent parts. It is not possible for text/enriched formatting
commands to apply across MIME body part boundaries.

[RFC-1341] attempted to get around this problem in the now obsolete
text/richtext format by introducing different character set formatting
commands like "iso-8859-5" and "us-ascii". But this, or even a more
general solution along the same lines, is still undesirable: It is
common for a MIME application to decide, for example, what character
font resources or character lookup tables it will require based on the
information provided by the charset parameter of the Content-type line,
before it even begins to interpret or display the data in that body
part. By allowing the text/enriched interpreter to subsequently change
the character set, perhaps to one completely different from the charset
specified in the Content-type line (with potentially much different
resource requirements), too much burden would be placed on the
text/enriched interpreter itself.

Therefore, if multiple types of non-ASCII characters are desired in a
text/enriched document, one of the following two methods must be used:

  1. For cases where the different types of non-ASCII text can be
     limited to their own paragraphs with distinct formatting, a
     multipart message can be used with each part having a Content-Type
     of text/enriched and a different charset parameter. The one caveat
     to using this method is that each new part must start in the
     initial state for a text/enriched document. That means that all of
     the text/enriched commands in the preceding part must be properly
     balanced with ending commands before the next text/enriched part
     begins. Also, each text/enriched part must begin a new paragraph.

  2. If different types of non-ASCII text are to appear in the same line
     or paragraph, or if text/enriched formatting (e.g. margins,
     typeface, justification) is required across several different types
     of non-ASCII text, a single text/enriched body part should be used
     with a character set specified that contains all of the required
     characters. For example, a charset parameter of "UNICODE-1-1-UTF-7"
     as specified in [RFC-1642] could be used for such purposes. Not
     only does UNICODE contain all of the characters that can be
     represented in all of the other registered ISO 8859 MIME character
     sets, but UTF-7 is fully compatible with other aspects of the
     text/enriched standard, including the use of the "<" character
     referred to below. Any other character sets that are specified for
     use in MIME which contain different types of non-ASCII text can
     also be used in these instances.

Use of the "<" character in formatting commands

If the character set specified by the charset parameter on the
Content-type line is anything other than "US- ASCII", this means that
the text being described by text/enriched formatting commands is in a
non-ASCII character set. However, the commands themselves are still the
same ASCII commands that are defined in this document. This creates an
ambiguity only with reference to the "<" character, the octet with
numeric value 60. In single byte character sets, such as the ISO-8859
family, this is not a problem; the octet 60 can be quoted by including
it twice, just as for ASCII. The problem is more complicated, however,
in the case of multi-byte character sets, where the octet 60 might
appear at any point in the byte sequence for any of several characters.

In practice, however, most multi-byte character sets address this
problem internally. For example, the UNICODE character sets can use the
UTF-7 encoding which preserves all of the important ASCII characters in
their single byte form. The ISO-2022 family of character sets can use
certain character sequences to switch back into ASCII at any moment.
Therefore it is specified that, before text/enriched formatting
commands, the prevailing character set should be "switched back" into
ASCII, and that only those characters which would be interpreted as "<"
in plain text should be interpreted as token delimiters in

The question of what to do for hypothetical future character sets that
do not subsume ASCII is not addressed in this memo.

Minimal text/enriched conformance

A minimal text/enriched implementation is one that converts "<<" to "<",
removes everything between a <param> command and the next balancing
</param> command, removes all other formatting commands (all text
enclosed in angle brackets), and, outside of <nofill> environments,
converts any series of n CRLFs to n-1 CRLFs, and converts any lone CRLF
pairs to SPACE.

Notes for Implementors

It is recognized that implementors of future mail systems will want rich
text functionality far beyond that currently defined for text/enriched.
The intent of text/enriched is to provide a common format for expressing
that functionality in a form in which much of it, at least, will be
understood by interoperating software. Thus, in particular, software
with a richer notion of formatted text than text/enriched can still use
text/enriched as its basic representation, but can extend it with new
formatting commands and by hiding information specific to that software
system in text/enriched <param> constructs. As such systems evolve, it
is expected that the definition of text/enriched will be further refined
by future published specifications, but text/enriched as defined here
provides a platform on which evolutionary refinements can be based.

An expected common way that sophisticated mail programs will generate
text/enriched data is as part of a multipart/alternative construct. For
example, a mail agent that can generate enriched mail in ODA format can
generate that mail in a more widely interoperable form by generating
both text/enriched and ODA versions of the same data, e.g.:

     Content-type: multipart/alternative; boundary=foo

     Content-type: text/enriched

     [text/enriched version of data]
     --foo Content-type: application/oda

     [ODA version of data]

If such a message is read using a MIME-conformant mail reader that
understands ODA, the ODA version will be displayed; otherwise, the
text/enriched version will be shown.

In some environments, it might be impossible to combine certain
text/enriched formatting commands, whereas in others they might be
combined easily. For example, the combination of <bold> and <italic>
might produce bold italics on systems that support such fonts, but there
exist systems that can make text bold or italicized, but not both. In
such cases, the most recently issued (innermost) recognized formatting
command should be preferred.

One of the major goals in the design of text/enriched was to make it so
simple that even text-only mailers will implement enriched-to-
plain-text translators, thus increasing the likelihood that enriched
text will become "safe" to use very widely. To demonstrate this
simplicity, an extremely simple C program that converts text/enriched
input into plain text output is included in Appendix A.

Extensions to text/enriched

It is expected that various mail system authors will desire extensions
to text/enriched. The simple syntax of text/enriched, and the
specification that unrecognized formatting commands should simply be
ignored, are intended to promote such extensions.

An Example

Putting all this together, the following "text/enriched" body fragment:

     From: Nathaniel Borenstein <>
     To: Ned Freed <>
     Content-type: text/enriched

     <bold>Now</bold> is the time for <italic>all</italic>
     good men
     <smaller>(and <<women>)</smaller> to

     to the aid of their


     By the way,
     I think that <paraindent><param>left</param><<smaller>

     </paraindent>should REALLY be called

     and that I am always right.

     -- the end

represents the following formatted text (which will, no doubt, look
somewhat cryptic in the text-only version of this document):

     Now is the time for all good men (and <women>) to come
     to the aid of their

     beloved country.
     By the way, I think that
     should REALLY be called
     and that I am always right.
     -- the end

where the word "beloved" would be in red on a color display.

Security Considerations

Security issues are not discussed in this memo, as the mechanism raises
no security issues.

Author's Address

For more information, the authors of this document may be contacted via
Internet mail:

                            Peter W. Resnick
                          QUALCOMM Incorporated
                           6455 Lusk Boulevard
                        San Diego, CA 92121-2779
                         Phone: +1 619 587 1121
                          FAX: +1 619 658 2230

                              Amanda Walker
                      InterCon Systems Corporation
                           950 Herndon Parkway
                            Herndon, VA 22070
                         Phone: +1 703 709 5500
                          FAX: +1 703 709 5555


The authors gratefully acknowledge the input of many contributors,
readers, and implementors of the specification in this document.
Particular thanks are due to Nathaniel Borenstein, the original author
of RFC 1563.


     Borenstein, N., Freed, N., "MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail
     Extensions): Mechanisms for Specifying and Describing the Format of
     Internet Message Bodies", 06/11/1992.

     Borenstein, N., Freed, N., "MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail
     Extensions) Part One: Mechanisms for Specifying and Describing the
     Format of Internet Message Bodies", 09/23/1993.

     Borenstein, N., "The text/enriched MIME Content-type", 09/23/1993.

     Borenstein, N., "The text/enriched MIME Content-type", 01/10/1994.

     Goldsmith, D., Davis, M., "UTF-7 - A Mail-Safe Transformation
     Format of Unicode", 07/13/1994.

     Alvestrand, H., "Tags for the Identification of Languages",

     Berners-Lee, T., Connolly, D., "Hypertext Markup Language - 2.0",

Appendix A--A Simple enriched-to-plain Translator in C

One of the major goals in the design of the text/enriched subtype of the
text Content-Type is to make formatted text so simple that even
text-only mailers will implement enriched-to-plain-text translators,
thus increasing the likelihood that multifont text will become "safe" to
use very widely. To demonstrate this simplicity, what follows is a
simple C program that converts text/enriched input into plain text
output. Note that the local newline convention (the single character
represented by "\n") is assumed by this program, but that special CRLF
handling might be necessary on some systems.

#include <ctype.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <string.h>

main() {
        int c, i, paramct=0, newlinect=0, nofill=0;
        char token[62], *p;

        while ((c=getc(stdin)) != EOF) {
                if (c == '<') {
                        if (newlinect == 1) putc(' ', stdout);
                        newlinect = 0;
                        c = getc(stdin);
                        if (c == '<') {
                                if (paramct <= 0) putc(c, stdout);
                        } else {
                                 ungetc(c, stdin);
                                 for (i=0, p=token; (c=getc(stdin)) != EOF && c != '>'; i++) {
                                        if (i < sizeof(token)-1) *p++ = isupper(c) ? tolower(c) : c;
                                 *p = '\0';
                                 if (c == EOF) break;
                                 if (strcmp(token, "param") == 0)
                                 else if (strcmp(token, "nofill") == 0)
                                 else if (strcmp(token, "/param") == 0)
                                 else if (strcmp(token, "/nofill") == 0)
                } else {
                        if (paramct > 0)
                                ; /* ignore params */
                        else if (c == '\n' && nofill <= 0) {
                                if (++newlinect > 1) putc(c, stdout);
                        } else {
                                if (newlinect == 1) putc(' ', stdout);
                                newlinect = 0;
                                putc(c, stdout);
        /* The following line is only needed with line-buffering */
        putc('\n', stdout);

It should be noted that one can do considerably better than this in
displaying text/enriched data on a dumb terminal. In particular, one can
replace font information such as "bold" with textual emphasis (like
*this* or _T_H_I_S_). One can also properly handle the text/enriched
formatting commands regarding indentation, justification, and others.
However, the above program is all that is necessary in order to present
text/enriched on a dumb terminal without showing the user any formatting

Appendix B--A Simple enriched-to-HTML Translator in C

It is fully expected that other text formatting standards like HTML and
SGML will supplant text/enriched in Internet mail. It is also likely
that as this happens, recipients of text/enriched mail will wish to view
such mail with an HTML viewer. To this end, the following is a simple
example of a C program to convert text/enriched to HTML. Since the
current version of HTML at the time of this document's publication is
HTML 2.0 defined in [RFC-1866], this program converts to that standard.
There are several text/enriched commands that have no HTML 2.0
equivalent. In those cases, this program simply puts those commands into
processing instructions; that is, surrounded by "<?" and ">". As in
Appendix A, the local newline convention (the single character
represented by "\n") is assumed by this program, but special CRLF
handling might be necessary on some systems.

#include <ctype.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <string.h>

main() {
        int c, i, paramct=0, nofill=0;
        char token[62], *p;

        while((c=getc(stdin)) != EOF) {
                if(c == '<') {
                        c = getc(stdin);
                        if(c == '<') {
                                fputs("&lt;", stdout);
                        } else {
                                ungetc(c, stdin);
                                for (i=0, p=token; (c=getc(stdin)) != EOF && c != '>'; i++) {
                                        if (i < sizeof(token)-1) *p++ = isupper(c) ? tolower(c) : c;
                                *p = '\0';
                                if(c == EOF) break;
                                if(strcmp(token, "/param") == 0) {
                                        putc('>', stdout);
                                } else if(paramct > 0) {
                                        fputs("&lt;", stdout);
                                        fputs(token, stdout);
                                        fputs("&gt;", stdout);
                                } else {
                                        putc('<', stdout);
                                        if(strcmp(token, "nofill") == 0) {
                                                fputs("pre", stdout);
                                        } else if(strcmp(token, "/nofill") == 0) {
                                                fputs("/pre", stdout);
                                        } else if(strcmp(token, "bold") == 0) {
                                                fputs("b", stdout);
                                        } else if(strcmp(token, "/bold") == 0) {
                                                fputs("/b", stdout);
                                        } else if(strcmp(token, "italic") == 0) {
                                                fputs("i", stdout);
                                        } else if(strcmp(token, "/italic") == 0) {
                                                fputs("/i", stdout);
                                        } else if(strcmp(token, "fixed") == 0) {
                                                fputs("tt", stdout);
                                        } else if(strcmp(token, "/fixed") == 0) {
                                                fputs("/tt", stdout);
                                        } else if(strcmp(token, "excerpt") == 0) {
                                                fputs("blockquote", stdout);
                                        } else if(strcmp(token, "/excerpt") == 0) {
                                                fputs("/blockquote", stdout);
                                        } else {
                                                putc('?', stdout);
                                                fputs(token, stdout);
                                                if(strcmp(token, "param") == 0) {
                                                        putc(' ', stdout);
                                        putc('>', stdout);
                } else if(c == '>') {
                        fputs("&gt;", stdout);
                } else {
                        if(c == '\n' && nofill <= 0 && paramct <= 0) {
                                while((i=getc(stdin)) == '\n') fputs("<br>", stdout);
                                ungetc(i, stdin);
                        putc(c, stdout);
        /* The following line is only needed with line-buffering */
        putc('\n', stdout);