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 MIME::Lite - low-calorie MIME generator


MIME::Lite - low-calorie MIME generator


  • Linux
  • Solaris
  • Windows
This module is not included with the standard ActivePerl distribution. It is available as a separate download using PPM.


    use MIME::Lite;

Create a single-part message:
    ### Create a new single-part message, to send a GIF file:
    $msg = MIME::Lite->new(
                 From     =>'',
                 To       =>'',
                 Cc       =>',',
                 Subject  =>'Helloooooo, nurse!',
                 Type     =>'image/gif',
                 Encoding =>'base64',
                 Path     =>'hellonurse.gif'

Create a multipart message (i.e., one with attachments):

    ### Create a new multipart message:
    $msg = MIME::Lite->new( 
                 From    =>'',
                 To      =>'',
                 Cc      =>',',
                 Subject =>'A message with 2 parts...',
                 Type    =>'multipart/mixed'

    ### Add parts (each "attach" has same arguments as "new"):
    $msg->attach(Type     =>'TEXT',   
                 Data     =>"Here's the GIF file you wanted"
    $msg->attach(Type     =>'image/gif',
                 Path     =>'aaa000123.gif',
                 Filename =>'logo.gif'

Output a message:

    ### Format as a string:
    $str = $msg->as_string;

    ### Print to a filehandle (say, a "sendmail" stream):

Send a message:

    ### Send in the "best" way (the default is to use "sendmail"):


In the never-ending quest for great taste with fewer calories, we proudly present: MIME::Lite.

MIME::Lite is intended as a simple, standalone module for generating (not parsing!) MIME messages... specifically, it allows you to output a simple, decent single- or multi-part message with text or binary attachments. It does not require that you have the Mail:: or MIME:: modules installed.

You can specify each message part as either the literal data itself (in a scalar or array), or as a string which can be given to open() to get a readable filehandle (e.g., ``<filename'' or ``somecommand|'').

You don't need to worry about encoding your message data: this module will do that for you. It handles the 5 standard MIME encodings.

If you need more sophisticated behavior, please get the MIME-tools package instead. I will be more likely to add stuff to that toolkit over this one.


Attach a GIF to a text message

This will create a multipart message exactly as above, but using the ``attach to singlepart'' hack:

    ### Create a new multipart message:
    $msg = MIME::Lite->new(
                 From    =>'',
                 To      =>'',
                 Cc      =>',',
                 Subject =>'A message with 2 parts...',
                 Type    =>'TEXT',
                 Data    =>"Here's the GIF file you wanted"

    ### Attach a part:
    $msg->attach(Type     =>'image/gif',
                 Path     =>'aaa000123.gif',
                 Filename =>'logo.gif'

Send an HTML document... with images included!

    $msg = MIME::Lite->new(
                 To      =>'',
                 Subject =>'HTML with in-line images!',
                 Type    =>'multipart/related'
    $msg->attach(Type => 'text/html',
                 Data => qq{ <body>
                             Here's <i>my</i> image: 
                             <img src="cid:myimage.gif"> 
                             </body> }
    $msg->attach(Type => 'image/gif',
                 Id   => 'myimage.gif',
                 Path => '/path/to/somefile.gif',

Output a message to a filehandle

    ### Write it to a filehandle:

    ### Write just the header:

    ### Write just the encoded body:

Get a message as a string

    ### Get entire message as a string:
    $str = $msg->as_string;

    ### Get just the header:
    $str = $msg->header_as_string;

    ### Get just the encoded body:
    $str = $msg->body_as_string;

Change how messages are sent

    ### Do something like this in your 'main':
       MIME::Lite->send('smtp', "", Timeout=>60);

    ### Now this will do the right thing:
    $msg->send;         ### will now use Net::SMTP as shown above


Global configuration

To alter the way the entire module behaves, you have the following methods/options:

This classmethod can be used to suppress/unsuppress all warnings coming from this module.

When used as a classmethod, this can be used to specify a different default mechanism for sending message. The initial default is:
    MIME::Lite->send("sendmail", "/usr/lib/sendmail -t -oi -oem");

However, you should consider the similar but smarter and taint-safe variant:


Or, for non-Unix users:


If true, we won't attempt to use MIME::Base64/MIME::QuotedPrint, even if they're available. Default is false.

If true, automatically choose the encoding from the content type. Default is true.

If true, automatically send to the Cc/Bcc addresses for send_by_smtp(). Default is true.

If true, check paths to attachments right before printing, raising an exception if any path is unreadable. Default is true.


Class method, constructor. Create a new message object.

If any arguments are given, they are passed into build(); otherwise, just the empty object is created.

Instance method. Add a new part to this message, and return the new part.

You can attach a MIME::Lite OBJECT, or have it create one by specifying a PARAMHASH that will be automatically given to new().

One of the possibly-quite-useful hacks thrown into this is the ``attach-to-singlepart'' hack: if you attempt to attach a part (let's call it ``part 1'') to a message that doesn't have a content-type of ``multipart'' or ``message'', the following happens:

  • A new part (call it ``part 0'') is made.

  • The MIME attributes and data (but not the other headers) are cut from the ``self'' message, and pasted into ``part 0''.

  • The ``self'' is turned into a ``multipart/mixed'' message.

  • The new ``part 0'' is added to the ``self'', and then ``part 1'' is added.

One of the nice side-effects is that you can create a text message and then add zero or more attachments to it, much in the same way that a user agent like Netscape allows you to do.

Class/instance method, initiallizer. Create (or initiallize) a MIME message object. Normally, you'll use the following keys in PARAMHASH:
   * Data, FH, or Path      (either one of these, or none if multipart)
   * Type                   (e.g., "image/jpeg")
   * From, To, and Subject  (if this is the "top level" of a message)

The PARAMHASH can contain the following keys:

Any field you want placed in the message header, taken from the standard list of header fields (you don't need to worry about case):
    Bcc           Encrypted     Received      Sender         
    Cc            From          References    Subject 
    Comments      Keywords      Reply-To      To 
    Content-*     Message-ID    Resent-*      X-*
    Date          MIME-Version  Return-Path   

To give experienced users some veto power, these fields will be set after the ones I set... so be careful: don't set any MIME fields (like Content-type) unless you know what you're doing!

To specify a fieldname that's not in the above list, even one that's identical to an option below, just give it with a trailing ":", like "My-field:". When in doubt, that always signals a mail field (and it sort of looks like one too).

Alternative to ``Path'' or ``FH''. The actual message data. This may be a scalar or a ref to an array of strings; if the latter, the message consists of a simple concatenation of all the strings in the array.

Optional. If given true (or omitted), we force the creation of a Date: field stamped with the current date/time if this is a top-level message. You may want this if using send_by_smtp(). If you don't want this to be done, either provide your own Date or explicitly set this to false.

Optional. The content disposition, "inline" or "attachment". The default is "inline".

Optional. The content transfer encoding that should be used to encode your data:
   Use encoding:     If your message contains:
   7bit              Only 7-bit text, all lines <1000 characters
   8bit              8-bit text, all lines <1000 characters
   quoted-printable  8-bit text or long lines (MUCH more reliable than "8bit")
   base64            Largely non-textual data: a GIF, a tar file, etc.

The default is taken from the Type; generally it is ``binary'' (no encoding) for text/*, message/*, and multipart/*, and ``base64'' for everything else. A value of "binary" is generally not suitable for sending anything but ASCII text files with lines under 1000 characters, so consider using one of the other values instead.

In the case of ``7bit''/``8bit'', long lines are automatically chopped to legal length; in the case of ``7bit'', all 8-bit characters are automatically removed. This may not be what you want, so pick your encoding well! For more info, see A MIME PRIMER.

Alternative to ``Data'' or ``Path''. Filehandle containing the data, opened for reading. See ``ReadNow'' also.

Optional. The name of the attachment. You can use this to supply a filename if the one in the Path is inadequate, or if you're using the Data argument.

Optional. Same as setting ``content-id''.

Optional. Set the content length explicitly. Normally, this header is automatically computed, but only under certain circumstances (see Limitations).

Alternative to ``Data'' or ``FH''. Path to a file containing the data... actually, it can be any open()able expression. If it looks like a path, the last element will automatically be treated as the filename. See ``ReadNow'' also.

Optional, for use with ``Path''. If true, will open the path and slurp the contents into core now. This is useful if the Path points to a command and you don't want to run the command over and over if outputting the message several times. Fatal exception raised if the open fails.

Optional. If defined, indicates whether or not this is a ``top-level'' MIME message. The parts of a multipart message are not top-level. Default is true.

Optional. The MIME content type, or one of these special values (case-sensitive):
     "TEXT"   means "text/plain"
     "BINARY" means "application/octet-stream"

The default is "TEXT".

A picture being worth 1000 words (which is of course 2000 bytes, so it's probably more of an ``icon'' than a ``picture'', but I digress...), here are some examples:

    $msg = MIME::Lite->build( 
               From     => '',
               To       => '',
               Subject  => "Hi there!",
               Type     => 'TEXT',
               Encoding => '7bit',
               Data     => "Just a quick note to say hi!");

    $msg = MIME::Lite->build(
               From     => 'dorothy@emerald-city.oz',
               To       => '',
               Subject  => "A gif for U"
               Type     => 'image/gif',
               Path     => "/home/httpd/logo.gif");

    $msg = MIME::Lite->build( 
               From     => '',
               To       => '',
               Subject  => "A gzipp'ed tar file",
               Type     => 'x-gzip',
               Path     => "gzip < /usr/inc/somefile.tar |",
               ReadNow  => 1,
               Filename => "somefile.tgz");

To show you what's really going on, that last example could also have been written:

    $msg = new MIME::Lite;
    $msg->build(Type     => 'x-gzip',
                Path     => "gzip < /usr/inc/somefile.tar |",
                ReadNow  => 1,
                Filename => "somefile.tgz");    
    $msg->add(From    => "");
    $msg->add(To      => "");
    $msg->add(Subject => "A gzipp'ed tar file");

Setting/getting headers and attributes

Add field TAG with the given VALUE to the end of the header. The TAG will be converted to all-lowercase, and the VALUE will be made ``safe'' (returns will be given a trailing space).

Beware: any MIME fields you ``add'' will override any MIME attributes I have when it comes time to output those fields. Normally, you will use this method to add non-MIME fields:

    $msg->add("Subject" => "Hi there!");

Giving VALUE an arrayref will cause all those values to be added:

    $msg->add("Received" => ["here", "there", "everywhere"]

Note: add() is probably going to be more efficient than replace(), so you're better off using it for most applications.

Note: the name comes from Mail::Header.

Set MIME attribute ATTR to the string VALUE. ATTR is converted to all-lowercase. This method is normally used to set/get MIME attributes:
    $msg->attr("content-type"         => "text/html");
    $msg->attr("content-type.charset" => "US-ASCII");
    $msg->attr(""    => "homepage.html");

This would cause the final output to look something like this:

    Content-type: text/html; charset=US-ASCII; name="homepage.html"

Note that the special empty sub-field tag indicates the anonymous first sub-field.

Giving VALUE as undefined will cause the contents of the named subfield to be deleted.

Supplying no VALUE argument just returns the attribute's value:

    $type = $msg->attr("content-type");        ### returns "text/html"
    $name = $msg->attr("");   ### returns "homepage.html"

delete TAG
Delete field TAG with the given VALUE to the end of the header. The TAG will be converted to all-lowercase.

Note: the name comes from Mail::Header.

Return the full header for the object, as a ref to an array of [TAG, VALUE] pairs, where each TAG is all-lowercase. Note that any fields the user has explicitly set will override the corresponding MIME fields that we would otherwise generate. So, don't say...
    $msg->set("Content-type" => "text/html; charset=US-ASCII");

unless you want the above value to override the ``Content-type'' MIME field that we would normally generate.

Note: I called this ``fields'' because the header() method of Mail::Header returns something different, but similar enough to be confusing.

filename [FILENAME]
Set the filename which this data will be reported as. This actually sets both ``standard'' attributes.

With no argument, returns the filename as dictated by the content-disposition.

Get the contents of field TAG, which might have been set with set() or replace(). Returns the text of the field.
    $ml->get('Subject', 0);

If the optional 0-based INDEX is given, then we return the INDEX'th occurence of field TAG. Otherwise, we look at the context: In a scalar context, only the first (0th) occurence of the field is returned; in an array context, all occurences are returned.

Warning: this should only be used with non-MIME fields. Behavior with MIME fields is TBD, and will raise an exception for now.

Recompute the content length for the message if the process is trivial, setting the ``content-length'' attribute as a side-effect:

Returns the length, or undefined if not set.

Note: the content length can be difficult to compute, since it involves assembling the entire encoded body and taking the length of it (which, in the case of multipart messages, means freezing all the sub-parts, etc.).

This method only sets the content length to a defined value if the message is a singlepart with "binary" encoding, and the body is available either in-core or as a simple file. Otherwise, the content length is set to the undefined value.

Since content-length is not a standard MIME field anyway (that's right, kids: it's not in the MIME RFCs, it's an HTTP thing), this seems pretty fair.

replace TAG,VALUE
Delete all occurences of fields named TAG, and add a new field with the given VALUE. TAG is converted to all-lowercase.

Beware: any MIME fields you ``replace'' will override any MIME attributes I have when it comes time to output those fields. Normally, you will use this method to set non-MIME fields:

    $msg->replace("Subject" => "Hi there!");

Giving VALUE as undefined will simply cause the contents of the named field to be deleted. Giving VALUE as an arrayref will cause all the values in the array to be added.

Note: the name comes from Mail::Header.

Setting/getting message data

binmode [OVERRIDE]
With no argument, returns whether or not it thinks that the data (as given by the ``Path'' argument of build()) should be read using binmode() (for example, when read_now() is invoked).

The default behavior is that any content type other than text/* or message/* is binmode'd; this should in general work fine.

With a defined argument, this method sets an explicit ``override'' value. An undefined argument unsets the override. The new current value is returned.

data [DATA]
Get/set the literal DATA of the message. The DATA may be either a scalar, or a reference to an array of scalars (which will simply be joined).

Warning: setting the data causes the ``content-length'' attribute to be recomputed (possibly to nothing).

path [PATH]
Get/set the PATH to the message data.

Warning: setting the path recomputes any existing ``content-length'' field, and re-sets the ``filename'' (to the last element of the path if it looks like a simple path, and to nothing if not).

Get/set the FILEHANDLE which contains the message data.

Takes a filehandle as an input and stores it in the object. This routine is similar to path(); one important difference is that no attempt is made to set the content length.

resetfh [FILEHANDLE]
Set the current position of the filehandle back to the beginning. Only applies if you used ``FH'' in build() or attach() for this message.

Returns false if unable to reset the filehandle (since not all filehandles are seekable).

Forces data from the path/filehandle (as specified by build()) to be read into core immediately, just as though you had given it literally with the Data keyword.

Note that the in-core data will always be used if available.

Be aware that everything is slurped into a giant scalar: you may not want to use this if sending tar files! The benefit of not reading in the data is that very large files can be handled by this module if left on disk until the message is output via print() or print_body().

Sign the message. This forces the message to be read into core, after which the signature is appended to it.
As in build(): the literal signature data. Can be either a scalar or a ref to an array of scalars.

As in build(): the path to the file.

If no arguments are given, the default is:

    Path => "$ENV{HOME}/.signature"

The content-length is recomputed.

Instance method. Verify that all ``paths'' to attached data exist, recursively. It might be a good idea for you to do this before a print(), to prevent accidental partial output if a file might be missing. Raises exception if any path is not readable.


Instance method. Print the message to the given output handle, or to the currently-selected filehandle if none was given.

All OUTHANDLE has to be is a filehandle (possibly a glob ref), or any object that responds to a print() message.

print_body [OUTHANDLE]
Instance method. Print the body of a message to the given output handle, or to the currently-selected filehandle if none was given.

All OUTHANDLE has to be is a filehandle (possibly a glob ref), or any object that responds to a print() message.

Fatal exception raised if unable to open any of the input files, or if a part contains no data, or if an unsupported encoding is encountered.

print_header [OUTHANDLE]
Instance method. Print the header of the message to the given output handle, or to the currently-selected filehandle if none was given.

All OUTHANDLE has to be is a filehandle (possibly a glob ref), or any object that responds to a print() message.

Instance method. Return the entire message as a string, with a header and an encoded body.

Instance method. Return the encoded body as a string. This is the portion after the header and the blank line.

Note: actually prepares the body by ``printing'' to a scalar. Proof that you can hand the print*() methods any blessed object that responds to a print() message.

Instance method. Return the header as a string.


send HOW, HOWARGS...
Class/instance method. This is the principle method for sending mail, and for configuring how mail will be sent.

As an instance method (with no arguments), sends the message by whatever means has been set up (the default is to use the Unix ``sendmail'' program). Returns whatever the mail-handling routine returns: this should be true on success, false/exception on error:

    $msg = MIME::Lite->new(From=>...);
    $msg->send || die "you DON'T have mail!";

As a class method (with a HOW argument and optional HOWARGS), sets up how the instance method will work for all objects until further notice It treats HOW as a facility name, with optional HOWARGS handled by the facility (and returns the previous HOW and HOWARGS as an array). There are three facilities:

``sendmail'', ARGS...
Send a message by piping it into the ``sendmail'' command. Uses the send_by_sendmail() method, giving it the ARGS. This usage implements (and deprecates) the sendmail() method.

``smtp'', [HOSTNAME]
Send a message by SMTP, using optional HOSTNAME as SMTP-sending host. Uses the send_by_smtp() method.

``sub'', \&SUBREF, ARGS...
Sends a message MSG by invoking the subroutine SUBREF of your choosing, with MSG as the first argument, and ARGS following.

For example: let's say you're on an OS which lacks the usual Unix ``sendmail'' facility, but you've installed something a lot like it, and you need to configure your Perl script to use this ``sendmail.exe'' program. Do this following in your script's setup:

    MIME::Lite->send('sendmail', "d:\\programs\\sendmail.exe");

Then, whenever you need to send a message $msg, just say:


That's it. Now, if you ever move your script to a Unix box, all you need to do is change that line in the setup and you're done. All of your $msg->send invocations will work as expected.

send_by_sendmail SENDMAILCMD
send_by_sendmail PARAM=>VALUE, ...
Instance method. Send message via an external ``sendmail'' program (this will probably only work out-of-the-box on Unix systems).

Returns true on success, false or exception on error.

You can specify the program and all its arguments by giving a single string, SENDMAILCMD. Nothing fancy is done; the message is simply piped in.

However, if your needs are a little more advanced, you can specify zero or more of the following PARAM/VALUE pairs; a Unix-style, taint-safe ``sendmail'' command will be constructed for you:

Full path to the program to use. Default is ``/usr/lib/sendmail''.

Ref to the basic array of arguments we start with. Default is ["-t", "-oi", "-oem"].

Unless this is explicitly given as false, we attempt to automatically set the -f argument to the first address that can be extracted from the ``From:'' field of the message (if there is one).

What is the -f, and why do we use it? Suppose we did not use -f, and you gave an explicit ``From:'' field in your message: in this case, the sendmail ``envelope'' would indicate the real user your process was running under, as a way of preventing mail forgery. Using the -f switch causes the sender to be set in the envelope as well.

So when would I NOT want to use it? If sendmail doesn't regard you as a ``trusted'' user, it will permit the -f but also add an ``X-Authentication-Warning'' header to the message to indicate a forged envelope. To avoid this, you can either (1) have SetSender be false, or (2) make yourself a trusted user by adding a T configuration command to your file (e.g.: Teryq if the script is running as user ``eryq'').

send_by_smtp ARGS...
Instance method. Send message via SMTP, using Net::SMTP. The optional ARGS are sent into Net::SMTP::new(): usually, these are

Note that the list of recipients is taken from the ``To'', ``Cc'' and ``Bcc'' fields.

Returns true on success, false or exception on error.

sendmail COMMAND...
Class method, DEPRECATED. Declare the sender to be ``sendmail'', and set up the ``sendmail'' command. You should use send() instead.


quiet ONOFF
Class method. Suppress/unsuppress all warnings coming from this module.
    MIME::Lite->quiet(1);       ### I know what I'm doing

I recommend that you include that comment as well. And while you type it, say it out loud: if it doesn't feel right, then maybe you should reconsider the whole line. ;-)


Benign limitations

This is ``lite'', after all...

  • There's no parsing. Get MIME-tools if you need to parse MIME messages.

  • MIME::Lite messages are currently not interchangeable with either Mail::Internet or MIME::Entity objects. This is a completely separate module.

  • A content-length field is only inserted if the encoding is binary, the message is a singlepart, and all the document data is available at build() time by virtue of residing in a simple path, or in-core. Since content-length is not a standard MIME field anyway (that's right, kids: it's not in the MIME RFCs, it's an HTTP thing), this seems pretty fair.

  • MIME::Lite alone cannot help you lose weight. You must supplement your use of MIME::Lite with a healthy diet and exercise.

Cheap and easy mailing

I thought putting in a default ``sendmail'' invocation wasn't too bad an idea, since a lot of Perlers are on UNIX systems. The out-of-the-box configuration is:

     MIME::Lite->send('sendmail', "/usr/lib/sendmail -t -oi -oem");

By the way, these arguments to sendmail are:

     -t      Scan message for To:, Cc:, Bcc:, etc.

     -oi     Do NOT treat a single "." on a line as a message terminator.
             As in, "-oi vey, it truncated my message... why?!"

     -oem    On error, mail back the message (I assume to the
             appropriate address, given in the header).
             When mail returns, circle is complete.  Jai guru deva -oem.

Note that these are the same arguments you get if you configure to use the smarter, taint-safe mailing:


If you get ``X-Authentication-Warning'' headers from this, you can forgo diddling with the envelope by instead specifying:

     MIME::Lite->send('sendmail', SetSender=>0);

And, if you're not on a Unix system, or if you'd just rather send mail some other way, there's always:

     MIME::Lite->send('smtp', "");

Or you can set up your own subroutine to call. In any case, check out the send() method.


Good-vs-bad email addresses with send_by_smtp()

If using send_by_smtp(), be aware that you are forcing MIME::Lite to extract email addresses out of a possible list provided in the To:, Cc:, and Bcc: fields. This is tricky stuff, and as such only the following sorts of addresses will work reliably:

    "Name, Full" <>

This last form is discouraged because SMTP must be able to get at the name or name@domain portion.

Disclaimer: MIME::Lite was never intended to be a Mail User Agent, so please don't expect a full implementation of RFC-822. Restrict yourself to the common forms of Internet addresses described herein, and you should be fine. If this is not feasible, then consider using MIME::Lite to prepare your message only, and using Net::SMTP explicitly to send your message.

Formatting of headers delayed until print()

This class treats a MIME header in the most abstract sense, as being a collection of high-level attributes. The actual RFC-822-style header fields are not constructed until it's time to actually print the darn thing.

Encoding of data delayed until print()

When you specify message bodies (in build() or attach()) -- whether by FH, Data, or Path -- be warned that we don't attempt to open files, read filehandles, or encode the data until print() is invoked.

In the past, this created some confusion for users of sendmail who gave the wrong path to an attachment body, since enough of the print() would succeed to get the initial part of the message out. Nowadays, $AUTO_VERIFY is used to spot-check the Paths given before the mail facility is employed. A whisker slower, but tons safer.

Note that if you give a message body via FH, and try to print() a message twice, the second print() will not do the right thing unless you explicitly rewind the filehandle.

You can get past these difficulties by using the ReadNow option, provided that you have enough memory to handle your messages.

MIME attributes are separate from header fields!

Important: the MIME attributes are stored and manipulated separately from the message header fields; when it comes time to print the header out, any explicitly-given header fields override the ones that would be created from the MIME attributes. That means that this:

    ### DANGER ### DANGER ### DANGER ### DANGER ### DANGER ###
    $msg->add("Content-type", "text/html; charset=US-ASCII");

will set the exact "Content-type" field in the header I write, regardless of what the actual MIME attributes are.

This feature is for experienced users only, as an escape hatch in case the code that normally formats MIME header fields isn't doing what you need. And, like any escape hatch, it's got an alarm on it: MIME::Lite will warn you if you attempt to set() or replace() any MIME header field. Use attr() instead.

Beware of lines consisting of a single dot

Julian Haight noted that MIME::Lite allows you to compose messages with lines in the body consisting of a single ``.''. This is true: it should be completely harmless so long as ``sendmail'' is used with the -oi option (see Cheap and easy mailing).

However, I don't know if using Net::SMTP to transfer such a message is equally safe. Feedback is welcomed.

My perspective: I don't want to magically diddle with a user's message unless absolutely positively necessary. Some users may want to send files with ``.'' alone on a line; my well-meaning tinkering could seriously harm them.


Content types

The ``Type'' parameter of build() is a content type. This is the actual type of data you are sending. Generally this is a string of the form "majortype/minortype".

Here are the major MIME types. A more-comprehensive listing may be found in RFC-2046.

Data which does not fit in any of the other categories, particularly data to be processed by some type of application program. application/octet-stream, application/gzip, application/postscript...

Audio data. audio/basic...

Graphics data. image/gif, image/jpeg...

A message, usually another mail or MIME message. message/rfc822...

A message containing other messages. multipart/mixed, multipart/alternative...

Textual data, meant for humans to read. text/plain, text/html...

Video or video+audio data. video/mpeg...

Content transfer encodings

The ``Encoding'' parameter of build(). This is how the message body is packaged up for safe transit.

Here are the 5 major MIME encodings. A more-comprehensive listing may be found in RFC-2045.

  1. bit
    Basically, no real encoding is done. However, this label guarantees that no 8-bit characters are present, and that lines do not exceed 1000 characters in length.

  2. bit
    Basically, no real encoding is done. The message might contain 8-bit characters, but this encoding guarantees that lines do not exceed 1000 characters in length.

    No encoding is done at all. Message might contain 8-bit characters, and lines might be longer than 1000 characters long.

    The most liberal, and the least likely to get through mail gateways. Use sparingly, or (better yet) not at all.

    Like ``uuencode'', but very well-defined. This is how you should send essentially binary information (tar files, GIFs, JPEGs, etc.).

    Useful for encoding messages which are textual in nature, yet which contain non-ASCII characters (e.g., Latin-1, Latin-2, or any other 8-bit alphabet).


Current version: $Id:,v 2.101 2000/06/06 03:52:43 eryq Exp $

Version 2.101
Major revision to print_body() and body_as_string() so that ``body'' really means ``the part after the header'', which is what most people would want in this context. This is not how it was used 1.x, where ``body'' only meant ``the body of a simple singlepart''. Hopefully, this change will solve many problems and create very few ones.

Added support for attaching a part to a ``message/rfc822'', treating the ``message'' type as a multipart-like container.

Now takes care not to include ``Bcc:'' in header when using send_by_smtp, as a safety precaution against qmail's behavior. Thanks to Tatsuhiko Miyagawa for identifying this problem.

Improved efficieny of many stringifying operations by using string-arrays which are joined, instead of doing multiple appends to a scalar.

Cleaned up the ``examples'' directory.

Version 1.147
Fixed buglet where lack of Cc:/Bcc: was causing extract_addrs to emit ``undefined variable'' warnings. Also, lack of a ``To:'' field now causes a croak. Thanks to David Mitchell for the bug report and suggested patch.

Version 1.146
Fixed bug in parsing of addresses; please read the WARNINGS section which describes recommended address formats for ``To:'', ``Cc:'', etc. Also added automatic inclusion of a UT ``Date:'' at top level unless explicitly told not to. Thanks to Andy Jacobs for the bug report and the suggestion.

Version 1.145
Fixed bug in encode_7bit(): a lingering /e modifier was removed. Thanks to Michael A. Chase for the patch.

Version 1.142
Added new, taint-safe invocation of ``sendmail'', one which also sets up the -f option. Unfortunately, I couldn't make this automatic: the change could have broken a lot of code out there which used send_by_sendmail() with unusual ``sendmail'' variants. So you'll have to configure ``send'' to use the new mechanism:
    MIME::Lite->send('sendmail');       ### no args!

Thanks to Jeremy Howard for suggesting these features.

Version 1.140
Fixed bug in support for ``To'', ``Cc'', and ``Bcc'' in send_by_smtp(): multiple (comma-separated) addresses should now work fine. We try real hard to extract addresses from the flat text strings. Thanks to John Mason for motivating this change.

Added automatic verification that attached data files exist, done immediately before the ``send'' action is invoked. To turn this off, set $MIME::Lite::AUTO_VERIFY to false.

Version 1.137
Added support for ``Cc'' and ``Bcc'' in send_by_smtp(). To turn this off, set $MIME::Lite::AUTO_CC to false. Thanks to Lucas Maneos for the patch, and tons of others for the suggestion.

Chooses a better default content-transfer-encoding if the content-type is ``image/*'', ``audio/*'', etc. To turn this off, set $MIME::Lite::AUTO_ENCODE to false. Thanks to many folks for the suggestion.

Fixed bug in QP-encoding where a non-local $_ was being modified. Thanks to Jochen Stenzel for finding this very obscure bug!

Removed references to $`, $', and $& (bad variables which slow things down).

Added an example of how to send HTML files with enclosed in-line images, per popular demand.

Version 1.133
Fixed bug in ``Data'' handling: arrayrefs were not being handled properly.

Version 1.130
Added much larger and more-flexible send() facility. Thanks to Andrew McRae (and Optimation New Zealand Ltd) for the Net::SMTP interface. Additional thanks to the many folks who requested this feature.

Added get() method for extracting basic attributes.

New... ``t'' tests!

Version 1.124
Folded in filehandle (FH) support in build/attach. Thanks to Miko O'Sullivan for the code.

Version 1.122
MIME::Base64 and MIME::QuotedPrint are used if available.

The 7bit encoding no longer does ``escapes''; it merely strips 8-bit characters.

Version 1.121
Filename attribute is now no longer ignored by build(). Thanks to Ian Smith for finding and patching this bug.

Version 1.120
Efficiency hack to speed up MIME::Lite::IO_Scalar. Thanks to David Aspinwall for the patch.

Version 1.116
Small bug in our private copy of encode_base64() was patched. Thanks to Andreas Koenig for pointing this out.

New, prettier way of specifying mail message headers in build().

New quiet method to turn off warnings.

Changed ``stringify'' methods to more-standard ``as_string'' methods.

Version 1.112
Added read_now(), and binmode() method for our non-Unix-using brethren: file data is now read using binmode() if appropriate. Thanks to Xiangzhou Wang for pointing out this bug.

Version 1.110
Fixed bug in opening the data filehandle.

Version 1.102
Initial release.

Version 1.101
Baseline code.


Copyright (c) 1997 by Eryq. Copyright (c) 1998 by ZeeGee Software Inc. All rights reserved. This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

This software comes with NO WARRANTY of any kind. See the COPYING file in the distribution for details.


For some reason, the US FDA says that this is now required by law on any products that bear the name ``Lite''...

    Serving size:             1 module
    Servings per container:   1
    Calories:                 0
    Fat:                      0g
      Saturated Fat:          0g
    Warning: for consumption by hardware only!  May produce 
    indigestion in humans if taken internally.


Eryq ( President, ZeeGee Software Inc. (

Created: 11 December 1996. Ho ho ho.

 MIME::Lite - low-calorie MIME generator