2009 Year-End Status Report

We made a lot of important progress in 2009, even if it doesn’t feel like it. While there were no big new ideas, no final drafts, and very little overall progress, the progress made was still extremely valuable. It represents the maturity and stabilization of these efforts and technologies. We are getting close to the finish line of the discovery stack.

The following is a quick report on the status of the efforts I am involved in and what to expect in the next few months.

XRD

The XRD 1.0 specification is stable, ready for implementations, and pending final review.

The latest draft is Working Draft 11 which will be elevated to Committee Draft 2 shortly after the end of the public review period on January 6th, 2010. Working Draft 11 already accommodates all the changes and feedback received during the review period. It is mostly a matter of following the OASIS process at this point to get XRD 1.0 published as a standard. The next steps include publishing a second Committee Draft, a shorter public review period, and if no significant comments are received, moving forward with an OASIS standard vote.

The XRD schema has changed dramatically between Committee Draft 1 and Working Draft 11. I am not expecting any additional changes, at least not at that level. If you plan on reviewing the document, please do so before January 6th. At this point, the TC should not be accepting any new suggestions and focus on errors or problems in the specification. Any new ideas for making XRD 1.0 better would have to wait until the next version if submitted after January 6th.

Defining Well-Known URIs

The Defining Well-Known URIs specification (aka /.well-known) is stable and pending publication as a Standards Track RFC, as well as the creation of an IANA registry.

The latest revision published December 30th, 2009 includes minor clarifications to resolve feedback received from the IESG, the IETF technical governing body. The draft should resolve all the pending issues and should move to publication shortly after the New Year.

This draft went through a year-long journey, starting from a document called site-meta and ending with a URI path prefix and registry. This short and simple specification represents a significant shift in how Web applications are going to be designed, and how the URI namespace is treated.

Host-Meta: Web Host Metadata

The host-meta specification is stable and ready for implementations, but missing functionality.

Host-meta adds very little on top of XRD and Well-Known. The host-meta draft should be considered stable and is not likely to change. The protocol is still missing a trust profile – a workflow used to sign and verify the authenticity of a host-meta document – which will be either published separately or in the same specification.

While the current draft should be considered final (except for the missing feature), it can still change to accommodate trust requirements or feedback received during the normal IETF review process.

Host-meta is expected to move into IETF Last-Call by the end of Q1 2010 and published (if approved) by the end of Q2 2010.

LRDD

The LRDD specification is obsolete and not ready for implementations, pending a new draft.

After a long review period and many discussions, the LRDD specification is going to be transformed into a narrow, well-defined process for obtaining links. With the latest round of changes to the Web Linking draft, LRDD is going to register a new protocol-specific link relation type ‘lrdd‘ which will link to “The” resource XRD, or the “LRDD XRD”.

A preview of the proposal can be found on the WebFinger list. I expect a new draft published by the end of January, 2010.

WebFinger

The WebFinger workflow is stable, ready for implementations, pending dependencies and first draft.

It is still not clear what the WebFinger protocol includes, and how it will be published. As currently defined, WebFinger is not much more than a simple use case for XRD and host-meta (it is really a specialized case of LRDD, but only uses the proposed ‘lrdd‘ relation type).

The workflow going from an email-like identified – the account URI – to an XRD document describing that account is stable and unlikely to change significantly. The content of the account XRD is still very much undefined. The format of the account URI is going to be based on the XMPP URI format, but is still pending a first draft.

It is not clear which specification is going to define WebFinger and what it will include. There is going to be a specification of the proposed account URI, and something to bring all the different parts together. A specification defining the account URI is expected by the end of February, 2010.

OAuth

The OAuth 1.0 Protocol RFC (which can be considered as Revision B) is completed, ready for implementations, and pending IESG approval for publication as an Informational RFC.

The OAuth 2.0 Protocol is in its early proposal stage, but it likely to be based on the OAuth WRAP draft. I expect to have a set of stable drafts for OAuth 2.0 by the upcoming IETF OAuth Working Group meeting in March at the next IETF meeting.