Field separators, again

Paul Crowley paul at
Wed Jun 8 03:05:18 PDT 2005

Nathan D. Bowen wrote:
> But instead of colons, why not use = as the separator? Then, as a bonus, we can describe it in terms of its similarity to "Windows INI format" or the "Java Properties format".

Sounds good to me.  Note that Java is also happy with colons though.

>    "dh_public" in place of "" (not all Diffie-Hellman documentation 
> uses the name 'gy')

I'd prefer that the server use a different name than the client for its 
public part.  Apart from that, I'm agnostic.

>    "digest_type" in place of "auth_type",

Definitely not.  What if the next revision uses UMAC?

>    "encryption" in place of "enc" (enc looks like 'encoding' to me),
>    "encrypted_secret" in place of "enc_secret"

Brad explicitly shortened these.

> If we opt out of the question of which single format to use for responses, I shudder to think about the question "Why won't you add my favorite format, too? After all, I see a format-selection step right there in the protocol..." 

I also fear that.  But it will be hard to add formats after the initial 
revision.  If the consumer can't parse any of the formats in the initial 
revision, it won't be able to talk to old servers.  If it can, there's 
no real point in asking for a newer format.  My preference is still for 
just one format, but Brad has more experience than me here.

> XML data is almost self-documenting. As long as we don't restrict 
> ourselves to simple name/value pairs, XML gives us the opportunity to 
> make the response format significantly more declarative and 
> understandable.

Personally, introducing the full complexity of XML gives me The Fear, 
but I'll leave that to others to debate.
\/ o\ Paul Crowley, paul at

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