Applications Area


  • Harald Alvestrand:

  • Keith Moore:

    Area Summary Reported by Harald Alvestrand, UNINETT and John Klensin, MCI

    This is a short report on the status of the Applications Area as of the conclusion of the Los Angeles IETF meeting in March 1996.

    The Applications Area currently contains the following working groups:

    Access/Synchronization of the Internet Directories (asid)

  • Chair(s): Tim Howes <>

  • Responsible AD: Harald Alvestrand

    Detailed Revision/Update of Message Standards (drums)

  • Chair(s): Keith Moore <>

  • Responsible AD: Harald Alvestrand

    Electronic mail read receipts (receipt)

  • Chair: Urs Eppenberger <>

  • Responsible AD: Harald Alvestrand

    Common Indexing Protocol (find)

  • Chair: Patrik Falstrom <>

  • Responsible AD: Harald Alvestrand

    Hypertext Markup Language (html)

  • Chair(s): Eric Sink <>

  • Responsible AD: John Klensin

    HyperText Transfer Protocol (http)

  • Chair(s): Larry Masinter <>,

  • Dave Raggett <>

  • Responsible AD: John Klensin

    This group is jointly supervised with the Transport Area.

    Integrated Directory Services (ids)

  • Chair(s): Linda Millington <>,

  • Sri Sataluri <>

  • Responsible AD: Harald Alvestrand

    This group is jointly supervised with the User Services Area.

    Mail Extensions (mailext)

  • Chair(s): C. Allan Cargille <>

  • Responsible AD: Harald Alvestrand

    Mail And Directory Management (madman)

  • Chair(s): Steve Kille <>

  • Responsible AD: John Klensin

    MIME Content-Type for SGML Documents (mimesgml)

  • Chair(s): Ed Levinson <>

  • Responsible AD: John Klensin

    MIME-X.400 Gateway (mixer)

  • Chair: Urs Eppenberger <>

  • Responsible AD: Harald Alvestrand

    No new groups have been formed in the area since the last IETF.

    Two new groups are in the process of being formed: MHTML, which met as a BOF at this and the previous IETF, and URC, which met as a BOF at the last IETF, but did not meet at this time.

    No groups have terminated since the last IETF. One group, MAILEXT, is in the process of being terminated.

    The Apps area sponsored three BOFs at this IETF:

  • Apps/TSV joint BOF on Web-related transport issues * MHTML BOF

  • Early morning BOF on active user agents

    A BOF on a MIB for HTML was sponsored by the Network Management Area.

    In addition, the Apps area held an open Apps area meeting.

    Given the state of the Net today, it is not surprising that intense focus is given to the Web-oriented groups. The performance of these groups has been less than stellar in getting things done within the original time estimates and in keeping up with developments in industry, and some doubts have been raised on the ability of the IETF to provide leadership in this area.

    Nonetheless, the IETF seems to be valued by many as a standardization organization that is not controlled by any particular grouping, and there seems to be consensus that the IETF should continue to be a standards organization within this area.

    An issue coming strongly into focus now is the question of E-mail security. Considerable work was done both on and off the agenda to see what progress could be made on this issue; work will probably be forthcoming soon. The main focus of these efforts has been within the Security area.

    The question of managing applications has moved back into focus with the reactivation of the MADMAN group, the chartering of the APPLMIB group and the HTTPMIB BOF. This area will receive considerable attention in the future, and some architectural work should be done here.


    Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

    This group has not been making satisfactory progress, primarily due to proposals from multiple camps. In areas of controversy, the working group has been unable to agree on widely-deployed approaches, favoring instead a strategy of waiting for better solutions.

    The Monday meeting focused on trying to reorganize and plot a new course. That course will focus on standardizing what can be standardized, sometimes involving the IETF at later or earlier stages in feature design and development than has previously been common. Relevant features with broad support or deployment will be moved directly to standards track, with "versions" being the province of subsequent applicability statements or BCP documents.

    The Thursday meeting attempted to complete the work of defining a sensible agenda for the working group's remaining lifespan, and giving guidance for work to be done in the IETF on other issues. The set of conclusions reached was not final.

    Electronic mail read receipts (RECEIPT)

    The group had not published a new version of its draft since its last meeting. Nevertheless, problems with the old draft were discussed, and reasonable consensus was reached on most or all issues. The group expects to be finished before Montreal.

    HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

    HTTP/1.0 has been submitted to become an Informational RFC. We are focusing on getting a proposed standard for a new version of HTTP with an aggressive schedule: submission of a Proposed Standard by May 1. This schedule will mean dropping some issues and features in this first standards-track version and considering them for standardization in a subsequent version. Of top priority are those fixes that will help relieve HTTP-caused Internet congestion: host identification, caching, persistent connections.

    We had formed a number of subgroups to evaluate the HTTP/1.1 draft. In our two originally scheduled meetings, we reviewed the subgroup's conclusions and open issues, in the areas of caching, persistent connections, content negotiation, state management, range retrieval, authentication, extension methods, and extension methods. In addition, we also had a lively and productive interaction with the WTS members where HTTP security work is proceeding, and a third meeting on Thursday to triage our task list and assign ownership:

    Jim Gettys is now the lead editor.

    MIME Content-Type for SGML Documents (mimesgml)

    The group reviewed recent mailing list activity and several people reported on off list conversation. James Clark and Don Stinchfield have been asked to work to resolve the extended catalog issues in the exch proposal that James has raised. Charles Goldfarb has offered his help on these issues and suggested that the SGML Open Consortium would be a better venue in which to discuss the content. The chair will contact Paul Grosso, the SGML Open Technical Chair, to get assurance that the SGML Open will undertake the work. The use of multipart/mixed in exchange can be replaced with multipart/related as that will be moved to standards track as soon as either mimesgml or mhtml reccommends a draft which uses it.

    Integrated Directory Services (ids)

    An Internet-Draft that is the revision of the X.500 Catalog has been published. It will be further improved and progressed as an Informational RFC in April.

    A revised draft for the CCSO (Ph) nameserver architecture paper has been submitted. This paper will be circulated on CCSO mailing lists for comments and progressed as a standards track RFC. A good draft of the preferred practices for Ph directory service will be published by the Montreal IETF.

    The X.500 Root Naming context draft will be revised based on several comments received. A new draft edited by David Chadwick will be published when the discussion comes to a closure.

    A reference schema for an Internet White Pages Person will be published by April 1st 1996.

    The group produced a standard DNS names for network services document that will be further revised and widely circulated for comments. A final decision on the track for this document will be made by the next IETF.

    The group has started the work on producing a BCP on directory services. A good draft will be published shortly.

    Common Indexing Protocol (find)

    The FIND Working Group met to discuss the Common Indexing Protocol. The new co-chair Roland Hedberg was introduced. The Group discussed the Data Changed Template, the Poll Template, and the Centroid Change Template. They also discussed questions from the mailing list. The group decided this work was important to continue within the IETF.

    Access/Synchronization of the Internet Directories (asid)

    ASID considered the following topics:

  • Drafts for carrying directory info as MIME objects, not limited to a single directory system

  • LDAP version 3

  • Drafts for carrying BER streams in MIME + SOLO reactivation

    Of these, the first two seem most likely to bring IETF-relevant results.

    Mail and Directory Management (madman)

    Three documents were reviewed: Network MIB, Directory MIB, Mail MIB.

    Issues were cleanly resolved on: relationship to application MIB; URLs; Traps; Failure Counting; Group Specification.

    The three documents will be revised and finalised rapidly. This will be the last face to face meeting of the working group. There are also expected to be some experimental RFCs arising on the use of Traps. These can be handled without face to face meetings of the working group.

    It was agreed that a message store MIB would be desirable, but this would not be progressed until a solid proposal was on the table.

    Detailed Revision/Update Of Messaging Standards (drums)

    The group did not have new published drafts since the last IETF. Nevertheless, topics that had been discussed on the list got another airing, and substantial agreement was found possible.


    Mail Extensions (mailext)

    Mailext, which did not meet at this IETF, currently has one outstanding document: a standards-track RFC by Ned Freed on the URL external body part. An experiment has been agreed to whereby a variation on the format that should raise many of the same issues will be used for the IETF Internet-Draft document announcements. If the experiment is successful, a Last Call will be issued on the document for Proposed Standard status. If the experiment identifies problems, the document will be returned to the working group.

    MIME-X.400 Gateway (mixer)

    This group believes that its two core documents are reasonably complete, and is waiting for final edits on the largest one before going with them to Last Call for Proposed.


    Joint Apps/Transport BOF on Web-related problems

    Text/HTML in Email (mhtml-bof)

    Twenty-four people attended the MHTML meeting at IETF 35 on March 4, 1996. We adopted our Working Group draft charter with minor word changes. We also addressed and resolved all items on our meeting agenda. The results will be reported to the working group mailing list in our formal meeting minutes prepared for submission to the IETF. Minutes were taken by Ken Rossen.

    In particular, we tentatively resolved most disagreements about which methods should be used to convey location reference information about MIME multipart/related HTML body-parts. The consensus conclusions of the meeting will be reviewed on the working group mailng list to inform those not attending, and to document our full understanding of the issues and our resolution. New draft text is being prepared by Jacob Palme for review via the working group mailing list. We expect to meet our milestones on schedule. MHTML Working Group will meet at the 36th IETF in Montreal.

    Open Apps Area Meeting

    This was an experiment conducted by the area directors for furthering more cooperation across groups within the area. Presentations were given by:

  • Jeff Schiller, Security

  • Ned Freed, Email

  • Tim Howes, Directories

  • Larry Masinter, WWW

    A lively discussion ensued, with focus points around models for directories and the problems with E-mail gateways. Most attendees seemed to think the meeting a "good thing. "

    Agents BOF

    Agents BOF, 0800-0900 Wednesday, 6 Mar 96. Conveners: Einar Stefferud, Tony Rutkowski. This informal BOF brought together IETF attendees interested in agent technology with a view toward identifying standards areas where the IETF could fill a significant need. This was articulated by Tony Rutkowski as co-convenor, who pointed to rapid emergence of intelligent agent implementations coupled with an IETF draft RFC on URAs, activities in the W3 Consortium-OMG workshop in June, and sessions at the 5th International WWW Conference at Paris in May.

    Leslie Daigle presented draft-ietf-daigle-ura-01.txt on Uniform Resource Agents (URAs), a Specification. Her presentation included questions and issues surrounding bounding the definition of agents, their interfaces, and what the IETF could do. Peter Doemel discussed mobile code implementations-in terms of the Telescript implementation, where the paradigm is remote programming as opposed to remote procedure calls.

    Dick Binder urged that the group articulate specific standardization needs for IETF. Stefferud urged security concerns and the need for significant attention. A participant noted that ISO/JTC1/SC21/WG7 dealing with open distributed processing, had done some work related to management of distributed processing systems that may be agent related.

    There was consensus that the large attendance of 44 signed attendees provided indication that dialogue should be continued via a mailing list, which Rutkowski volunteered to host. No equivalent list was known to exist.


    (This BOF was convened by Carl Kalbfleisch in the Network Management area, and its report copied here for completeness) The HTTP MIB BOF was held Monday in LA at the IETF meeting. The minutes of the BOF will be posted to the web site in a few days with an announcemnet on this list.

    In addition to the BOF, Rui, Dirk and myself meet several times during the week. I also met with the chairs of the Application MIB where we came to some understanding of the relationship between our efforts, MADMAN and sysApplMib. Finally, I presented an update of HTTP MIB to the HTTP Working Group.

    A quick summary of the BOF (for those who were not in LA) is that I have been asked to work with Ned Freed (Editor for MADMAN) and Jon Saperia (Chairman Application MIB Working Group) to develop a document which outlines:

  • requirements for web server management + usage scenerios for

  • existing MIBs

  • specify types of remaining objects needed

    Following the release of this document, the IESG will assess whether a Working Group will be formed within the IETF.