[JDEV] Krufty Jabber Client

Patrick McCuller patrick at kia.net
Mon Aug 9 12:39:42 CDT 1999

> > 	A more concrete example: streaming media. There are already
> very good, efficient transport methods for various kinds of streaming
> media, and trying to encapsulate the media itself would probably - I'm
> you'll agree - be a very bad idea. However, a protocol for negotiating the
connection -
> > passing IPs, proxies, URIs, and media types around might not be
> a bad idea. That itself is essentially feature negotiation and I've been
> trying to poke Jer to spill the beans on what he's been doing with this
concept.  :)
> Waitasec...Jabber is not shoutcast ;p  Is this creeping featurism?  I
> don't think it is worth is to delay Jabber months to incorporate
> streaming media which other applications are specifically designed for
> and handle very well.  This could be a content plugin instead (instead of
> in the "core").  This leads back to MIME.  If you know the content, then
> "content plugins" can handle em.

	Please read my messages more thoroughly. I usually spend at least an hour
composing each one. If you spent only a few minutes reading them, my time
investment might pay off. Your message demonstrates a remarkable failure to
understand my point. I have NEVER advocated that we should devote ANY time
to reinventing ANYTHING. In fact I have devoted a fair amount of energy to
trying to convice people on this list NOT to do this.

	My point is, again, that there are plenty of really good ways to move
various kinds of data from point A to point B. FTP, HTTP, RealMedia... these
are well developed mechanisms with available interfaces. There's simply no
need to reinvent or repackage this material. And trying to do so would be a
foolish waste of time.

	So where does Jabber fit in? The Jabber protocol can help clients to figure
out how to initiate the transfer of data. For instance: the user of Client A
wants to start streaming audio to the user of Client B. Now, we have a few
options as to how we should handle this in Jabber, some of them comically
ridiculous. We'll assume that the clients will be using some kind of direct
client to client transmission, instead of wasting server time with it. Our
options? I'll look at two of them:

	1. Establish an XML stream protocol - like or unlike the client to server
protocol - between the two clients. Package every byte of the streaming
audio into the XML stream (using an encoding methods, because XML doesn't
really have a good way to encapsulate purely binary data, CDATA Sections
being its closest call, but even they must be encoded to avoid certain
character combinations).
	This is a silly approach. That should seem pretty obvious for streaming
media: our Jabber protocol - and derivatives thereof - are not optimized for
streaming audio, video, or anything like it.
	What may be less obvious is that it is also a silly approach even for file
transfers. Why? Because HTTP, for instance, is already pretty damned good at
this, and it will get better all on its own without our help. We need merely
plug in our libraries to make it happen. HTTP is just an example. There are
many ways to move files - and indeed any form of data. We don't need to
concern ourselves with this.
	There is one possible exception to the let's-not-invent-our-own-wheel
principle in this area. And that is in the case of our own particular wheel:
the Jabber protocol. It may be that the Jabber protocol, or a subset of it,
is a great way for clients to communicate instant messages and other Jabber
protocol goals directly to each other. This idea is probably worth pursuing.

	2. Establish a non-protocol-biased framework for clients to negotiate
client to client transfers. This is feature negotiation and it may work
pretty well. Let's start with a concrete example of a possilbe interaction
between clients. This is assumed to me sent through the Jabber transport:
client to server to client, and it is also written in English for maximum

Client A: Hi, I want to send you a binary file.
Client B: OK, how about HTTP?
Client A: Alright. Pick up the file at

another example:

Client A: I want to send you an MP3 audio stream.
Client B: Sorry, I can't support that.

another example:

Client A: I want to send you a RealText stream.
Client B: Alright, where do I pick it up?
Client A: Pick it up at pnp://102.102.102...../etc/etc/etc/


Client A: I want to send you a RealText stream. Pick it up at
Client B: Alright.

another example:

Client A: I want to send you a JPG image.
Client B: Don't. I am a toaster.

another example:

Client A: I want you to send me hash receipts.
Client B: OK, how about SHA-1 hashes?
Client A: No. I can support MD5 hashes.
Client B: OK, I will send you MD5 hash receipts.

another example:

Client A: I want to compress my messages to you. I can use ZIP, GZIP, and
Bob's Cool New Compression.
Client B: I don't support compression. I am a wristwatch.
Client B: I support ZIP and GZIP.

another example:

Client A: I want to start a Jabber session directly with you.
Client B: Sorry, I'm behind six firewalls and a cauldron of boiling oil.
Client B: Alright, connect at:

	I hope this servers to clarify my position. In summary, I think that a
feature negotiation mechanism is all clients need to start client to client
transfers. Whether the feature negotiation occurs on a
query-this-then-query-that basis or on a
here's-everything-I-can-handle-do-your-worst all at once exposure, it should
work out about the same architecturally.


More information about the JDev mailing list