[[JDEV] Thoughts on user at server.com name addressing]

Eric S.Smith csess at netscape.net
Wed Jan 6 15:27:42 CST 1999

Oh, *ugh*.  Netscape's WebMail has a lousy interface for replies.
My apologies if this turns out all fouled up.

Thomas Jerome Muldowney wrote:

> There has been some discussion on here about the fact that jabber 
> uses the user at server.com style 


> If the system was based off of a single name, or number, then 
> every time you sent a message it would have to be looked up 
> what server to send the info to in the distributed
> system.

Of course, this is how domain names work, so it's doable.

A central name-resolver wouldn't have to do too much work, since
communications would still be going through users' "home" Jabber
servers.  There could even be a community of name-resolvers that
shared the job (via round-robin DNS or a meta-resolver that just
tells you the name of a nearby name-resolver to use).

> Finally, wouldn't it be more of a client part to keep track 
> of what user at server.com goes with what Nick?

An address book, in other words?  This solves the problem of
remembering Jabber addresses, but not of giving them permanence:
one of the arguments in favour of centralized name resolution is
that if I move from one Jabber-enabled ISP to another, my address,
under the current user at host system, will probably change.

That said, I think that the user at host system is just fine.  If
it turns out to be too much of a hassle, we can just set up a
centralized name resolution system after the fact. People could 
then roll automagical use of it into a new version of the client.
The client would query the central system by handing it some 
universal Jabber ID code, be told the real user at host address, and 
make the call as before.  

This would be a backward-compatible extension to the client and 
wouldn't affect the installed base of older clients or the servers.  
As such, any concerned citizen could set it up -- expanding it to 
serve as a directory of other addresses too, if desired.

Another measure that would solve the problem of users changing
ISPs would be to give them the ability to leave a forwarding address.
Rather than just saying "no such user," the Jabber server could say
"moved to user at new-host."  Of course, this would require changes to
the protocol.

--Eric Smith

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