[JDEV] Resource Routing/Addressing Proposal

Michael F Lin mflin at us.ibm.com
Mon Jul 16 12:39:47 CDT 2001

I have a proposal for a minor change to resource routing that will allow
endpoint JIDs to address any addressable service. This solution has been
written up by myself and Julian Missig (x-virge), but it was engineered by
Chet Murthy, a guy around here much smarter than the two of us combined.

Let's imagine for a moment that you, an average user with JID user at server,
wanted to run an AIM gateway for others to use. How do messages for any
arbirtary AIM user get routed to you? "Simple", you say, "just have other
people send their messages to user at server/screenname, then I'll just pick
the screenname off of the incoming XML and forward it along."

But there's a clear problem in this, in that in the current implementation
this would require you to have an open session for all possible AIM
screennames. Obviously, this is not acceptable.

So how do our transports get around this? Well, just that: they sidestep
the problem. By requiring special configuration on the server, they simply
make their JID "server" only, and as a result all messages to
anyuser at transport.server will be routed to them.

So how does the end user solve this problem? One possible way is to use the
envelope namespace or a custom x tag along with each message to indicate
its ultimate AIM destination. But this is clunky. The whole situation, we
believe, reveals that JIDs as they are now are fundamentally limited in
their ability to provide universal addressing.

There are easy ways around this. Consider that URLs use the question mark
(?) as a "separator" character. With respect to addressing, anything
following the question mark in a URL is ignored by the server and passed
along to the GGI application or whatever is available to receive it, if
anything. For example, if you navigate to the following URL in a web


You will get the exact same page as if you had just typed


Because, with respect to addressing, the server ignores everything
following the question mark. How does this become useful? Well, if the
server ends up invoking a CGI program (or JSP, whatever), that application
can use what was passed by the user for its own purposes - whatever they
may be, and they could be anything. The server doesn't need to have any
special knowledge whatsoever about the application or its requirements.

So let's imagine we did this with Jabber IDs. Sending a packet to

username at host/resource?some_arbitrary_text

Is equivalent to sending a packet to

username at host/resource

Well, this appears to solve our earlier problem. AIM messages can be sent

user at host/aim-gateway?screenname

The problem is that this would break, or at least disenfranchise, any
existing or future software that happens to log in with a ? in its
resource, which is perfectly allowable in the current standard.

We propose instead a slightly subtler way to route packets. Currently, a
packet received by the server for a valid username but a nonexistent
resource is discarded. We propose instead that packets sent to a specific
resource be routed to the "closest matching" resource, if one is available.
We define the "closest matching" resource as follows: the resource of
string length n that matches the first n characters of the requested
resource, where n is less than or equal to the string length of the
requested resource, and where n is the value greater than the string
lengths of all other partially matching resources, if any. If no such
"closest matching" resource is available, the packet is bounced as it would
be today. This routing occurs without regard to the current priority
routing rules, which affect the routing of a packet sent without a

For example, if a user has logged in with the following resource (and ONLY
this resource):

username at host/res1

Packets directed to all of the following JIDs would be routed to that

username at host/res1
username at host/res12345
username at host/res1?blah

In more complex cases, if a user has logged in with the following
resources, and only the following resources:

username at host/resource1
username at host/resource123

Packets directed to the following JIDs will be routed to
username at host/resource123:

username at host/resource12345
username at host/resource123blah

Packets directed to the following JIDs will be routed to
username at host/resource1

username at host/resource135
username at host/resource1blah

A packet directed to username at host/resource will be dropped.

We believe this is a good solution to our problem because it is reasonably
compatible with the existing standard: it affects only the failure case,
where a packet that would otherwise have been bounced may now be
successfully delivered; success cases are entirely unaffected, since they
currently depend on an exact match of the resource. The implementation of
this small routing change will allow the Jabber ID to be used to address
any conceivable service without special knowledge from the server.

-Mike Lin
mflin at us.ibm.com

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