Skip to main content

A feature freezer for the Concise Data Definition Language (CDDL)
draft-bormann-cbor-cddl-freezer-11

The information below is for an old version of the document.
Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft whose latest revision state is "Active".
Author Carsten Bormann
Last updated 2023-03-11
Replaces draft-bormann-cddl-freezer
RFC stream (None)
Formats
Stream Stream state (No stream defined)
Consensus boilerplate Unknown
RFC Editor Note (None)
IESG IESG state I-D Exists
Telechat date (None)
Responsible AD (None)
Send notices to (None)
draft-bormann-cbor-cddl-freezer-11
Network Working Group                                         C. Bormann
Internet-Draft                                    Universität Bremen TZI
Intended status: Informational                             11 March 2023
Expires: 12 September 2023

   A feature freezer for the Concise Data Definition Language (CDDL)
                   draft-bormann-cbor-cddl-freezer-11

Abstract

   In defining the Concise Data Definition Language (CDDL), some
   features have turned up that would be nice to have.  In the interest
   of completing this specification in a timely manner, the present
   document was started to collect nice-to-have features that did not
   make it into the first RFC for CDDL, RFC 8610, or the specifications
   exercising its extension points, such as RFC 9165.

   Significant parts of this draft have now moved over to the CDDL 2.0
   project, described in draft-bormann-cbor-cddl-2-draft.  The remaining
   items in this draft are not directly related to the CDDL 2.0 effort.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at https://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on 12 September 2023.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2023 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents (https://trustee.ietf.org/
   license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document.
   Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights

Bormann                 Expires 12 September 2023               [Page 1]
Internet-Draft            CDDL feature freezer                March 2023

   and restrictions with respect to this document.  Code Components
   extracted from this document must include Revised BSD License text as
   described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are
   provided without warranty as described in the Revised BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Base language features  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.1.  Cuts  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Literal syntax  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.1.  Regular Expression Literals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   4.  Controls  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     4.1.  Control operator .pcre  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.2.  Endianness in .bits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.3.  .bitfield control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   5.  Co-occurrence Constraints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   6.  Alternative Representations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   7.  Other target formats  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   8.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   9.  Security considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   10. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     10.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     10.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9

1.  Introduction

   In defining the Concise Data Definition Language (CDDL), some
   features have turned up that would be nice to have.  In the interest
   of completing this specification in a timely manner, the present
   document was started to collect nice-to-have features that did not
   make it into the first RFC for CDDL [RFC8610], or the specifications
   exercising its extension points, such as [RFC9165].

   Significant parts of this draft have now moved over to
   [I-D.bormann-cbor-cddl-2-draft], which in turn references
   [I-D.bormann-cbor-update-8610-grammar],
   [I-D.bormann-cbor-cddl-more-control],
   [I-D.bormann-cbor-cddl-modules].  The remaining items in Sections 3
   to 4 of this draft are not directly related to the CDDL 2.0 effort.
   Section 5 might turn into a part of CDDL 2.5.

   The remaining sections are not proposing to change CDDL, but are
   ancillary developments: Section 6 is more interesting for the
   ecosystem of tools around CDDL.  Section 7 examines extending the
   area of application of CDDL beyond CBOR and JSON.

Bormann                 Expires 12 September 2023               [Page 2]
Internet-Draft            CDDL feature freezer                March 2023

   There is always a danger for a document like this to become a
   shopping list; the intention is to develop this document further
   based on the rapidly growing real-world experience with the first
   CDDL standard.

2.  Base language features

2.1.  Cuts

   Section 3.5.4 of [RFC8610] alludes to a new language feature, _cuts_,
   and defines it in a fashion that is rather focused on a single
   application in the context of maps and generating better diagnostic
   information about them.

   The present document is expected to grow a more complete definition
   of cuts, with the expectation that it will be upwards-compatible to
   the existing one in [RFC8610], before this possibly becomes a
   mainline language feature in a future version of CDDL.

3.  Literal syntax

   Literal syntax is also discussed in Appendix A.1 of
   [I-D.bormann-cbor-cddl-2-draft], which might provide another approach
   to Section 3.1.  This appendix is in turn based on ideas in
   [I-D.bormann-cbor-edn-literals].

3.1.  Regular Expression Literals

   Regular expressions currently are notated as strings in CDDL, with
   all the string escaping rules applied once.  It might be convenient
   to have a more conventional literal format for regular expressions,
   possibly also providing a place to add modifiers such as /i.  This
   might also imply text .regexp ..., which with the proposal in
   Section 4.1 then raises the question of how to indicate the regular
   expression flavor.

   (With the support for ABNF in [RFC9165], the need for this is
   reduced.  Also, the proliferation of regular expression flavors is
   hard to address with a single syntax.)

4.  Controls

   Controls are the main extension point of the CDDL language.  It is
   relatively painless to add controls to CDDL; this mechanism has been
   exercised in [RFC9090] for SDNV [RFC6256] and ASN.1 OID related byte
   strings, and in [RFC9165] for more generally applicable controls,
   including an interface to ABNF [RFC5234] [RFC7405].  A more recent
   collection of additions that is ready for standardization is

Bormann                 Expires 12 September 2023               [Page 3]
Internet-Draft            CDDL feature freezer                March 2023

   specified in [I-D.bormann-cbor-cddl-more-control].

   Several further candidates have been identified that aren't quite
   ready for adoption, of which a few shall be listed here.

4.1.  Control operator .pcre

   There are many variants of regular expression languages.
   Section 3.8.3 of [RFC8610] defines the .regexp control, which is
   based on XSD [XSD2] regular expressions.  As discussed in that
   section, the most desirable form of regular expressions in many cases
   is the family called "Perl-Compatible Regular Expressions" ([PCRE]);
   however, no formally stable definition of PCRE is available at this
   time for normatively referencing it from an RFC.

   The present document defines the control operator .pcre, which is
   similar to .regexp, but uses PCRE2 regular expressions.  More
   specifically, a .pcre control indicates that the text string given as
   a target needs to match the PCRE regular expression given as a value
   in the control type, where that regular expression is anchored on
   both sides.  (If anchoring is not desired for a side, .* needs to be
   inserted there.)

   Similarly, .es2018re could be defined for ECMAscript 2018 regular
   expressions with anchors added.

   See also [I-D.draft-bormann-jsonpath-iregexp], which could be
   specifically called out via .iregexp (even though .regexp as per
   Section 3.8.3 of [RFC8610] would also have the same semantics, except
   for a wider range of regexps).

4.2.  Endianness in .bits

   How useful would it be to have another variant of .bits that counts
   bits like in RFC box notation?  (Or at least per-byte?  32-bit words
   don't always perfectly mesh with byte strings.)

4.3.  .bitfield control

   Provide a way to specify bitfields in byte strings and uints to a
   higher level of detail than is possible with .bits.  Strawman:

Bormann                 Expires 12 September 2023               [Page 4]
Internet-Draft            CDDL feature freezer                March 2023

   Field = uint .bitfield Fieldbits

   Fieldbits = [
     flag1: [1, bool],
     val: [4, Vals],
     flag2: [1, bool],
   ]

   Vals = &(A: 0, B: 1, C: 2, D: 3)

   Note that the group within the controlling array can have choices,
   enabling the whole power of a context-free grammar (but not much
   more).

5.  Co-occurrence Constraints

   While there are no co-occurrence constraints in CDDL, many actual use
   cases can be addressed by using the fact that a group is a grammar:

   postal = {
     ( street: text,
       housenumber: text) //
     ( pobox: text .regexp "[0-9]+" )
   }

   However, constraints that are not just structural/tree-based but are
   predicates combining parts of the structure cannot be expressed:

   session = {
     timeout: uint,
   }

   other-session = {
     timeout: uint  .lt [somehow refer to session.timeout],
   }

   As a minimum, this requires the ability to reach over to other parts
   of the tree in a control.  Compare JSON Pointer [RFC6901] and JSON
   Relative Pointer [I-D.handrews-relative-json-pointer].  Stefan
   Gössner's jsonpath is a JSON variant of XPath that is now undergoing
   standardization [jsonpath].

   More generally, something akin to what Schematron is to Relax-NG may
   be needed.

Bormann                 Expires 12 September 2023               [Page 5]
Internet-Draft            CDDL feature freezer                March 2023

6.  Alternative Representations

   For CDDL, alternative representations e.g. in JSON (and thus in YAML)
   could be defined, similar to the way YANG defines an XML-based
   serialization called YIN in Section 11 of [RFC6020].  One proposal
   for such a syntax is provided by the cddlc tool [cddlc], which is
   reproduced below.  This could be written up in more detail and agreed
   upon.  (Since cddlc version 0.1.8, the "mem"-labeled array includes
   information about the presence of a cut, see Section 3.5.4 of
   [RFC8610].)

   cddlj = ["cddl", +rule]
   rule = ["=" / "/=" / "//=", namep, type]
   namep = ["name", id] / ["gen", id, +id]
   id = text .regexp "[A-Za-z@_$](([-.])*[A-Za-z0-9@_$])*"
   op = ".." / "..." /
     text .regexp "\\.[A-Za-z@_$](([-.])*[A-Za-z0-9@_$])*"
   namea = ["name", id] / ["gen", id, +type]
   type = value / namea / ["op", op, type, type] /
     ["map", group] / ["ary", group] / ["tcho", 2*type] /
     ["unwrap", namea] / ["enum", group / namea] /
     ["prim", ?((6, type/uint, ?type) // (0..7, ?uint))]
   group = ["mem", bool, null/type, type] /
     ["rep", uint, uint/false, group] /
     ["seq", 2*group] / ["gcho", 2*group]
   value = ["number"/"text"/"bytes", text]

   The "prim"-labeled array includes support for non-literal tag numbers
   (Section 2.1 of [I-D.bormann-cbor-cddl-2-draft]).

   More recently, a variant of this format has been used for easier
   processing.  It collects rules in a map (JSON object) and binds
   generic parameters to argument positions.  This variant will be
   described in a further revision of this document.

7.  Other target formats

   CDDL has originally been designed to describe CBOR and JSON data.
   One format of interest is comma-separated values, CSV [RFC4180].
   [I-D.bormann-cbor-cddl-csv] is a draft for using CDDL models with
   CSV.

8.  IANA Considerations

   This document makes no requests of IANA.

Bormann                 Expires 12 September 2023               [Page 6]
Internet-Draft            CDDL feature freezer                March 2023

9.  Security considerations

   The security considerations of [RFC8610] apply.

10.  References

10.1.  Normative References

   [RFC8610]  Birkholz, H., Vigano, C., and C. Bormann, "Concise Data
              Definition Language (CDDL): A Notational Convention to
              Express Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR) and
              JSON Data Structures", RFC 8610, DOI 10.17487/RFC8610,
              June 2019, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc8610>.

   [RFC9165]  Bormann, C., "Additional Control Operators for the Concise
              Data Definition Language (CDDL)", RFC 9165,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC9165, December 2021,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc9165>.

10.2.  Informative References

   [cddlc]    "CDDL conversion utilities", n.d.,
              <https://github.com/cabo/cddlc>.

   [I-D.bormann-cbor-cddl-2-draft]
              Bormann, C., "CDDL 2.0 -- a draft plan", Work in Progress,
              Internet-Draft, draft-bormann-cbor-cddl-2-draft-02, 10
              March 2023, <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/draft-
              bormann-cbor-cddl-2-draft-02>.

   [I-D.bormann-cbor-cddl-csv]
              Bormann, C., "Using CDDL for CSVs", Work in Progress,
              Internet-Draft, draft-bormann-cbor-cddl-csv-02, 27
              February 2023, <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/
              draft-bormann-cbor-cddl-csv-02>.

   [I-D.bormann-cbor-cddl-modules]
              Bormann, C., "CDDL Module Structure", Work in Progress,
              Internet-Draft, draft-bormann-cbor-cddl-modules-00, 10
              March 2023, <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/draft-
              bormann-cbor-cddl-modules-00>.

   [I-D.bormann-cbor-cddl-more-control]
              Bormann, C., "More Control Operators for CDDL", Work in
              Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-bormann-cbor-cddl-more-
              control-01, 9 March 2023,
              <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/draft-bormann-cbor-
              cddl-more-control-01>.

Bormann                 Expires 12 September 2023               [Page 7]
Internet-Draft            CDDL feature freezer                March 2023

   [I-D.bormann-cbor-edn-literals]
              Bormann, C., "Application-Oriented Literals in CBOR
              Extended Diagnostic Notation", Work in Progress, Internet-
              Draft, draft-bormann-cbor-edn-literals-01, 24 October
              2022, <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/draft-
              bormann-cbor-edn-literals-01>.

   [I-D.bormann-cbor-update-8610-grammar]
              Bormann, C., "Updates to the CDDL grammar of RFC 8610",
              Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-bormann-cbor-
              update-8610-grammar-00, 9 March 2023,
              <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/draft-bormann-cbor-
              update-8610-grammar-00>.

   [I-D.draft-bormann-jsonpath-iregexp]
              Bormann, C. and T. Bray, "I-Regexp: An Interoperable
              Regexp Format", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-
              bormann-jsonpath-iregexp-04, 25 April 2022,
              <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/draft-bormann-
              jsonpath-iregexp-04>.

   [I-D.handrews-relative-json-pointer]
              Luff, G. and H. Andrews, "Relative JSON Pointers", Work in
              Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-handrews-relative-json-
              pointer-02, 18 September 2019,
              <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/draft-handrews-
              relative-json-pointer-02>.

   [jsonpath] "jsonpath online evaluator", n.d., <https://jsonpath.com>.

   [PCRE]     "Perl-compatible Regular Expressions (revised API:
              PCRE2)", n.d., <http://pcre.org/current/doc/html/>.

   [RFC4180]  Shafranovich, Y., "Common Format and MIME Type for Comma-
              Separated Values (CSV) Files", RFC 4180,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC4180, October 2005,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc4180>.

   [RFC5234]  Crocker, D., Ed. and P. Overell, "Augmented BNF for Syntax
              Specifications: ABNF", STD 68, RFC 5234,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5234, January 2008,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc5234>.

   [RFC6020]  Bjorklund, M., Ed., "YANG - A Data Modeling Language for
              the Network Configuration Protocol (NETCONF)", RFC 6020,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6020, October 2010,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc6020>.

Bormann                 Expires 12 September 2023               [Page 8]
Internet-Draft            CDDL feature freezer                March 2023

   [RFC6256]  Eddy, W. and E. Davies, "Using Self-Delimiting Numeric
              Values in Protocols", RFC 6256, DOI 10.17487/RFC6256, May
              2011, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc6256>.

   [RFC6901]  Bryan, P., Ed., Zyp, K., and M. Nottingham, Ed.,
              "JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) Pointer", RFC 6901,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6901, April 2013,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc6901>.

   [RFC7405]  Kyzivat, P., "Case-Sensitive String Support in ABNF",
              RFC 7405, DOI 10.17487/RFC7405, December 2014,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc7405>.

   [RFC9090]  Bormann, C., "Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR)
              Tags for Object Identifiers", RFC 9090,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC9090, July 2021,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc9090>.

   [XSD2]     Malhotra, A., Ed. and P. V. Biron, Ed., "XML Schema Part
              2: Datatypes Second Edition", W3C REC REC-xmlschema-
              2-20041028, W3C REC-xmlschema-2-20041028, 28 October 2004,
              <https://www.w3.org/TR/2004/REC-xmlschema-2-20041028/>.

Acknowledgements

   Before [RFC8610] was finally published, many people have asked for
   CDDL to be completed, soon.  These are usually also the people who
   have brought up observations that led to the proposals discussed
   here.  Sean Leonard has campaigned for a regexp literal syntax.

Author's Address

   Carsten Bormann
   Universität Bremen TZI
   Postfach 330440
   D-28359 Bremen
   Germany
   Phone: +49-421-218-63921
   Email: cabo@tzi.org

Bormann                 Expires 12 September 2023               [Page 9]