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Versions: 00 01                                                         
Network Working Group                                            J. Jena
Internet-Draft
Intended status: Standards Track                                S. Dalal
Expires: May 21, 2021                                  November 17, 2020


                   The Idempotency HTTP Header Field
                      draft-idempotency-header-00

Abstract

   The "HTTP" Idempotency request header field can be used to carry
   idempotency key in order to make non-idempotent "HTTP" methods such
   as "POST" or "PATCH" fault-tolerant.

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
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   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 May 21, 2021.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2020 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
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   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.





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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
     1.1.  Notational Conventions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  The Idempotency HTTP Request Header Field . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.1.  Syntax  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.2.  Uniqueness of Idempotency Key . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.3.  Idempotency Key Validity and Expiry . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.4.  Idempotency Fingerprint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.5.  Idempotency Enforcement Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.6.  Responsibilities  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.7.  Error Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   3.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     3.1.  The Idempotency-Key HTTP Request Header Field . . . . . .   6
   4.  Implementation Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     4.1.  Implementing the Concept  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   5.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   6.  Examples  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   7.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
     7.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
     7.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
   Appendix A.  Acknowledgments  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
   Appendix B.  Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
     B.1.  Appendix A.  Imported ABNF  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12

1.  Introduction

   Idempotence is the property of certain operations in mathematics and
   computer science whereby they can be applied multiple times without
   changing the result beyond the initial application.  It does not
   matter if the operation is called only once, or 10s of times over.
   The result "SHOULD" be the same.

   Idempotency is important in building a fault-tolerant "HTTP API".  An
   "HTTP" request method is considered "idempotent" if the intended
   effect on the server of multiple identical requests with that method
   is the same as the effect for a single such request.  [RFC7231]
   defines methods "OPTIONS", "HEAD", "GET", "PUT" and "DELETE" as
   idempotent.  However, "POST" and "PATCH" methods are "NOT"
   idempotent.

   Suppose a client on "HTTP API" wants to create or update a resource
   using "POST" method.  Since "POST" is "NOT" an idempotent method,
   calling it multiple times can result in duplication or wrong updates.
   What would happen if you sent out the POST request to the server, but
   you get a timeout?  Is the resource actually created or updated?
   Does the timeout happened during sending of the request to the



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   server, or while receiving the response on the client?  Can we safely
   retry again, or do we need to figure out first what has happened with
   the resource?  If "POST" was an idempotent method, we would not have
   to answer such questions.  We could safely resend a request until we
   actually get a response back from the server.

   For many use cases in "HTTP API", creation of duplicate records is a
   severe problem from business perspective.  For example, in Fintech
   industry, duplicate records for requests involving any kind of
   payment transaction on a financial account "MUST NOT" be allowed.  In
   other cases, processing of duplicate webhooks due to retries is not
   warranted.

1.1.  Notational Conventions

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and
   "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP
   14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all
   capitals, as shown here.

   This specification uses the Augmented Backus-Naur Form (ABNF)
   notation of [RFC5234] and includes, by reference, the IMF-fixdate
   rule as defined in Section 7.1.1.1 of [RFC7231].

   The term "resource" is to be interpreted as defined in Section 2 of
   [RFC7231], that is identified by an URI.

2.  The Idempotency HTTP Request Header Field

   An idempotency key is a unique value generated by the client which
   the resource server uses to recognize subsequent retries of the same
   request.  The "Idempotency-Key" HTTP request header field carries
   this key.

2.1.  Syntax

   The "Idempotency-Key" request header field describes

   Idempotency-Key       = idempotency-key-value

   idempotency-key-value = opaque-value
   opaque-value          = DQUOTE *idempotencyvalue DQUOTE
   idempotencyvalue      = %x21 / %x23-7E / obs-text
          ; VCHAR except double quotes, plus obs-text

   Clients MUST NOT include more than one "Idempotency-Key" header field
   in the same request.



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   The following example shows an idempotency key using UUID version 4
   scheme:

   Idempotency-Key: "8e03978e-40d5-43e8-bc93-6894a57f9324"

2.2.  Uniqueness of Idempotency Key

   The idempotency key that is supplied as part of every "POST" request
   MUST be unique and can not be reused with another request with a
   different request payload.

   How to make the key unique is up to the client and it's agreed
   protocol with the resource owner.  It is "RECOMMENDED" that "UUID" or
   a similar random identifier be used as the idempotency key.

2.3.  Idempotency Key Validity and Expiry

   The resource MAY enforce a time based idempotency keys, thus, be able
   to purge or delete a key upon its expiry.  The resource server SHOULD
   publish expiration policy related documentation.

2.4.  Idempotency Fingerprint

   An idempotency fingerprint MAY be used in conjunction with with an
   idempotency key to determine the uniqueness of a request and is
   generated from request payload data.  An idempotency fingerprint is
   generated by the resource implementation.  Idempotency Fingerprint
   generation algorithm MAY use one of the following or similar
   approaches to generate a fingerprint.

   o  Checksum of the entire request payload.

   o  Checksum of selected elements in the request payload.

   o  Field value match for each field in the request payload.

   o  Field value match for selected elements in the request payload.

   o  Request digest/signature.

2.5.  Idempotency Enforcement Scenarios

   o  First time request (Idempotency Key and Idempotency Fingerprint
      scenarios has not been seen)

      The resource server SHOULD process the request normally and
      respond with an appropriate response and status code.




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   o  Duplicate request (Idempotency Key and Idempotency Fingerprint
      scenarios has been seen)

      Replay

      The request was replayed after the original request completed.
      The resource server MUST respond with the result of the previously
      completed operation, success or an error.

      Concurrent Request

      The request was replayed before the original request completed.
      The resource server MUST respond with a resource conflict error.
      See ## Error Scenarios for details.

2.6.  Responsibilities

   Client

   For the idempotent resource operations, the client MUST present a
   unique idempotency key in Idempotency-Key request header field.

   Resource Server

   o  Generate Idempotency Fingerprint when required.

   o  Check for idempotency under various scenarios including the ones
      described earlier.

   o  Manage the lifecycle of the Idempotency Key.

   o  Publish idempotency related specification in relevant
      documentation.

2.7.  Error Scenarios

   If the "Idempotency-Key" request header is missing for a documented
   idempotent operation requiring this header, the resource server MUST
   reply with an "HTTP" "400" status code with body containing a link
   pointing to the relevant documentation.  Alternately, using the
   "HTTP" header "Link", client could be informed about the error too as
   shown below.

   HTTP/1.1 400 Bad Request
   Link: <https://developer.example.com/idempotency>;
     rel="describedby"; type="text/html"





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   If there is an attempt to reuse an idempotency key with a different
   request payload, the resource server MUST reply with an "HTTP" "422"
   status code with body containing a link pointing to the relevant
   documentation.  Using the "HTTP" header "Link", client could be
   informed about the error as following.

   HTTP/1.1 422 Unprocessable Entity
   Link: <https://developer.example.com/idempotency>;
   rel="describedby"; type="text/html"

   If there is an attempt to reuse an idempotency key that is expired,
   the resource server MUST reply with an "HTTP" "422" status code with
   body containing a link pointing to the relevant documentation.  Using
   the "HTTP" header "Link", client could be informed about the error as
   following.

   HTTP/1.1 422 Unprocessable Entity
   Link: <https://developer.example.com/idempotency>;
   rel="describedby"; type="text/html"

   If the request is replayed, while the original request is still
   processing, the resource server MUST reply with an "HTTP" "409"
   status code with body containing a link pointing to the relevant
   documentation.  Using the "HTTP" header "Link", client could be
   informed about the error as following.

   HTTP/1.1 409 Conflict
   Link: <https://developer.example.com/idempotency>;
   rel="describedby"; type="text/html"

   For other errors, the resource MUST return the appropriate status
   code and error message.

3.  IANA Considerations

3.1.  The Idempotency-Key HTTP Request Header Field

   The "Idempotency-Key" request header should be added to the permanent
   registry of message header fields (see [RFC3864]), taking into
   account the guidelines given by HTTP/1.1 [RFC7231].











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   Header Field Name: Idempotency-Key

   Applicable Protocol: Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

   Status: Standard

   Author: Jayadeba Jena, <jjena@paypal.com>
           Sanjay Dalal <sanjay.dalal@cal.berkeley.edu>

   Change controller: IETF

   Specification document: this specification,
               Section 2 "The Idempotency HTTP Request Header Field"

4.  Implementation Status

   Note to RFC Editor: Please remove this section before publication.

   This section records the status of known implementations of the
   protocol defined by this specification at the time of posting of this
   Internet-Draft, and is based on a proposal described in [RFC7942].
   The description of implementations in this section is intended to
   assist the IETF in its decision processes in progressing drafts to
   RFCs.  Please note that the listing of any individual implementation
   here does not imply endorsement by the IETF.  Furthermore, no effort
   has been spent to verify the information presented here that was
   supplied by IETF contributors.  This is not intended as, and must not
   be construed to be, a catalog of available implementations or their
   features.  Readers are advised to note that other implementations may
   exist.

   According to RFC 7942, "this will allow reviewers and working groups
   to assign due consideration to documents that have the benefit of
   running code, which may serve as evidence of valuable experimentation
   and feedback that have made the implemented protocols more mature.
   It is up to the individual working groups to use this information as
   they see fit".

   Organization: Stripe

   o  Description: Stripe uses custom HTTP header named "Idempotency-
      Key"

   o  Reference: https://stripe.com/docs/idempotency

   Organization: Adyen

   o  Description: Adyen uses custom HTTP header named "Idempotency-Key"



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   o  Reference: https://docs.adyen.com/development-resources/api-
      idempotency/

   Organization: Dwolla

   o  Description: Dwolla uses custom HTTP header named "Idempotency-
      Key"

   o  Reference: https://docs.dwolla.com/

   Organization: Interledger

   o  Description: Interledger uses custom HTTP header named
      "Idempotency-Key"

   o  Reference: https://github.com/interledger/

   Organization: WorldPay

   o  Description: WorldPay uses custom HTTP header named "Idempotency-
      Key"

   o  Reference: https://developer.worldpay.com/docs/wpg/idempotency

   Organization: Yandex

   o  Description: Yandex uses custom HTTP header named "Idempotency-
      Key"

   o  Reference: https://cloud.yandex.com/docs/api-design-
      guide/concepts/idempotency

4.1.  Implementing the Concept

   This is a list of implementations that implement the general concept,
   but do so using different mechanisms:

   Organization: Django

   o  Description: Django uses custom HTTP header named
      "HTTP_IDEMPOTENCY_KEY"

   o  Reference: https://pypi.org/project/django-idempotency-key

   Organization: Twilio

   o  Description: Twilio uses custom HTTP header named "I-Twilio-
      Idempotency-Token" in webhooks



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   o  Reference: https://www.twilio.com/docs/usage/webhooks/webhooks-
      connection-overrides

   Organization: PayPal

   o  Description: PayPal uses custom HTTP header named "PayPal-Request-
      Id"

   o  Reference: https://developer.paypal.com/docs/business/develop/
      idempotency

   Organization: RazorPay

   o  Description: RazorPay uses custom HTTP header named "X-Payout-
      Idempotency"

   o  Reference: https://razorpay.com/docs/razorpayx/api/idempotency/

   Organization: OpenBanking

   o  Description: OpenBanking uses custom HTTP header called "x-
      idempotency-key"

   o  Reference: https://openbankinguk.github.io/read-write-api-
      site3/v3.1.6/profiles/read-write-data-api-profile.html#request-
      headers

   Organization: Square

   o  Description: To make an idempotent API call, Square recommends
      adding a property named "idempotency_key" with a unique value in
      the request body.

   o  Reference: https://developer.squareup.com/docs/build-basics/using-
      rest-api

   Organization: Google Standard Payments

   o  Description: Google Standard Payments API uses a property named
      "requestId" in request body in order to provider idempotency in
      various use cases.

   o  Reference: https://developers.google.com/standard-payments/
      payment-processor-service-api/rest/v1/TopLevel/capture

   Organization: BBVA





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   o  Description: BBVA Open Platform uses custom HTTP header called "X-
      Unique-Transaction-ID"

   o  Reference:
      https://bbvaopenplatform.com/apiReference/APIbasics/content/x-
      unique-transaction-id

   Organization: WebEngage

   o  Description: WebEngage uses custom HTTP header called "x-request-
      id" to identify webhook POST requests uniquely to achieve events
      idempotency.

   o  Reference: https://docs.webengage.com/docs/webhooks

5.  Security Considerations

   This section is meant to inform developers, information providers,
   and users of known security concerns specific to the idempotency
   keys.

   For idempotent request handling, the resources MAY make use of the
   value in the idempotency key to look up the idempotent request cache
   such as a persistent store, for duplicate requests, matching the key.
   If the resource does not validate the value of the idempotency key,
   prior to performing the lookup, it MAY lead to various forms of
   security attacks, compromising itself.  To avoid such situations, the
   resource SHOULD publish the expected format of the idempotency key
   and always validate the value as per the published specification for
   the key, before processing the request.

6.  Examples

   The first example shows an idempotency-key header field with key
   value using UUID version 4 scheme:

   Idempotency-Key: "8e03978e-40d5-43e8-bc93-6894a57f9324"

   Second example shows an idempotency-key header field with key value
   using some random string generator:

   Idempotency-Key: "clkyoesmbgybucifusbbtdsbohtyuuwz"

7.  References







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7.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2119>.

   [RFC3864]  Klyne, G., Nottingham, M., and J. Mogul, "Registration
              Procedures for Message Header Fields", BCP 90, RFC 3864,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC3864, September 2004,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc3864>.

   [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/info/rfc5234>.

   [RFC7230]  Fielding, R., Ed. and J. Reschke, Ed., "Hypertext Transfer
              Protocol (HTTP/1.1): Message Syntax and Routing",
              RFC 7230, DOI 10.17487/RFC7230, June 2014,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7230>.

   [RFC7231]  Fielding, R., Ed. and J. Reschke, Ed., "Hypertext Transfer
              Protocol (HTTP/1.1): Semantics and Content", RFC 7231,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7231, June 2014,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7231>.

   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8174>.

7.2.  Informative References

   [RFC7942]  Sheffer, Y. and A. Farrel, "Improving Awareness of Running
              Code: The Implementation Status Section", BCP 205,
              RFC 7942, DOI 10.17487/RFC7942, July 2016,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7942>.

7.3.  URIs

   [1] https://github.com/paypal/api-standards/blob/master/
       patterns.md#idempotency

   [2] https://stripe.com/docs/idempotency

   [3] https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-nottingham-http-poe-00





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Appendix A.  Acknowledgments

   The authors would like to thank Mark Nottingham for his support for
   this Internet Draft.  We would like to acknowledge that this draft is
   inspired by Idempotency related patterns described in API
   documentation of PayPal [1] and Stripe [2] as well as Internet Draft
   on POST Once Exactly [3] authored by Mark Nottingham.

   The authors take all responsibility for errors and omissions.

Appendix B.  Appendix

B.1.  Appendix A.  Imported ABNF

   The following core rules are included by reference, as defined in
   Appendix B.1 of [RFC5234]: ALPHA (letters), CR (carriage return),
   CRLF (CR LF), CTL (controls), DIGIT (decimal 0-9), DQUOTE (double
   quote), HEXDIG (hexadecimal 0-9/A-F/a-f), LF (line feed), OCTET (any
   8-bit sequence of data), SP (space), and VCHAR (any visible US-ASCII
   character).

   The rules below are defined in [RFC7230]:

    obs-text      = <obs-text, see [RFC7230], Section 3.2.6>

Authors' Addresses

   Jayadeba Jena

   Email: jjena@paypal.com
   URI:   https://github.com/jayadeba


   Sanjay Dalal

   Email: sanjay.dalal@cal.berkeley.edu
   URI:   https://github.com/sdatspun2














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