Rationale for the Structure of the Model and Protocol for the Internet Printing Protocol
draft-ietf-ipp-rat-04

Versions: 00 01 02 03 04 rfc2568                                        
          INTERNET DRAFT                                Stephen N. Zilles
          <draft-ietf-ipp-rat-02.txt>                  Adobe Systems Inc.
        
          November 21, 1997                         Expires: May 21, 1998
        
        
                 Rationale for the Structure of the Model and Protocol
                         for the Internet Printing Protocol
        
        
        
          STATUS OF THIS MEMO
        
          This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are working
          documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its
          areas, and its working groups.  Note that other groups may also
          distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts.
        
          Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six
          months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other
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          To learn the current status of any Internet-Draft, please check
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          (Europe), munnari.oz.au (Pacific Rim), ds.internic.net (US East
          Coast), or ftp.isi.edu (US West Coast).
        
          ABSTRACT
        
          This document is one of a set of documents which together
          describe all aspects of a new Internet Printing Protocol (IPP).
          IPP is an application level protocol that can be used for
          distributed printing on the Internet. There are multiple parts
          to IPP, but the primary architectural components are the Model,
          the Protocol and an interface to Directory Services. This
          document provides a high level overview of the architecture
          and provides the rationale for the decisions made in
          structuring the architecture.
        
          The full set of IPP documents include:
        
               Requirements for an Internet Printing Protocol
               Internet Printing Protocol/1.0: Model and Semantics
               Internet Printing Protocol/1.0: Protocol Specification
               Rationale for the Structure of the Model and Protocol for
                   the Internet Printing Protocol
        
        
        
        
        
        
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          1.   ARCHITECTURAL OVERVIEW
        
          The Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) is an application level
          protocol that can be used for distributed printing on the
          Internet. This protocol defines interactions between a
          client and a server. The protocol allows a client to inquire
          about capabilities of a printer, to submit print jobs and to
          inquire about and cancel print jobs. The server for these
          requests is the Printer; the Printer is an abstraction of a
          generic document output device and/or a print service
          provider. Thus, the Printer could be a real printing device,
          such as a computer printer or fax output device, or it could
          be a service that interfaced with output devices.
        
          The architecture for IPP defines (in the Model document
          [IPP-MOD]) an abstract Model for the data which is used to
          control the printing process and to provide information
          about the process and the capabilities of the Printer. This
          abstract Model is hierarchical in nature and reflects the
          structure of the Printer and the Jobs that may be being
          processed by the Printer.
        
          The Internet provides a channel between the client and the
          server/Printer. Use of this channel requires flattening and
          sequencing the hierarchical Model data. Therefore, the IPP
          also defines (in the Protocol document [IPP-PRO]) an
          encoding of the data in the model for transfer between the
          client and server.  This transfer of data may be either a
          request or the response to a request.
        
          Finally, the IPP defines (in the Protocol document
          [IPP-PRO]) a protocol for transfering the encoded request
          and response data between the client and the server/Printer.
        
          An example of a typical interaction would be a request from
          the client to create a print job. The client would assemble
          the Model data to be associated with that job, such as the
          name of the job, the media to use, the number of pages to
          place on each media instance, etc. This data would then be
          encoded according to the Protocol and would be transmitted
          according to the Protocol. The server/Printer would receive
          the encoded Model data, decode it into a form understood by
          the server/Printer and, based on that data, do one of two
          things: (1) accept the job or (2) reject the job. In either
          case, the server must construct a response in terms of the
          Model data, encode that response according to the Protocol and
          transmit that encoded Model data as the response to the
          request using the Protocol.
        
          Another part of the IPP architecture is the Directory Schema
          (described in the model document)..  The role of the
        
        
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          Directory Schema is to provide a standard set of attributes
          which might be used to query a directory service for the URI
          of a Printer that is likely to meet the needs of the client.
        
          The IPP architecture also addresses security issues such as
          control of access to server/Printers and secure transmissions
          of requests, response and the data to be printed.
        
        
          2. THE PRINTER
        
          Because the (abstract) server/Printer encompasses a wide
          range of implementations, it is necessary to make some
          assumptions about a minimal implementation. The most likely
          minimal implementation is one that is embedded in an output
          device running a specialized real time operating system and
          with limited processing, memory and storage capabilities.
          This Printer will be connected to the Internet and will have
          at least a TCP/IP capability with (likely) SNMP [RFC1905,
          RFC1906] support for the Internet connection. In addition,
          it is likely the the Printer will be an HTML/HTTP server to
          allow direct user access to information about the printer.
        
        
          3. RATIONALE FOR THE MODEL
        
          The Model [IPP-MOD] is defined independently of any encoding
          of the Model data both to support the likely uses of IPP and
          to be robust with respect to the possibility of alternate
          encodings.
        
          It is expected that a client or server/Printer would
          represent the Model data in some data structure within the
          applications/servers that support IPP. Therefore, the Model
          was designed to make that representation straightforward.
          Typically, a parser or formatter would be used to convert
          from or to the encoded data format. Once in an internal form
          suitable to a product, the data can be manipulated by the
          product. For example, the data sent with a Print Job can be
          used to control the processing of that Print Job.
        
          The semantics of IPP are attached to the (abstract)
          Model. Therefore, the application/server is not dependent on
          the encoding of the Model data, and it is possible to consider
          alternative mechanisms and formats by which the data could be
          transmitted from a client to a server; for example, a server
          could have a direct, client-less GUI interface that might be
          used to accept some kinds of Print Jobs. This independence
          would also allow a different encoding and/or transmission
        
        
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          mechanism to be used if the ones adopted here were shown to be
          overly limiting in the future. Such a change could be migrated
          into new products as an alternate protocol stack/parser for
          the Model data.
        
          Having an abstract Model also allows the Model data to be
          aligned with the (abstract) model used in the Printer
          [RFC1759], Job and Host Resources MIBs. This provides
          consistency in interpretation of the data obtained
          independently of how the data is accessed, whether via IPP
          or via SNMP [RFC1905, RFC1906] and the Printer/Job MIBs.
        
          There is one aspect of the Model that deserves some extra
          explanation. There are two ways for identifying a Job
          object: (a) with a Job URI and (b) using a combination of
          the Printer URI and a Job ID (a 32 bit positive integer).
          Allowing Job objects to have URIs allows for flexibility and
          scalability. For example a job could be moved from a printer
          with a large backlog to one with a smaller load and the job
          identification, the Job object URI, need not change.
          However, many existing printing systems have local models or
          interface constraints that force Job objects to be
          identified using only a 32-bit positive integer rather than
          a URI.  This numeric Job ID is only unique within the
          context of the Printer object to which the create request
          was originally submitted.  In order to allow both types of
          client access to Jobs (either by Job URI or bynumeric Job
          ID), when the Printer object successfully processes a create
          request and creates a new Job, the Printer object SHALL
          generate both a Job URI and a Job ID for the new Job object.
          This requirement allows all clients to access Printer
          objects and Job objects no matter the local constraints
          imposed on the client implementation.
        
          4. RATIONALE FOR THE PROTOCOL
        
          There are two parts to the Protocol: (1) the encoding of the
          Model data and (2) the mechanism for transmitting the model
          data between client and server.
        
          4.1 The Encoding
        
          To make it simpler to develop embedded printers, a very
          simple binary encoding has been chosen. This encoding is
          adequate to represent the kinds of data that occur within
          the Model. It has a simple structure consisting of sequences
          of attributes. Each attribute has a name, prefixed by a name
          length, and a value.. The names are strings constrained to
          characters from a subset of ASCII.  The values are either
        
        
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          scalars or a sequence of scalars. Each scalar value has a
          length specification and a value tag which indicates the
          type of the value. The value type has two parts: a major
          class part, such as integer or string, and a minor class
          part which distinguishes the usage of the major class, such
          as dateTime string. Tagging of the values with type
          information allows for introducing new value types at some
          future time.
        
          A fully encoded request/response has a version number, an
          operation (for a request) or a status and optionally a status
          message (for a response), associated parameters and attributes
          which are encoded Model data and, optionally (for a request),
          print data following the Model data.
        
          4.2 The Transmission Mechanism
        
          The chosen mechanism for transmitting the encoded Model data
          is HTTP 1.1 Post (and associated response). No modifications
          to HTTP 1.1 are proposed or required.
        
          The sole role of the Transmission Mechanism is to provide a
          transfer of encoded Model data from/to the client to/from the
          server. This could be done using any data delivery mechanism.
          The key reasons why HTTP 1.1 Post is used are given below. The
          most important of these is the first. With perhaps this
          exception, these reasons could be satisfied by other
          mechanisms. There is no claim that this list uniquely
          determines a choice of mechanism.
        
             1. HTTP 1.0 is already widely deployed and, based on the
                recent evidence, HTTP 1.1 is being widely deployed as the
                manufacturers release new products. The performance
                benefits of HTTP 1.1 have been shown and manufactures
                are reacting postively.
        
                Wide deployment has meant that many of the problems of
                making a protocol work in a wide range of environments
                from local net to intranet to internet have been solved
                and will stay solved with HTTP 1.1 deployment.
        
             2. HTTP 1.1 solves most of the problems that might have
                required a new protocol to be developed. HTTP 1.1 allows
                persistent connections that make a multi-message
                protocol be more efficient; for example it is practical
                to have a separate CreatJob and SendJob
                messages. Chunking allows the transmission of large
                print files without having to prescan the file to
                determine the file length. The accept headers allow the
        
        
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                client's protocol and localization desires to be
                transmitted with the IPP operations and data. If the
                Model were to provide for the redirection of Job
                requests, such as Cancel-Job, when a Job is moved, the
                HTTP redirect response allows a client to be informed
                when a Job he is interested in is moved to another
                server/Printer for any reason.
        
             3. Most network Printers will be implementing HTTP
                servers for reasons other than IPP. These network
                attached Printers want to provide information on how
                to use the printer, its current state, HELP
                information, etc. in HTML. This requires having an
                HTTP server which would be available to do IPP
                functions as well.
        
             4. Most of the complexity of HTTP 1.1 is concerned with
                the implementation of HTTP proxies and not the
                implementation of HTTP clients and/or servers. Work is
                proceding in the HTTP Working Group to help identify
                what must be done by a server. As the Protocol
                document shows, that is not very much.
        
             5. HTTP implementations provide support for handling URLs
                that would have to be provided if a new protocol were
                defined.
        
             6. An HTTP based solution fits well with the Internet
                security mechanism that are currently deployed or being
                deployed. HTTP will run over TLS/SSL. The digest
                authentication mechanism of HTTP 1.1 provides an
                adequate level of access control (at least for intranet
                usage). These solutions are deployed and in practical
                use; a new solution would require extensive use to have
                the same degree of confidence in its security.
        
             7. HTTP provides an extensibility model that a new
                protocol would have to develop independently. In
                particular, the headers, content-types (via Internet
                Media Types) and error codes have wide acceptance and
                a useful set of definitions and methods for extension.
        
             8. Although not strictly a reason why IPP should use HTTP
                as the transmission protocol, it is extremely helpful
                that there are many prototyping tools that work with
                HTTP and that CGI scripts can be used to test and
                debug parts of the protocol.
        
        
        
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             9. Finally, the POST method was chosen to carry the print
                data because its usage for data transmission has been
                established, it works and the results are available
                via CGI scripts where that is relevant. Creating a new
                method would have better identified the intended use
                of the POSTed data, but a new method would be more
                difficult to deploy. Because there were no strong
                arguments for or against using a new method, the POST
                method was used.
        
          5. RATIONALE FOR THE DIRECTORY SCHEMA
        
          Successful use of IPP depends on the client finding a
          suitable IPP enabled Printer to which to send a IPP requests,
          such as print a job. This task is simplified if there is a
          Directory Service which can be queried for a suitable
          Printer. The purpose of the Directory Schema is to have a
          standard description of Printer attributes that can be
          associated the the URI for the printer. These attributes are a
          subset of the Model attributes and can be encoded in the
          appropriate query syntax for the Directory Service being used
          by the client.
        
          6. RATIONALE FOR SECURITY
        
          Security is an areas of active work on the Internet. Complete
          solutions to a wide range of security concerns are not yet
          available. Therefore, in the design of IPP, the focus has been
          on identifying a set of security protocols/features that are
          implemented (or currently implementable) and solve real
          problems with distributed printing. The two areas that seem
          appropriate to support are: (1) authorization to use a Printer
          and (2) secure interaction with a printer. The chosen
          mechanisms are the digest authentication mechanism of HTTP 1.1
          and the TLS/SSL [TLS-PRO] secure communication mechanism.
        
          To provide access to both HTTP security and TLS security,
          IPP Printers provide two URLs for accessing the Printer
          object: one URL for which the scheme is HTTP for normal HTTP
          1.1 access and one URL for which the scheme is HTTPS for
          access to the Printer using TLS/SSL protected communication.
          Two URLs are necessary because all allowed modes of TLS
          require some level of security beyond HTTP security so a TLS
          capable URL cannot be used to negotiate down to HTTP
          security.
        
          7. COPYRIGHT
        
          This document and translations of it may be copied and
          furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or
        
        
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          otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be
          prepared, copied, published and distributed, in whole or in
          part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the
          above copyright notice and this paragraph are included on
          all such copies and derivative works.  However, this
          document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by
          removing the copyright notice or references to the Internet
          Society or other Internet organizations, except as needed
          for the purpose of developing Internet standards in which
          case the procedures for copyrights defined in the Internet
          Standards process must be followed, or as required to
          translate it into languages other than English.
        
          The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will
          not be revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or
          assigns.
        
          This document and the information contained herein is
          provided on an "AS IS" basis and THE INTERNET SOCIETY AND
          THE INTERNET ENGINEERING TASK FORCE DISCLAIMS ALL
          WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO
          ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF THE INFORMATION HEREIN WILL NOT
          INFRINGE ANY RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
          MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
        
          8. REFERENCES
        
          [RFC1759]
              Smith, R., Wright, F., Hastings, T., Zilles, S., and
              Gyllenskog, J., "Printer MIB", RFC 1759, March 1995.
        
          [RFC1905]
              J. Case, et al. "Protocol Operations for  Version 2 of
              the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMPv2)", RFC 1905,
              January 1996.
        
          [RFC1906]
              J. Case, et al. "Transport Mappings for  Version 2 of
              the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMPv2)", RFC 1906,
              January 1996.
        
          [IPP-MOD]
              Isaacson, S, deBry, R, Hastings, T, Herriot, R, Powell,
              P, "Internet Printing Protocol/1.0: Model and Semantics"
              draft-ipp-mod-07.txt, November, 1997.
        
        
        
        
        
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          [IPP-PRO]
              Herriot, R., Butler, S., Moore, P., Tuner, R., " Internet
              Printing Protocol/1.0: Protocol Specifications", draft-ipp-pro-
              03.txt, November, 1997.
        
          [IPP-REQ]
              Wright, D., "Requirements for an Internet Printing Protocol",
              draft-ipp-req-01.txt, November, 1997.
        
          [TLS-PRO]
              Dierks, T., Allen, C., "The TLS Protocol Version 1.0",
              <draft-ietf-tls-protocol-05.txt>, November, 1997
        
        
           9. AUTHORS ADDRESS
        
           Stephen Zilles
           Adobe Systems Incorporated
           345 Park Avenue
           MailStop W14
           San Jose, CA 95110-2704
        
           Phone: +1 408 536-4766
           Fax:   +1 408 537-4042
           Email: szilles@adobe.com
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
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