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Versions: 00 01                                                         
INTERNET-DRAFT                                                    S. Williamson
draft-mealling-rwhoisurl-00.txt                                     M. Mealling
Expires June 5, 1996                                    Network Solutions, Inc.

                     The RWhois Uniform Resource Locator

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
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1. Abstract

RWhois is an Internet directory access protocol that is defined in
RFC1714[1]. This document describes a format for an RWhois Uniform Resource
Locator that will allow Internet clients to have direct access to the RWhois
protocol. An RWhois URL will represent a single query to an RWhois server.

2. URL Definition

An RWhois URL begins with the protocol prefix "rwhois" and is defined by the
following ABNF grammar.

     RWHOISURL = "rwhois://" [ SERVER ] "/" [ QUERY ]

     SERVER    = 1 *DNSCHAR *["." 1*DNSCHAR] [ ":" 1..65535 ]

     QUERY     = [ CLASS ] "?" TERMS

     CLASS     = 1*ALPHA

     TERMS     = a list of query terms as defined in RFC 1714

     DNSCHAR   = ALPHA/DIGIT/DASH

     ALPHA     = "a".."z"/"A".."Z"

     DIGIT     = 0..9

     DASH      = "-"

The RWhois prefix indicates an entry or entries residing in the RWhois
server running on the given hostname at the given port number as encoded in
SERVER. The default port is TCP port 4321. Any URL-illegal characters (e.g.,
spaces) MUST be escaped using the % method described in RFC 1738.

The CLASS specifies the RWhois class to which the object(s) in question
belong. If the CLASS part of the URL is omitted, all data contained in the
server will be searched. Please note that this may cause unintended
ambiguities. Those developers encoding RWhois URLs should encode the CLASS
as much as possible.

Note that if the entry resides in the RWhois namespace, it should be
reachable from any RWhois server in that tree. If the SERVER part of the URL
is missing, it is assumed to be a local query.

3. RWhois Version 1.0 versus 1.5 Interoperability

This URL is meant to work with both the 1.0 and 1.5 versions of the RWhois
protocol. There are two issues that developers should be aware of when using
this URL.

   * Output Display and Restriction Keywords
     In RWhois Version 1.0 an additional pre-query term could be specified
     that determined which values were returned to the client. These were
     derived from the original whois [RFC954] specification and included
     items like dump (#), SUMMARY ($), and FULL (=). Since a URL is used to
     point to the instance of the object and not its representation, the
     developer should determine what display type and restriction to use for
     his/her particular application. Thus, even though this term is
     considered part of the query in 1.0, it MUST NOT to be used in the URL
     itself.

   * Authority Areas
     Version 1.5 has a much stronger concept of authority areas. Developers
     should keep this in mind when encoding a particular URL so that no
     ambiguity is encountered for similar objects in different authority
     areas.

4. Examples

The following are some example RWhois URLs using the format defined above.

   * An RWhois URL referring to the domain class objects that contain the
     string "network solutions", available from the local RWhois server.

     rwhois:///domain?network%20solutions

   * An RWhois URL referring to the domain class containing the string
     "network solutions" on a particular RWhois server. This URL corresponds
     to a base object search of the domain class.

     rwhois://netman1.netsol.com/domain?network%20solutions

   * An RWhois URL referring to the set of entries found by querying the
     local RWhois server and looking for a person with the name of "Scott
     Williamson". Note the % encoded quotes and space.

     rwhois:///person?name=%42scott%20williamson%42

5. Security Considerations

The RWhois URL format does not provide a way to specify the security
information to use when resolving the URL. It is expected that such requests
will either be unauthenticated or that the client will be able to negotiate
the security requirements. The security implications of resolving an RWhois
URL are the same as those of resolving any RWhois query. See the RFC 1714
for more details.

6. Prototype Implementation Availability

There is a prototype implementation available for the specification defined
in this document. It is the RWhois client, provided in both source and
binary forms. See <URL:ftp://rs.internic.net/pub/rwhois/> for more details.

7. Bibliography

[1] Williamson, S., and Kosters, M., "RWhois Protocol", RFC 1714, March
1995.

[2] Berners-Lee, T., Masinter, L., and M. McCahill, "Uniform Resource
Locators (URL)", RFC 1738, December 1994.

8. Authors' Addresses

 Scott Williamson         Michael Mealling
 505 Huntmar Park Dr.     505 Huntmar Park Dr.
 Herndon, VA 22070        Herndon, VA 22070
 Phone: (703) 742-4820    Phone: (770) 491-1379
 email: scottw@rwhois.net email: michaelm@rwhois.net