Specification for message format for Computer Based Message Systems
RFC 841

Document Type RFC - Unknown (January 1983; No errata)
Obsoletes RFC 806
Last updated 2013-03-02
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RFC 841

      FIPS Pub 98

      SPECIFICATION FOR MESSAGE FORMAT FOR COMPUTER
      BASED MESSAGE SYSTEMS

      

      27 January 1983

      National Bureau of Standards

      This RFC is FIPS 98.  The purpose of distributing this document
      as an RFC is to make it easily accesible to the ARPA research
      community.  This RFC does not specify a standard for the ARPA
      Internet.






                              TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                   Page

      EXECUTIVE SUMMARY                                               5

      1.  INTRODUCTION                                                7

          1.1  Guide to Reading This Document                         7
          1.2  Vendor-Defined Extensions to the Specification         8
          1.3  The Scope of the Message Format Specification          8
          1.4  Issues Not Within the Scope of the Message Format      8
               Specification
          1.5  Relationship to Other Efforts                          9

      2.  A SIMPLE MODEL OF A CBMS ENVIRONMENT                       10

          2.1  Logical Model of a CBMS                               12
          2.2  Relationship to the ISO Reference Model for Open      14
               Systems Interconnection
          2.3  Messages and Fields                                   14
          2.4  Message Originators and Recipients                    15

      3.  SEMANTICS                                                  17

          3.1  Semantics of Message Fields                           17
               3.1.1  Types of fields                                17
               3.1.2  Semantic Compliance Categories                 18
               3.1.3  Originator fields                              18
               3.1.4  Recipient fields                               19
               3.1.5  Date fields                                    20
               3.1.6  Cross-reference fields                         21
               3.1.7  Message-handling fields                        22
               3.1.8  Message-content fields                         23
               3.1.9  Extensions                                     23

                                      i



          3.2  Message Processing Functions                          24
               3.2.1  Message creation and posting                   24
               3.2.2  Message reissuing and forwarding               25
                    3.2.2.1  Redistribution                          26
                    3.2.2.2  Assignment                              28
               3.2.3  Reply generation                               28
               3.2.4  Cross-referencing                              29
                    3.2.4.1  Unique identifiers                      29
                    3.2.4.2  Serial numbering                        30
               3.2.5  Life span functions                            30
               3.2.6  Requests for recipient processing              31
                    3.2.6.1  Message circulation                     31
          3.3  Multiple Occurrences and Ordering of Fields           31

      4.  SYNTAX                                                     34

          4.1  Introduction                                          34
               4.1.1  Message structure                              34
               4.1.2  Data elements                                  35
                    4.1.2.1  Primitive data elements                 36
                    4.1.2.2  Constructor data elements               36
               4.1.3  Properties                                     36
                    4.1.3.1  Printing-names                          37
                    4.1.3.2  Comments                                37
               4.1.4  Data compression and encryption                37
          4.2  Overview of Syntax Encoding                           37
               4.2.1  Identifier Octets                              38
               4.2.2  Length code and Qualifier components           39
                    4.2.2.1  Length Codes                            41
                    4.2.2.2  Qualifier                               42
               4.2.3  Property-List                                  44
               4.2.4  Data Element Contents                          44
          4.3  Data Element Syntax                                   44
               4.3.1  Data elements                                  45
                    4.3.1.1  Primitives                              47
                    4.3.1.2  Constructors                            49
                    4.3.1.3  Data Elements that Extend this Speci-   52
                             fication
               4.3.2  Using data elements within message fields      53
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