Re: [babel] [netmod] NULL value for uint16

Mahesh Jethanandani <> Tue, 14 September 2021 17:37 UTC

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From: Mahesh Jethanandani <>
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Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2021 10:37:35 -0700
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Cc: "STARK, BARBARA H" <>, tom petch <>, "" <>, Babel at IETF <>
To: Juergen Schoenwaelder <>
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Subject: Re: [babel] [netmod] NULL value for uint16
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Hi Juergen,

> On Sep 14, 2021, at 10:17 AM, Jürgen Schönwälder <> wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 14, 2021 at 01:51:36PM +0000, STARK, BARBARA H wrote:
>> As I mentioned, BBF TR-181 uses int with range 	-1:65535 with -1 meaning NULL. So I certainly have no issue with that approach. The language in RFC9046 was intended to make sure this approach was allowed, since this is how it's done in TR-181.
>> I guess I am a bit surprised to learn that YANG doesn't seem to have a preferred way to handle this. Unfortunately, given my considerable lack of YANG expertise, I can't recommend the "right" way to model this in YANG. I can only insist that the model be able to express a value in the range 0 to 2^16 and NULL value for these parameters. 
>> Independent of the fact that the words in RFC9046 don't seem to have expressed this perfectly clearly, that is absolutely the intent of those words. I apologize that the RFC9046 words don't seem to be sufficiently clear. 
>> Since you do mention the possibility of using -1 for NULL, I'd like to understand who might find this approach unacceptable? The language in the information model was definitely intended to express the acceptability of using this approach from a Babel WG perspective (because I knew that's how it would be done in TR-181). Would this be unacceptable to people with YANG expertise? I think my preference would be to use this approach, since it would provide additional consistency between the TR-181 and YANG models.
> If other data models use an extended integer range and -1 to indicate
> a special case, then this may be a strong reason to do the same in the
> IETF YANG data model. Consistency across data models is a value, in
> particular for systems that may have to support multiple. While the
> conversion of different notations no hard, its one more thing to
> potentially get wrong.
> If you were starting with a blank sheet of paper, then the YANG idiom
> would likely be to use a union of a 16-bit integer and a special
> (string) value, which might even be of type empty.

I hear two suggestions on what the “other” construct should be in the union statement. Use ‘empty’ as you suggest, or use ‘boolean’. Are there any pros/cons for either of the approaches?

> One of the reasons to have no common approach to these kind of
> questions is to provide the flexibility needed to do the right thing
> in different contexts. Of course, you may want to stay consistent in a
> data model or a collection of related data model.
> I skimmed RFC 8407 and it seems we do not have text discussion this
> specific situation. Perhaps we should have text, perhaps I have
> overlooked it. ;-) I think there are different patterns to choose from
> to handle this situation with their various pros and cons.
> /js
> -- 
> Juergen Schoenwaelder           Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
> Phone: +49 421 200 3587         Campus Ring 1 | 28759 Bremen | Germany
> Fax:   +49 421 200 3103         <>

Mahesh Jethanandani