WG Action: vCard and vCardDAV (vcarddav)

IESG Secretary <iesg-secretary@ietf.org> Thu, 31 January 2008 15:15 UTC

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Cc: Kurt Zeilenga <Kurt.Zeilenga@Isode.com>, vcarddav@ietf.org
Subject: WG Action: vCard and vCardDAV (vcarddav)
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A new IETF working group has been formed in the Applications Area.  For
additional information, please contact the Area Directors or the WG


vCard and vCardDAV (vcarddav)

Last Modified: 2007-12-26

Current Status: Active Working Group

Marc Blanchet <marc.blanchet@viagenie.ca>
Kurt Zeilenga <Kurt.Zeilenga@Isode.com>

Applications Area Director(s):
Chris Newman <chris.newman@sun.com>
Lisa Dusseault <lisa@osafoundation.org>

Applications Area Advisor:
Chris Newman <chris.newman@sun.com>

Mailing Lists:
General Discussion: vcarddav@ietf.org
To Subscribe: https://www1.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/vcarddav
Archive: http://www1.ietf.org/pipermail/vcarddav

Description of Working Group:

A personal address book (PAB) contains a read/write copy of attributes 
describing a user's interpersonal contacts. This is distinct from a
directory which contains a primarily read-only copy of users within an
organization. While these two data objects share a large number of common
attributes, their use and access patterns are fundamentally different. The
IETF has a standards-track data format (vCard) which has been successfully
used to interchange both personal-address-book and user directory entry
data objects. However, due to the lack of a standard access control model
for LDAP, the lack of a standard LDAP schema and DIT-model for vCard PAB
objects, and the different access patterns for PAB data (as opposed to
directory data), the use 
of LDAP as an access protocol for PABs has had mixed results in practice.
Moreover, the vCard format has been extended by many parties and the
current specification is ambiguous for some objects.

If the deployed protocols related to interpersonal communication are
viewed as a component-based system, there are a number of points in the
system that would benefit from a standards track access protocol for
personal address book data. 
This includes:

* Mail User Agents use PAB data to assist outgoing email addressing and
may use vCard attachments to transport PAB data between users.
* Calendar User Agents use PAB data to invite attendees to events
* Instant Messaging User Agents can provide additional information about a
user's buddies if they can be associated with a user's PAB entry.
* A server-side Sieve engine with the spamtest/virustest extension would 
benefit from access to a user's PAB to provide per-user white list
* Various deployed challenge-response mechanisms for email present in Mail
Transfer Agents, such as TMDA, would be improved by a PAB-based white
* Mobile device synchronization software might be simplified by a single 
cross-platform PAB access protocol.
* A voice conference or IP telephony system could access a user's PAB to 
provide name-based or nickname-based dialing.

This WG will produce the following outputs:

(1) A revision of the vCard specification (RFC2426) at proposed standard
status. This revision shall include other vCard standardized extensions
(RFC 2739, 4770) and extensions assisting synchronization technologies
(for example, a per-entry UUID or per-attribute sequence number). Other
extensions shall be considered either in the base specification or in
additional documents.

(2) An address book access protocol leveraging the vCard data format. The
Internet-draft draft-daboo-carddav will be the starting point.
The WG is explicitly cautioned to keep the base specification feature set
small with an adequate extension mechanism, as failure to do so was a
problem for previous PAB efforts (ACAP). The WG will consider arguments of
the form "feature X must be in the base feature set because ..." with
great skepticism.

These documents will consider security implications carefully. The WG
will consider developing a mechanism that provides the ability to check if
an email address (or im address, etc) is in the user's PAB without
providing unrestricted access to all of the user's PAB data. The WG should
also consider developing a mechanism that allows the user to grant this
limited permission to a third-party service (such as a server-based Sieve
engine) for white-list purposes.

Once the primary outputs are complete, the WG will consider the following
secondary outputs:

(3) An XML schema which is semantically identical to vCard in all ways
and can be mechanically translated to and from vCard format without loss
of data. While vCard has deployed successfully and will remain the
preferred interchange format, a standard XML schema which preserves vCard
semantics might make vCard data more accessible to XML-centric
technologies such as AJAX and XSLT. Such a standard format would be
preferable to multiple proprietary XML schemas, particularly if vCard
semantics were lost by some of them and a lossy gateway problem resulted.
(4) Identifying useful deployed vCard vendor extensions and creating
standards track versions of those extensions.
(5) Cooperate with the Sieve WG to produce a Sieve extension for address
book Sieve tests.
(6) LDAP mapping to the new vCard format without loss of data.

Goals and milestones:
Q1 2008 Address book access protocol draft
Q1 2008 vCard new revision draft
Q2 2008 submit to IESG both drafts
Q2 2008 XML schema
Q2 2008 LDAP schema
Q3 2008 vcard extensions
Q4 2008 submit to IESG remaining drafts

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