Handles in a whois++ network

Rickard Schoultz <schoultz@admin.kth.se> Mon, 23 August 1993 22:29 UTC

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To: ietf-wnils@aggie.ucdavis.edu
Subject: Handles in a whois++ network
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1993 23:32:21 +0200
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From: Rickard Schoultz <schoultz@admin.kth.se>

The handle presentation mechanisms described in the whois++ architecture
document will probably not work well in a network of whois++ servers.

The whois++ architecture paper says that a HANDLE response will return a
handle together a template type.  An index server will forward this
query to the servers that it will see fit, and those servers will in
turn either respond with a SERVERS-TO-ASK or forward the query
(FORWARDED-QUERY) to other servers.
 Eventually, the originating server will compile the answers and present
them to the client.

The problem is that every server has its own handle namespace, so
presenting handles in one list will give a not-so-usable answer.

For example, if we queried an index server:
	format=handle
	foo
the server would go out and search its centroids, finding three servers
that has information on foo, query each of them and return:

	# HANDLE 3
	 BAR01	user
	 BAR01	user
	 BAR23	user
	# END

and just as of a coincidence the handles matched on two servers. (This
will probably be a very common situation.) What would the index server
return if the client then said:
	!BAR01
?

We have to present a unique handle to the querying server/client, and the
only way to do that is to give information on what server that provided us
with the record.
 This could easily be done by adding the server handle to every handle
reply that the server sends back (for example punctuated with a slash)...

	# HANDLE 3
	 IANASERVERHANDLE1/BAR01 User
	 IANASERVERHANDLE2/BAR01 User
	 IANASERVERHANDLE3/BAR23 User
	# END

This definitly introduces some complexity like policy for servers about
which servers they will query for whom.

Maybe I am missing something, but is this what would be the idea with
the POINTER format? What use would handles then have except for local
searches or queries to leaf servers?

-Rickard