XEP-0223: Persistent Storage of Private Data via PubSub

Abstract:This specification defines best practices for using the XMPP publish-subscribe extension to persistently store private information such as bookmarks and client configuration options.
Author:Peter Saint-Andre
Copyright:© 1999 - 2014 XMPP Standards Foundation. SEE LEGAL NOTICES.
Status:Active
Type:Informational
Version:1.0
Last Updated:2008-09-08

NOTICE: This Informational specification defines a best practice or protocol profile that has been approved by the XMPP Council and/or the XSF Board of Directors. Implementations are encouraged and the best practice or protocol profile is appropriate for deployment in production systems.


Table of Contents


1. Introduction
    1.1. Motivation
    1.2. How It Works
2. Concepts and Approach
3. Storing Data
4. Composition
5. Determining Support
6. Security Considerations
7. IANA Considerations
8. XMPP Registrar Considerations

Appendices
    A: Document Information
    B: Author Information
    C: Legal Notices
    D: Relation to XMPP
    E: Discussion Venue
    F: Requirements Conformance
    G: Notes
    H: Revision History


1. Introduction

1.1 Motivation

Personal Eventing Protocol (XEP-0163) [1] introduced the idea of a virtual Publish-Subscribe (XEP-0060) [2] service associated with an IM user's bare JID <localpart@domain.tld>. However, the default configuration of PEP nodes is not optimized for the persistent storage of data objects that are meant to be accessed only by the account owner, à la Private XML Storage (XEP-0049) [3]. Therefore this document defines a set of best practices that enable IM users to persistently store private information at their virtual pubsub service; in effect, we "sub-class" PEP by showing how a particular pubsub node can be configured for storing private data.

1.2 How It Works

Imagine that you are a Shakespearean character named Juliet and that you want to persistently store some private information such as bookmarks (Bookmark Storage (XEP-0048) [4]).

We assume that your server (capulet.lit) supports PEP along with the "publish-options" feature, and that your client discovered that support when you logged in.

You want to start bookmarking Multi-User Chat (XEP-0045) [5] rooms, so your client stores that data privately.

Example 1. Storing bookmarks

<iq from='juliet@capulet.lit/balcony' type='set' id='pdp1'>
  <pubsub xmlns='http://jabber.org/protocol/pubsub'>
    <publish node='storage:bookmarks'>
      <item>
        <conference xmlns='storage:bookmarks'
                    autojoin='true'
                    jid='theplay@conference.shakespeare.lit'
                    name='The Play&apos;s the Thing'>
          <nick>JC</nick>
          <password>Gl0b3</password>
        </conference>
      </item>
    </publish>
    <publish-options>
      <x xmlns='jabber:x:data' type='submit'>
        <field var='FORM_TYPE' type='hidden'>
          <value>http://jabber.org/protocol/pubsub#publish-options</value>
        </field>
        <field var='pubsub#persist_items'>
          <value>true</value>
        </field>
        <field var='pubsub#access_model'>
          <value>whitelist</value>
        </field>
      </x>
    </publish-options>
  </pubsub>
</iq>
    

Your publish request is a standard pubsub request except that:

  1. The item is persisted (pubsub#persist_items is set to true).
  2. In this case, access is limited to yourself (the "whitelist" access model defaults to allowing access for the account owner, i.e., you).

If all goes well (see Storing Data), your bookmarks will be stored and the information will be pushed out to all of your resources (here "balcony" and "chamber").

Example 2. Publisher receives event notification

<message from='juliet@capulet.lit'
         to='juliet@capulet.lit/balcony'
         type='headline'
         id='bmfoo1'>
  <event xmlns='http://jabber.org/protocol/pubsub#event'>
    <items node='storage:bookmarks'>
      <item id='SomeID'>
        <conference xmlns='storage:bookmarks'
                    autojoin='true'
                    jid='theplay@conference.shakespeare.lit'
                    name='The Play&apos;s the Thing'>
          <nick>JC</nick>
          <password>Gl0b3</password>
        </conference>
      </item>
    </items>
  </event>
</message>

<message from='juliet@capulet.lit'
         to='juliet@capulet.lit/chamber'
         type='headline'
         id='bmfoo2'>
  <event xmlns='http://jabber.org/protocol/pubsub#event'>
    <items node='storage:bookmarks'>
      <item id='SomeID'>
        <conference xmlns='storage:bookmarks'
                    autojoin='true'
                    jid='theplay@conference.shakespeare.lit'
                    name='The Play&apos;s the Thing'>
          <nick>JC</nick>
          <password>Gl0b3</password>
        </conference>
      </item>
    </items>
  </event>
</message>
    

So that's the general idea.

2. Concepts and Approach

The best practices defined herein re-use the concepts already defined in XEP-0060 and XEP-0163. In order to optimize for object persistence of private information instead of transient event notifications related to semi-public data, a node MUST be configured as follows:

  1. Set pubsub#persist_items to true.
  2. Set pubsub#access_model to "whitelist".

3. Storing Data

An account owner publishes an item to a node by following the protocol specified in XEP-0060:

Example 3. Account owner stores data

<iq from='juliet@capulet.lit/balcony' type='set' id='pdp1'>
  <pubsub xmlns='http://jabber.org/protocol/pubsub'>
    <publish node='storage:bookmarks'>
      <item>
        <conference xmlns='storage:bookmarks'
                    autojoin='true'
                    jid='theplay@conference.shakespeare.lit'
                    name='The Play&apos;s the Thing'>
          <nick>JC</nick>
          <password>Gl0b3</password>
        </conference>
      </item>
    </publish>
  </pubsub>
</iq>
  

If the node does not already exist, the virtual pubsub service MUST create the node. As described in XEP-0163, this "auto-create" feature (defined in XEP-0060) MUST be supported by a PEP service. (Naturally, the account owner's client MAY follow the node creation use case specified in XEP-0060 before attempting to publish an item.)

In order for the client to reliably persist private information, the virtual pubsub service must also support the "publish-options" feature defined in XEP-0060. Typically, a client will publish with options so that the object is privately stored.

Example 4. Storing bookmarks

<iq from='juliet@capulet.lit/balcony' type='set' id='pdp1'>
  <pubsub xmlns='http://jabber.org/protocol/pubsub'>
    <publish node='storage:bookmarks'>
      <item>
        <conference xmlns='storage:bookmarks'
                    autojoin='true'
                    jid='theplay@conference.shakespeare.lit'
                    name='The Play&apos;s the Thing'>
          <nick>JC</nick>
          <password>Gl0b3</password>
        </conference>
      </item>
    </publish>
    <publish-options>
      <x xmlns='jabber:x:data' type='submit'>
        <field var='FORM_TYPE' type='hidden'>
          <value>http://jabber.org/protocol/pubsub#publish-options</value>
        </field>
        <field var='pubsub#persist_items'>
          <value>true</value>
        </field>
        <field var='pubsub#access_model'>
          <value>whitelist</value>
        </field>
      </x>
    </publish-options>
  </pubsub>
</iq>
    

If the publication logic dictates that event notifications shall be sent, the account owner's server generates notifications and sends them to all appropriate entities as described in the Receiving Event Notifications section of XEP-0163.

4. Composition

Each item published to the node is a logically separate instance of the data to be stored. It is the responsibility of the publishing and receiving entities to construct a complete view of all such items, if desired. For example, each bookmark published to a private data node is a separate piece of data, whereas the history of all items published to the node provides a complete list of the user's bookmarks. This history may include items that are republished with an existing ItemID (thus overwriting the previous version of that item).

5. Determining Support

Before an account owner attempts to complete any of the use cases defined herein, its client SHOULD verify that the account owner's server supports both PEP and the "publish-options" feature; to do so, it MUST send a Service Discovery (XEP-0030) [6] information request to the server (or cache Entity Capabilities information received from the server).

Example 5. Account owner queries server regarding protocol support

<iq from='juliet@capulet.lit/balcony'
    to='capulet.lit'
    id='disco1'
    type='get'>
  <query xmlns='http://jabber.org/protocol/disco#info'/>
</iq>
    

The server MUST return an identity of "pubsub/pep" and include the "publish-options" feauture in the list of the namespaces and other features it supports:

Example 6. Server communicates protocol support

<iq from='capulet.lit'
    to='juliet@capulet.lit/balcony'
    id='disco1'
    type='result'>
  <query xmlns='http://jabber.org/protocol/disco#info'>
    <identity category='server' type='im'/>
    <identity category='pubsub' type='pep'/>
    ...
    <feature var='http://jabber.org/protocol/pubsub#publish-options'/>
    ...
  </query>
</iq>
  

6. Security Considerations

This document introduces no security considerations above and beyond those specified in XEP-0060 and XEP-0163.

7. IANA Considerations

This document requires no interaction with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) [7].

8. XMPP Registrar Considerations

This document requires no interaction with the XMPP Registrar [8].


Appendices


Appendix A: Document Information

Series: XEP
Number: 0223
Publisher: XMPP Standards Foundation
Status: Active
Type: Informational
Version: 1.0
Last Updated: 2008-09-08
Approving Body: XMPP Council
Dependencies: XMPP Core, XMPP IM, XEP-0030, XEP-0060, XEP-0115
Supersedes: None
Superseded By: None
Short Name: N/A
Source Control: HTML
This document in other formats: XML  PDF


Appendix B: Author Information

Peter Saint-Andre

Email: stpeter@jabber.org
JabberID: stpeter@jabber.org
URI: https://stpeter.im/


Appendix C: Legal Notices

Copyright

This XMPP Extension Protocol is copyright © 1999 - 2014 by the XMPP Standards Foundation (XSF).

Permissions

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this specification (the "Specification"), to make use of the Specification without restriction, including without limitation the rights to implement the Specification in a software program, deploy the Specification in a network service, and copy, modify, merge, publish, translate, distribute, sublicense, or sell copies of the Specification, and to permit persons to whom the Specification is furnished to do so, subject to the condition that the foregoing copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Specification. Unless separate permission is granted, modified works that are redistributed shall not contain misleading information regarding the authors, title, number, or publisher of the Specification, and shall not claim endorsement of the modified works by the authors, any organization or project to which the authors belong, or the XMPP Standards Foundation.

Disclaimer of Warranty

## NOTE WELL: This Specification is provided on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, express or implied, including, without limitation, any warranties or conditions of TITLE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ##

Limitation of Liability

In no event and under no legal theory, whether in tort (including negligence), contract, or otherwise, unless required by applicable law (such as deliberate and grossly negligent acts) or agreed to in writing, shall the XMPP Standards Foundation or any author of this Specification be liable for damages, including any direct, indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages of any character arising from, out of, or in connection with the Specification or the implementation, deployment, or other use of the Specification (including but not limited to damages for loss of goodwill, work stoppage, computer failure or malfunction, or any and all other commercial damages or losses), even if the XMPP Standards Foundation or such author has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

IPR Conformance

This XMPP Extension Protocol has been contributed in full conformance with the XSF's Intellectual Property Rights Policy (a copy of which can be found at <http://xmpp.org/about-xmpp/xsf/xsf-ipr-policy/> or obtained by writing to XMPP Standards Foundation, 1899 Wynkoop Street, Suite 600, Denver, CO 80202 USA).

Appendix D: Relation to XMPP

The Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is defined in the XMPP Core (RFC 6120) and XMPP IM (RFC 6121) specifications contributed by the XMPP Standards Foundation to the Internet Standards Process, which is managed by the Internet Engineering Task Force in accordance with RFC 2026. Any protocol defined in this document has been developed outside the Internet Standards Process and is to be understood as an extension to XMPP rather than as an evolution, development, or modification of XMPP itself.


Appendix E: Discussion Venue

The primary venue for discussion of XMPP Extension Protocols is the <standards@xmpp.org> discussion list.

Discussion on other xmpp.org discussion lists might also be appropriate; see <http://xmpp.org/about/discuss.shtml> for a complete list.

Errata can be sent to <editor@xmpp.org>.


Appendix F: Requirements Conformance

The following requirements keywords as used in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119: "MUST", "SHALL", "REQUIRED"; "MUST NOT", "SHALL NOT"; "SHOULD", "RECOMMENDED"; "SHOULD NOT", "NOT RECOMMENDED"; "MAY", "OPTIONAL".


Appendix G: Notes

1. XEP-0163: Personal Eventing Protocol <http://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0163.html>.

2. XEP-0060: Publish-Subscribe <http://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0060.html>.

3. XEP-0049: Private XML Storage <http://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0049.html>.

4. XEP-0048: Bookmark Storage <http://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0048.html>.

5. XEP-0045: Multi-User Chat <http://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0045.html>.

6. XEP-0030: Service Discovery <http://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0030.html>.

7. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is the central coordinator for the assignment of unique parameter values for Internet protocols, such as port numbers and URI schemes. For further information, see <http://www.iana.org/>.

8. The XMPP Registrar maintains a list of reserved protocol namespaces as well as registries of parameters used in the context of XMPP extension protocols approved by the XMPP Standards Foundation. For further information, see <http://xmpp.org/registrar/>.


Appendix H: Revision History

Note: Older versions of this specification might be available at http://xmpp.org/extensions/attic/

Version 1.0 (2008-09-08)

Per a vote of the XMPP Council, advanced specification to Active.

(psa)

Version 0.3 (2008-06-20)

Added text about composition model, and modified examples accordingly.

(psa)

Version 0.2 (2008-03-03)

Removed hokey acronym; changed type to Informational; clarified text.

(psa)

Version 0.1 (2007-08-08)

Initial published version.

(psa)

Version 0.0.1 (2007-07-18)

First draft.

(psa)

END