Note Well: The protocol described herein has been deprecated by the XMPP Standards Foundation (XSF) . The recommended protocol for implementing message expiration functionality is now Advanced Message Processing (XEP-0079) .
It is sometimes helpful to indicate that a piece of information has a finite useful life or time-to-live (TTL). In the context of instant messaging, the main use of a TTL is to indicate that a message must or should be used by or read by a certain time, usually because the message has meaning or purpose only within a finite amount of time. In normal usage, such a message should be discarded after the specified time has passed if it has not been used or read by that time.
In Jabber, TTL functionality has been implemented informally using the jabber:x:expire namespace. Support for this namespace was added to the jabberd  server as well as some clients and components in early 2001. Specifically, that support has involved the following two areas of responsibility:
An Endpoint can specify a TTL for an XML stanza that it wishes to send by attaching an <x/> extension qualified by the jabber:x:expire namespace. The extension contains no children, only a 'seconds' attribute that contains a value representing the stanza's TTL, in seconds.
Any mechanism that is involved in the storage, forwarding, and general handling of XML stanzas must check for the presence of such an extension and act accordingly, expiring (discarding) any stanzas that have exceeded their TTL lifetime. The jabber:x:expire namespace allows for a further attribute inside the <x/> extension: 'stored'. Here, the mechanism can record a value representing when the stanza was committed to storage, so that when the stanza is eventually retrieved for forwarding to the intended recipient, the elapsed time of storage can be calculated. This is to prevent the stanza from being held in 'suspended animation'.
Here we see what the original message looks like after the stanza has been committed to storage and the time of storage recorded:
When Sabine attempts to retrieve her offline messages, the store-and-forward mechanism (e.g., mod_offline) compares the current time against the stored attribute. If the 1800 seconds have passed, the mechanism should simply drop the message, without notifying either the sender or the intended recipient. No Eccles cakes for Sabine!
Although current usage of jabber:x:expire is most commonly seen in server implementations to address any TTL requirements of stored messages, Jabber clients can also be seen as handlers of messages that may contain expiration extension information. If a message is received by a Jabber client, and not immediately displayed to the user, the client must check for TTL information and expire the message (rather than display it to the user) if appropriate.
There are no security features or concerns related to this proposal.
This document requires no interaction with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) .
No action on the part of the XMPP Registrar  is necessary as a result of this document, since 'jabber:x:expire' is already a registered protocol namespace.
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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.
The primary venue for discussion of XMPP Extension Protocols is the <email@example.com> 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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".
1. The XMPP Standards Foundation (XSF) is an independent, non-profit membership organization that develops open extensions to the IETF's Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP). For further information, see <https://xmpp.org/about/xmpp-standards-foundation>.
4. The best-known example of a mechanism that handles storing and forwarding of XML stanzas is the Jabber Session Manager (JSM) within current Jabber server implementations, specifically the mod_offline module. However, expiration of an XML stanza could also be handled by a Jabber client.
5. 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/>.
6. 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 <https://xmpp.org/registrar/>.
Note: Older versions of this specification might be available at http://xmpp.org/extensions/attic/
Per a vote of the XMPP Council, changed status to Obsolete.
Per a vote of the Jabber Council, changed status to Deprecated since message expiration functionality should be implemented via XEP-0079: Advanced Message Processing.
Added XML schema; added security, IANA, and XMPP Registrar considerations.
Changed status to Active.
Added remarks about client-end expiry.