key questions [was the re-opening thread]

Patrik Fältström patrik at
Tue Feb 9 16:33:02 CET 2010

On 9 feb 2010, at 16.06, jean-michel bernier de portzamparc wrote:

> As requested by Patrik Fälström, I copy these questions to the WG list.
> Portzamparc

It was requested by JFC, as I did not want to respond to this private mail in private, and he can not post to this list. So he requested you to forward this to the list.

> At 23:15 08/02/2010, Patrik Fältström wrote:
>> Part from standing behind what Vint wrote in his response, let me answer
>> more directly the questions from Lisa.
>> I am a developer/designer of mostly web based software for management of
>> domain names, web sites, email services and what not. I will (and want to be
>> able to) in my interfaces first of all be pretty sure over what data comes
>> to me as a "server". I.e. I want to know what the end user really wanted to
>> give me (I did explicitly not say "typed" here for reasons I hope people
>> understand).
> I understand that you are on the server end. You are related to a user
> and you do not know if this is a direct relation, or it goes through a
> bowser, an iPhone, a Client, a User Agent. Correct? Yet, you also consider
> the case where you may have to develop the User Client/Agent and you control
> things down to the user's fingers?

My point is that what people historically believe is "the user interface" sometimes is a split relationship between what today is a client and a server, where the human have access to the client, and the access to the server is from the client via some protocol like HTTP.

I.e. we have often said that potential mappings should be done in the user interface, and I agree with this, but I wanted to give one example where it technically is very hard to do what is the user interface. IF there is a mandate on some mapping, what software should do it? What software will be compliant, and what software will not be compliant?

It is not as easy to answer those questions as some people might think.

>> Now, if the web browser (if the web browser was used) did some trick and
>> converted some characters, then I do not get the characters the end user
>> typed (for example), but regardless of this, I will do whatever I want to do
>> to make the end user happy. Exactly what that implies will differ depending
>> on context. Is this domain name management or management of a web site, or
>> the management of email addresses or sites?
> So you mean that the reference is what the user wants to achieve?

To some degree, yes.

A user should not be surprised. But then what is surprised?

> And

> your understanding of what he wants to achieve will depend on different
> context inputs, and obviously of the protocol being used and the task to be
> performed?

Potentially, yes.

> Also from the zone?

No. And the reason is because of the following:

To be able to give context dependent responses (such as language, username or whatever), the selection mechanism must get information about the context.

And that is not possible to do in the DNS protocol.

So some layers in the architecture must be exactly the same, all over the world, for all users, or else it will be impossible to get the base interoperability that is needed to build the systems people wants.

Another example, the HTTP and HTML protocols are the same all over the place, but HTTP include a negotiation phase regarding screen size, type of browser etc that makes it possible for an HTTP server to give back different data depending on such information.

HTTP is not different. HTML is not different.

>> Is this mapping, if applied, to be implemented in the browser or in the
>> web server? I would like to get as raw data as possible, without having the
>> browser doing anything, so that I know as much as possible on the server
>> side. So I can "help" users the same way browsers today "help" users by
>> adding ".COM" TLD if that is not added. "guessing" I think it can be called.
> I understand this is in the case where you have to develop the user
> client interface?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If you for example on a web server use Wordpress software, you as a user of the site do not develop the software. Are you developing the user client interface? I do not know. I would claim I am not doing that. Do the one creating the wordpress theme do that? I do not know.

It is blurry.

But I want to trust all of those developers "to do the right thing".

>> And if HTTP/Web browser is not in use, but instead for example an iPhone

>> application that then interact over JSON/Netstring/TCP with some server API,
>> then I can in a more direct way control what is sent to the server (if I
>> also write the client). I will only be confused (possibly) over the mapping
>> that is in the operating system / user interface libraries.
> OK. Did you think of a method for you to clarify that possible confusion?

Only by giving me the ability to implement mapping or not depending on what "makes sense" for me, and my application.

I am VERY nervous over having any kind of mandatory mappings. Mandatory for whom? Who must implement it?

>> All of this might sounds like if it will make things messier for the
>> user, but in reality I do not think so. *NO* developer have the interest in
>> making this messier for the user. And exactly what it means to make it
>> easier for the user depends on context. Very much. Specifically when we have
>> so many protocols and environments and contexts where domain names are in
>> use.
> As I said, I am not that much competent in Web level applications, rather

> with user level interapplications. Which documentation do you use to
> identify how you should understand what to do with a given protocol, in a
> given environment, for a given context?

I will use whatever I can find. Often I am looking at what is done in local language communities. At the moment IANA Language tables.

>> Saying just "no mapping at registration time" is not good enough for me.
>> What about if you want to change the holder or adminc or techc of a domain?
>> Should you do mapping then, if the domain name is typed by the user or not?
>> Is a transfer of a domain name "registration time"?
> Good point. What if the Registry sotfware does not consider
> holder/adminc/techc and uses a different system?

They all do. They might use different terminology.

> What is the Registry only use local script/language interfaces?

Many only support interfaces in local script and local language. I do not see any problem with that.

>> No, I rather see that I as a developer can do whatever I want to make
>> things easier for the users, and that might include that I try to do some
>> mappings of codepoints that are not PVALID, or complete changes of some
>> things that might be domain names (hard to know sometimes) to something that
>> are domain names (different separators between labels for example).
> and French/Latin language majuscule support?

I can not be more precise than what I was above.

>> So to answer your question Lisa: No, it is not clear what characters are
>> suggested to be mapped, but we do not even know where or who has the
>> responsibility to do the mapping -- if any. In the case of HTTP, is that
>> done in the web browser or on the server side, in the cgi?
> I have some difficulty here: how can an IDN be mapped on the server side?
> Should it not necessarily be mapped on the user side so it can be properly
> resolved to that very server?

"server" as "server side" in HTTP. Not server side as in DNS server.

>> For example how do a web browser know whether the ajax / json call is to
>> be "a registration" or not? A situation when mapping should explicitly not
>> occur? It can not, and because of that browsers should not include any
>> mapping at all. Ever.
>> That is one view, and of course you can find the arguments the other way
>> around as well.
> I agree with your position. Would you know of an online
> document/discussion on this matter, or a con/pro list?

I think the IDNA mailing list archive is a good source... :-)

>> And this is why I think the current mapping document is as good as we
>> can get it -- and why I think (like Pete) TR46 is too strong. Because it is
>> very wrong to explicitly ask for mappings the way it does.
> Do you know if other possibilities have been expressed by W3C, or SDOs?

TR46 is one of the documents. I know ITU and UNESCO also are doing work, but they have been waiting for the RFCs to be published. ISOC might come out with something. ICANN might write recommendations. Etc.

>> What *might* be ok and good to do is to say what codepoints can be
>> mapped in various contexts to other characters, but I think for example the
>> definition of bundles in the IANA registries to some degree do that. When
>> not mapping from PVALID to other PVALID of course. So that people know that
>> IF one work in a specific context (certain language for example), THEN it
>> MIGHT be interesting to map from A to B.
> Do you consider the possibility of mapping on a TLD basis?


I think the user wants mapping based on other criteria.

But of course the TLDs already today via the language tables do implement in some cases bundling and various policy based issues.

>> So I would say the mapping document we have is good.
> How would you qualify it? a reminder, a protection against too stringent
> or lax behaviours, a guidance, a reference, a open link to further work?
> Is its informational nature not a problem while it completes a standard
> track work?

We do not know yet. Let people try, and we see. Having guidelines is ok, and probably what developers need.

But mandatory rules, nope.


More information about the Idna-update mailing list