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Proposed Network Standard Data Pathname syntax (RFC0615) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000003688D
Original Publication Date: 1974-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-12
Document File: 5 page(s) / 7K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

D. Crocker: AUTHOR

Related Documents

10.17487/RFC0615: DOI

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 38% of the total text.

Network Working Group D. Crocker (UCLA-NMC) Request for Comments: 615 MAR 74 NIC #21531

Proposed Network Standard Data Pathname Syntax

There seems to be an increasing call for a Network Standard Data Pathname (NSDP); that is, a standardized means of referring to a specific location for/of a collection of bits somewhere on the Network.

The reasons for a standard or virtual anything have been discussed, at length, elsewhere and will not be elaborated upon here. Rather than attack the entire issue of virtual pathnames, I wish only to propose a standardized SYNTAX for specifying pathnames. Such a standard will be useful for 1) users who are unfamiliar with a site or who use several different sites and do not want to have to remember each site’s idiosynchracies, 2) programs accessing data at several other sites, and 3) documentation:

The syntax allows the user to specify the necessary network, host, peripheral device, directory, file, type, and site-specific fields. Adding other fields, as needed, is expected to be quite simple.

First the BNF:

<NSDP> ::= % <bulk> <cr><lf> <bulk> ::= <field> / <field> <bulk>

<field> ::= <key> <L-delim> <name> <R-delim>


<L-delim> ::= any printable character that is not in the succeeding <name> field and that is acceptable to the object site: For visual aesthetics and to facilitate human parsing, anytime <L-delim> is a left-bracket character (<, [, (, _), <R-delim> must be the complementary right-bracket character (>, ], ), |).

<name> ::= any sequence of characters acceptable to the object site. This is the actual data field with the file, directory, device (or whatever) name.

<R-delim> ::= Either 1) the same character as <L-delim> or 2) if the <L-delim> character is a left-bracket character (<, [, (, _) then its complementary right-bracket (>, ], ), |).


<cr> ::= carriage-return

<lf> ::= line-feed

And some elaboration:

The syntax allows <name> fields to be an arbitrary number of rs long. Case is irrelevant to the syntax, though some sites will care about case in <name> fields:

<Key> indicates what part of the pathname the next <name> is going to refer to: The single-character keys are abbreviations for the respective full-word keys:

<Fields> ARE order dependent, but defaulted ones may be omitted. The order is as indicated for <key>s: That is, Network, Host, ..: Siteparm:

Fields may be repeated, as appropriate for the object site; that is, multiple Directory fields, etc:

The validity of any combination of <field>s is entirely site-dependent: For example, if a site will accept it, an NSDP with a Host field, and nothing more, is permissible:

<delim> is used to delimit the beginning and end of the <name> field:

Explanation of <key>s:

NETWORK or N: Currently, only ARPA is defined.

HOST or H: Reference to host, by official name or nickname or number: The default radix is ten; a numeric string ending with "H" indicates...