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RE: TrimTextNodes in Streaming parameter set

From: Pratik Datta <pratik.datta@oracle.com>
Date: Fri, 7 May 2010 10:59:00 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <ec81d6a4-9bb0-4f42-8ec5-01cd4e792154@default>
To: Meiko Jensen <Meiko.Jensen@ruhr-uni-bochum.de>, XMLSec WG Public List <public-xmlsec@w3.org>
I have a high level comment for the streaming.

To implement XML Signature 2.0 in streaming mode, first you need a streaming XPath parser - this is pretty complex by itself and will need dedicated team of developers. Now if that is the case, then this team can implement the trim text nodes, using the "whitespace caching" technique that you outlined.

My opinion is that there is nothing in the XML Signature 2.0 spec that cannot be streamed, assuming you have a solid development team. So do we really need a profile for streaming?  If you want simplicity you should use a DOM. Or are you suggesting that we should have a "simple-streaming" profile?


-----Original Message-----
From: Meiko Jensen [mailto:Meiko.Jensen@ruhr-uni-bochum.de] 
Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2010 4:14 AM
To: Pratik Datta; XMLSec WG Public List
Subject: TrimTextNodes in Streaming parameter set

Hi Pratik,

regarding the trimTextNodes parameter in my streaming proposal, here an

   <B>  stupid                                        



In SAX, this might end up with the contents of B being split
to---say---3 separate characters() events. The first contains "stupid",
hence removing the leading whitespaces is no issue. Trailing whitespaces
already pose a problem: one can not be sure there's no non-whitespace
text following. Hence, this requires caching the trailing whitespaces up
to the point one can decide whether they are trailing or embedded
whitespaces. Second characters() event only contains whitespaces. Still,
we don't know whether we may safely discard them. However, I know at
least one programmer who will implement the trimTextNodes method so that
characters() events containing of whitespaces only will be discarded. We
may add a hint to this issue in the spec, but it still remains somewhat
tricky. Third characters() event: "example...". Now it turns out that
the cached whitespaces were in fact embedded, not trailing. So we have
to flush the cache to the c14n. Again, the trailing whitespaces trigger
caching. Then, there comes an "endElement()" event of the B element.
Here, it turns out that the cache can be discarded, as the contained
whitespaces indeed were trailing ones. However, this results in that
every event method must be implemented to take care not only of the
event itself, but also on the whitespace cache.

I know this is a rather constructed example, but the issue exists and
may cause the "WTF happened here?" kind of bugs in real-world scenarios.

Additionally, the issue is complicated a little by the
ignoreWhitespaces() event that is used only by validating parsers, and
would get called e.g. for the whitespaces between <A> and <B> in the
example above. In fact, that's why I suggested to consider a third
option (besides trim and noTrim) that would only erase
ignorableWhitespaces(). However, that one does not work if used in
non-validating parser environments (but could be emulated).

That's why I proposed to set trimTextNodes=false.

What do you think?

best regards


Dipl.-Inf. Meiko Jensen
Chair for Network and Data Security 
Horst Görtz Institute for IT-Security 
Ruhr University Bochum, Germany
Universitätsstr. 150, Geb. IC 4/150
D-44780 Bochum, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 234 / 32-26796
Telefax: +49 (0) 234 / 32-14347
http:// www.nds.rub.de
Received on Friday, 7 May 2010 18:00:52 UTC

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