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Contact API & vCard: phone numbers (like ims) should be explicitly scheme independent

From: Erick Johnson <erick@junctionnetworks.com>
Date: Thu, 19 May 2011 12:39:55 -0400
Message-ID: <4DD547DB.4060601@junctionnetworks.com>
To: public-device-apis@w3.org
Hi all,

(sorry for the short novel here...)

The current device spec declares the `phoneNumbers` attribute (4.3.1)
as "one or more phone numbers associated with this Contact...".  The
wording (along with the naming) implies the field is ONLY to be used
with phone numbers - but I think the spirit of the field is for it to
be used for specifying any URL for creating a voice/video
communication session.  That is the intention of the `TEL` field of
the vCard 4.0 spec... see this mailing list email from Simon Perrault:


In that message, he makes it clear that vCard properties should not be
tied to a specific protocol, otherwise the field becomes too rigid and
would create the need to overuse generic URL properties.  This notion
of scheme independence is directly in line w/ the `ims` field, the
field allows for specifying the IM address in any number of IM
protocols, Jabber, AIM, etc...  This definition of the `ims` field
makes it directly compatible w/ the flexibility of the vCard `IMPP`

Since the vCard TEL field allows for any URI scheme to be used as it's
value, then I could, for instance, use a SIP URI for the value of a
TEL or an IMPP attribute.  With the emergence of Jingle - XMPP
(jabber) now provides URIs that can be used to setup both an IM or
phone conversations.  And RFC 3966 describes the TEL URI, which is not
technically a phone number, but rather an explicitly defined URI
describing phone numbers... My point here is that it would be nice for
the Contact API to explicitly state that the value of the phoneNumbers
field does not in fact NEED to be a phone number - simply any URI that
allows for the setup of a voice/video session.  Since there is no
canonical definition of the attribute value currently I think that
what I'm asking for is implicitly allowed, however I worry that with
the current name of the field and without an explicit definition of
the value, that the validity of using any voice capable URL in the
phone field would become unclear.

Going further than that - but something I think would break the
symmetry with POCO - would be to use a more generic name for the field
like `tel` in the vCard case to more accurately describe the purpose
of the field value... however I feel this may be too radical a change
this late in the game.


Erick Johnson

1-800-801-3381 x7006
Junction Networks
Received on Thursday, 19 May 2011 16:40:26 UTC

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