An announcement from OneName Corporation describes the release of the XNS specifications under a royalty-free license and the submission of these specifications to the non-profit XNS Public Trust Organization (XNSORG). "These XML-based specifications for eleven (11) Web services and an identity addressing syntax create the first open, federated, peer-to-peer infrastructure for identifying and linking any resource participating in digital transactions. Extensible Name Service (XNS) is a protocol for digital identity and relationship management that spans any number of devices and domains. Whereas DNS (Domain Name System) is a protocol designed for federated naming of Internet hosts at the TCP/IP level, XNS is designed for modeling and managing the identity of any actor at the SOAP level, including people, businesses, machines, applications, objects, classes, etc. XNS enables identity controllers to register and use XNS identities to automate the exchange of any set of data associated with an identity while providing protection for the security and privacy of this data. OneName will also make available open-source Java Reference Implementations (JRIs) based on the protocol; an open-source client JRI is available immediately and an open-source server JRI will be available in Fall 2002."
From the announcement:
The XNS specifications fall into four groups
URN Services. The protocol specifies two Uniform Resource Name (URN) services (ID and Name) that support persistent identity and attribute addressing, the necessary functionality for trusted Web services transactions. These services support identity independence from real-world names, e-mail addresses, or other attributes which may change over time. URNs create the basis for sustained trust relationships among identity owners.
Attribute Management Services. XNS specifies five services (Folder, Data, Hosting, Discovery, and Core) that provide standard XML interfaces for defining, reading, writing, and discovering extensible identity attributes.
Credential Management Services. XNS includes three services (Certification, Session, and Authentication) that support the establishment and management of trust relationships and the security of digital identity transactions.
Exchange and Linking Services. XNS Negotiation service enables participants in digital transactions to negotiate terms governing the exchange and linking of identity data. These terms can include applicable security and privacy policies, opt-in or opt-out usage permissions, and synchronization parameters. Each of these agreed-upon terms forms an identity link, similar to the way in which Web pages are linked today.
From the website:
The XNS Public Trust Organization (XNSORG) works with the Internet community to determine the future direction of the open eXtensible Name Service (XNS) protocol. XNS is an open, XML-based protocol for identifying and linking any resource participating in any kind of digital transaction. You'll find the complete technical specifications on this site.
XNS provides a flexible, interoperable method for establishing and maintaining persistent digital identities and relationships between these identities. The protocol provides services for registering and resolving identity addresses, defining and managing XML identity documents, conducting and protecting identity transactions, and linking and synchronizing identity attributes. XNS uses XML Schemas to define and manage any type of identity attribute and XML-based Web services for platform-independence and extensibility. XNS also uses emerging XML security standards such as XML Signatures and SAML to assert identity credentials and verify identity transactions. XNS is a peer-to-peer protocol that can be used to create and connect any number of identity networks into a global Identity Web.
- Announcement 2002-07-11: "OneName Releases the XNS Technical Specifications. First Open Protocol for Digital Identity Infrastructure."
- Extensible Name Service (XNS) Technical Specifications. Version 1.0. Published by the XNS Public Trust Organization (XNSORG). July 9, 2002. 306 pages. "Includes the XNS Service Specification, normative XML Schema (XSD) and Web Services Description (WSDL) files for all services, and the XNS Addressing Specification including normative EBNF syntax, plus an extensive glossary and other suppporting materials." Normative Appendix A presents the WSDL files; Normative Appendix B presents the XSD Schema files. [cache HTML/ZIP; cache PDF]
- XNS supporting documents:
- "The Identity Web: Key Concepts of XNS Architecture." - A short overview to the major architectural features of XNS.
- "From Name Service to Identity Service: How XNS Builds on the DNS Model." A technical white paper that provides an introduction to XNS by comparing it with an established Internet infrastructure protocol, DNS.
- XNS Use Cases. "This document illustrates how XNS solves common problems of cross-domain identity management, using sequence diagrams and user narratives."
- XNS Service Models. "This document contains static structure diagrams for the abstract UML object models from which the concrete XNS service definitions are derived."
- XNS Public Trust Organization
- "Extensible Name Service (XNS)" - Main reference page.