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Subject: [security-services] Following up on dateTime

I offered to research the issues around handling of dateTime and time
zones in XML a little, which I've done. I'm still not 100% sure I
understand what the schema specification means by canonical
representation in sec (it's not defined anywhere as a term that
I can see).

If it's merely a way to subset the lexical forms allowed without having
to specify a pattern restriction, then it doesn't seem very clearly

The interpretation I'm finding from those involved in various mailing
list posts is that in the absence of a time zone specification in the
value, an application is free to impose whatever interpretation it
wants. So I guess that means SAML can use xsd:dateTime and simply
include text in the specification that requires canonical form and
specifies the absence of a Z at the end to be the same as a Z (that is,
UTC time).

I don't really see the wisdom in this, since it makes the SAML
application responsible for insuring the rules are followed instead of
the parser. I think it makes more sense to either:

a) Allow any legal lexical form, with the additional wording that
absence of time zone is taken to mean UTC time. This will provide a
complete ordering while allowing the parser (perhaps not currently, but
someday) to hopefully consume the time zone value and provide the proper

b) Derive a saml:dateTime (or perhaps name it something else) using a
pattern restriction that calls out exactly what syntax is permitted as a
subset of the lexical forms allowed by xsd:dateTime, probably requiring
that a Z appear on the end.

Either of these seems better to me than trying to impose conditions
entirely in textual fashion.

What have other specifications that use times for security processing

-- Scott

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