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Subject: XDI TC Unofficial Telecon Notes: Monday 2016-08-29

XDI TC Notes

Following are the notes of the unofficial telecon of the XDI TC held on:

Date: Monday, 29 August 2016 USA
Time: 10:00AM - 11:30AM Pacific Time (17:00-18:30 UTC)

The TC operates under a standing rule approved 17 July 2008 under which the TC does not hold regular official meetings and conducts all business by electronic ballot only. Unofficial weekly meetings are held to enable discussion among members but no business is conducted nor actions taken.


Drummond Reed
Markus Sabadello
Phil Windley
Les Chasen
Joseph Boyle


XDI Complexity

As we return from the summer break, Drummond raised the question that is constantly asked about XDI: can we simplify the complexity, especially of our standard JSON serialization?

Phil pointed out to the classic story of C vs. ADA. XDI is in danger of being the academic solution that is very elegant and powerful but too complex for broad adoption.

Joseph shared his view that the display format is relatively simple, and since it’s not in JSON, it could change a developer’s expectation.

Les asked if we should consider switching to the RDF graph model and defining link contracts for RDF graphs, which is what J-LINC is doing.

Markus agrees that XDI needs a simpler format, however rather than revert to the RDF graph model (and its attendant issues), he felt it would be better to keep the XDI graph model, but position it and develop it more as an extension of RDF. Markus feels that there are many aspects of XDI that RDF and other technologies do not have, such as connection requests and invitations, bindings, agents and endpoints, end-to-end signatures and encryption, the XDI connector architecture, etc.

Drummond summarized it this way: we created the XDI graph model in order to solve specific problems that we could not solve with the RDF graph model. Addressability, context, and persistent node identification were three of the major problems. If we revert to the RDF graph model, we will end out having to solve these problems all over again.

Like Markus, Drummond recommends that we not backtrack on the XDI graph model, but concentrate on the problem of making XDI easier for developers by focusing on a serialization format inspired by JSON-LD (the format that we have been calling JSON-XD, but which we now realize we need to rename to JXD—see below).

We concluded by agreeing that this is the highest priority as we resume our work coming back from summer break.

Github Repository Support

See this message from Robin Cover announcing OASIS support for Github. We agreed that as we resume spec publishing, we will need to figure out the best approach for the TC to start using official OASIS Github repos.

XDI Android App

Markus announced that he going to be showing the Android XDI mobile app he’s been developing at conferences over the next two weeks, including MyData in Helsinki.

DIDs (Decentralized Identifiers), DID Objects, and their Relevance to XDI

We continued our discussion from the last call about DIDs (decentralized identifiers), which are part of a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on blockchain identity on which Drummond Reed and Les Chasen are doing research and development.

Drummond explained that in the DID specification that is being written, DID objects will be shown using three formats: plain JSON, JSON-LD, and JXD. So there is an urgency in formally defining JXD.

Markus pointed out the similarity of the DID spec to the OASIS XRD 1.0 Specification from the OASIS XRI Technical Committee, which was an open discovery spec that took 18 months to develop. This work feels similar, but with a new emphasis on decentralized identifiers and on cryptographic proof of ownership and update. It is also using JSON as the primary format.

Turning JSON-XD Into JXD

The need for a developer-friendly format for XDI graphs and messages is growing. We need to determine next steps for the format that was originally proposed as “JSON-XD”.


The first issue we discussed was naming of the format. There are several issues with the name JSON-XD:

  1. It suggests it may be a direct variant of JSON-LD.

  2. The name is already taken on Github with another JSON distributed data format.

Drummond asked for alternative suggestions. Joseph suggested we not name it yet but proceed with the work and then decide. Drummond proposed that we simply move to the codename “JXD” and then decide on a permanent name once the format is defined.

#ACTION: DRUMMOND to revise the wiki page above.



The next call will be Sept 12 at the usual time (Monday 10AM PT). The link to where agenda items can be posted for the next meeting is: https://docs.google.com/document/d/19oDl0lbb56Grehx2a5flZnhrgnua5l8cVvC_dJ8fTXk/edit?usp=sharing

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