W3C | Submissions

Comment on ICE Submission

W3C is pleased to receive the ICE submission from Adobe Systems Inc., CNET, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and Vignette Corporation.

Next Steps

As of May 1999, ICE Authoring Group is hosted by the GCA:

The Graphic Communications Association Research Institute, Inc. (GCARI) and the Information and Content Exchange Authoring Group (ICE AG) recently announced a letter of understanding between the two organizations in which GCARI is named as the official host organization for the ICE AG. GCARI has entered into this relationship to fulfill its ongoing mission of promoting standards for use in fields of information technology and publishing. Under this agreement, all members of ICE Authoring Group as well as the ICE Advisory Council shall become members of the ICE special membership group of GCARI. The new host organization will host the ICE web site as well as upcoming ICE standards activities.
-- April 1999 press release
(archived copy)

W3C has no plans to persue ICE at this time.

See also: Information and Content Exchange (ICE) Protocol, by Robin Cover.

Relationship to W3C Activities (as of Oct 1998)

ICE results from collaboration between a number of consumers and producers of technology in the domain of syndicated content on the Web. They propose a protocol and data format to implement the shared business rules in that domain on top of the Web infrastructure of XML, HTTP, and URIs.

The use of XML as a message syntax for distributed applications is one of the motivations for work in the XML Activity on XML schemas. ICE demonstrates experience in this area and suggests requirements for future work.

Meanwhile, in the HTTP-NG Activity, we have been exploring support for distributed applications a new layered HTTP architecture. At the transfer syntax layer, we are investigating the costs and benefits of encodings like XML and the contemporary RFC-822 based HTTP encoding versus more compact encodings, as well as mechanisms to proxy and transition between them.

The ICE protocol transports its payload in a way that is invisible to the HTTP caching infrastructure. We expect HTTP-NG to provide caching support to a wide variety of applications and distribution models that could be used for syndicated content.

ICE shares the XML syntax with a variety of other Web applications, but its encoding of business transaction semantics is novel. In the Metadata Activity, we are developing RDF:

Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a foundation for processing metadata; [...] RDF can be used in a variety of application areas; for example: [...] by intelligent software agents to facilitate knowledge sharing and exchange, in content rating, in describing collections of pages that represent a single logical "document", for describing intellectual property rights of Web pages, and for expressing the privacy preferences of a user as well as the privacy policies of a web site. RDF with digital signatures will be key to building the "Web of Trust" for electronic commerce, collaboration, and other applications.
excerpt from Resource Description Framework (RDF) Model and Syntax Specification

For example, the W3C Privacy Activity uses RDF as the foundation of P3P. Though "ICE is merely the transport mechanism for those profiles and is not involved in the enforcement of user profile privacy principles," it includes rules about distribution of event logs that are considered sensitive by some individuals and governments; as such, the interaction with P3P deserves further consideration.

ICE uses uuids and message-ids to identify certain protocol elements (3.1 Subscriber and Syndicator Identifiers, 3.3 Status and Error code formats). A generalization of these fields to hold any URI would allow continued use of uuids and message-ids without separating these ICE protocols elements from the benefits of the Universal Space of the Web.

Dan Connolly
Created Oct 1998
last revised $Date: 1999/12/13 18:41:53 $