RFC 6473: vCard Applications

2012-01-05

I thought it might be helpful to blog about each of the protocol specifications I write that gets published by the IETF in the RFC series. (Heck, it might also be good to explain why I spend so much time writing such specifications in the first place, but that's a topic for another post.) I've previously mentioned RFC 4417, RFC 4622, and a few others, but a protocol geek's work is never done so I definitely have a few more documents in the pipeline.

The latest of my publications is RFC 6473, which defines an extension to the vCard format for electronic business cards. Typically, vCards are used by and for people, but in the Jabber community we have a long tradition of also using them for IM servers. Indeed, the core vCard spec already enables us to apply vCards to organizations and locations, so applications are a natural extension of such thinking. To indicate that a vCard applies to a software application, I defined a new value of "application" for the vcard KIND property. This spec started out by defining a value of "thing", but after discussion in the VCARDDAV Working Group we decided to focus on software applications for now (although recently I've been talking with some folks who might also define a vCard KIND for hardware devices).

Why does this matter? Because vCards provide an open standard for profile data and there's no good reason to limit profiles to humans -- you could even say that doing so would be a form of speciesism. :)


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal