The Process of Developing and Submitting an IETF Internet Draft: My Story Thumbnail
IETF 22 January 2018

The Process of Developing and Submitting an IETF Internet Draft: My Story

Tariq Saraj
By Tariq SarajGuest AuthorAwardee of IETF 100 Fellowship, ISOC IETF-Outreach Program in South Asia

I had a week off, and being a security domain researcher, I started working on automating security rules in network security components. The goal was to read the existing security rules of the IPv4 protocol and deploy parallel security rules for the IPv6 protocol in the same security component for the newly configured protocol in a network. For this purpose, I started to develop an automation service. The service was intended to use the IPv4 address in a DNS query to resolve the corresponding IPv6 address. The next intended step was to add these same rules in the network security component for the newly resolved IPv6 address. This was when I came to know that the existing DNS protocol does not provide IPv4 to IPv6 resolution and vice versa.

While trying to figure out a solution to this problem, the Internet Society Pakistan Islamabad Chapter announced to carry-out a local IETF-Outreach Program managed by Internet Society Asia-Pacific Bureau. As part of the program, a seminar was conducted that introduced the history of IETF and outlined the process of the Internet standards-making process, including how we could get involved in this process. The most appealing part of the programme was the opportunity to present an Internet Draft at IETF 100 in Singapore in November 2017 through a fully-funded fellowship.

Right away, I started to develop an Internet Draft with my two co-authors – Dr. Muhammad Yousaf and Prof. Dr. Amir Qayyum – on a solution for IPv4 to IPv6 address resolution, and vice versa, diagnosed concerning DNS. Writing and submitting the Internet Draft was a challenging experience and here is what I learned from the process.

It is important to carefully read and understand the guidelines and tools for writing the Internet Draft before beginning, paying particular attention to the format required and the naming of the draft document. It is also important to be familiar with the XML language, and understand the purpose of the different tags. There are a variety of XML templates available that can be used to write the Internet Draft. Once the draft is completed, the XML file needs to be converted to either plaintext or pdf using the IETF tool, “xml2rfc”. Through this tool, the Internet Draft can be uploaded for submission to the relevant IETF working group. In my case, it was the IETF DNSOP Working Group. Please note that the naming convention for uploading a draft is to be observed very carefully. The filename of the Internet Draft must have the keyword “draft”, the author’s name, the working group’s name, the protocol’s name and the version of the draft, which is “00” for the first one.

I personally made a mistake and uploaded the draft with the filename, “draft-ietf-dnsop-tariq-iviptr-00”, which was wrong. The keyword “IETF” is reserved for IETF drafts only. Thanks to Ole Troan, the IETF 6MAN Working Group Chair and my mentor at IETF 97, for pointing out that the correct filename should be “draft-tariq-dnsop-iviptr-00”. You can find the draft here.

As a consequence of that mistake, I was unable to upload the Internet Draft with the correct filename within the due time for it to be included in the working group meeting agenda at IETF 100. But thanks to the IETF community and special thanks to the DNSOP Working Group Chairs – Suzanne Woolf and Tim Wicinski – who announced my draft at the end of the meeting session during IETF 100, I received valuable feedback from the experts at the meeting. Moreover, during my time at IETF 100 and after, I received valuable inputs from a wide range of people, including from industry – such as Cisco, Huawei and China Mobile. I continued to be in regular contact with the DNSOP Working Group Chairs who advised that I apply for the protocol number for the proposed DNS Resource Record Type IVIPTRY at IANA.

As an active member of the Internet Society Pakistan Islamabad Chapter, I am planning to share my experience with the research community at different universities in Pakistan to encourage productive contributions from Pakistani researchers to the IETF working groups.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Internet Society for providing me with such a wonderful opportunity and to be able to present my work at IETF 100 meeting as IETF-Outreach Program participant.

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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