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bitcoinpaul

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Prefix in AM for better usage
« on: March 23, 2014, 04:09:12 pm »

So the question is: Should we get a standard for Prefixes in AM to make it easier and better to make new features in Nxt, on top of Nxt or what ever?

There was a short discussion in the monster thread and I think it is worth discussing it now.

Example usage: http://107.170.117.237/index.php/topic,60.msg283.html#msg283

And should there be a technical change in the core code for this.

Let's discuss!
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CIYAM

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2014, 04:26:12 pm »

From the perspective of AT it would be nice to have a 32 bit (or whatever sized) *type* prefix (to simplify Nxt AT API).

The types themselves should probably map to other internet standards (a bit like MIME types).
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2014, 04:54:57 pm »

From the perspective of AT it would be nice to have a 32 bit (or whatever sized) *type* prefix (to simplify Nxt AT API).

The types themselves should probably map to other internet standards (and bit like MIME types).


Well, AM does stand for *arbitrary* messaging, so do we really want to limit things?  Couldnt the AT logic create and look for its own header?  But 32bit does leave a lot of possibilities, what all types can we think of for now?  The problem is that adding them will require client upgrades.  We kind of want to get to the point where that doesnt happen frequently at all, right?
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bitcoinpaul

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2014, 05:06:29 pm »

Where is the problem if we would decide on 32bit now - plenty room in the future, right?
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CIYAM

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2014, 05:08:42 pm »

Where is the problem if we would decide on 32bit now - plenty room in the future, right?

I think 2 billion possibilities is probably more than enough (but we could always use 64 bit if there is some real concern that it isn't).
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2014, 05:26:18 pm »

Where is the problem if we would decide on 32bit now - plenty room in the future, right?

I think 2 billion possibilities is probably more than enough (but we could always use 64 bit if there is some real concern that it isn't).


still though, what problem will adding subtypes solve, given that AM is meant to contain any arbitrary message.  Lets say we do this, how could it be enforced?
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CIYAM

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2014, 05:36:53 pm »

still though, what problem will adding subtypes solve, given that AM is meant to contain any arbitrary message.  Lets say we do this, how could it be enforced?

To me this is really just a technical question of whether to use 32 bits or 64 bits - the answer is up to what you guys think is the most suitable (the code is easily changed to adjust).
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jl777

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2014, 04:50:43 am »

I am using the following for AM header:

struct NXT_AMhdr
{
    int32_t sig __attribute__ ((packed));
    int32_t size __attribute__ ((packed));
    uint64_t nxt64bits __attribute__ ((packed));
};

sig is a unique signature for each application so it can specify what AM's it needs to be notified of.
size is the size of the entire AM, this is handy due to my gateway_AM struct below
the nxt64bits is the binary representation of the NXT acct that sent the AM, used as a double check to make sure there are no errors or tampering with the "sender" field of getTransaction

struct compressed_json { uint32_t complen,sublen,origlen; unsigned char encoded[]; };

The compressed_json is getting around 3:1 or even 4:1 compression over just using text so it is almost as good as binary, but a lot more flexible

struct gateway_AM
{
    struct NXT_AMhdr H;
    int32_t funcid,gatewayid,timestamp,tbd __attribute__ ((packed));
    struct compressed_json jsn;
};

The plan is for each NXT service to define its own AM structure. The above is what I am currently using for gateway_AM. The standard header + 16 bytes of binary and compressed json.

We just need a way to "register" the 32bit sig each app is using. If people just picked a random number, odds are there wont be a collision, but maybe it is a good idea for people to document what sigs they want to reserve

James
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bitcoinpaul

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2014, 09:09:17 am »

Additional, after chatting with CIYAM, I want to suggest to reserve some bits for a flag. This flag shows the blockchain shrinking process to NOT delete these AMs.

That way, we can store settings/profiles/data (what ever) via AM in the chain longer than a blockchain shrinking period.

To prevent bloating the blockchain, the flag must be set every time a blockchain shrinking occurred via a fee (the shrinking process could de-flag the flags). Don't know the technical aspects of this.

Please discuss!
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CIYAM

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2014, 09:15:57 am »

I think it is a reasonable proposal as a sort of "less convenient but probably cheaper" alternative to a Service Provider keeping data storage.

This would only require a single bit but it might be worthwhile "reserving" a few extra bits in case we think of other "flags" we might need down the track.
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2014, 02:03:41 pm »

or maybe create a new transaction type that is a modified ver of existing AM that is perm?  We'd need to increase the fee for this kind of transaction though
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2014, 02:09:40 pm »

or maybe create a new transaction type that is a modified ver of existing AM that is perm?  We'd need to increase the fee for this kind of transaction though

I don't think we really want to do "permanent" AM at this stage (as it could be abused - look what SD did to the Bitcoin blockchain).
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anon136

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2014, 02:13:21 pm »

I think the short answer is yes. The question is how many characters and do we assign to this first field? how do we communicate sparation between fields? spaces? colons? or what?
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anon136

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2014, 02:16:19 pm »

or maybe create a new transaction type that is a modified ver of existing AM that is perm?  We'd need to increase the fee for this kind of transaction though

I don't think we really want to do "permanent" AM at this stage (as it could be abused - look what SD did to the Bitcoin blockchain).

i think permanent am's are good but only if properly priced. there is a big cost to them but if people are willing to pay that cost than they should be allowed to store information forever. maybe we should stop talking in terms of AM's though and talk about PM (permanent messages) and TM (temporary messages) and the former should be significantly more expensive than the latter.
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2014, 02:33:24 pm »

everyone keep in mind that spamming the blockchain via alias is notas cost effective for the spammer as using the alias transaction to spam. plus alias is (currently) permanent.
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CIYAM

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2014, 02:37:55 pm »

everyone keep in mind that spamming the blockchain via alias is notas cost effective for the spammer as using the alias transaction to spam. plus alias is (currently) permanent.

Yes - another reason why I am really *against* the whole Alias thing.
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2014, 02:49:48 pm »

Im
everyone keep in mind that spamming the blockchain via alias is notas cost effective for the spammer as using the alias transaction to spam. plus alias is (currently) permanent.

Yes - another reason why I am really *against* the whole Alias thing.


for this reason Im actually for increasing the fee for aliases fairly drastically.  Since the name is a limited resource (limited to 1), the fee should reflect this, regardless of its size in the blockchain.  I think the same way should continue to exist for assets; even though their names are now non-unique, there is a limited number of assets that can be created, so the fee should reflect this.

For other transactions I think we should pursue  fee/size cost we've been discussing
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bitcoinpaul

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2014, 02:54:31 pm »

AM Prefix with type and flag bits sound nice and flexible enough for the future. Why a separator if the bits are fixed? Well, discuss it. I'm no dev ;)

About that alias thing: make Alias non-permanent and tradeable.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2014, 02:56:12 pm by bitcoinpaul »
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2014, 03:24:47 pm »

AM with type and flag is no longer "arbitrary"
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bitcoinpaul

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2014, 03:26:00 pm »

I really don't care about the old name. Make a new one.
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CIYAM

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2014, 03:27:48 pm »

AM with type and flag is no longer "arbitrary"

The first type (say type 0) *will be arbitrary hex data* so you don't *lose* that with the type (there was never any intention to *get rid of that*).
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anon136

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2014, 04:14:22 pm »

AM with type and flag is no longer "arbitrary"

well its still arbitrary before you flag it
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2014, 04:27:27 pm »

well its still arbitrary before you flag it

I don't really see any difference (a type 0 *being* arbitrary is *not restricting you in any way*).
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2014, 04:31:38 pm »

I actually do think its a good idea, especially since then, if implemented, then tools like block explorers could do some *very* cool things for us, but the devs who implement this (and the block explorers and their users) will just have to be aware that its possible there may be some asshole polluting their TLV fields, and for devs to have their code account for this.
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2014, 06:25:37 pm »

perhaps a better question is whether there is even a way to stop this. the only real question here is whether we codify it or leave it open to adhock development.
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2014, 07:11:27 pm »

that was kind of my point.  I suppose the NRS core could be rewritten to force AMs to use *something* in a defined subtype/TLV field, and define a set of possible values that are allowed in that field, and if enough of these new clients were distributed, then the new change would take effect, but beyond that I dont believe anything else could be enforced, so the devs using this new field would still need to do good integrity checks of the data, assuming they wanted to build a robust application.

I would be for the forced use of some field, where all zeros meant completely unformatted.  then block explorers would not try to decode these transactions when users want to display transactions in a block.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2014, 07:12:58 pm by forkedchain »
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anon136

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2014, 07:20:14 pm »

that was kind of my point.  I suppose the NRS core could be rewritten to force AMs to use *something* in a defined subtype/TLV field, and define a set of possible values that are allowed in that field, and if enough of these new clients were distributed, then the new change would take effect, but beyond that I dont believe anything else could be enforced, so the devs using this new field would still need to do good integrity checks of the data, assuming they wanted to build a robust application.

I would be for the forced use of some field, where all zeros meant completely unformatted.  then block explorers would not try to decode these transactions when users want to display transactions in a block.

makes sense to me
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2014, 07:27:35 pm »

I would be for the forced use of some field, where all zeros meant completely unformatted.  then block explorers would not try to decode these transactions when users want to display transactions in a block.

As I said the value 0 for AM *type* would mean *hex data*.
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bitcoinpaul

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2014, 08:44:08 am »

CIYAM - could you make a NIP in the NIP board out of this discussion?
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #29 on: March 29, 2014, 09:16:42 am »

CIYAM - could you make a NIP in the NIP board out of this discussion?

Sorry - but I'd prefer it if someone else did that (I would be happy to help with reviewing a draft though).
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Jean-Luc

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2014, 11:14:39 am »

The core is not going to parse the content of an AM, so what bytes an application puts there is not a concern of the core. If a new type of AM is needed that the core has to treat differently, this will be done by adding a new transaction type, not by parsing the content of the AM.
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bitcoinpaul

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2014, 11:28:40 am »

So we should just put it in the "guide how to develop on Nxt"?

edit: What's with the blockchain shrinking flag?
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #32 on: March 29, 2014, 11:28:55 am »

The core is not going to parse the content of an AM, so what bytes an application puts there is not a concern of the core.

In that case there will be "no way" to have AM's that can "stick around" after a blockchain clean up (as it was being proposed to use a "flag" to indicate this in the first x bits of the AM).
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Jean-Luc

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #33 on: March 29, 2014, 12:06:31 pm »

Why should the expiration flag be indicated by the first bits in the AM? I would define a separate transaction type for non-expiring AMs, we already have bytes for type and subtype in the transaction object itself. This new type will inherit most properties of the AM. But they will have other differences too, most likely the minimum fee for them should be higher. The logic for min fee being dependent on transaction type is already there, adding a special case based on first bits in AM for only one of the transaction types will be a hack.


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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #34 on: March 29, 2014, 12:24:23 pm »

The logic for min fee being dependent on transaction type is already there, adding a special case based on first bits in AM for only one of the transaction types will be a hack.

Understood - this is going to be a little tricky however as basically what we are wanting to achieve is that you have to pay *after* each "blockchain shrinking" in order for the AM to "survive" the "next shrinking" (rather than some large fee for *permanent* storage).

I don't really see how a "subtype" is going to help with this unless we allow "subtypes to be changed".

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Jean-Luc

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #35 on: March 29, 2014, 12:39:08 pm »

But then this is a general problem, which will affect other transaction types too, whether to be pruned or not, and how to collect fees to spare them from the next shrinkage. If several transaction types turn out to need that, we need a new transaction property, we don't need to make a special case that will work for AMs only.

We keep having discussions that go too far in the future. There is plenty of work to be done before even starting to design how blockchain shrinkage will work, yet now we are discussing how it will affect one particular transaction type. My answer is, we will cross this bridge when we get there.
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #36 on: March 29, 2014, 12:42:59 pm »

My answer is, we will cross this bridge when we get there.

Sure - agreed that until *we have* blockchain shrinking we don't have a problem.
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bitcoinpaul

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2014, 01:32:37 pm »


We keep having discussions that go too far in the future.

The idea was to make it right from the beginning. But when two experts say this is not the right time (and not the right way), I'm comfortable with this.
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CIYAM

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #38 on: March 29, 2014, 02:00:11 pm »

The idea was to make it right from the beginning. But when two experts say this is not the right time (and not the right way), I'm comfortable with this.

I think JL and my ways of doing things are different (but I very much respect his wish "not to hack things").

My approach came from years of working at a company where I was *forced* to *hack* things by the *powers that be* but always I was thinking of ways to "fix it up" down the track (so I would put in a short term *hack* but only *after* I'd worked out a long term *solution* which would then be implemented later).

In engineering terms you could think of this like "putting a blank of wood across a chasm" rather than "building a bridge" (because the "powers that be" think it is more important to "get stuff across that chasm" than to worry about "doing it properly").

My approach would be to "put in the plank" but also start building the foundations for the "real bridge". Inevitably the problems of using the "plank" would of course come up and hopefully before "too much damage would occur" the "real bridge" would be "magically ready" to replace it "just in time".
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #39 on: March 31, 2014, 12:21:19 am »

this is like the Nxtty(NMAC)?
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anon136

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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #40 on: March 31, 2014, 12:32:02 am »

Hey JL have you thought about the possability of, instead of having something so specific as aliases, segragating arbitrary messages into two types of messages, temporary messages and permanent messages with a substantial fee for permanent messages. Then people could interpret the permanent messages anyway they wanted. People could develop adhoc systems for intrpreting them as aliases or dns or certificate registry or any number of a million other applications we could imagine.
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Re: Prefix in AM for better usage
« Reply #41 on: March 31, 2014, 01:55:38 am »

no,
this is like the Nxtty(NMAC)?

no, completely separate and unassociated, except NMAC will probably utilize the AM transaction type frequently
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