incubator-cvs mailing list archives

Site index · List index
Message view « Date » · « Thread »
Top « Date » · « Thread »
From Apache Wiki <>
Subject [Incubator Wiki] Update of "DaffodilProposal" by SteveLawrence
Date Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:44:41 GMT
Dear Wiki user,

You have subscribed to a wiki page or wiki category on "Incubator Wiki" for change notification.

The "DaffodilProposal" page has been changed by SteveLawrence:

New page:
= Daffodil Proposal =

== Abstract ==

is an implementation of the [[|Data Format
Description Language (DFDL)]] used to convert between fixed format data and XML/JSON.

== Proposal ==

The Data Format Description Language (DFDL) is a specification, developed by the [[|Open
Grid Forum]], capable of describing many data formats, including both textual and binary,
scientific and numeric, legacy and modern, commercial record-oriented, and many industry and
military standards. It defines a language that is a subset of W3C XML schema to describe the
logical format of the data, and annotations within the schema to describe the physical representation.

Daffodil is an open source implementation of the DFDL specification that uses these DFDL schemas
to parse fixed format data into an infoset, which is most commonly represented as either XML
or JSON. This allows the use of well-established XML or JSON technologies and libraries to
consume, inspect, and manipulate fixed format data in existing solutions. Daffodil is also
capable of the reverse by serializing or "unparsing" an XML or JSON infoset back to the original
data format.

== Background ==

Many different software solutions need to consume and manage data, including data directed
routing, databases, data analysis, data cleansing, data visualizing, and more. A key aspect
of such solutions is the need to transform the data into an easily consumable format. Usually,
this means that for each unique data format, one develops a tool that can read and extract
the necessary information, often leading to ad-hoc and data-format-specific description systems.
Such systems are often proprietary, not well tested, and incompatible, leading to vendor lock-in,
flawed software, and increased training costs. DFDL is a new standard, with version 1.0 completed
in October of 2016, that solves these problems by defining an open standard to describe many
different data formats and how to parse and unparse between the data and XML/JSON.

Two closed source implementations of DFDL currently exist. The first was created by IBM and
is now part of their IBM® Integration Bus product. The second was created by the European
Space Agency, called DFDL4S or "DFDL for Space" targeted at the challenges of their satellite
data processing. 

Around 2005, Pacific Northwest National Lab created Defuddle, built as an open source implementation
and proof of concept of the draft DFDL specification and a test bed to feed new concepts into
specification development. Primary development of Defuddle was eventually taken over by the
National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). However, due to evolution of the DFDL
specification and architectural and performance issues with Defuddle, around 2009, NCSA restarted
the project with the new name of Daffodil, with a goal of implementing the complete DFDL specification.
Daffodil development continued at NCSA until around 2012, at which point development slowed
due to budget limitations. Shortly thereafter, primary development was picked up by Tresys
Technology where it continues today, with contributions from other entities such as the Navy
Research Lab, the Air Force Research Lab, MITRE, and Booz Allen Hamilton. In February of 2015,
Daffodil version 1.0.0 was released, including support for the DFDL features needed to parse
many common file formats. Daffodil version 2.0.0 is expected to be released in August of 2017,
which will include unparse support with one-to-one parsing feature parity.

Entities including IBM, MITRE, NATO NCI Agency, Northrop-Grumman, Quark Security, Raytheon,
and Tresys Technology have developed DFDL schemas for many data formats from varying technology
domains, including PNG, GIF, BMP, PCAP, HL7, EDIFACT, NACHA, vCard, iCalendar, and MIL-STD-2045
, many of which are publicly available on the [[|DFDL Schemas
github]]. There are also a number of military-application data formats, the specifications
of which are not public, which have historically been very difficult and expensive to process,
and for which DFDL schemas have been created or are actively in development; these include
MIL-STD-6040/USMTF ATO, MIL-STD-6017/VMF, MIL-STD-6016/NATO STANAG 5516 (aka "Link16"). 

== Rationale ==

Numerous software solutions exist that consume, inspect, analyze, and transform data, many
of which can be found in the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). In order for tools like these
to consume new types of data, custom extensions are usually required, often with high development
and testing costs. Daffodil fills a clear gap in many of these solutions, providing a simple
and low cost way to transform data to XML or JSON, which many of these tools natively support
already. With the upcoming 2.0.0 release, the Daffodil project will have achieved a level
of functionality in both parse and unparse that, when integrated into existing solutions,
could provide for a new method to quickly enable support for new data formats.

== Initial Goals ==

 * Relicense the existing code from the University of Illinois/NCSA Open Source License to
the Apache License version 2.0, working with Apache Legal and to ensure correctness, and with
Daffodil contributors to get their permission.
 * Move the existing codebase, documentation, bugs, and mailing lists to the Apache hosted
 * Establish a formal release process and schedule, allowing for dependable release cycles
in a manner consistent with the Apache development process.
 * Build relationships with ASF projects to add Daffodil support where appropriate
 * Grow the community to establish a diversity of background and expertise. 

== Current Status ==

=== Meritocracy ===

All initial committers are familiar with the principles of meritocracy. The Daffodil project
has followed the model of meritocracy in the past, providing multiple outside entities commit
access based on the quality of their contributions. In order to grow the Daffodil user base
and development community, we are dedicated to continuing to operate Daffodil as a meritocracy.

A key ingredient in a meritocracy of developers is open group code review. The Daffodil project
has operated in this mode throughout its existence and this provides a forum to improve the
code, verify code quality, and educate new developers on the code base. 

=== Community ===

Daffodil has a small community of users and developers. Although primary Daffodil development
is done by Tresys Technology, a handful of other contributions have come from other entities
including the Navy Research Lab, the Air Force Research Lab, MITRE, and Booz Allen Hamilton.
In addition to developers, multiple users of Daffodil have created DFDL schemas, including
entities such as MITRE, IBM, Raytheon, Quark Security, and Tresys Technology. The DFDL Schemas
github community has been created as a place for DFDL schemas to be published. The Daffodil
project also makes use of mailing lists, !HipChat, and Confluence Questions to build a community
of users and system for support.

=== Core Developers ===

The core developers of Daffodil are employed by Tresys Technology. We will work to grow the
community among a more diverse set of developers and industries.

=== Alignment ===

Daffodil was created as an open source project with a philosophy consistent with The Apache
Way. A strong belief in meritocracy, community involvement in decisions, openness, and ensuring
a high level of quality in code, documentation, and testing are some of our shared core beliefs.

Further, as mentioned in the Rationale section, Daffodil fills a gap that exists in many ASF
projects, including !NiFi, Spark, Storm, Hadoop, Tika, and others. In order for tools like
these to consume new types of data, custom extensions are usually required. Rather than create
such extensions, Daffodil provides an easy and standards-compliant way to transform data to
XML or JSON, which many of these tools already natively support.

== Known Risks ==

=== Orphaned Products ===

The current core developers are the leading contributors in the space of DFDL and wish to
see it flourish. Though there is some risk that the initial committers all come from the same
company, a goal of entering into incubation is to grow the development community to minimize
the risk of reliance on a single company.

=== Inexperience with Open Source ===

The Daffodil project began as an open source project and has continued that model throughout
development. This includes public bug tracking, git revision control, automated builds and
tests, and a public wiki for documentation.

Additionally, the current core developers and initial committers all work for a company that
relies on, believes in, promotes, and has led or contributed to many open source software
projects, including SELinux Userspace, OpenSCAP, CLIP, refpolicy, setools, RPM, and others.
As such, there is low risk related to inexperience with open source software and processes.

=== Homogeneous Developers ===

The proposed initial committers come from a single entity, though we are committed to growing
the Daffodil development community to include a broad group of additional committers from
a wide array of industries.

=== Reliance on Salaried Developers ===

The proposed initial committers are paid by their employer to contribute to the Daffodil project.
We expect that Daffodil development will continue with salaried developers, and are committed
to growing the community to include non-salaried developers as well.

=== Relationship with other Apache Projects ===

As mentioned in the Alignment section, Daffodil fills a clear gap in numerous other ASF projects
that consume and manage large amounts of data. 

As a specific example, Daffodil developers have created a Daffodil Apache !NiFi Processor,
currently in use in data transfer solutions, which allows one to ingest non-native data into
an Apache !NiFi pipeline as XML or JSON. This processor was well received by the Apache !NiFi
developers, with positive comments about the concise API and how it could handle non-native
data. Daffodil developers have also successfully prototyped integration with Apache Spark.
We believe Daffodil could provide a strong benefit to many other ASF projects that handle
fixed format data. We anticipate working closely with such ASF projects to include Daffodil
where applicable to increase their ability to support new data formats with minimal effort.

Daffodil also depends on existing ASF projects, including Apache Commons and Apache Xerces.

=== An Excessive Fascination with the Apache Brand ===

Although the Apache brand may certainly help to attract more contributors, publicity is not
the reason for this proposal. We believe Daffodil could provide a great benefit to the ASF
and the numerous data focused projects that comprise it, as described in the Rationale and
Alignment sections. We hope to build a strong and vibrant community built around The Apache
Way, and not dependent on a single company.

=== Documentation ===

Daffodil documentation can be found at:

 * [[]]

Information about DFDL can be found at:

 * [[]]
 * [[]]
== Initial Source ==

The Daffodil git repo goes back to mid-2011 with approximately 20 different contributors and
feedback from many users and developers. The core codebase is written in Scala and includes
both a Scala and Java API, along with Javadocs and Scaladocs for API usage. The initial code
will come from the git repository currently hosted at the University of Illinois:


== Source and Intellectual Property Submission ==

The complete Daffodil code is licensed under the University of Illinois/NCSA Open Source License.
Much of the current codebase has been developed by Tresys Technology, who is open to relicensing
the code to the Apache License version 2.0 and donate the source to the ASF. Contacts at NCSA
are also open to relicensing their contributions to Apache v2. We plan to contact the other
contributors and ask for permission to relicense and donate their contributed code. For those
that decline or we cannot contact, their code will be removed or replaced. We will work closely
with Apache Legal to ensure all issues related to relicensing are acceptable.

== External Dependencies ==

We believe all current dependencies are compatible with the ASF guidelines. Our dependency
licenses come from the following license styles: Apache v2, BSD, MIT, and ICU. The list of
current Daffodil dependencies and their licenses are documented here:


== Cryptography ==


== Required Resources ==

=== Mailing Lists ===


=== Source Control ===


=== Issue Tracking ===

JIRA Daffodil (DFDL)

=== Initial Committers ===

 * Beth Finnegan <efinnegan at tresys dot com>
 * Dave Thompson <dthompson at tresys dot com>
 * Josh Adams <jadams at tresys dot com>
 * Mike Beckerle <mbeckerle at tresys dot com>
 * Steve Lawrence <slawrence at tresys dot com>
 * Taylor Wise <twise at tresys dot com>

=== Affiliations ===

 * Beth Finnegan (Tresys Technology)
 * Dave Thompson (Tresys Technology)
 * Josh Adams (Tresys Technology)
 * Mike Beckerle (Tresys Technology)
 * Steve Lawrence (Tresys Technology)
 * Taylor Wise (Tresys Technology)

== Sponsors ==

=== Champion ===

 * TBD

=== Nominated Mentors ===

 * TBD

=== Sponsoring Entity ===

We request the Apache Incubator to sponsor this project.

To unsubscribe, e-mail:
For additional commands, e-mail:

View raw message