# $File: //depot/libOurNet/BBS/lib/OurNet/BBS/Roadmap.pod $ $Author: autrijus $
# $Revision: #1 $ $Change: 3789 $ $DateTime: 2003/01/24 19:07:35 $

=head1 NAME

OurNet::BBS::Roadmap - The OurNet-BBS development roadmap

=head1 SYNOPSIS

There are several design goals for the OurNet-BBS:

=head2 Secure Communication & Storage

The most fundamental weakness of thin-client architectures
is the vulnerability of tampering, either by intercepting
transmissions or preying on unencrypted data stored on
the centralized server. Therefore, OurNet-BBS I<MUST> provide
means to retrieve, forward and store data securely.

=head2 Multiple Representation Paradigms

In order to translate between heterogeneous services within
a common network, OurNet-BBS I<MUST> accept both storage-based
(eg. HTTP/FreeNet/LDAP) and message-based (eg. Jabber/XML-RPC)
renderings, and be able to render into corresponding formats
(eg. HTML/XML/MIME).

=head2 Decentralized Syndication Support

Monolithic, single point-of-failure servers has remained 
as the state of art in telnet-based BBS networks since the
very beginning, which leads to its incapability to leverage
viewers, services and computing resources on client machines
as well as the high failure rate in on-line services.

While not an end in itself, OurNet-BBS I<MUST> provide a
clearly defined layer for writing inter-operable agent and
services in a server-less environment, either by utilizing
existing networks (eg. Gnutella, JXTA, FreeNet) or by
creating its own network. 

=head1 COMPONENTS

Since OurNet-BBS is a large undertaking, its various components
are relatively independent with each other, and are better viewed
as sub-projects working collaboratively.

=head2 BBS Backends

OurNet-BBS I<MUST> provide backends for all major
telnet-based BBS systems, akin to B<DBD::*> database
access drivers.

These backends I<SHOULD> support all existing services
available through telnet-based interfaces, including
boards, articles, nested archives, board classes, user
info, mailbox, sessions, instant message, and chat rooms.

Backend developers are strongly encouraged to actively
abstract similar file-based operations among components,
via the B<OurNet::BBS::Base> object framework.

All backends I<MUST> provide the same interface for Board,
Article and User components, and I<SHOULD> support Group
and Session wherever applicable.

=over 4

=item MAPLE2 / SOB / PTT / ProBBS (a.k.a. CVIC)

Instead of supporting the common subset of all M2 variants,
OurNet-BBS I<SHOULD> provide a complete coverage to their
unique feature and formats, and inherit as many common
components from MAPLE2 as possible.

=item MAPLE3 / MELIX

Because of the uncoordinated and heavily forked status of GPL'ed
MAPLE3 code, OurNet-BBS I<MAY> choose to ignore unpolished
features (eg. Board Class), and to target MELIX's implementation
instead.

MELIX's handling of MIME header and scripting language support
I<SHOULD> be utilized as the reference implementation, until
another system appears with superior capabilities.

=item FireBird2 / FireBird3 / ColaBBS

In addition to offering transparent access between Maple and
FireBird series, OurNet-BBS I<MAY> implement FireBird-specific
features available through its telnet interface, if possible.

=item RexchenBBS / TwolightBBS / ...

Newer BBS systems unrelated to the Eagles-Phoenix ancestry
also I<MAY> be supported, if under substantial usage and/or
offers advanced features as OurNet-BBS' representation layer.

=back

=head2 Wrapper Backends

These backends I<SHOULD> map their native data representation
into traditional ones, and I<MAY> offer additional options
to control their behavior. They I<SHOULD NOT> break any
semantics common to all traditional backends.

=over 4

=item RAM

This is the skeleton implementation which I<MUST> support
common subsets of all possible components, and serve as a
reference for resolving conflicts between backends. It also
I<MUST NOT> rely on any on-disk storage or operating system
dependent features.

=item BBSAgent

Because most existing BBS sites will not offer OurNet-BBS
service overnight, a translation layer over their telnet
interfaces I<MUST> be supported.

This backend I<SHOULD> implement FETCH interfaces of
Article, Board, User and Session components, and I<MAY>
provide STORE interfaces to them.

See L</Agent Platform> for a discussion on telnet-based agent
scripting interfaces.

=item External

The External backend I<SHOULD> launch external programs for each
C<STORE> or C<FETCH> actions performed on its components; it is
used to e.g. gateway all C<STORE> attempts to a mailer, as a
BBS <=> Mailing list gateway.

=item NNTP

For transparent synchronization with Usenet nodes, this
backend I<MUST> implement a RFC977-compliant client,
and I<SHOULD> transmit MIME data without loss.

This backend I<MUST> supported Article and Board components,
and I<MAY> provide a Group component.

=item POP3 / MailBox / IMAP / SMTP

These backends I<MUST> support read/write operations with
consistency, and I<SHOULD> transmit MIME data without loss.

Two or more protocols I<MAY> be combined to provide a
read/write interface.

=item DBI

This backend I<MUST> support MySQL, PostgreSQL, MS SQL and
Oracle DBDs. It I<MUST> provide a reference schema of
necessary fields for each components, and I<SHOULD> accept
other schemata using clear-defined configuration methods.

=back

=head2 Content Rendering

Some representation layers, such as stateless HTTP, does not allow
a transparent integration. Nevertheless, OurNet-BBS I<SHOULD> provide
rendering tools to perform batch import / export against different
targets.

=over 4

=item WebBBS Plug-in

This CGI-based interface I<MUST> be capable of handling user
sessions, authentication and have customizable templates.
It also I<SHOULD NOT> depend on any specific backend's 
behavior.

=item Web Framework Integration

In addition to stand-alone dynamic rendering, OurNet-BBS also
I<MAY> offer integration support to major web frameworks
(eg. Slash, Zope, etc). Such integrations I<SHOULD> render
OurNet objects into HTML format without loss, and vice versa.

=item Cross-Backend Migration Kit

Since not every backends support all OurNet-BBS components,
it is sometimes necessary for sites using existing systems
to convert to MELIX, in order to fully utilize the OurNet-BBS
platform.

Such migration kits I<MUST> preserve static data as much as
possible, and I<SHOULD> retain the same structure and content
in the OurNet perspective.

=back

=head2 Service Transports

The service transports allows interoperability between OurNet-BBS
objects and other distributed systems.

=over 4

=item OurNet-RPC / XML-RPC

=item Jabber

=item CORBA / SOAP / EJB / LDAP / etc

OurNet-BBS I<MAY> also offer additional bindings to these
protocols, provided that there are corresponding needs.

=back

=head2 Decentralized Networking

OurNet-BBS I<SHOULD> layer itself on top of a distributed
computing network that allows Server-to-Server communications.

=over 4

=item Discovery

=item Messaging

=item Authentication

=item Syndication

=back

=head2 Agent Platform

The medium-term goal for OurNet-BBS is to become a backend-independent
Agent platform, consisting of all interconnected OurNet nodes. It is
therefore necessary to offer a common set of API and infrastructure
to encourage people writing OurNet Agents.

=over 4

=item Telnet Agents

Besides static storage handled by backends, many Internet services
needs to interact with OurNet (eg. BBS, IRC and Telnet) lacks a
cleanly-defined API layer. Thus, a generic wrapper module is needed.

This module I<MUST> provide an object-oriented interface to those
services, by simulating as a virtual user with action defined by
a script language. This language I<MUST> support both flow-control
and event-driven interfaces.

=item Access Control

This module I<MUST> support both traditional C<crypt()>-based
and asymmetric authentications. It also I<SHOULD> negotiate among
multiple available ciphers. The permission model I<MUST> allow
user-defined fine grained control, including ACL, Opcode locking,
and respects the default settings of each backends.

=item Transportable Objects

This module I<MUST> allow ircbot-like agents to deserialize 
and walk through nodes, to translating requests across heterogeneous
services. It also I<MUST> allow each signed objects to be distributed
and discovered across OurNet, so each node could look at the source
code, run it in a Safe compartment, and if they like it, they could
sign it to vouch for its integrity. 

=back

=head2 Documentation

The documentation set of OurNet-BBS is distributed under the
B<OurNet::BBS::*> namespace.

=over 4

=item Architecture and Philosophy

=item Interface and Samples

=item Test Cases With Comments

=item Backend Developer's Guide

=item Agent Developer's Guide

=back

=head1 MILESTONES

=head2 Milestone 0

This milestone gives the baseline of basic functionalities,
and a working prototype of RPC + Access Control network.
It also includes man pages and overviews.

    backend:	MAPLE2, PTT, MAPLE3, MELIX.
    wrapper:	RAM, BBSAgent, NNTP, MailBox.
    transport:	OurNet-RPC.
    agent:	Telnet Agents, Access Control (MELIX).

=head2 Milestone 1

This milestone aims to provide a working public beta based on
old client/server model. It will focus on core stability, a
complete test case, and introductory materials.

    agent:	Access Control (MAPLE2).
    rendering:	Migration Toolkit.
    document:	Architecture & Philosophy,
		Interfaces & Samples,
		Test Cases With Comments.

=head2 Milestone 2

This milestone is for co-operability toward developers. It
will have a fully-functional reference implementation of
Web rendering, as well as a procedural interface suitable
to bindings with other languages. An experimental discovery
network should be formed by this milestone.

    wrapper:	POP3/SMTP.
    transport:	XML-RPC.
    rendering:	WebBBS Plug-in.
    network:	Discovery.
    document:	Backend Developer's Guide.

=head2 Milestone 3

Cross-node messaging, presence and session management are the
main purpose for this milestone. By this release, we should
also gradually move away from depending on text-file based
storage.

    transport:	Jabber.
    wrapper:	DBI.
    network:	Messaging, Authentication.

=head2 Milestone 4

This milestone turns existing OurNet network into a true Agent
Platform, by offering intention- and subscription- based
syndication between nodes.

    rendering:	Web Framework Integration.
    network:	Syndication.
    agent:	Transportable Objects.
    document:	Agent Developer's Guide.

=head1 AUTHORS

Autrijus Tang E<lt>autrijus@autrijus.orgE<gt>

=head1 COPYRIGHT

Copyright 2001-2002 by Autrijus Tang E<lt>autrijus@autrijus.orgE<gt>.

This document is open document; you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the Open Content License.

See L<http://opencontent.org/opl.shtml>

=cut