Anchoring Trust: Rewriting DNS for the Semantic Network with Ruby and Rails

Eleanor McHugh, Games With Brains
Romek Szczesniak, Crytographer, Games with Brains

Date: Tuesday 18 September 2007
Time: 14:50 - 15:35
Location: Saal Maritim C

The emergence of Web 2.0 technologies such as REST, Ajax, and social tagging have made a significant impact on the way users view the internet. The "push" driven Web has been shown to be unnecessarily centralized and inflexible. At the same time, the W3C are developing models for the Semantic Web, a generalized playground of standardized, mechanized meanings using tags and hyperlinks.

Our work is concerned with DNS provisioning -- especially with regard to NAPTR resource records, a general-purpose form of hyperlink that adds new features to the DNS vocabulary: prioritization; service-filtering; dynamic resolution via a regex/replacement pairing. This is exciting technology, but what makes it relevant to RailsConf is our research into HTTP integration and our use of both Ruby and Rails for prototyping systems.

One such prototype is a Rails-based packet sniffer for analysing live traffic. Another in the early stages of development is a DNS server that publishes over both the standard DNS protocol and HTTP. We intend eventually to combine these to create a toolkit for provisioning of next-generation DNS services, which is where things will really start to get interesting.

Using these tools, it will be possible to compose RESTful network routing applications with the same ease as dynamic web services. We see this as a way of delivering the same benefits within the DNS infrastructure that are envisioned for the Semantic Web to create an interoperable model for programmatic arbitration of trust.

Our presentation will explore these themes with practical examples developed in Rails.

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