Application Techniques for Checking and Transformation of Names

This RFC 3696 was published in 2004.


Many Internet applications have been designed to deduce top-level domains (or other domain name labels) from partial information.
The introduction of new top-level domains, especially non-country-code ones, has exposed flaws in some of the methods used by these applications.
These flaws make it more difficult, or impossible, for users of the applications to access the full Internet.
This memo discusses some of the techniques that have been used and gives some guidance for minimizing their negative impact as the domain name environment evolves.
This document draws summaries of the applicable rules together in one place and supplies references to the actual standards.

RFC 3696 introduction

Designers of user interfaces to Internet applications have often found it useful to examine user-provided values for validity before passing them to the Internet tools themselves.
This type of test, most commonly involving syntax checks or application of other rules to domain names, email addresses, or "web addresses" (URLs or, occasionally, extended URI forms (see Section 4)) may enable better- quality diagnostics for the user than might be available from the protocol itself.
Local validity tests on values are also thought to improve the efficiency of back-office processing programs and to reduce the load on the protocols themselves.
Certainly, they are consistent with the well-established principle that it is better to detect errors as early as possible.

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