Internet-Draft On Deterministic Encoding March 2024
Bormann Expires 4 September 2024 [Page]
Intended Status:
C. Bormann
Universität Bremen TZI

CBOR: On Deterministic Encoding


CBOR (STD 94, RFC 8949) defines "Deterministically Encoded CBOR" in its Section 4.2. The present document provides additional information about use cases, deployment considerations, and implementation choices for Deterministic Encoding.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

The Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR, [STD94] as documented in RFC 8949) is a data format whose design goals include the possibility of extremely small code size, fairly small message size, and extensibility without the need for version negotiation.

In many cases, CBOR allows some information to be encoded in several variants, which provide different amounts of space and thus lengths in Bytes. The encoder is generally free to choose the length that is most practical for it (with the constraint, of course, that the data need to fit). For most encoders, it is natural to always choose the shortest form available (essentially avoiding leading zeros). Section 4.1 (Preferred Serialization) of RFC 8949 [STD94] names this practice and provides additional guidance for CBOR implementations; another term in use is "Preferred Encoding".

Section 4.2 (Deterministically Encoded CBOR) of RFC 8949 [STD94] goes beyond the Preferred Serialization practice by providing rules for Deterministic Encoding. The objective of Deterministic Encoding is to, deterministically, always produce the same encoding for data items that are equivalent at the data model level. To achieve this, Preferred Serialization is mandated, an encoding choice intended for incremental encoding (indefinite length encoding) is disabled, and additional effort is expended for encoding key/value pairs in maps (the order of which does not matter semantically) in a deterministic order.

Given that additional effort needs to be expended and/or implementation choices are taken away, neither Preferred Serialization nor Deterministic Encoding are mandatory in CBOR. (Contrast this with UTF-8 (Section 3 of RFC 3629 [STD63]), which is always treating as "invalid" any encoding variants that are longer than necessary.)

Deterministic Encoding is defined in Section 4.2 of RFC 8949 [STD94] (note that Section 4.2.3 of RFC 8949 [STD94] defines a variant that was needed at the time for backward compatibility and will not be discussed further in this document). The present document elaborates on this normative definition by providing additional information about use cases, deployment considerations, and implementation choices for Deterministic Encoding; it is an informational document that however may still be cited where a single reference for the background of Deterministic Encoding is convenient. This document is intended to be used in conjunction with CBOR Common Deterministic Encoding (CDE, [I-D.ietf-cbor-cde]), a normative specification for a deterministic encoding profile that was developed in order to allow generic CBOR implementations to provide common support for a variety of applications of deterministic encoding.

1.1. Conventions and Definitions

The definitions of [STD94] apply. Readers are expected to be familiar with CBOR, and particularly so with Sections 4.1 and 4.2 of RFC 8949 [STD94].

The following terms introduced in the text of [STD94] receive their own separate definitions here:

Preferred Serialization:

a set of choices made during Serialization (Encoding) that generally leads to shortest-form encodings where a choice of encoding lengths is available, without expending additional effort on converting between different kinds of data item. See Section 4.1 of RFC 8949 [STD94] and the terms defined in that section. The Preferred Encoding rules for data items in the Basic Generic Data Model may be augmented by rules for specific Tags, see for instance Section 3.4.3 of RFC 8949 [STD94].

Preferred Encoding:

Preferred Serialization

Deterministic Encoding:

An encoding process that employs Preferred Serialization and makes additional decisions to always (deterministically) lead to the exact same encoding for equivalent inputs at the data model level. Similar to Preferred Serialization, the equivalence model as defined for the Basic Generic Data Model may be augmented by equivalence rules defined for specific Tags (see also Section 2.1 of RFC 8949 [STD94]).

In this document, CBOR data items at the data model level are represented in the CBOR diagnostic notation (Section 8 of RFC 8949 [STD94] as extended by Appendix G of [RFC8610], further elaborated in [I-D.ietf-cbor-edn-literals]), abbreviated with "EDN" (extended diagnostic notation).

While this document is informative, it does use certain keywords to indicate practical requirements for interoperability. The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.

2. Use Cases for Deterministic Encoding

Before discussing further details of Deterministic Encoding, we would like to point out three areas of use cases, which differ enough in the resulting objectives that it is worth to have terminology for them.

2.1. Diagnostics

In many cases, diagnostic procedures benefit from having available a single, easily comparable representation of some data:

  • Comparing outputs of a test or validation suite during development

    • CI (Continuous Integration) may capture Deterministically Encoded copies of process output, of data in flight or data at rest, of specific test output etc. Being able to compare them over time or between systems without differences occurring as false positives can help indicate the presence or absence of certain problems.

    • Test vectors and other kinds of tests often represent some input and desired output of a transformation. By making sure the output is deterministically encoded, a simple bytewise comparison can find out whether the transformation was performed successfully.

  • Improving the presentation of diagnostic information to humans

    By minimizing inconsequential differences between representations of similar data, humans may be faster in finding information they are interested in. In particular inconsistent map ordering can easily hide information that would have been useful for diagnostic purposes. Transformation to human-readable forms may be easier and more useful if there is only one form of representation for the interchanged data.

2.2. Caching

Many systems cache (memoize) results of a request so they can reply with the cached result when the same request comes in again and the context of the reply has not changed.

If two requests that are semantically the same also have the same representation, the representation (or its hash) can serve as an efficient cache key. If the request is already encoded deterministically, this is by definition the case; alternatively, the recipient can re-encode a request with Deterministic Encoding.

Were the Deterministic Encoding to fail, this could lead to cache failures, which could be benign, but also could be specifically evoked by an active attacker to degrade a system.

As usual for deterministically encoded data, not all forms of application equivalence imply equivalence at the data model level, so some equivalence processing (deterministic representation) may be required at the application level as well, to achieve equivalent representations and thus a good cache hit rate.

2.3. Security: Signing Inputs

Security Frameworks such as COSE and JOSE sign or MAC (authenticate with a Message Authentication Code, MAC) information in the form in which it has actually been interchanged, making representation variants less relevant.

(Note that Section 9 of RFC 9052 [STD96] defines deterministic encoding rules for its own derivation of signing inputs from interchange data and additional cryptographic parameters; these are a compatible subset of the Core Deterministic Encoding Requirements specified in Section 4.2.1 of RFC 8949 [STD94] and thus of CDE.)

However, in some cases, the signing input for a signature or a MAC may need to be derived from data at rest and/or specific transformations of the data that was interchanged. Such a transformation is fraught with perils at the application level that may be exploited by attackers; this problem is outside the scope of the present document. Deterministic Encoding may remove one potential source of variability that might make signatures or MACs useless between systems.

3. Support by Generic Encoders and Decoders

CBOR implementations can be specific to a particular application, or they can be Generic. There is a strong incentive to be able to use a Generic encoder/decoder across the spectrum of CBOR applications; CBOR applications that require specific support from an encoder/decoder can considerably reduce the wide implementation support CBOR enjoys from existing generic implementations. So, as a general best practice, we want to minimize the number of ways an application may need to influence a generic coder/decoder by options, flags, switches, etc.

3.1. Basic Support

There is some expectation that, barring any particular constraints that would make this more difficult than normally, a CBOR encoder will use Preferred Encoding, in particular generic encoders. Deterministic Encoding, however, will need to be switched on explicitly in most implementations. Note that Preferred Encoding, while using the shortest form available for the specific data item to be encoded, doesn't have that shortness as the overriding objective: Conversions of a data item into a different one to achieve shorted encoding are not part of the processing labeled "Preferred Encoding". (This is particularly relevant for CBOR's different numeric systems; see Section 3.2.2 below.)

Some applications will also want to check that an encoded input actually satisfies the requirements for Deterministic Encoding. By the definition of Deterministic Encoding, this can be done after decoding a data item by deterministically encoding the just decoded data item and comparing the result with the decoding input. However, specific support for checking immediately in the decoding process can be more efficient.

As a result, support for Deterministic Encoding in generic encoder implementations is RECOMMENDED to be provided by a flag to switch on (or separate function that enables) Deterministic Encoding. Similarly, generic decoders are RECOMMENDED to have a flag to switch on/separate function to enable checking for Deterministic Encoding, whether that is efficiently implemented during decoding or less efficiently by comparing a re-encoding.

3.2. Application Requirements and Tags

The definition of Deterministic Encoding can become more complicated with the addition of Tags (Section 3.4 of RFC 8949 [STD94][IANA.cbor-tags]). Not all tags come with a strong equivalence model. Worse, the equivalence model may be more application specific than for basic Deterministic Encoding.

3.2.1. Example with Tags 0 and 1 (Date/Time)

For instance, are the following Tag 0 timestamps (expressed in CBOR diagnostic notation) equivalent?


They all denote the same instance in time, so if that is the relevant application semantics, they should all be represented as 0("2013-10-23T21:52:23Z") in Deterministic Encoding as that is the shortest form. However, they carry additional semantics that may be incidental or intentional (the e-mail message from which this date/time example was taken originated from California, which then was at a time zone the time offset of which is expressed by the -07:00). Whether the first two are exactly equivalent or not is the subject of Section 2 of [I-D.ietf-sedate-datetime-extended].

If the additional semantics conveyed by the time-offset (Section 5.6 of [RFC3339]) is not relevant to the application, an application-specific rule may be needed to convert text-based timestamps into the "Z" form before encoding. Some applications may also process this timestamp as 1(1382565143), losing the additional semantics as well, and using a quite different form. Is that maybe an even better Deterministic Encoding? (Note that 0("2016-12-31T23:59:60Z") does not have an equivalent form with Tag 1, so the application can either decide to never use such a date/time, or to exceptionally encode the rare leap second with Tag 0.)

3.2.2. Example with Major Types 0, 1, and 7, and Tags 2 and 3

CBOR has four different sets of numeric representations:

  • Major types 0 and 1.

    These provide for a variable-length representation of 64-bit unsigned integer numbers (major type 0) or negative numbers (major type 1) and, by combining these, of 65-bit signed integer numbers. The various lengths are intended to be semantically without meaning; the Preferred Encoding always chooses the shortest one.

  • Tags 2 and 3 ("bignums")

    These provide for a variable-length representation of arbitrarily large unsigned (Tag 2) or negative (Tag 3) integer numbers. According to Section 3.4.3 of RFC 8949 [STD94], the Preferred Encoding of an integer that fits into major type 0 or 1 is just that, i.e., the boundary between regular integers and bignums is intentionally thin. This means that, in Preferred Encoding, the value space of integral numbers is cleanly split into basic integers (64-bit unsigned integers or 64-bit negative integers) and bignums (Tag 2/3 integers that fit into neither of the two 64-bit forms).

    As a result, an application may want to place any distinctions it needs in the area of integer numbers not on the representation as a regular integer or a bignum, but on the value: e.g., an application could provide a 64-bit signed integer range separate from a bignum-based arbitrary size integer range that is outside 64-bit signed space, and would map half of the 65-bit space into the arbitrary size range.

    Note that, accordingly, Preferred Encoding as defined in Section 3.4.3 of RFC 8949 [STD94] selects the shortest encoding in major type 0/1 space if that is available and the shortest encoding (no leading zero bytes) in Tag 2/3 space only if the former is not available. This means that the integer number 65 536 000 000 in preferred representation is encoded as (9 bytes)

    1b 00 00 00 0f 42 40 00 00

    and not as (7 bytes)

    c2 45 0f 42 40 00 00

    (2(h'0f 42 40 00 00') in diagnostic notation), even though the latter is shorter by two bytes.

  • Major type 7

    CBOR directly provides the [IEEE754] types binary16, binary32, and binary64, colloquially known as half-precision, single-precision, and double-precision floating point. Note that other [IEEE754] binary floating types are indirectly supported via Tag 4, as well as decimal fractions via Tag 5.

    The set of values that binary32 and binary64 can represent are proper supersets of the value sets of the binary16 and binary32, respectively. These sets have CDDL names of float16, float32, and float64 (Section 3.3 of [RFC8610]). Again, preferred encoding chooses the smallest of the encodings; e.g., an application float64 such as 1.5 will be represented in a binary16 (0xf93e00) because that representation is the shortest floating point that provides the range and precision needed for this value. (Bulk encoding of floating point values, where the need for detection of this situation might cause a performance limitation, is handled by tagged arrays [RFC8746].)

    While the three major type 7 floating point representations are semantically equivalent among each other in the same way as the major type 0/1 integer representations are to each other, implementers have indicated that between these two groups, numbers need to be kept separated into integers and floating point numbers at the generic data model level.

    This means that the integer number 65 536 000 000 in preferred representation is encoded as (9 bytes)

    1b 00 00 00 0f 42 40 00 00

    and not as (5 bytes)

    fa 51 74 24 00

    which would be considered to be the semantically separate floating point value 65536000000.0 (CBOR diagnostic notation).

  • Tag 4 and 5 (decimal fractions, "bigfloats")

    Instead of adopting further formats such as decimal64 or binary128 from [IEEE754], CBOR defines two generalized tags that can be used for extended precision representation: Tag 5 for general binary floating point numbers ("bigfloats") and Tag 4 for general decimal floating point (decimal fractions). Section 3.4.4 of RFC 8949 [STD94] also states that "Bigfloats may also be used by constrained applications that need some basic binary floating-point capability without the need for supporting IEEE 754", while decimal fractions "are most useful if an application needs the exact representation of a decimal fraction such as 1.1 because there is no exact representation for many decimal fractions in binary floating-point representations", as might occur when representing literal JSON [STD90] instead of I-JSON-interpreted JSON [RFC7493].

    Neither bigfloats nor decimal fractions provide rules for preferred encoding, except implicitly by providing a choice between basic integer and bignum representation for the mantissa value that will in turn be governed by the preferred encoding rules for integers. Beyond that, the assumption is that these Tags create separate number spaces, and that any deterministic representation of numbers via these tags is shaped by application rules for the use of Tag 4 and 5.

4. Specification Considerations

In many specifications, asserting that interchange is based on deterministically encoded data items (and specifying what has to happen if that is not the case) is all that is needed.

4.1. Media Type Considerations

Some specifications define a media type for their interchange formats. This definition is a good place to reiterate that a deterministically encoded data item is required for instances of that media type.

A question arises whether a Structured Syntax Suffix (SSS, [RFC6838]) should be defined for CBOR data items in Deterministic Encoding (and similarly for CBOR sequences [RFC8742] of such).

There is precedent for this approach, as ASN.1 DER (Distinguished Encoding Rules) has an SSS, +der. However, this appears misguided as the purpose of an SSS is to enable processing of the underlying data representation format, and any ASN.1 BER (Basic Encoding Rules) processor (+ber) can also process a +der instance, which is not apparent from the +der suffix. (This was maybe mitigated by introducing both SSS at the same time.) Similarly, any CBOR decoder today can process deterministically encoded data items as plain CBOR data items (without any mitigation of having introduced a related suffix at the same time), so the SSS should be the usual +cbor/+cbor-seq. (The additional processing that would be enabled by identifying data items as deterministically encoded appears rather limited.)

Alternatively, instead of replacing +cbor, an indication of Deterministic Encoding could be provided by adding multiple suffixes to the SSS concept. There is an ongoing effort to define a more complex structure of media type suffixes, as documented in [I-D.ietf-mediaman-suffixes]. In general, the combination of multiple SSS in one media type name raises similar questions to the multiple inheritance problem in object-oriented programming languages, so it may not be easy to use such a mechanism in practice.

4.2. The Need for Maps

As an extension to JSON objects in JSON [STD90], maps are an important data structure in the CBOR generic data model to obtain extensibility of "struct"-like data (see Section 2 of [RFC8610]). Where this is not needed or can be provided in another way, expressing the entire data item without the use of maps can be an efficient option, avoiding any additional processing for Deterministic Encoding beyond that needed for Preferred Encoding. (This requires ensuring that a similar kind of uncertainty then does not occur at the application level, though.)

5. Implementation Considerations for Deterministic Encoding

5.1. API Considerations

Support for Deterministic Encoding can be added to an API for a generic CBOR encoder and decoder by adding one flag each:

  • a flag for the encoder to produce Deterministic Encoding

  • a flag for the decoder to check for Deterministic Encoding (optional)

Additional elements could be added to a decoder API to give diagnostic information about inputs that were not deterministically encoded, e.g., by flagging elements with error codes. It is often useful to give the application full information about well-formed CBOR that is not deterministically encoded even when it should be. However, if a flag for checking is provided and switched on, there SHOULD be no chance that any other decoded data item is mistaken for one that was encoded deterministically.

As reordering maps for Deterministic Encoding is relatively expensive, a generic encoder can also offer additional APIs for providing map content in a pre-ordered form. If an encoder complies with Preferred Encoding and maps can be supplied in ordered form, an explicit Deterministic Encoding flag may not be required. If it is, it is RECOMMENDED that the encoder not simply rely on the assumption that inputs were properly ordered by the application.

5.2. Map Key Ordering

Generating deterministically encoded data items requires arranging key/value pairs in maps into an order defined in Section 4.2.1 of RFC 8949 [STD94].

This map is ordered by the byte-wise lexicographic ordering of the deterministically encoded map keys. Section 4.2.1 of RFC 8949 [STD94] notes:

Implementation note: the self-delimiting nature of the CBOR encoding means that there are no two well-formed CBOR encoded data items where one is a prefix of the other. The bytewise lexicographic comparison of deterministic encodings of different map keys therefore always ends in a position where the byte differs between the keys, before the end of a key is reached.

Also, an implementation may be able to make use of the property that map keys in Deterministic Encodings are ordered by the following information, in order of precedence:

  • the key's major type

  • the numeric value of the argument of the key

  • any content of the key data item, such as

    • the string value in a byte or text string key

    • the elements of an array key, in order

    • the key/value pairs of a map-shaped key, deterministically ordered

    • the tag content of a tagged key

I may be expeditious to use this property, e.g. by processing integers first, starting with unsigned integers in ascending order and then negative integers in descending order, and then strings (byte strings first), ordered by their length in bytes (encoded in the argument) and then the string content, arrays ordered by length and then content, and maps ordered by length and then content. Often, and particularly with integer and string keys, it may not be necessary to actually build a deterministically encoded data item for a map key to perform the overall map content ordering.

6. Application Profiles of Deterministic Encoding

To enable the use of generic encoders, applications are encouraged to define rules for representing application information in the CBOR generic data model that enable the use of Preferred Encoding on that level as well.

6.1. The need for CBOR Common Deterministic Encoding (CDE)

Applications can also define their own deterministic encoding rules, as for instance FIDO CTAP2 (Client to Authenticator Protocol [CTAP2]) does with the CTAP2 canonical CBOR encoding form (Section 6 of [CTAP2]). Its description appears to be derived from an equivalent of Section 4.2.3 of RFC 8949 [STD94]. (The actual structure of CTAP2 limits its use to cases where that is compatible with standard Deterministic Encoding and thus CDE; there is text in the specification that calls for revisiting the definition when this would no longer be the case.)

Application-specific deterministic encoding rules can make it difficult to use existing generic encoders and may therefore diminish the value of using a standard representation format.

Instead, applications can define transformations of their data into a more limited data model that reduces the cases the Deterministic Encoding rules have to implement. This allows both the following implementation choices:

  • the use of generic encoders with standard Deterministic Encoding rule implementations after some application processing, or

  • the use of specialized encoders which combine encoding with the implementation of the application transformations.

The next subsection describes some of the considerations that led to one such application profile for Deterministic Encoding.

6.2. Numeric Reduction in dCBOR

The dCBOR specification [I-D.mcnally-deterministic-cbor] describes the pervasive use of Deterministic Encoding throughout an application. It also defines a simplified application data model of numbers, where there no longer is a distinction between integers and floating point numbers at the application data model level — all numbers are of a single numeric type, and the choice of integer or floating point representations is made based on value:

  • integral numbers that fit into Major Type 0 and 1 are represented in this way even if they were originally represented as floating point values;

  • all other numbers are represented as floating point values (and all NaN values are mapped to a single quiet NAN).

The underlying CBOR Deterministic Encoding rules ensure that, in both cases, the shortest form for the case will then be used for encoding.

Reducing the separate integer and floating point spaces to a single numeric space is particularly attractive in implementation languages that also only have a single such space, such as JavaScript [ECMA262]. (While JavaScript recently has acquired a separate integer type, it is much less well integrated into the language and existing libraries than the more well-established general numeric type.)

Within the CBOR working group of the IETF, the dCBOR specification prompted a discussion about profiles for deterministic encoding, which led to the CBOR Common Deterministic Encoding (CDE) specification [I-D.ietf-cbor-cde] and the concept of a deterministic encoding application profile (Section 3 of [I-D.ietf-cbor-cde]). Without help of the CDE specification at the time, an early version of the dCBOR specification restated much of Section 4.2 of RFC 8949 [STD94] and added a rule that gets in the way of compatibility with Deterministic Encoding (disallowing the interchange of basic negative integers in the range -264 to -263-1).

7. Using Deterministically Encoded CBOR as a Deterministic Encoding of JSON

Certain applications could make use of a Deterministic Encoding for JSON [STD90] data. Deterministically Encoded CBOR provides an attractive solution to that as it is already well-defined.

While the data model of JSON is not well-defined, I-JSON provides one interpretation that is generally accepted [RFC7493]. Section 6.2 (Converting from JSON to CBOR) of RFC 8949 [STD94] provides a way to transform JSON data that conform to this data model to CBOR. When used with its default parameters, the combination of (1) I-JSON, (2) the JSON-to-CBOR transformation, and (3) the rules for CBOR Deterministic Encoding provide a well-defined Deterministic Encoding for JSON data.

Transforming decoded CBOR data after interchange back to data-model level JSON data can be done with the inverse of Section 6.2 of RFC 8949 [STD94] (the full generality of Section 6.1 (Converting from CBOR to JSON) of RFC 8949 [STD94] is obviously not required as only the JSON subset of the CBOR generic data model is used).

Comparing the handling of numeric data in the JSON-to-CBOR transformation to that reported in Section 6.2, the main difference is that the former only maps integral values between -253+1 and 253-1 to basic CBOR integers and leaves the others in floating point form. (The rationale is that only this range is injective ("unambiguous" or "exact") in the mapping of integers to binary64 floating point values, which may be a desirable property beyond the use in JSON encoding.)

8. Security Considerations

One of the major use cases of Deterministic Encoding is in security, namely in the derivation of signing inputs from some CBOR data only available at the model level. Any transformation error from the application data to the CBOR model level and then to deterministic encoding can lead to a potential exploit by an attacker.

Pertinent Security Considerations are further discussed Section 8 of [I-D.ietf-cbor-cde].

9. IANA Considerations

This document has no IANA actions.

10. References

10.1. Normative References

Bormann, C., "CBOR Common Deterministic Encoding (CDE)", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-cbor-cde-01, , <>.
IANA, "Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR) Tags", <>.
Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, , <>.
Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC 2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174, , <>.
Birkholz, H., Vigano, C., and C. Bormann, "Concise Data Definition Language (CDDL): A Notational Convention to Express Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR) and JSON Data Structures", RFC 8610, DOI 10.17487/RFC8610, , <>.
Internet Standard 94, <>.
At the time of writing, this STD comprises the following:
Bormann, C. and P. Hoffman, "Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR)", STD 94, RFC 8949, DOI 10.17487/RFC8949, , <>.

10.2. Informative References

FIDO Alliance, "Client to Authenticator Protocol (CTAP)", CTAP2 canonical CBOR encoding form (in Section 6), , <>.
Ecma International, "ECMAScript 2020 Language Specification", Standard ECMA-262, 11th Edition, , <>.
Bormann, C., "CBOR Extended Diagnostic Notation (EDN): Application-Oriented Literals, ABNF, and Media Type", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-cbor-edn-literals-08, , <>.
Sporny, M. and A. Guy, "Media Types with Multiple Suffixes", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-mediaman-suffixes-07, , <>.
Sharma, U. and C. Bormann, "Date and Time on the Internet: Timestamps with additional information", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-sedate-datetime-extended-11, , <>.
McNally, W., Allen, C., and C. Bormann, "dCBOR: A Deterministic CBOR Application Profile", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-mcnally-deterministic-cbor-07, , <>.
IEEE, "IEEE Standard for Floating-Point Arithmetic", IEEE Std 754-2019, DOI 10.1109/IEEESTD.2019.8766229, <>.
Klyne, G. and C. Newman, "Date and Time on the Internet: Timestamps", RFC 3339, DOI 10.17487/RFC3339, , <>.
Freed, N., Klensin, J., and T. Hansen, "Media Type Specifications and Registration Procedures", BCP 13, RFC 6838, DOI 10.17487/RFC6838, , <>.
Bray, T., Ed., "The I-JSON Message Format", RFC 7493, DOI 10.17487/RFC7493, , <>.
Bormann, C., "Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR) Sequences", RFC 8742, DOI 10.17487/RFC8742, , <>.
Bormann, C., Ed., "Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR) Tags for Typed Arrays", RFC 8746, DOI 10.17487/RFC8746, , <>.
Internet Standard 63, <>.
At the time of writing, this STD comprises the following:
Yergeau, F., "UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO 10646", STD 63, RFC 3629, DOI 10.17487/RFC3629, , <>.
Internet Standard 90, <>.
At the time of writing, this STD comprises the following:
Bray, T., Ed., "The JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) Data Interchange Format", STD 90, RFC 8259, DOI 10.17487/RFC8259, , <>.
Internet Standard 96, <>.
At the time of writing, this STD comprises the following:
Schaad, J., "CBOR Object Signing and Encryption (COSE): Structures and Process", STD 96, RFC 9052, DOI 10.17487/RFC9052, , <>.
Schaad, J., "CBOR Object Signing and Encryption (COSE): Countersignatures", STD 96, RFC 9338, DOI 10.17487/RFC9338, , <>.


This document was motivated by the work of Wolf McNally and Christopher Allen as documented in [I-D.mcnally-deterministic-cbor] and discussed in 2023 in the CBOR working group. It collects information that is present in the apps-discuss and CBOR WG mailing list discussions since 2013, but not necessarily easy to find. The author is grateful to the many contributors to these discussions.

Author's Address

Carsten Bormann
Universität Bremen TZI
Postfach 330440
D-28359 Bremen