[gnutls-devel] higher level session API?

Tim Rühsen tim.ruehsen at gmx.de
Fri Jan 25 17:24:01 CET 2013

Am Mittwoch, 23. Januar 2013 schrieb Nikos Mavrogiannopoulos:
> On Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 10:41 AM, Tim Ruehsen <tim.ruehsen at gmx.de> wrote:
> >> However I'm wondering whether a full higher level API over
> >> gnutls_session_t is needed, that for example does not require to handle
> >> non-fatal errors (e.g. GNUTLS_E_AGAIN, or
> >> GNUTLS_E_WARNING_ALERT_RECEIVED). That would be the equivalent of FILE*
> >> for a TLS session. Any thoughts?
> > For an application developer, a high level API that can be used 'quick and
> > dirty', would reduce the amounts of code and time ot use gnutls.
> > e.g. like this pseudo code
> > gnutls_session_t sess = gnutls_open(
> >         hostname, port,
> >         // here come *optional* key, value pairs, some examples
> >         // GNUTLS_READ_TIMEOUT, 5000, // in milliseconds
> >         // GNUTLS_PRIORITY, "NORMAL:-VERS-SSL3.0",
> >         // GNUTLS_CHECK_CERTIFICATE, 0, // switch certificate checking on 
and off
> >         / ...
> >         NULL); // gcc >= 4 is able to check this with attribute 'sentinel'
> That's pretty high level. I think the networking part (i.e. connection
> to host and resolving) will have to be kept out. Networking
> applications already have this code and in these cases it may be
> harder to use that API. I'm thinking of a simpler API that includes
> the
> priority string, the check certificate flag, and a credentials structure if 

You are right. Maybe the socket descriptor should go to gnutls_open().
And isn't the hostname needed for host validation while handshaking ? I think 
about gnutls_x509_crt_check_hostname().

> > ssize_t nbytes = gnutls_write(sess, buf, buflen);
> > ssize_t nbytes = gnutls_printf(sess, "%d - %s\n", ival, str);
> > ssize_t nbytes = gnutls_read(sess, buf, bufsize);
> > ssize_t nbytes = gnutls_getline(sess, &buf, &bufsize);
> I like those. I'll try to add them (I think the getline is missing
> from the current code).

If it helps, look at my getline() implementation for file descriptors.
The internal variables are saved at the end of buf, but you won't need this 
ugly trick since you have a session variable.


> > The 'open' function should have reasonable default values to work 'right 
> > of the box'. It should also do gnutls_global_init() implicitely, if it 
> > be done yet.
> That one is tricky because it would mean having explicit thread locks
> (global_init isn't thread safe). I think global_init should be called
> independently.

Yes, to avoid thread locks, global_init needs to be called explicitely.

> > And back to your idea with queue/flush:
> > - inspired from TCP_CORK, my idea would be something like
> >         gnutls_cork()
> >         do some writes
> >         gnutls_uncork (or calling it gnutls_flush, if you like)
> > - or/and implementing something like the Nagle algorithm, kind of 
> > cork/uncork
> Is that for the gnutls_session_t API?

It was just an idea without thinking about that ;-)

> It's an interesting idea and may
> even remove the need of a higher-level API. I'll think about it.

A higher level API is always good for application programmers to have a fast 
success (and a short learning time). Later. if things become more wicked, they 
will investigate into the mid- and/or low-level API.

Regards, Tim

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