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XML Messaging with Jabber
Pages: 1, 2, 3

As noted, within the Jabber system itself, all communications take place in XML. Specifically, communications between the client and the server occur over persistent TCP connections using XML streams that go through port 5222 (or 5223 when using SSL). Here is what the XML might look like (you'll notice that there are actually two streams: one from the client to the server and one from the server to the client):

SEND:   <stream:stream
SEND:      to='jabber.org'
SEND:      xmlns='jabber:client'
SEND:      xmlns:stream='http://etherx.jabber.org/streams'>
RECV:   <stream:stream
RECV:      xmlns:stream='http://etherx.jabber.org/streams'
RECV:      id='39ABA7D2'
RECV:      xmlns='jabber:client'
RECV:      from='jabber.org'>
      (XML for user session goes here)
SEND:   </stream:stream>
RECV:   </stream:stream>

All of the user session data transferred between client and server is contained within three basic Jabber XML elements:

  1. presence -- this indicates whether a Jabber user is online or not, and if so in what state (available, away, etc.)
  2. message -- this is used to hold the messages that are passed from one user to another
  3. iq (short for info/query) -- this is used to search user directories, update contact lists, and such

Here is what a simple presence element might look like:


And here is what a simple message element might look like:

<body>hey, how's the Mozilla client coming along?</body>

In addition to these basic elements (which themselves support a wide range of information exchange), Jabber XML is highly extensible, and it is easy to add new namespaces for things like vCard XML, RSS for headlines, stock tickers, or structured data for custom applications that run on top of Jabber. In essence, Jabber can function as something approaching a generalized XML router, sending any XML from one point to another, instantly.

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