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CloudEvents - Version 0.1

Abstract

CloudEvents is a vendor-neutral specification for defining the format of event data.

Status of this document

This document is a working draft.

Table of Contents

Overview

Events are everywhere. However, event producers tend to describe events differently.

The lack of a common way of describing events means developers are constantly re-learning how to consume events. This also limits the potential for libraries, tooling and infrastructure to aide the delivery of event data across environments, like SDKs, event routers or tracing systems. The portability and productivity that can be achieved from event data is hindered overall.

CloudEvents is a specification for describing event data in common formats to provide interoperability across services, platforms and systems.

Event Formats specify how to serialize a CloudEvent with certain encoding formats. Compliant CloudEvents implementations that support those encodings MUST adhere to the encoding rules specified in the respective event format. All implementations MUST support the JSON format.

For more information on the history, development and design rationale behind the specification, see the CloudEvents Primer document.

Notations and Terminology

Notational Conventions

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.

Attribute Naming Convention

The CloudEvents specifications define mappings to various protocols and encodings, and the accompanying CloudEvents SDK targets various runtimes and languages. Some of these treat metadata elements as case-sensitive while others do not, and a single CloudEvent might be routed via multiple hops that involve a mix of protocols, encodings, and runtimes. Therefore, this specification limits the available character set of all attributes such that case-sensitivity issues or clashes with the permissible character set for identifiers in common languages are prevented.

CloudEvents attribute names MUST consist of lower-case letters ('a' to 'z') or digits ('0' to '9') from the ASCII character set, and MUST begin with a lower-case letter. Attribute names SHOULD be descriptive and terse, and SHOULD NOT exceed 20 characters in length.

Terminology

This specification defines the following terms:

Occurrence

An "occurrence" is the capture of a statement of fact during the operation of a software system. This might occur because of a signal raised by the system or a signal being observed by the system, because of a state change, because of a timer elapsing, or any other noteworthy activity. For example, a device might go into an alert state because the battery is low, or a virtual machine is about to perform a scheduled reboot.

Event

An "event" is a data record expressing an occurrence and its context. Events are routed from an event producer (the source) to interested event consumers. The routing can be performed based on information contained in the event, but an event will not identify a specific routing destination. Events will contain two types of information: the Data representing the Occurrence and Context metadata providing contextual information about the Occurrence.

Context

Context metadata will be encapsulated in the Context Attributes. Tools and application code can use this information to identify the relationship of Events to aspects of the system or to other Events.

Data

Domain-specific information about the occurrence (i.e. the payload). This might include information about the occurrence, details about the data that was changed, or more. See the Data Attribute section for more information.

Message

Events are transported from a source to a destination via messages.

Protocol

Messages can be delivered through various industry standard protocol (e.g. HTTP, AMQP, MQTT, SMTP), open-source protocols (e.g. Kafka, NATS), or platform/vendor specific protocols (AWS Kinesis, Azure Event Grid).

Type System

The following abstract data types are available for use in attributes.

  • Integer - A 32-bit whole number.
  • String - Sequence of printable Unicode characters.
  • Binary - Sequence of bytes.
  • Map - String-indexed dictionary of Any-typed values.
  • Any - Either a String, or a Binary, or a Map, or an Integer.
  • URI-reference - String expression conforming to URI-reference as defined in RFC 3986 §4.1.
  • Timestamp - String expression as defined in RFC 3339.

This specification does not define numeric or logical types.

The Any type is a variant type that can take the shape of either a String or a Binary or a Map. The type system is intentionally abstract, and therefore it is left to implementations how to represent the variant type.

Context Attributes

Every CloudEvent conforming to this specification MUST include context attributes designated as REQUIRED and MAY include one or more OPTIONAL context attributes.

These attributes, while descriptive of the event, are designed such that they can be serialized independent of the event data. This allows for them to be inspected at the destination without having to deserialize the event data.

The choice of serialization mechanism will determine how the context attributes and the event data will be materialized. For example, in the case of a JSON serialization, the context attributes and the event data might both appear within the same JSON object.

Extension Attributes

CloudEvents producers MAY include additional context attributes in the event that might be used in ancillary actions related to the processing of the event. See CloudEvent Attributes Extensions for additional information concerning the use and definition of extensions.

This specification places no restriction on the type or semantics of the extension attributes. Each definition of an extensions SHOULD fully define all aspects of the attribute - e.g. its name, semantic meaning and possible values or even to indicate that it places no restrictions on its values. New extension definitions SHOULD use a name that is descriptive enough to reduce the chances of name collisions with other extensions. In particular, extension authors SHOULD check the documented extensions document for the set of known extensions - not just for possible name conflicts but for extensions that might be of interest.

Each specification that defines how to serialize a CloudEvent will define how extension attributes will appear.

Here is an example that illustrates the need for additional attributes. In many IoT and enterprise use cases, an event could be used in a serverless application that performs actions across multiple types of events. To support such use cases, the event producer will need to add additional identity attributes to the "context attributes" which the event consumers can use to correlate this event with the other events. If such identity attributes happen to be part of the event "data", the event producer SHOULD also add the identity attributes to the "context attributes" so that event consumers can easily access this information without needing to decode and examine the event data. Such identity attributes can also be used to help intermediate gateways determine how to route the events.

type

  • Type: String
  • Description: Type of occurrence which has happened. Often this attribute is used for routing, observability, policy enforcement, etc.
  • Constraints:
    • REQUIRED
    • MUST be a non-empty string
    • SHOULD be prefixed with a reverse-DNS name. The prefixed domain dictates the organization which defines the semantics of this event type.
  • Examples
    • com.github.pull.create

specversion

  • Type: String
  • Description: The version of the CloudEvents specification which the event uses. This enables the interpretation of the context.
  • Constraints:
    • REQUIRED
    • MUST be a non-empty string

source

  • Type: URI-reference
  • Description: This describes the event producer. Often this will include information such as the type of the event source, the organization publishing the event, the process that produced the event, and some unique identifiers. The exact syntax and semantics behind the data encoded in the URI is event producer defined.
  • Constraints:
    • REQUIRED
  • Examples

id

  • Type: String
  • Description: ID of the event. The semantics of this string are explicitly undefined to ease the implementation of producers. Enables deduplication.
  • Examples:
    • A database commit ID
  • Constraints:
    • REQUIRED
    • MUST be a non-empty string
    • MUST be unique within the scope of the producer

time

  • Type: Timestamp
  • Description: Timestamp of when the event happened.
  • Constraints:
    • OPTIONAL
    • If present, MUST adhere to the format specified in RFC 3339

schemaurl

  • Type: URI
  • Description: A link to the schema that the data attribute adheres to. Incompatible changes to the schema SHOULD be reflected by a different URL.
  • Constraints:
    • OPTIONAL
    • If present, MUST adhere to the format specified in RFC 3986

contenttype

  • Type: String per RFC 2046

  • Description: Content type of the data attribute value. This attribute enables the data attribute to carry any type of content, whereby format and encoding might differ from that of the chosen event format. For example, an event rendered using the JSON envelope format might carry an XML payload in its data attribute, and the consumer is informed by this attribute being set to "application/xml". The rules for how the data attribute content is rendered for different contenttype values are defined in the event format specifications; for example, the JSON event format defines the relationship in section 3.1.

    When this attribute is omitted, the "data" attribute simply follows the event format's encoding rules. For the JSON event format, the "data" attribute value can therefore be a JSON object, array, or value.

    For the binary mode of some of the CloudEvents transport bindings, where the "data" content is immediately mapped into the payload of the transport frame, this field is directly mapped to the respective transport or application protocol's content-type metadata property. Normative rules for the binary mode and the content-type metadata mapping can be found in the respective transport mapping specifications.

  • Constraints:

    • OPTIONAL
    • If present, MUST adhere to the format specified in RFC 2046
  • For Media Type examples see IANA Media Types

Data Attribute

As defined by the term Data, CloudEvents MAY include domain-specific information about the occurrence. When present, this information will be encapsulated within the data attribute.

data

  • Type: Any
  • Description: The event payload. The payload depends on the type and the schemaurl. It is encoded into a media format which is specified by the contenttype attribute (e.g. application/json).
  • Constraints:
    • OPTIONAL

Example

The following example shows a CloudEvent serialized as JSON:

{
    "specversion" : "0.1",
    "type" : "com.github.pull.create",
    "source" : "https://github.com/cloudevents/spec/pull/123",
    "id" : "A234-1234-1234",
    "time" : "2018-04-05T17:31:00Z",
    "comexampleextension1" : "value",
    "comexampleextension2" : {
        "othervalue": 5
    },
    "contenttype" : "text/xml",
    "data" : "<much wow=\"xml\"/>"
}