ICANN kit teaches software new domain names

ICANN's code will automatically check the validity of an email address or URL against the authoritative DNS data

The list of generalised “top-level” internet domains (gTLDs) continues to grow, but many applications can recognise only some of these new domain suffixes.

Examples of gTLDs include .info, .biz and the less well known .museum, which were registered in 2001. The current repertoire also includes aero, .biz, .cat, .coop, .info, .jobs and .mobi (for mobile ICT organisations). Others include .name, .pro, .tel and .travel. Another domain name, .asia, is expected to be added shortly.

Many applications, however, recognise only some of these domain suffixes and reject others as invalid when they see them in a URL or email address. Now ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has issued a toolkit to help software recognise the new gTLDs — in its role as IANA (the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority).

The ICANN code is easily inserted into existing programs or applications, says Kim Davies, technical liaison for IANA. It will automatically check the validity of an email address or URL against the authoritative DNS data, known as the “root-zone”. And, once it is installed, no additional updates should be necessary, says Davies. The program will automatically note any changes.

The toolkit is now in its third beta version and there are plans to further improve it, based on feedback from users. It can be downloaded from

www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-2-22mar07.htm.

Additional resources are available at: www.icann.org/topics/TLD-acceptance/

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