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Suggestion: Using script output - Human-readable and machine-parseable
From: Daniel Miller <bonsaiviking () gmail com>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011 15:46:41 -0500

Hey list,

From the Nmap TODO:
o Nmap should have a better way to handle XML script output.
 o We currently just stick the current script output text into an XML tag.
May I make a suggestion? If we format script output as YAML (http://www.yaml.org/), it will be machine-readable, while preserving the human-readable nature. There are a couple of YAML bindings for Lua: libyaml (http://yaml.luaforge.net/) and libsyck (https://github.com/indeyets/syck/tree/master/ext/lua)

The quickest way to support this straight off would be to modify stdnse.format_output to output YAML. The NSE runtime could quote non-YAML return values as block-literal scalars, until such time as they are rewritten to return more useful formatted output. A downside would be that output would take a few more lines than before, though this could be overcome by using "flow styles," of which JSON is a proper subset.

Benefits of doing this are:
* extensibility without requiring modifications to Nmap XML schema
* Human-readable nature of YAML means a single output format for human and machine consumers * existing structured-output using stdnse.format_output means very few changes for script authors * YAML bindings available for Lua, Python, Perl, Ruby, C, and many other languages.

I was going to submit this idea with a patch, but I realized I don't have the first clue as to how to integrate a new Lua library binding into the Nmap source. Instead, here's some examples of YAML-formatted script output.

Old:
smb-system-info:
|  OS Details
|  |  Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 (ServerNT 5.0 build 2195)
|  |  Installed on 2008-10-10 05:47:19
|  |  Registered to Ron (organization: Government of Manitoba)
| | Path: %SystemRoot%\system32;%SystemRoot%;%SystemRoot%\System32\Wbem;C:\Program Files\Graphviz2.20\Bin;
|  |  Systemroot: C:\WINNT
|  |_ Page files: C:\pagefile.sys 192 384 (cleared at shutdown => 0)
|  Hardware
|  |  CPU 0: Intel(R) Xeon(TM) CPU 2.80GHz [2800mhz GenuineIntel]
|  |  |_ Identifier 0: x86 Family 15 Model 3 Stepping 8
|  |_ Video driver: VMware SVGA II
|  Browsers
|  |  Internet Explorer 6.0000
|_ |_ Firefox 3.0.12 (en-US)
New:
smb-system-info:
|  OS Details:
| Version: Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 (ServerNT 5.0 build 2195)
|   Installed: 2008-10-10 05:47:19
|   Registered to:
|     Name: Ron
|     Organization: Government of Manitoba
| Path: %SystemRoot%\system32;%SystemRoot%;%SystemRoot%\System32\Wbem;C:\Program Files\Graphviz2.20\Bin;
|   Systemroot: C:\WINNT
|   Page files: C:\pagefile.sys 192 384 (cleared at shutdown => 0)
|  Hardware:
|   CPU:
|     - Name: Intel(R) Xeon(TM) CPU 2.80GHz [2800mhz GenuineIntel]
|       Identifier: x86 Family 15 Model 3 Stepping 8
|   Video driver: VMware SVGA II
|  Browsers:
|    - Internet Explorer 6.0000
|_   - Firefox 3.0.12 (en-US)
Old:
-- | afp-showmount:
-- |   Yoda's Public Folder
-- |     Owner: Search,Read,Write
-- |     Group: Search,Read
-- |     Everyone: Search,Read
-- |     User: Search,Read
-- |   Vader's Public Folder
-- |     Owner: Search,Read,Write
-- |     Group: Search,Read
-- |     Everyone: Search,Read
-- |     User: Search,Read
-- |_    Options: IsOwner
New:
-- | afp-showmount:
-- |   - name: Yoda's Public Folder
-- |     Owner: [Search,Read,Write]
-- |     Group: [Search,Read]
-- |     Everyone: [Search,Read]
-- |     User: [Search,Read]
-- |   - name: Vader's Public Folder
-- |     Owner: [Search,Read,Write]
-- |     Group: [Search,Read]
-- |     Everyone: [Search,Read]
-- |     User: [Search,Read]
-- |_    Options: [IsOwner]
Old:
-- |_auth-spoof: Spoofed reply: 0, 0 : USERID : UNIX : OGJdvM
New:
-- |_auth-spoof: {Spoofed reply: "0, 0 : USERID : UNIX : OGJdvM"}

Dan

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