#xml #alerts #oasis #cap #public-safety


Types for the OASIS Common Alerting Protocol (CAP)

2 unstable releases

Uses new Rust 2021

0.2.0 Mar 17, 2022
0.1.0 Feb 18, 2022

#553 in Parser implementations




Types for the OASIS Common Alerting Protocol.


let alert: oasiscap::Alert = r#"
<?xml version = "1.0" encoding = "UTF-8"?>
<alert xmlns = "urn:oasis:names:tc:emergency:cap:1.2">
    <!-- … -->

match &alert {
    oasiscap::Alert::V1dot0(alert) => println!("CAP v1.0: {:?}", alert),
    oasiscap::Alert::V1dot1(alert) => println!("CAP v1.1: {:?}", alert),
    oasiscap::Alert::V1dot2(alert) => println!("CAP v1.2: {:?}", alert),

// Upgrade to the latest CAP version
let alert: oasiscap::v1dot2::Alert = alert.into_latest();

// Convert back to XML again
let alert_xml = alert.to_string();


The CAP specifications are split between human- and machine-readable components. CAP v1.2 § 4.2 explains:

An XML 1.0 document is a conforming CAP V1.2 Message if and only if:

a) it is valid according to the schema and

b) the content of its elements and the values of its attributes meet all the additional mandatory requirements specified in Section 3.

Consider the <polygon> element. The machine-readable XML schema says that a polygon is just a string:

<element name = "polygon" type = "xs:string" minOccurs = "0" maxOccurs = "unbounded"/>

The human-readable document says that a polygon is specifically a string describing a closed polyline in a particular geospatial reference frame, and imposes the following requirements in section 3:

(1) Code Values: The geographic polygon is represented by a whitespace-delimited list of WGS 84 coordinate pairs. (See WGS 84 Note at end of this section)

(2) A minimum of 4 coordinate pairs MUST be present and the first and last pairs of coordinates MUST be the same.

This crate implements those rules from section 3:

use oasiscap::geo::Polygon;

// 4 points, where the last point is the first point, makes a Polygon:
assert!("1,1 2,2 3,3 1,1".parse::<Polygon>().is_ok());

// 4 points where the last point differs does not make a Polygon:
assert!("1,1 2,2 3,3 4,4".parse::<Polygon>().is_err());

// 3 points does not make a Polygon:
assert!("1,1 2,2 1,1".parse::<Polygon>().is_err());

// invalid WGS-84 coordinates do not make a Polygon:
assert!("100,100 200,200 300,300 100,100".parse::<Polygon>().is_err());

All of those strings are permitted by the XML schema, but only the first one makes sense as a polygon. This crate therefore accepts the first string and rejects the others.

Having said that, some real-world CAP alerts violate the requirements in section 3 but do still make sense:


Polygons are optional, so the element can and should have been omitted in its entirety. On the other hand, an empty string is valid according to the XML schema, and its intent is unambiguous even if it is technically non-conforming. This crate therefore accepts an empty polygon element as a synonym for omitting the polygon, rather than returning an error.

This crate intends to always parse conforming CAP messages and to always generate conforming CAP messages. At the same time, this crate intends to be pedantic to preserve meaning, not to be pendantic for pedantry's sake. It therefore does not reject all non-conforming CAP messages, particularly for common implementation mistakes which have reasonable and unambiguous interpretations.


oasiscap prioritizes being correct over being fast, but it is still reasonably fast. On an industry standard developer's laptop using unspecified versions of this library, Rust, and the underlying operating system, parsing a typical oasiscap::Alert from XML takes approximately 55µs, for a throughput of roughly 18,000 alerts per second per core. Generating XML from a typical oasiscap::Alert takes approximately 27µs, for a throughput of roughly 38,000 alerts per second per core.

Clone the repository and run cargo bench to see how it performs in your environment.

Protocol Buffers

Google Public Alerts defines a CAP Protocol Buffers representation, under the Java package name com.google.publicalerts.cap. This crate optionally provides oasiscap::protobuf when built with the prost feature. oasiscap::protobuf data types exactly correspond to these Protocol Buffers message types.

The Protocol Buffers representations are more permissive than the usual parsed oasiscap types: timestamps can lack time zones, polygons don't have to be closed, required fields can be missing, etc. This crate therefore also provides conversions:

// Decoding from protobuf bytes can fail:
let protobuf_alert: oasiscap::protobuf::Alert = prost::Message::decode(

// Converting to an `oasiscap::Alert` can fail:
let alert: oasiscap::Alert = protobuf_alert.try_into()?;

// Converting back to an `oasiscap::protobuf::Alert` cannot fail:
let alert: oasiscap::protobuf::Alert = alert.into();

// Nor can encoding protobuf bytes:
let protobuf_encoded_bytes = prost::Message::encode_to_vec(&alert);

Protocol Buffers offer substantially better performance than XML:

  • &[u8] to oasiscap::protobuf::Alert: 2µs
  • oasiscap::protobuf::Alert to oasiscap::Alert: 2µs
  • oasiscap::Alert to oasiscap::protobuf::Alert: 1µs
  • oasiscap::protobuf::Alert to Vec<u8>: 0.3µs


~158K SLoC