BDOC file format, what is it, when will it replace DDOC format and whats needed for transition?

What is BDOC?

BDOC is a new digital signature format developed to replace the DDOC (DigiDoc) digital signature format specific for Estonia only.

Compared to DDOC, an important modification is that a .bdoc file is in fact a ZIP container with the signed files, the signatures and the protocol control information and can basically be opened by any program that recognizes the ZIP format. As ZIP is a compressed format, BDOC files can be much smaller than DDOC files (which are essentially XML text files). In addition, the forwarding of BDOC as a ZIP files is better supported while there have been problems in forwarding DDOC files by email (some mail servers have filtered DDOC mail attachments out).

Transition schedule (updates 03.03.2015)

  • 2012-2013 - updates of the BDOC format to comply with the new ASiC signature container standards (ETSI TS 102 918ETSI TS 103 171ETSI TS 103 174). Changelog is available here.
  • 11.2013 - BDOC 2.1 format specification available
  • 11.2013 - beta libraries with BDOC 2.1 format support become available (jdigidoc and libdigidocpp)
  • 12.2013 - release of ID-software version 3.8 that will have support for BDOC 2.1 format (in end user software and libraries)
  • 01.2014 - system administrators can begin with BDOC 2.1 integration
  • 03.2014 - AS Sertifitseerimiskeskus services (DigiDocService, DigiDoc Portal) are updated with BDOC 2.1 format support.
  • 06.2014 - new national BDOC 2.1 standard EVS 821:2014 
  • 2014 - important e-services and document management systems started to implement the support for BDOC 2.1 format.
  • 01.01.2015 - start of issuing personal certificates that contain crypto-algorithm keys based on elliptical curves. These certificates can only be used to digitally sign BDOC 2.1 format 
  • 03.2015 - release of ID-software version 3.10 that has BDOC 2.1 as a default format instead of DDOC.
  • 2016 - end of support for creating DDOC format containers in ID-software, support for verification will be retained. 

Schedule of transition to the BDOC format.

The transition means that the core ID-card software and other systems where a digital signature can be provided and digitally signed files can be processed recognize the BDOC format and allow such files to be created. All the existing DDOC files will remain functional, and the core ID-card software will initially support both the DDOC and the BDOC formats; later new signed containers can only be created in the BDOC format. Public information systems should still support verification of DDOC files, but new signed files will be created as BDOC by default. In the long term, the monitoring of the validity of DDOC files will remain, but new signed documents will be created as BDOC files.


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