[rfc-i] RFC editing tools

Nico Williams nico at cryptonector.com
Tue Dec 11 08:29:28 PST 2012


On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 9:45 AM, Stefan Santesson <stefan at aaa-sec.com> wrote:
> HTML to my knowledge can't do this.

Well, no, it can: convert to XHTML and you have XML.  The problem with
using (X)HTML is that metadata becomes second-class, being represented
in class attributes and such conventions -- not a huge problem: as
long as the metadata is still there then it can be
extracted/re-written as necessary via XSLT.  But users editing (X)HTML
with such conventions will likely not be able to stick to them,
instead relying on HTML itself to get the desired look -- this is what
makes using XML with a job-specific schema is superior to (X)HTML: the
users must know and stick to a schema that makes the relevant metadata
first-class.

> One more thing that we may want to consider if choosing an XML schema as
> the source format.
> Curent xml2rfc defines elements using compolex types with mixed content.
> That is, using elements where you freely can mix text and subelements.
> That is probably a good solution to make the XML Schema manual-edit
> friendly, but it makes it a great deal harder to parse the content
> programatically.
> At least with the tools I'm familiar with.

XSLT does fine with this.

> I imagine that it would be possible to convert an XML document according
> to the xml2rfc schema to an XML schema that isn't using mixed content.
> This might be a consideration for a source format where you could add info
> to an xml2rfc doc to capture some of the data currently missing for
> allowing transformation to all presentations formats, including back to
> xml2rfc if necessary.

It's certainly possible to flatten the schema, to go from
<section><t><list>... to <h2>..title..</h2><p>...</p><ul>...</ul>, and
so on.  My instinct tells me it's very likely easier to write
typesetting functionality based on a flattened schema, but so what?
If that's true then a typesetter program could start by... applying an
XSL that flattens the document.

Nico
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