[rfc-i] issue: canonical formats

Joe Touch touch at isi.edu
Fri Jun 1 07:38:33 PDT 2012

On 5/31/2012 7:36 PM, John Levine wrote:
> As I read the wiki page, I see notes about a canonical source version
> and a canonical display version.  I would like to suggest that there
> be only one canonical version, and whatever it is, it should be a
> source versiont has structure and metadata at roughly the level that
> xml2rfc does.

I agree that there should be one canonical version, but I consider that 
necessary only for the archival version.

As to metadata, I don't think that needs to be inside that version per 
se; it needs to be available but not necessarily integrated. That said, 
integration of metadata about the doc itself (author, title, date) 
should be easy to include. Metadata about other docs (refs) serves no 
useful purpose since there's no standard for document metadata that we 
can assume will help link docs together.

As to structure, there should be two considerations:

- required structure should be minimal. AFAICT, that includes location 
marks and references to locations, and might include tags around code 
and ABNF

- optional structure should optional - i.e., removable. that includes 
containment markings around non code/abnf (e.g., sections), lists, and 
other aspects of document structure

Optional structure serves only one purpose AFAICT - support for future 
editing, but the cost is more complexity in the archival format. Since 
most revisions are rewrites (after the RFC is published), we should not 
be trading stability and persistence for author convenience.


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