[rfc-i] Does the canonical RFC format need to be "readable" by developers and others?

Joel M. Halpern jmh at joelhalpern.com
Thu Jun 21 12:36:54 PDT 2012

I have thought of the term canonical as being akin to normative.
If we have transformations, periodically there will be inconsistencies.
It seems to me helpful, and arguably necessary, to have a specific, 
singular, form which can be read in the case o finconsistency.
thus, I am very uncomfortable with a canonical form that is the xml, etc.
Further, I note that in practice, checking for correctness will be done 
by the authors (e.g auth48)on the output form, not the input form. 
Hence, I just can't see how the input can be canonical.


On 6/21/2012 3:05 PM, Paul Hoffman wrote:
> Greetings again. Andrew's and Yoav's last comments indicate a dislike for the idea that the canonical RFC format might be "code" like HTML or XML because those formats are not meant for reading. My proposal for "one canonical, many display" formats assumes that anyone who wants to read an RFC will read it in a format they like, and that format is not likely to be the canonical format. (To be clear, someone doesn't normally *read* an HTML file, they display it in an HTML rendering program like a browser.)
> Yoav suggests that there be a preferred display format. I don't see a value in publicly preferring any of the formats, and I explicitly reject the idea that we need to become junior lawyers and try to guess what some court in some country would or would not understand.
> People may be thinking historically about how RFCs are gotten: using a URL that ends in ".txt". My proposal is that the canonical URL for an RFC leads to a page that gives all the display options, including grabbing the canonical document itself. This is a "one extra click" operation. People who use RFCs regularly would be able to go instantly to getting an RFC in their preferred viewing format knowing the naming convention, giving a "no extra click" operation for repeat users who understand patterns.
> --Paul Hoffman
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