[rfc-i] Potential RFC format approach: HTML
tbray at textuality.com
Sat Mar 24 10:42:36 PDT 2012
On Sat, Mar 24, 2012 at 3:09 AM, Dave Crocker <dhc at dcrocker.net> wrote:
> In spite of the fact that you are an experienced and prudent guy, let me
> suggest your above assertion is not terribly prudent.
> The strength of the ASCII base has been its minimal processing requirements
> and its excellent, long-term stability.
I always find this assertion puzzling: I am a long-term veteran of the
text-processing and publishing-tech world, and I totally can't get a
high-quality printout of the current RFCs in ASCII format. For those
that have xml2rfc-generated HTML available, I can and it's trivial.
I am fairly old fashioned in that, for serious spec review, I prefer
to work off paper. .txt is a serious obstacle. -T
> HTML isn't even close to trivial, by that metric. Worse, as soon as you say
> "subset" you mandate specialized software.
> "HTML" in the open Internet is spectacularly variable. It works because
> HTML engines know to process quite a bit of that variation. The remainder
> doesn't get processed properly.
> This establishes an extremely unstable processing base, no matter how widely
> usable it is at any given moment, such as "today".
> In an environment like that, any assurances of future support -- say 30 or
> 50 years from now, nevermind 100 -- is problematic.
>> I believe what's as important is to profile the document structure, define
>> default CSS (we want some uniformity, right?), and recommend certain ways
>> to use
> css. Excellent. A parallel item to support and hope is compatible decades
> from now, if the item can be found.
>>> - Define a very strict structure, using a microformat/semantic style,
>>> makes it easy to pull out information semantically with a little bit of
>>> jQuery in post-processing tools. Make a choice about XML-style
>>> well-formedness, which is probably not needed.
>> +-0; it's possible to embed all metadata in the HTML, but that makes us
>> on conventions (microformats) or specs that are currently a bit in flux
>> (RDFa vs
> flux. exactly the right word.
> For the current exercise, the requirement to attain long-term viability that
> is on a par with what was achieved with the original ASCII base, is
> simplicity and stability.
> It's not enough to be clever with something that can "be made to work". It
> might or might not work tomorrow. Anyone thinking otherwise needs to
> produce a comparable historical basis for their belief.
> Dave Crocker
> Brandenburg InternetWorking
> rfc-interest mailing list
> rfc-interest at rfc-editor.org
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