[rfc-i] transition plan for choosing alternative format for RFCs

Tim Bray tbray at textuality.com
Tue Mar 27 22:15:35 PDT 2012


So, I looked at the same RFC in a variety of formats on my Android
using the Chrome beta, the Android browser, and Adobe Reader.

By far the best experience was the HTML output of xml2rfc, in either
of the browsers. (Not perfect, something in the code-sample CSS is
making the font too small).  But basically, just open it up, double
tap once, and you’re in a nice smooth infinite-scroll through the spec
with a nice readable font, hyperlinks that do the right thing, and so
on.

The other options were the HTML-wrapped .txt in either browser, the
PDF in Reader, and the PDF in Reader with reflow. Compared to the HTML
experience they all pretty much sucked.  PDF-with-reflow is I suppose
marginally better, although something about the fonts looks skanky;
but nobody with the chance of using the real HTML would bother with
any of the others.

So, one can imagine a universe in which there was some iteration of
the PDF better suited to reflow, and some reader that could do it
smoothly and attractively.  But all the other alternatives are
starting way behind, and HTML/Web technology (particularly on mobile
devices) isn’t standing still either.

So, for addressing the needs of people on nontraditional computing
devices, we have a really pretty darn good solution that works just
fine with our existing tools upstream plus ubiquitous free software
downstream; and some candidates that might, at some future point,
start to catch up with them.

 -Tim


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