[rfc-i] For v3: remove <format>?

Heather Flanagan (RFC Series Editor) rse at rfc-editor.org
Mon Dec 30 13:08:12 PST 2013


Hi Nico,

>>> For example... references to RFCs!  It'd be nice if the HTML rendering
>>> of an RFC's references had clickable links to the canonical format
>>> (today: .txt) of each referenced RFC and additional clickable links
>>> for the HTML and PDF renderings of the referenced RFC.
>>
>> Wouldn't it be better to link to the RFC information page that has those links *plus* errata and additional metadata?
> 
> For RFCs, certainly, or almost anyways: I find superscript links to
> alternate formats quite handy.  But even ignoring my personal
> preference, a) it's nice to be able to extract this right from the doc
> without having to go visit a potentially unstable resource, b) there
> are what about not-{RFC, Internet-Draft, ...}?

I am not entirely sure I understand what you are asking for - are you
talking about the destination of a linkable citation tag within the
text, the format of the reference and what it should include, or the
destination of other links (i.e., a link to a specific section in a
referenced RFC, in addition to the citation)?

If we're talking citations and references, I think the citation should
always point to the reference section.  The reference itself becomes an
interesting question.  I think we essentially have 3 options when it
comes to what we might do with the reference section in the brave new
world of more-than-text formats for an RFC.

---
1. Have a reference that includes links to all versions of an RFC
published by the RFC Editor.  Presumably, it would look something like this:

[RFC9999]  Doe, J. "TCP Packet Delivery via Drones", RFC 9999,
           April 2020. {XML|HTML|PDF|TXT|EPUB}


2. Have a reference that includes a link to the Info Page for an RFC,
which would also include all the metadata about the document such as
links to errata, pointers to the IPR page, citation format, etc.

[RFC9999]  Doe, J. "TCP Packet Delivery via Drones", RFC 9999,
           April 2020. <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc9999>


3. Continue as we are today, with no links or URLs pointing to the RFC
in the reference entry.

[RFC9999]  Doe, J. "TCP Packet Delivery via Drones", RFC 9999,
           April 2020.

---

I prefer 2 or 3 over 1.  *If* we have links to RFCs in a reference, then
they should be readable in all formats - a construct like
{XML|HTML|PDF|TXT|EPUB} will not work in a text document, and including
the full list of URLs for each format would be bulky and truly ugly.

If you are talking more about a live link to a section in another RFC,
then I think that the HTML format should point to HTML formats when
possible and TXT formats otherwise, PDF formats to PDF formats, etc.

So, saying something like:
"In Section 12 of "Using RFID-embedded Squirrels as an Entropy
Generator" [RFC8888]" would ideally result in the following:
- "Section 12" of the HTML version of the RFC would point to the Section
12 tag in the HTML version of RFC 8888.
- "Section 12" of the PDF version of the RFC would point to the Section
12 tag in the PDF version of RFC 8888.
- "Section 12" would not point to anything in the TXT version of the RFC.
- [RFC8888] would always point to the reference section in the current RFC.

That's my current thinking on the matter, subject to change as I learn
more about what is possible AND practical for authors and the RFC Editor.

-Heather


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