[rfc-i] [IAB Trac] #266: Requirement for "Clear Printing"

Marc Petit-Huguenin petithug at acm.org
Fri Feb 15 12:10:29 PST 2013

Hash: SHA256

On 02/15/2013 11:41 AM, Paul Kyzivat wrote:
> On 2/15/13 2:10 PM, RJ Atkinson wrote:
>> On 15  Feb 2013, at 13:23 , Paul Hoffman wrote:
>>> Yes, it does, by keeping the column limitation to 72.
>> I have no objection to including other formats with different column 
>> limits (or other formats with no column limit).
>> A limitation that is specific to one of several possible formats (i.e.
>> my proposal) is (by definition) NOT a limitation to the other possible 
>> formats.
> Being required to provide a form of the ascii art limited to 72 columns 
> imposes a severe limitation on the sorts of figures you can use.
> Increasing the limit to 90 columns would help a *little*.
> Unfortunately there are lots of things I would like to put into drafts that
> won't work with ascii art of any sort. (Right now I am looking at a UML
> class diagram with 28 classes that have a lot of interconnections. It 
> *ought* to be in a draft, but it isn't going to be in one any time soon.

I wonder if a simple solution to that problem would not be to use a formal
language representation in the input format and output text format,
representation that can be automatically converted to a graphic for some
formats, i.e, the txt format would keep the formal language and the HTML and
PDF would have the graphic.

Stéphane Bortzmeyer had a draft some time ago that defined a language for
state machines[1], and provided tools to convert this to graphics[2].  I am
sure that other kinds of structured graphics (ladder diagrams, equations,
class diagrams, etc...) can receive the same treatment.  As an implementer I
would not mind using a text version that does not contain any ASCII art but
only this kind of formal languages, as I would still have the possibility of
rendering the graphics separately.  And formal languages are good for coding.

This is in fact an extension of what we have today with ABNF.  The formal
language is in the text format, but there is nothing that prevents the tool
converting the xml file to PDF or HTML to generate syntax diagrams[3] instead
of duplicating the text.

[1] https://tools.ietf.org/id/draft-bortzmeyer-language-state-machines-01.txt
[2] The Debian package is still in my public repository.
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syntax_diagram

- -- 
Marc Petit-Huguenin
Email: marc at petit-huguenin.org
Blog: http://blog.marc.petit-huguenin.org
Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/petithug
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