[rfc-i] [Gen-art] review: draft-hoffman-xml2rfc-04

Joel M. Halpern jmh at joelhalpern.com
Tue Apr 8 02:32:51 PDT 2014

I am one of the requested Gen-ART reviewer for this draft. For background on
Gen-ART, please see the FAQ at
< http://wiki.tools.ietf.org/area/gen/trac/wiki/GenArtfaq>.

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Document: draft-hoffman-xml2rfc-04
     The 'XML2RFC' version 3 Vocabulary
Reviewer: Joel M. Halpern

Summary: This review focuses on readability rather than on XML details.
     In that light, this document could use some improvement.

Major issues:
     The explanation in section 1.1 seems to bounce from topic to topic 
losing the reader repeatedly.  The explanation of the intended 
compatibility before the list of changes is confusing.  Either there are 
v2 features that don't work, or all v2 works, with some deprecated.
     It seems that discussion of the RFC Editor handling of v2 documents 
and this grammar belongs somewhere other than the definition of the 
grammar.  I was surprised to find discussion of canonical RFCs here. 
That set of text was probably the most confusing aspect of section 1.1.

     In section 2.5.6 on the 'type' attribute of the <artwork> element, 
it talks about the processor.  Since that appears to be a reference to 
the internal RFC Editor processor, rather than to the tools readers or 
writers will use, I would think that confusing text should be removed. 
(The processor will throw errors in certain cases, but consumers should 
not throw errors in any text cases?)

Minor issues:
     The question of how the grammar is generated is not a substantive 
difference between v2 and v3, and tells the reader nothing about what 
will follow.  If it should be mentioned at all, it would seem better in 
some other section of the document than 1.1

     Does <artwork> section 2.5 still need to be enclosed in the cdata 
construct to actually have the formatting preserved?  If so, should 
section 2.5 say that?  (Or am I just confused and issuing useless 
incantations in my current docs?)

     In section 2.5, and probably elsewhere, some of the attributes are 
"ought to be avoided", and one is "Deprecated".  The author apparently 
means something specific by "ought to be avoided", but this reader is 

     In section 2.22.6 on the suppress-title attribute for the <figure> 
element, the text is either confusing or incorrect.  THe text talks 
about figures that have anchor attributes getting autogenerated titles. 
  And that if one wants to suppress that, one should set this to 
"false".  It seems pretty odd that setting suppress to false (which is 
the default) would suppress the autogenerated title.  If it will, the 
attribute name is just wrong.  More likely, you suppress the 
auto-generated title by setting this attribute to "true".
     This also seems to occur in 2.49.4 in the suppress-title for <table>.

     Since <format> is defined (in section 2.23) it ought to be lsited 
as part of the valid content model for <reference> in section 2.40.

    In section 2.40 on <reference>, it might be useful to explain what 
will happen with the short form references.  It seems that how they get 
rendered will depend upon whether the processing engine has the ability 
to find additional data to use?  Or maybe not?

     Also, since <reference> allows <front>, <innerRefContent>, ... it 
seems that <reference> has a content model.  So I presume it is an error 
for it to say that it does not have a content model?

    I would have expected the values of the 'series' attribute of the 
<reference> element to be described in the attribute section (2.40.3) 
rather than in the base element section (2.40).

Nits/editorial comments:
     It would be nice if the deprecated elements were marked as 
deprecated both in their definition and in the places where they can 
appear.  (for example, marking <facsimile> as deprecated in the content 
model listing for <address>).  On the other hand, that may be a pain to 
get right.

     In the description of <date> in section 2.15, the text correctly 
notes that it can appear either as a document date or as a reference 
date.  And then correctly notes that the only legal parent for this is 
<front>.  Is there any way to remind the reader that <front> is used in 
long form references?

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