[rfc-i] ebooks (or pagination considered harmful)

Brian E Carpenter brian.e.carpenter at gmail.com
Sat Nov 20 11:21:09 PST 2010

There's a built-in conflict here. Page numbers were invented
for a reason: so that I can refer to the 9th line of text
(excluding the header) on page 5 of RFC 2223.

If documents are repaginated, this breaks and can't be fixed.
It also breaks the table of contents in every RFC.

I've had no real problem dealing with RFCs whose pagination doesn't
match my screen windows. Why should ebook technology be special?
It's just a lame single-window device.

What does the ebook world in general do about this problem that it
has created?

   Brian Carpenter

On 2010-11-21 05:43, Julian Reschke wrote:
> Hi,
> recently, when discussing the current (paginated) RFC format, ebooks
> were brought up as example devices where pagination not only makes
> sense, but is even required.
> That's only true on the surface.
> (What follows below applies to the ePub format, but I'd be surprised if
> the Kindle format is significantly different)
> Indeed, pre-paginating content is the worst thing you can do *unless*
> the following aspects are known and fixed in advance:
> - display format and orientation
> - the user's font size preference
> To do things properly, the *recipient* needs to do the pagination,
> potentially with the help of formatting hints in the file format.
> In the case of the ePub format (as used in iOs and on Sony readers, for
> example), this is done using (X)HTML, plus some metadata files, plus
> CSS, all packaged in a ZIP file (the CSS allows hints for page-breaking).
> As a proof-of-concept, I finally brought my scripts for ePub file
> generation into a releasable state; they start from an XML source file
> in the RFC2629 (xml2rfc) format, and need a Unix shell, "zip", plus
> either "saxon" or "xsltproc" as XSLT processors.
> Download: <http://greenbytes.de/tech/webdav/rfc2629xslt.zip>
> Example: <http://greenbytes.de/tech/webdav/rfc5987.epub>
> Note: this is work-in-progress. Among the known issues are:
> - no attempt is made to divide chapters across multiple X(HTML) files,
> which makes most reading devices very unhappy for big files
> - inlined raster graphics are not supported
> Feedback appreciated,
> Best regards, Julian
> _______________________________________________
> rfc-interest mailing list
> rfc-interest at rfc-editor.org
> https://www.rfc-editor.org/mailman/listinfo/rfc-interest

More information about the rfc-interest mailing list