[rfc-i] draft-rfc-image-files-03

Iljitsch van Beijnum iljitsch at muada.com
Mon Apr 9 04:49:38 PDT 2012

On 9 Apr 2012, at 13:00 , Andrew Sullivan wrote:

> To make progress on this question, though, we have to decide whether
> we want the source format, or some particular rendering, to be the
> archival format.  I will note that, by and large, today we do not use
> the source format as the archival one (indeed, I can think of no
> counterexample).

That is indeed a good question. However, traditionally, we have been doing this as the draft format is pretty much the RFC format and the draft format is the canonical input format. Of course now that many/most people use XML2RFC this is less true than it used to be.

But it's more complicated than that. We have:

1. the source format: what the author uses to edit the text
2. the submission format: what the author uploads to the IETF servers
3. the authoritative format archived by the RFC editor
4. zero or more additional display formats, which may or may not be hosted by the IETF and/or RFC editor

Think about how useful it would be if 1 - 4 could all be one and the same. (Which explains why many other organizations use .doc format.) I don't think we can get there for the full 100%, because the overlap between the tools most people like to use and the tools that have had file format stability in the past is rather small.

However, with an HTML-based format we could come pretty close. Unless I'm seriously mistaken, HTML can be made to do everything that the XML2RFC format can do, but unlike XML2RFC format it's also a display format so it can easily be displayed natively in browsers. And it's text based, so text-based tools can still work.

The most problematic part is the step from the source format to the submission format. I've never used HTML editors so I don't know how good they are, but when I've looked at generated HTML it has always looked terrible and even if that's not an issue then general purpose HTML editors are probably not going to support all the XML2RFC-like metadata tagging that we need.

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