[rfc-i] Illustrations, graphics, and normative-ness

Joe Hildebrand jhildebr at cisco.com
Thu Apr 26 11:34:43 PDT 2012

On 4/26/12 11:18 AM, "Iljitsch van Beijnum" <iljitsch at muada.com> wrote:

> On 26 Apr 2012, at 17:05 , Paul Hoffman wrote:
>>   Initiator                         Responder
>>   -------------------------------------------------------------------
>>   HDR, SAi1, KEi, Ni  -->
>> . . .
>>                                <--  HDR, SAr1, KEr, Nr, [CERTREQ]
>> I consider that illustration to be normative. If I update the document in the
>> future when there is a non-text graphics format so that this appears with
>> solid lines and arrows, I would expect graphic to be normative.
>> Do others agree? Disagree?
> We currently have an illustration (to use the term loosely) that anyone with
> ASCII capability can decipher. If we allow for normative illustrations in one
> or more image formats without a mandatory ASCII version then we are moving up
> the system requirements for implementing an RFC significantly. And don't
> forget: not only the technical system requirements, but also the human system
> requirements.
> I don't think that's a good idea.
> But there are many avenues to explore for less normative better looking
> graphics. See some of my earlier messages.

There are several special cases for diagrams that we've talked about.

- Packet descriptions: these can be done as tables in HTML (start:

- State transitions: these can be done graphviz, with the source as alt text
in HTML, although I've gotten to the point as an implementer where I prefer
a nice table such as that in RFC6121, appendix A.2.1

- Sequence diagrams (like above): these can be done in a manner similar to
websequencediagrams.com (modulo branding and licensing issues), with the
source as the alt text.

I would be fine with all of those being normative.  However, I'm concerned
about the accessibility of normative "plain" images that don't fall into one
of these sorts of special cases.

Joe Hildebrand

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