[rfc-i] In the vein of LaTeX, but better and live: LyX

Nico Williams nico at cryptonector.com
Wed Dec 5 16:28:33 PST 2012

I'm starting to go through the archive, though not thoroughly -who has
the time for that?-, and I noticed some discussion of LaTeX within the
last year.

So, I thought I'd point out that there is a WYSIWYM GUI tool, LyX,
that uses LaTeX under the covers, supports Unicode, graphics,
equations, and arbitrary export formats, including, through my lyx2rfc
conversion tool: xml2rfc XML, HTML through xml2rfc or Greenbytes' XSL,
and if I figure out how to do it, PDF through Greenbytes' XSLs.

I don't yet know how to make LyX render RFCs *directly*, or through a
path that doesn't involve xml2rfc anyways, but I think it should be
possible: it'd just require enough programming to convert the custom
"insets" I use for I-D/RFC metadata into LyX formatting, I just
haven't gone there yet.

I've used LyX w/ lyx2rfc to edit several Internet-Drafts so far, plus
a demo I-D and a user guide, which you can see here:
https://github.com/nicowilliams/lyx2rfc/ (there's also screenshots).
LyX w/ lyx2rfc (which uses xml2rfc) works *now*.

Possible advantages of using LyX:

 - it's *easy* to use -- if you've ever used a GUI word processor
   you'll be up and running in no time even though LyX is WYSIWYM
   not WYSIWYG
 - all the power of LaTeX
 - equations
 - graphics
 - arbitrary conversions (including image conversions, and through
   tools such as JavE, ASCIIToSVG, and others, it might be possible
   to convert images to/from quite a few formats including text)
 - significantly better formatting than xml2rfc's schema allows for
 - if someone writes an xml2rfc->DocBook XSL then it should be
   possible to import existing I-Ds/RFCs into LyX
 - ...

Possible disadvantages to using LyX:

 - yet. another. bloody. format.  (and the .lyx file format kinda sucks
   for programmatic manipulation; fortunately it's possible to export
   to XHTML, then apply XSLs)
 - there's no 2-way diff/merge tool that is LyX-aware; this makes
   using version control, particularly within teams, challenging
 - there's probably no way to get LyX to paginate I-Ds/RFCs the
   usual way, but if we use lyx2rfc for text rendering then we can
   probably live with LyX's pagination for other output formats


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