[rfc-i] RFC editing tools

Ted Lemon mellon at fugue.com
Fri Dec 7 09:29:04 PST 2012

On Dec 7, 2012, at 12:06 PM, Joe Hildebrand (jhildebr) <jhildebr at cisco.com> wrote:
> Name one, please.  I am able to generate XML2RFC format from the subset of
> HTML that I'm using in the prototype.

I've read your draft.   It's a great description of how to present RFCs using HTML.   However, I don't like it as a canonical representation, because of the way it handles metadata—for example, it requires a person editing the raw document manually maintain section numbering and linking.

This problem can of course be addressed using a tool that parses the document, extracts the metadata, and lets the user edit it in a WYSIWYG process.   However, in order to make this as html-like as possible—to push it to the point where the canonical representation renders without modification in a browser—you have bent over backward.   The resulting canonical form confuses presentation and representation, and as a result it will be difficult to parse in comparison to xml2rfc.

Not is coding the parser for this representation harder, but it also creates the possibility of unanticipated gaps in the specification that we will discover later.   The simpler the format is, the less likely it is that we will run into that problem.

You also propose that the IETF define new HTML extensions to handle the xml2rfc author tag and sub-tags, which is really out of scope for the IETF—that's more of a w3c thing.   Of course we can write up a doc and present it to the w3c, but how likely is it to gain adoption and wind up in a browser?

I'm pretty sure that there's a happy medium that would get you most of what you want while still preserving the ease of parsing of the xml2rfc format.   But your goal of perfectly combining presentation and representation in html is, IMHO, not a good one.

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