[rfc-i] Does the canonical RFC format need to be "readable" by developers and others?

Iljitsch van Beijnum iljitsch at muada.com
Fri Jul 6 12:17:59 PDT 2012

On 6 Jul 2012, at 21:05 , Julian Reschke wrote:

> Wow. Yes, XML is non-trivial. But there are tons of (well-tested) parsers, so you don't *need* to write one.

Then we're beholden to those parsers to power our home grown private tools that scrape RFCs.

> Also, saying "XML is useless, because there is nothing that naturally uses XML" is weird; tons of components use XML; I'm not sure about the "naturally" part; could you elaborate on that?

Browsers display HTML. Applications that generate or display PDF are very common. Line printers print text. But none of them do XML2RFC out of the box. So if you have an XML RFC, you would still need to have a layer of middleware or a conversion tool in order to display or print that RFC. The same for creating it.

It's like having Russian as the language for EU documents. I'm sure Russian is a great language, but virtually no-one in the EU speaks it so it's just more work for the translators.

>> There is a reason word processors don't use it.

> Actually, many do, internally.

Yes, but what do we care about the internals of word processors? Unless I seriously missed something, the XML formats of Word etc are sufficiently different from XML2RFC that the fact that both are XML-based is of no practical importance.

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