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

Phillip Hallam-Baker hallam at gmail.com
Sat Jul 7 08:02:02 PDT 2012

In practice it is very easy to find HTML editors that do not muck
stuff up as all of us who have produced W3 drafts know.

It is also very easy to take HTML and throw out the crap using a tool
that removes unwanted stylesheets, etc etc. You can even use Word with
that approach.

The XML2RFC format is not a good document format. The designer seems
to have decided to do things their way without any good reason not to
follow the HTML approach. So things that are easy in HTML, like lists
require reference to manuals. Why they chose to use <t> instead of <p>
and so on? Its like the inventor was deliberately trying to make the
thing different and hard.

That said, XML2RFC exists and is somewhat tailored to IETF documents
so it makes a reasonable interchange format, albeit a rather tedious
one and it is a fixed point that is not going to change over time
unless IETF requirements change.

So just think of it as CLR or Java bytecode for IETF documents. The
only people who have to use it raw are the compilers (editors).

On Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 11:32 PM, Joe Hildebrand (jhildebr)
<jhildebr at cisco.com> wrote:
> On 7/6/12 2:12 PM, "Julian Reschke" <julian.reschke at gmx.de> wrote:
>>The point I was trying to make is that just because "constrained HTML"
>>is HTML that doesn't mean that you can use an off-the-shelf HTML editor,
>>without further processing. At which point the difference to xml2rfc
>>isn't that big anymore.
> Semantically, yes.  However, I assert that there are more people that are
> comfortable with the basics of HTML than the basics of XML2RFC.  It's kind
> of a moot point since the HTML will be so easy to generate from the
> XML2RFc format, people that like using it should be able to continue to do
> so.
> --
> Joe Hildebrand
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> rfc-interest mailing list
> rfc-interest at rfc-editor.org
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