[rfc-i] Importance of good 'canonical' typography (was: Re: draft-hildebrand-html-rfc)

"Martin J. Dürst" duerst at it.aoyama.ac.jp
Mon Jul 30 20:44:15 PDT 2012

On 2012/07/30 15:27, Joe Hildebrand (jhildebr) wrote:
> On 7/29/12 10:38 PM, ""Martin J. Dürst""<duerst at it.aoyama.ac.jp>  wrote:

>>> I welcome pull requests to:
>>> https://github.com/IETF-Formatters/html-rfc/blob/master/data/rfc.css
>> I'm not sure github-like collaboration is known to lead to good results
>> for typographical design (but I haven't heard of any counterexamples,
>> either).
> To be even clearer, I don't care at all about the CSS, so I'm willing to
> cede control to whomever does have the right level of passion - I'm not
> looking for a committee to generate consensus.

I'm not a typographer, not even a hobby typographer, so I won't 
volunteer (I consider myself able to spot some bad typographical 
mistakes, so I'm volunteering for giving comments.)

[The point that follows is what I have changed the subject for]

I think we have had a tendency on this list to play down style issues, 
and to say "anybody can create and use their favorite user stylesheet, 
or the RFC editor can create several stylesheets so that people can 
choose their favorite ones".

Let me make a contrary point here: I think the 'canonical' style of RFCs 
(and IDs) is very important. This should be a style that works well for 
at least 99% of our users, and is tolerable hopefully for 100%. It will 
be the style that most people will use to look at the documents, and it 
will be the style that people identify with the IETF for years to come, 
the same way people have identified the old ASCII-only typewriter style 
with the IETF for years. This warrants that we treat it quite seriously.

>> I'd personally suggest to try the following:
>> - Switch to a font with light serifs for hopefully better text
>> readability.
> Palatino?  Georgia?

I'd personally go with something with a somewhat more modern feel that 
Palatino, but I don't have any clue what that could be, sorry.

>> - Make the section numbers the same color as the section headings.
>> That's what people are used to. Making them gray makes them stick out,
>> not fade in the back (as I guess you intended).
> Fine.
>> - Use a bit more margin left and right (ideally in %, not fixed)
> 5% each?

I'd use more.

>> - Definitely use more leading for the references, and remove the bullet
>> points (labels such as [RFC2119] are the main visual cue, and the bullet
>> hides them.)
> Maybe.  Without resorting to tables, I don't really like the way the
> [RFC2119] tags work in hanging-indent form, but let's see what you think.

Agreed. But that's not getting better by adding bullets in front of 
these tags, or is it?

Regards,    Martin.

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