[rfc-i] Pagination requirements

Yoav Nir ynir at checkpoint.com
Tue May 15 14:23:52 PDT 2012

On May 15, 2012, at 8:49 PM, Martin Rex wrote:

> Joe Hildebrand wrote:
>> "Martin Rex" <mrex at sap.com> wrote:
>>> There would be the option for the visualization software to display
>>> the page break with a simple horizontal line instead of
>>> 2 blank lines + footer + FF + header + 2 blank lines,
>>> and only the actual size of the latter seems to be the contentious issue.
>> Pages are an artifact of a world that is soon to no longer exist; I'd say
>> this is one of the reasons why we're building an Internet in the first
>> place.
> Pages are pretty real in my world, and I expect them to be live and kicking
> in a century from now, online and offline, while I'm less sure about
> the iPhone to exist in a century (other than in museums).

Pages are useful in printed bound books, because books don't have hyperlinks. If a book has more than one edition, say, hard cover and paperback, all such references as well as the TOC would need to be updated. We expect that the primary method of reading drafts and RFCs would be electronic, and electronic formats (both PDF and HTML) have hyperlinks. IOW you don't need to say that the information is on the last paragraph of page 17 or in the fourth paragraph of section 3.2.7. You can just present a link, and clicking it goes right to the correct place.

We might want to have the input format to the RFC editor allow for anchors in the text. I don't know if the XML format allows you to just plant reference points in the text, or just the section headers, but if it were extended to do so, you could them process it into some printed format, where an xref tag would become "paragraph 4 of section 3.2.7" or "line 57 of page 17" if the output format was paginated.

Think of the bible. It's been around for over 2000 years, and has been through a lot of output formats, from scrolls to bound books to every conceivable electronic format. It has been printed on large pages and small ones and displayed on 30" screens as well as phone screens and has been translated to more languages than Harry Potter [citation needed]. References made to passages in the bible do not reference page numbers. They go by a book/chapter/verse system, that has been stable for over 500 years. You can see a reference made hundreds of years ago, and locate the verse on an iPhone in seconds. Even in a different language.

Now I'm not saying we should number sentences of RFCs, although we could do so for paragraphs. I think subsection should be granular enough and references should use those, not page numbers.


[1] yes, there is some variation in the division of bible books into chapters and verses, but the differences are mostly small.

More information about the rfc-interest mailing list