[rfc-i] feedback on draft-hoffman-rfcformat-canon-others-00,

Iljitsch van Beijnum iljitsch at muada.com
Mon May 21 13:23:42 PDT 2012

On 21 May 2012, at 22:07 , Paul Hoffman wrote:

> Can you say why plain text with line breaks at the end of paragraphs and in art can only be displayed "by special tools"? Or edited "by special tools"? Every text editor I have used for the past decade on multiple OS platforms can display and edit such files. I'm not sure what could be less "deliberately obfuscated" than plain text

The trouble is not the text, but the formatting: spaces for indentation, a character limit on lines followed by hard line endings, every 55 or so lines a footer/form feed/header, and ASCII art that requires fixed width fonts, including spaces. (Why are fixed width spaces so hard on so many systems?)

Although these don't prevent loading text in a word processor or a browser, they can wreak havoc on the way these programs display text such that reading the text and especially interpreting the diagrams becomes much harder than it needs to be.

As for creating RFCs without special tools: I used to do this by first writing the text in a word processor, then loading it in pico in a 77 column window and then manually making it reflow each paragraph. I think I skipped the indentation. Finally, I used vi to add the page breaks. This is a really sucky way to write drafts, especially if you have to go back in to make changes. So even though I severely dislike XML2RFC, I use that now.

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