[rfc-i] open issues: small and mobile screens

Joe Touch touch at isi.edu
Thu May 31 11:19:35 PDT 2012


I think that the onus for support for *highly*-constrained devices rests 
on the consumer, not the producer.

I consider "highly constrained" to be a device on which reading current 
RFCs would be prohibitive (e.g., cellphone). I agree it would be useful 
to support useful consumer output on a wider range of devices, but we 
should establish a reasonable lower bound - I'm not sure what that is, 
but a 4" phone is at least 1/4 what I would consider useful for reading 
anything beyond a few paragraphs.


On 5/31/2012 11:10 AM, Andrew Sullivan wrote:
> Dear colleagues,
> This is another of my attempts to engage with particular issues the
> RSE says are open.  In this case, it is, "Want the RFC to be suitable
> for small screens/mobile devices."
> I have been using small screens for almost as long as I've been using
> computers.  In cramped spaces, like a subway or an airplane, I find
> the ability to use a small screen to read something extremely
> helpful.  In the case of airplanes, it's also cost-saving, since I
> can't afford to replace my laptop every time some clown smashes the
> seat-back towards me.  I am mostly able to do useful work with my
> phone, for instance, but a notable exception to this is in reading and
> commenting on Internet Drafts.  Since we have effectively adopted a
> rule that I-Ds have to be formatted as RFCs, the upshot of this is
> that I can't do reviews in cases where it might be convenient for me.
> In the case of RFCs themselves, if I am in a discussion with a
> customer or supporting someone talking to a customer, and I'm on the
> go, it'd be extremely useful to me to be able to look up an RFC and
> read it comfortably and easily on my mobile device.  This isn't
> possible now, because the way the format works means that it doesn't
> work well with small screens.
> It also seems to me that it has been a standard practice for many
> years not to rely too strongly on predetermined ideas of someone's
> display properties when laying things out for online access.  This is
> part of an overall form/content distinction that, I think, underpins
> most of the flexibility we get today on the Web.
> I fail completely to understand the objection to this desire, such
> that I'm incapable even of sketching what I understand to be the
> counter-argument.  Perhaps one of the partisans can have a go?
> Best regards,
> A

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