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

Iljitsch van Beijnum iljitsch at muada.com
Thu May 31 12:57:44 PDT 2012

On 31 May 2012, at 20:19 , Joe Touch wrote:

> 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.

You suggest that we come up with some level of (display) capability that a device needs to have, and if it doesn't have that, we refuse to do anything to make RFCs display on that device.

That would make sense if there were a direct relationship between the size of a device's display and the effort required to support that device. However, that is not the case. The only thing that's needed for text (!) to display well on (very) small displays is that we abolish the current practice where lines have a fixed length. This helps all devices that support lines that are longer and shorter than 72 characters. I think the consensus for doing that is pretty smooth.

Only if we end up in a situation where we need to make compromises to make RFCs work on devices like cell phones does it make sense to have this discussion. And even then, it looks like many people are prepared to make a number of compromises to gain this feature.

May I suggest that rather than arguing about the wisdom of reading RFCs on cell phones, you tell us the compromises you're not willing to make? I imagine those are probably reasonable, and can probably be avoided while allowing adequate display of RFCs on small displays.

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