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

Joe Touch touch at isi.edu
Thu May 31 13:25:26 PDT 2012

On 5/31/2012 12:57 PM, Iljitsch van Beijnum wrote:
> 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.

Oh, sorry - that's not my proposition.

I propose that the requirements be driven by some minimum capabilities.

I propose that those who want to adapt available outputs further - to 
other extrema - are, as always, welcome to do so. That's how we have PDF 
and HTML right now, and I don't expect that to be prohibited.

> 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.

That would not necessitate new requirements for extreme devices.

The issues that do, beyond word wrap, are (AFAIR) related to images, 
diagrams, and possibly other structured text (tables, lists with 
definitions, etc.).

> 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?

To give a specific example based on my claim of minimum capabilities:

	- figures, tables, and structured text should be clearly
	readable on a 7" diagonal XVGA display or larger without

I.e., I don't want to have to draw figures to be legible without the 
user wearing reading glasses on a cellphone screen.


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