[rfc-i] What the text version is used for (was Re: The <tt> train wreck)

Martin Thomson mt at lowentropy.net
Tue Aug 24 19:34:26 PDT 2021

On Wed, Aug 25, 2021, at 12:21, Bob Hinden wrote:
> I use text file version of drafts quite a lot currently.  This includes:
> - rfcdiff to compare two different versions, this includes:
>    o After running xml2rfc to see the changes
>    o Looking at a new text output in emacs (where I edit the xml)
>    o Looking at the changes when a new draft is published
>    o Emailing a link to a diff of two text versions
> - Excerpts from text drafts paste into email as part of list discussions
> - I even occasionally print a text version from emacs (ps-print) if
>   I want to read and markup a paper version.
> If there were equivalent tools that worked with one of the other 
> formats (html or pdf), I might be able to migrate to using that.   As 
> far as I can tell that doesn’t exist today.

I will observe that with the exception of diffs, I use HTML for all of the things he lists.  I find that most of these use cases work better from HTML than text.  For instance, I find the added spacing and line breaks in the text format occasionally awkward for pasting quotations into other mediums.

Diffs of HTML really don't work well, so I find that plain, unpaginated text is best for that.  Using unpaginated text means that I can use ordinary diff tools rather than rfcdiff, which gives me a lot more choice.  That said, I do find the online service that diffs arbitrary URLs to be quite convenient and I do use diffs a lot.

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