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We experimented with using Github for the publication of TLS 1.3. The overall process was that Github was used primarily for feedback: 1. The RFC Editor supplied iterative versions of the XML files. 2. The draft editor put them up on Github (initially as PRs and later just as commits) 3. We used Github's review tool to refine proposed changes both from the RPC and from the editor/chairs/AD 4. The editor provided updated XML from the editor/chair/AD changes in three ways: (a) patches (b) new XML files (c) OLD/NEW format WHAT WENT WELL I found Github very useful for refining the precise content of what we plan to ship. Specifically: - The RPC makes a lot of changes in their first pass, and so Github reviews allowed me to individually see, accept, or reject each one. - As the editor/chair/AD team made our final changes, PRs structured that interaction and let us only ship when we had refined text. Having each XML revision in Github also made it possible to do incremental diffs, which is inconvenient with the current practice of updating the XML and TXT files on the FTP site with every revision. In one case, it let us track down when a particular error was introduced, which was helpful. WHAT WENT BADLY The initial AUTH48 version from the RFC Editor included both textual changes and whitespace changes. This produced a very large diff which was difficult to work with. In future, it would work better to have as many intermediate versions of the XML file as possible (one for each stage of the process) so that they can be individually reviewed. Having the RPC email out new XML files and then the editor upload them is clunky. It would work better if the RPC uploaded them directly (probably as PRs, though this is TBD). We adopted this strategy to minimize overhead for the RPC, but it's easy to get lost. Conversely, having the editor mail new XML to the RPC is clunky. This would work better if Github were the master copy, which is how we do things in WGs. THOUGHTS FOR FUTURE EXPERIMENTS This was valuable for me. In previous RFCs I have done it has been quite hard to keep track of all the changes and this was a bigger project. As noted above, I found it very useful to be able to individually see address each change that was made in AUTH48. However, this hybrid approach where the editor is the interface between the RPC and Github is awkward. If we try this again -- and I think we should -- I think we should do one of two things: (a) Go full Github and use it the way WGs do. (b) Limit the RPC's use of Github to seeing the editor comments on their changes. From the document editor perspective, (a) would be better, but it seems like a big jump for the RPC, so we should probably look at (b). I think the easiest way to do (b) would just be to have two repos: (a) the master repo which is used just to integrate the RPC's changes (b) a second repo (the editor's fork) which is used to workshop the changes. Then we could treat the RPC's changes as PRs against the repo (as I had originally intended) but they wouldn't have to deal with the noise from the editor/chair/AD discussion. Ben also observed that because so much of the value of the RPC-editor Github interaction is the first set of changes from the RPC (because that's where most of the comments need to be made) that we could skip Github entirely for that and just do the comments in Phabricator. That seems like yet another tool people have to learn, though, so I tend to think we should stick with Github for that. -Ekr
This is the consolidated feedback from the RFC Editor regarding the experiment in using GitHub to process the TLS 1.3 document. Please note that this feedback focuses entirely on the GitHub experience; all comments regarding editorial changes are off topic. Also, the markdown conversation (i.e., editing in markdown, choosing a particular flavor of markdown) is also outside the scope of the experiment and this feedback.
tl;dr GitHub did not improve anything for the RFC Editor, and seemed to replicate and over-complicate the AUTH48 process where the authors and the RPC exchange updated XML files.
What Went Well:
What Was Challenging:
Proposed Changes to the next stage of the GitHub Experiment (JSEP draft)
[Full detail of the process is on this page]