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Network Working Group                                        H. Flanagan
Internet-Draft                                                RFC Editor
Intended status: Informational                              July 3, 2014
Expires: January 4, 2015


                    Requirements for Plain Text RFCs
                      draft-flanagan-plaintext-01

Abstract

   This draft documents the change in requirements and layout for the
   plain-text RFC publication format.

Editorial Note (To be removed by the RFC Editor)

   Discussion of this draft takes place on the rfc-interest mailing list
   (rfc-interest@rfc-editor.org), which has its home page at
   https://www.rfc-editor.org/mailman/listinfo/rfc-interest.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
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   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
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   This Internet-Draft will expire on January 4, 2015.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2014 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must



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   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Character Encoding  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Figures and Artwork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   4.  Page Layout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     4.1.  Headers and Footers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.2.  Table of Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   5.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   6.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   7.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   8.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     8.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     8.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5

1.  Introduction

   In 2013, after a great deal of community discussion, the decision was
   made to shift from the plain text, ASCII-only canonical format to XML
   [XML-ANNOUNCE].  The high-level requirements for the format of RFCs
   were defined in RFC Series Format Requirements and Future Development
   [RFC6949].  Several different publication formats will be rendered
   from that canonical XML, including HTML, PDF, TXT, and EPUB.

   The Unicode Consortium defines 'plain text' as "Computer-encoded text
   that consists only of a sequence of code points from a given
   standard, with no other formatting or structural information.  Plain
   text interchange is commonly used between computer systems that do
   not share higher-level protocols." [unicode-glossary]

   While a plain text output for RFCs will continue to be required for
   the foreseeable future, the details of what that means for RFCs in
   terms of which character encoding may be used, what the page layout
   will look like, how to handle figures and artwork, and pagination are
   documented in this draft.

   The following assumptions drive the changes in the plain text output
   for RFCs:

   o  The existing tools to create the text file are extremely
      sensitive; manual manipulation is required in the final output.
      In particular, handling page breaks for text is tricky.




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   o  Additional publication formats--for example: PDF, HTML-- will be
      available that will offer features such as markup, pretty
      printing, etc.

   o  There is an extensive tool chain in existence among the community
      to work with plain text documents.  Similar functionality may be
      possible with other publication formats, but the workflow that
      uses the existing tool chain must be supported as much as is
      considered practical.

2.  Character Encoding

   The use of non-ASCII characters will be allowed in a limited and
   controlled fashion.  The details regarding the guidance for how to
   include non-ASCII characters is under development and documented in
   The Use of Non-ASCII Characters in RFCs [I-D.flanagan-nonascii].
   Please view the PDF version of that draft.

   The character encoding for all plain text documents will be UTF-8
   [RFC3629].  The file will include a byte order mark (BOM) to provide
   text reader software with in-band information about the character
   encoding scheme used.

3.  Figures and Artwork

   Authors may continue to include figures drawn with ASCII characters.
   If the canonical format includes figures or artwork other than ASCII-
   art, then the plain text output must include a pointer to the HTML
   version of the RFC to allow readers to see the relevant artwork.

   Authors who wish to include ASCII-art for the plain text file and SVG
   art for the other outputs may do so, but they should be aware of the
   potential for confusion to individuals reading the RFC with two
   unique diagrams describing the same content.

   ASCII art will have a character width limit of no more than 85
   characters.

4.  Page Layout

   Arguments both in favor of and against pagination have been offered
   by members of the community and summarized in RFC 6949.  After
   further discussion, two plain text outputs will be created during the
   publication process - one with basic pagination that includes a form
   feed instruction every 58 lines at most, depending on the text and
   artwork layout, and a second with no pagination at all.  This will
   allow for both easier cut and paste from the plain text file,
   uninterupted diff output, better understanding when you can't tell if



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   a page break is also a paragraph break, and a better printing
   experience for those working with the plain text output .

   Line lengths for both text and artwork, will increase to 80
   characters in order to take advantage of wider screens and
   unnecessarily wide page margins.

4.1.  Headers and Footers

   The front matter on the front page (such as the RFC number and
   category), and the back matter on the last page (the author's full
   names and contact information) will continue with the structure
   described in RFC 5741 [RFC5741], "RFC Streams, Headers, and
   Boilerplates".  Given the removal of the pagination requirement,
   running headers and footers will no longer exist.

4.2.  Table of Contents

   Given the removal of the pagination requirement, the Table of
   Contents will list section and subsection numbers and titles, but
   will not include page numbers.

5.  Acknowledgements

   This draft owes a great deal of thanks to the efforts of the RFC
   Format Design Team: Nevil Brownlee, Tony Hansen, Joe Hildebrand, Paul
   Hoffman, Ted Lemon, Julian Reschke, Adam Roach, Alice Russo, Robert
   Sparks, and David Thaler

6.  IANA Considerations

   This memo includes no requests to IANA.

7.  Security Considerations

   TBD.

8.  References

8.1.  Normative References

   [I-D.flanagan-nonascii]
              Flanagan, H., "The Use of Non-ASCII Characters in RFCs",
              draft-flanagan-nonascii-01 (work in progress), April 2014.

   [RFC3629]  Yergeau, F., "UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO
              10646", STD 63, RFC 3629, November 2003.




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   [RFC5741]  Daigle, L., Kolkman, O., and IAB, "RFC Streams, Headers,
              and Boilerplates", RFC 5741, December 2009.

   [RFC6949]  Flanagan, H. and N. Brownlee, "RFC Series Format
              Requirements and Future Development", RFC 6949, May 2013.

8.2.  Informative References

   [XML-ANNOUNCE]
              Flanagan, H., ""Subject: Direction of the RFC Format
              Development effort", message to the rfc-interest@rfc-
              editor.org mailing list", May 2013, <http://www.rfc-
              editor.org/pipermail/rfc-interest/2013-May/005584.html >.

   [unicode-glossary]
              The Unicode Consortium, "Glossary of Unicode Terms", 2014,
              <http://www.unicode.org/glossary/>.

Author's Address

   Heather Flanagan
   RFC Editor

   Email: rse@rfc-editor.org



























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