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Versions: 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 draft-iab-rfc-plaintext

Network Working Group                                        H. Flanagan
Internet-Draft                                                RFC Editor
Intended status: Informational                        September 11, 2014
Expires: March 15, 2015


                    Requirements for Plain-Text RFCs
                      draft-flanagan-plaintext-02

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
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at http://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on March 15, 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.  General Page Format Layout  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.1.  Headers and Footers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.2.  Table of Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.3.  Line Width  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.4.  Line Spacing  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.5.  Hyphenation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   5.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   6.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   7.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   8.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     8.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     8.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6

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]

   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 how pagination will
   be handled, are documented in this draft.

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




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   o  The existing tools used by the RFC Editor and many members of the
      author community to create the text file are extremely sensitive;
      manual manipulation is required in the final output.  In
      particular, handling page breaks and associated widows and orphans
      for paginated output is tricky.

   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.

   Where practical, the original guidance for the structure of a plain-
   text RFC has been kept, such as with line lengths, lines per page,
   etc.  [INS2AUTH]

   Note that this document provides guidance for plain-text RFCs;
   Internet-Drafts are out of scope.

2.  Character Encoding

   Plain text RFCs will use the UTF-8 [RFC3629] character encoding.
   That said, the use of non-ASCII characters will be only 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 plain-text 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
   relevant figure in 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.



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4.  General Page Format 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, including blank lines,
   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, disambiguation
   between page breaks that may also be paragraph breaks, and a better
   printing experience for those working with the plain-text output .

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.

4.3.  Line Width

   Each line must be limited to 72 characters followed by the character
   sequence that denotes an end-of-line (EOL).  This limit includes any
   left-side indentation.

   Note: A plain-text RFC is expected to be stored on a disk file using
   the EOL sequence of that system.  For example, MS DOS-based systems
   use the two-character sequence: CR LF (Carriage Return followed by
   Line Feed), Unix systems use the single character LF for EOL, and
   EBCDIC systems use the single character NL (New Line).

   Whenever an RFC is transmitted across the Internet, Internet protocol
   convention requires that each line of text be followed by the two-
   character EOL sequence CR LF (Carriage Return followed by Line Feed).
   A user level protocol (e.g., FTP, Telnet, HTTP, SMTP, ...) must make
   the appropriate EOL transformation at each line end.  Note that
   binary transmission of plain-text RFC files can cause the sender's
   EOL convention to "leak" into the receiver, causing confusion.




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4.4.  Line Spacing

   Use single-spaced text within a paragraph, and one blank line between
   paragraphs.

4.5.  Hyphenation

   Hyphenated words, including hyphenated word sequences (e.g.,
   "Internet-Draft"), should not be split across successive lines.

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-03 (work in progress), July 2014.

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

   [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

   [INS2AUTH]
              RFC Editor, "Instructions to Request for Comments (RFC)
              Authors", August 2004, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc-
              editor/instructions2authors.txt>.



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   [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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