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Versions: (draft-flanagan-plaintext) 00 01 02 03 RFC 7994

Internet Architecture Board                                  H. Flanagan
Internet-Draft                                                RFC Editor
Intended status: Informational                              May 16, 2016
Expires: November 17, 2016


                    Requirements for Plain-Text RFCs
                       draft-iab-rfc-plaintext-03

Abstract

   In 2013, after a great deal of community discussion, the decision was
   made to shift from the plain-text, ASCII-only canonical format for
   RFCs to XML as the canonical format with more human-readable formats
   rendered from that XML.  The high-level requirements that informed
   this change were defined in RFC6949, "RFC Series Format Requirements
   and Future Development."  Plain text remains an important format for
   many in the IETF community, and will be one of the publication
   formats rendered from the XML.  This draft documents the rendering
   requirements for the plain-text RFC publication format.  These
   requirements do not apply to plain-text RFCs published before the
   format transition.

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 November 17, 2016.






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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2016 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
   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  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  Character Encoding  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   3.  Figures and Artwork . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   4.  General Page Format Layout  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.1.  Headers and Footers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.2.  Table of Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.3.  Line Width  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.4.  Line Spacing  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.5.  Hyphenation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   5.  Elements from the xml2rfc v3 vocabulary . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   6.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   7.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   8.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   9.  Change Log for the Draft  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     9.1.  draft-iab-rfc-plaintext-02 to -03 . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     9.2.  draft-iab-rfc-plantext-01 to -02  . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     9.3.  draft-iab-rfc-plaintext-00 to -01 . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     9.4.  draft-flanagan-plaintext-09 to draft-iab-rfc-plaintext-00   7
     9.5.  -08 to -09  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     9.6.  -07 to -08  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     9.7.  -06 to -07  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     9.8.  -05 to -06  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     9.9.  -04 to -05  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     9.10. -03 to -04  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     9.11. -02 to -03  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     9.12. -01 to -02  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   10. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     10.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     10.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9




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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 for
   RFCs to XML as the canonical format [XML-ANNOUNCE].  The high-level
   requirements that informed this change were defined in [RFC6949],
   "RFC Series Format Requirements and Future Development."  Plain text
   remains an important format for many in the IETF community, and will
   be one of the publication formats rendered from the XML.  This draft
   documents the rendering requirements for the plain-text RFC
   publication format.  These requirements do not apply to plain-text
   RFCs published before the format transition.

   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]  In other
   words, plain-text files cannot include embedded character formatting
   or style information.  The actual character encoding, however, is not
   limited to any particular sequence of code points.

   A plain-text output for RFCs will continue to be required for the
   foreseeable future.  The process of converting XML2RFC version 2
   (xml2rfc v2) into text documents is well understood [RFC7749].  We
   plan to rely on the practice to date to inform the requirements for
   converting XML2RFC version 3 (xml2rfc v3) to text [I-D.iab-xml2rfc].
   This document calls out those requirements that are changed from v2
   or otherwise deserve special attention, such as the requirements
   around character encoding may be used, changes in the page layout,
   changes in handling figures, artwork, and pagination.  For more
   details on general style, see "The RFC Style Guide."  [RFC7322]

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

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

   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



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      possible with other publication formats, but the workflow that
      uses the existing tool chain should 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]  Other publication formats, such as HTML and PDF,
   will include additional features that will not be present in the
   plain text (e.g., paragraph numbering, typographical emphasis).

   The details described in this document are expected to change based
   on experience gained in implementing the RFC production center's
   toolset.  Revised documents will be published capturing those changes
   as the toolset is completed.  Other implementers must not expect
   those changes to remain backwards-compatible with the details
   described this document.

2.  Character Encoding

   Plain-text files for 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.

   Many elements within the xml2rfc v3 vocabulary have an attribute for
   the ASCII equivalent to a non-ASCII character string.  The ASCII
   equivalent will be rendered within the plain-text as per the guidance
   in "The Use of Non-ASCII Characters in RFCs" [I-D.iab-rfc-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

   Artwork, such as network diagrams or performance graphs, must be
   tagged by the XML <artwork> element (see Section 2.5 of "The
   'XML2RFC' version 3 Vocabulary" [I-D.iab-xml2rfc].  Where this
   artwork is comprised of an ASCII art diagram, it must be tagged as
   'type=ascii-art'.  The plain-text format will only include ASCII art.
   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



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   unique diagrams describing the same content.  If there is conflicting
   information between the publication formats, please review the XML
   and PDF files to resolve the conflict.

4.  General Page Format Layout

   One plain-text output will be created during the publication process
   with basic pagination that includes a form feed instruction every 58
   lines at most, including blank lines.  Instructions or a script will
   be made available by and for the community to strip out pagination as
   per individual preference.

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".  Running headers and footers will no longer be added.

4.2.  Table of Contents

   In order to retain similar content wherever possible between the
   various publication formats, 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).  The EOL sequence used by
   the RFC Editor will be the two-character sequence CR LF (Carriage
   Return followed by Line Feed).  This limit includes any left-side
   indentation.

   Note that the EOL used by the RFC Editor may change with different
   transports and as displayed in different display software.

4.4.  Line Spacing

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

4.5.  Hyphenation

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





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5.  Elements from the xml2rfc v3 vocabulary

   The plain-text formatter uses the relevant tags from the xml2rfcv3
   source file to build a document conforming to the layout and
   structure described by the full RFC Style Guide (including the
   updates in the web portion of the Style Guide).  [STYLEWEB]

6.  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.

7.  IANA Considerations

   This memo includes no requests to IANA.

8.  Security Considerations

   The requirements of the plaintext format involve no significant
   security considerations.  As part of the larger format project,
   however, unintended changes to the text as a result of the
   transformation from the base XML file could in turn corrupt a
   standard, practice or critical piece of information about a protocol.

9.  Change Log for the Draft

9.1.  draft-iab-rfc-plaintext-02 to -03

   Figures and Artwork: clarified the state specifically around ASCII
   art

   Elements from the xml2rfc v3: removed confusing sentence that called
   out particular elements for creation of front/back matter

9.2.  draft-iab-rfc-plantext-01 to -02

   nits fixed

9.3.  draft-iab-rfc-plaintext-00 to -01

   Introduction: removed sentence restricting this format to RFCs only;
   clarified that plaintext will be based on existing practice (except
   where otherwise called out)

   Elements from the xml2rfc v3 vocabulary: clarified what xml2rfcv3
   tags will render the front and back matter of a document.



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9.4.  draft-flanagan-plaintext-09 to draft-iab-rfc-plaintext-00

   Figures and Artwork, Character Encoding: included additional detail
   regarding how these items will be flagged within the XML.

9.5.  -08 to -09

   Security Considerations: added text

9.6.  -07 to -08

   Change log: forgot to update the change log for the -06 to -07
   changes.

9.7.  -06 to -07

   Introduction: updated to state that this document does not require
   backwards compatibility.

9.8.  -05 to -06

   Abstract: Changed "cut over" to "transition"

   Elements from xml2rfc v3: emphasized that doc structure is guided by
   the RFC Style Guide

9.9.  -04 to -05

   Abstract and Introduction: Revised for better readability; clarified
   the definition and implications of the term "plain-text"

   General Page Format Layout: Added explicit EOL detail and added some
   clarification regarding pagination

   Elements from the xml2rfc v3 vocabulary: section added

9.10.  -03 to -04

   Change Log for the Draft: forgot to complete the change log between
   the various revisions of the draft

9.11.  -02 to -03

   Abstract: expanded

   Introduction: adjusted language of assumptions





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   Figures and Artwork: adjusted to indicate where to go in case
   information for the images conflicts between different formats

   General Page Layout: switched back to producing one basic paginated
   format, with an expectation of instructions and/or a script to create
   local, unpaginated copies for individual use.

9.12.  -01 to -02

   Introduction: added pointer to original page layout information

   Character encoding: clarified language around encoding and use of
   BOMs

   General Page Format Layout: removed increased line width requirement;
   added sections on Line Width, Line Spacing, and Hyphenation (pulled
   from 2223-bis

10.  References

10.1.  Normative References

   [I-D.iab-rfc-nonascii]
              Flanagan, H., "The Use of Non-ASCII Characters in RFCs",
              draft-iab-rfc-nonascii-02 (work in progress), April 2016.

   [I-D.iab-xml2rfc]
              Hoffman, P., "The "xml2rfc" version 3 Vocabulary", draft-
              iab-xml2rfc-03 (work in progress), February 2016.

   [RFC3629]  Yergeau, F., "UTF-8, a transformation format of ISO
              10646", STD 63, RFC 3629, DOI 10.17487/RFC3629, November
              2003, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc3629>.

   [RFC5741]  Daigle, L., Ed., Kolkman, O., Ed., and IAB, "RFC Streams,
              Headers, and Boilerplates", RFC 5741,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5741, December 2009,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5741>.

   [RFC6949]  Flanagan, H. and N. Brownlee, "RFC Series Format
              Requirements and Future Development", RFC 6949,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6949, May 2013,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6949>.

   [RFC7322]  Flanagan, H. and S. Ginoza, "RFC Style Guide", RFC 7322,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7322, September 2014,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7322>.




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   [RFC7749]  Reschke, J., "The "xml2rfc" Version 2 Vocabulary",
              RFC 7749, DOI 10.17487/RFC7749, February 2016,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7749>.

10.2.  Informative References

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

   [STYLEWEB]
              RFC Editor, "Web Portion of the Style Guide", May 2015,
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/styleguide/part2/>.

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

   [WIDOWS]   Wikipedia, "Widows and orphans", October 2014,
              <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widows_and_orphans>.

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

Author's Address

   Heather Flanagan
   RFC Editor

   Email: rse@rfc-editor.org
   URI:   http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2647-2220

















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