Re: RFC's In HTML Format

David - Morris (
Mon, 15 May 95 13:50:54 EDT

On Mon, 15 May 1995, Donald E. Eastlake 3rd wrote:

> Walter,
> This is more complex than it would seem. RFCs are allowed in ASCII
> and PostScript right now. For a while, authoritative versions of
> standards tracks RFCs were allowed in PostScript but this was revoked
> because of numerous problems with compatility, searchability, etc.

Another complexity is the normal creation of html documents as a composite
which would either require producing an artificially constrained very
large html file or inclusion in the RFCs in HTML specification
provisions for a directory structure, tar file, etc.

I would worry about the average browser choking on a single large file.

Although representing RFCs in HTML has a very high appeal to me, my
feeling is that HTML is not nearly ready to support collaborative
writing or the associated production of largish documents. Should
it get there? Don't know... it does see like being able to handle
the issues of RFC publication could be a future test of the maturity
of HTML ... if the WG accepted that as an objective for the deployment
of HTML. In the short term, as an individual, would be interested
in seeing proposals for fleshing out future verstions of HTML with
features necessary in this context.

As a relatively new observer of the RFC numbering and storage process,
I think a lot could be done to improve the self documenting nature
of the files used to store RFCs. Perhaps the IESG would care to form
a WG for the purpose of improving RFC handling, etc. Such a group
would be a great place to propose and discuss the use of HTML as
a recording medium.

As for what I think were one of Walter's immediate concerns, access to
the HTML working drafts via the official source, I would note that
Dave Raggett mentioned in Danvers that he has a WIP tool which will
flatten a set of HTML pages into a .txt file with page numbering,
etc. Dave loaned me a copy of his code and with some minor hacking
(like I guess Dave's HTML 3 document doesn't include <img> tags and
processing mine hung ...) I was able to achieve satisfactory results.

So I think in the near future, is will be easy to produce the .txt
form of a set of .html files where the .html was written and
marked up understanding the limitations of the processor. Dave has
indicated intent to produce PostScript as well.

Dave Morris