Internet-Draft Format updates April 2024
Hoffman Expires 13 October 2024 [Page]
Network Working Group
7990, 7992, 7994, 7995, 8153 (if approved)
Intended Status:
P. Hoffman

Updates to RFC Publication Formats


draft-rswg-rfc7990-updates, the successor to RFC 7990, defines the definitive version of an RFC as a published RFC with is in RFCXML. It defines publication versions of the RFC as published RFCs in the publication formats such as PDF, plain text, and HTML. draft-rswg-xml2rfcv3-implemented is updating the specification for the RFCXML format.

This document updates some of the publication formats, specifically updating RFC 7992, RFC 7994, RFC 7995, and RFC 8153. Because RFC 7990 mentions some of the features of the publication formats, this document also updates RFC 7990.

There is a repository for this draft at

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

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 13 October 2024.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

This document updates the RFCs that define the publication formats for RFCs in plain-text and HTML formats. It updates "HTML Format for RFCs" ([RFC7992]), "Requirements for Plain-Text RFCs" ([RFC7994]), and two documents about the PDF format, "PDF Format for RFCs" ([RFC7995]) and "Digital Preservation Considerations for the RFC Series" ([RFC8153]).

Future versions of this draft might also update "Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Requirements for RFCs" ([RFC7993]), "SVG Drawings for RFCs: SVG 1.2 RFC" ([RFC7996]), and "'xml2rfc' Version 3 Preparation Tool Description" ([RFC7998]), but does not do so yet.

Because [RFC7990] mentions some of the features of the publication, this document also updates [RFC7990].

It is important to note that this document does not update [I-D.rswg-xml2rfcv3-implemented]. That is, this document updates only some of the publication formats for RFCs, not the definitive format (RFCXML).

2. PDF Publication Format

2.1. Move Requirement from PDF/A-3 to PDF/A

This document updates [RFC7995] and [RFC8153] by changing the requirement from using the PDF/A-3 standard to using the PDF/A standard, and by dropping the requirement that the XML be embedded in the PDF publication version. Other parts of [RFC8153], particularly the need to archive metadata about RFCs, are not changed.

3. HTML Publication Format

3.1. Additional Information about an RFC

This document significantly changes Section 6 of [RFC7992] to say that the front matter will contain significantly more information than is specified in [RFC7992]. In specific, the HTML will include the metadata currently visible in the "HTMLized" version of RFCs seen in the IETF Datatracker. This includes links to the following:

  • The Datatracker page for the RFC

  • Errata for the RFC

  • How to report errata for the RFC

  • The Datatracker page(s) for the author(s) of the RFC

It will also include a link to the Datatracker page for the draft that became the RFC, links to including earlier versions of that draft, and the ability to comapre earlier version of the RFC with the RFC and with each other.

3.2. JavaScript

Section 2 of [RFC7992] says:

  • JavaScript ... may, on a limited basis, add additional text that provides post-publication metadata or pointers if warranted. All such text will be clearly marked as additional.

This is updated to say:

  • JavaScript ... may add text that provides post-publication metadata or pointers.

4. Plain Text Publication Format

4.1. Line Length

Section 4.3 of [RFC7994] says:

  • Each line must be limited to 72 characters followed by the character sequence that denotes an end-of-line (EOL).

This document updates that limit to 100 characters for tables and figures (such as examples, blocks of code, ASCII art, and so on). The primary reason for this update is that the 72-character limit forced document authors to constrain the figures they use. With a wider maximum line limit, those authors can construct more accurate and more useful examples, and thus improve the quality of the RFC Series. The RPC will still wrap headings and lines of running text at 72 characters.

Note that the 72-character limit was imposed when RFCs were all in the plain-text format and commonly printed on printers with an 80-character line limit. Printing from the plain-text format of modern RFCs happens tremendously less often than earlier. Even in cases where someone prints a plain-text publication format RFC with lines longer than what that can fit on the page, the reader will immediately see the problem and can instead read from the HTML or PDF format for the same RFC.

5. IANA Considerations

This document has no IANA considerations.

6. Security Considerations

Changing the formats for publication versions of RFCs is not expected to cause any security issues.

7. Acknowledgments

This document is inspired by many suggestions from many people in the RSWG.

8. References

8.1. Normative References

Flanagan, H., "RFC Format Framework", RFC 7990, DOI 10.17487/RFC7990, , <>.
Hildebrand, J., Ed. and P. Hoffman, "HTML Format for RFCs", RFC 7992, DOI 10.17487/RFC7992, , <>.
Flanagan, H., "Requirements for Plain-Text RFCs", RFC 7994, DOI 10.17487/RFC7994, , <>.
Hansen, T., Ed., Masinter, L., and M. Hardy, "PDF Format for RFCs", RFC 7995, DOI 10.17487/RFC7995, , <>.
Flanagan, H., "Digital Preservation Considerations for the RFC Series", RFC 8153, DOI 10.17487/RFC8153, , <>.

8.2. Informative References

Levine, J. R. and P. E. Hoffman, "The "xml2rfc" version 3 Vocabulary as Implemented", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-rswg-xml2rfcv3-implemented-03, , <>.
Flanagan, H., "Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Requirements for RFCs", RFC 7993, DOI 10.17487/RFC7993, , <>.
Brownlee, N., "SVG Drawings for RFCs: SVG 1.2 RFC", RFC 7996, DOI 10.17487/RFC7996, , <>.
Hoffman, P. and J. Hildebrand, ""xml2rfc" Version 3 Preparation Tool Description", RFC 7998, DOI 10.17487/RFC7998, , <>.

Author's Address

Paul Hoffman