Andrew Sullivan wrote:
On Sat, Mar 20, 2010 at 02:55:56PM -0800, Bob Braden wrote:
Drafts. That always seemed counter-productive to me. I am not sure I
would characterize the problem as "serious", but it does seem t o warp
common sense for the sake of bureaucratic uniformity.)
I got some mail off-list about calling the problem "serious", too, so
I thought I should justify myself.
I had, in the past year, two different DNSEXT participants send me
frustrated email because of the idnits checks. The people in question
were both long-time contributors to the IETF with perhaps
ideosyncratic toolchains. Neither of them was using xml2rfc, and
neither of them had well-maintained *roff templates that just did the
right thing. My co-chair spent some time one day fiddling with the
draft of one of these people in order to make it pass the submission
checks for a -00 draft, mostly because the author was about to give up
You SHOULD have tried NRoffEdit. It would likely have solved
all your problems in a matter of minutes.
If an I-D author has issues with idnits complaining about formatting,
then the toolchain of that author is likely responsible for this
Just a few weeks ago, I used NroffEdit in order to make a suggestion
for a document update in a fashion that makes it easy for others
to make an assessment.
I downloaded the WG document ASCII I-D (14-pages) from
loaded it into NRoffEdit, selected "Edit->Convert Text to NRoff",
spent about 30 minutes fixing the Table Of Contents, I-D header
and some minor formatting defects from the conversion along with
several existing spelling errors reported by NRoffEdit and formatting
issues like new sections starting very close to the bottom of pages.
... the original author is likely an xml2rfc user without a
spell checker in his tool-chain.
Then I edited my changes into the document, uploaded the resulting
ASCII TXT output to our internet-accessible FTP server and
send an URL to the WG mailing list with a prefilled
IMHO, being able to do this without chasing around for an authoring
version of someone else's draft is neat. For various reasons,
asking the original I-D editor for an authoring format version
of his I-D was not an option -- and an XML-based authoring format
would have been entirely useless to me anyway.
And this was the first time that I tried this feature of NRoffEdit!
The availability of decent tools to make your I-D authoring task
simple is important, and some of the existing solutions appear
to be more difficult to install, more difficult to use than
Personally, I know very little about XML. I don't use it my self,
the code that I'm writing and maintaining neither uses nor creates XML.
All of my Editors are plain text editors and I don't know or care
how any of my Browsers (MSIE6 or FF3.5) could be made to display XML.
Being able to see right away in the right output pane of NRoffEdit
how the stuff that I type comes out formatted while typing is nice.
I'm writing with 10 fingers and usually have ~50 app windows open
at the same time. I _really_ prefer to get things done _without_
switching between apps constantly when I'm working on something,
because that will considerably slow down my work.
(and the editing process I use must be entirely offline capable
for policy reasons that are otherwise not relevant to this
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