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RFC file format (was RFC: A Test For Every Patch)

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From:
tadmc
Date:
July 27, 2000 18:15
Subject:
RFC file format (was RFC: A Test For Every Patch)
Message ID:
20000727233431.955.qmail@maxim.metronet.com


Dan Sugalski wrote:
> At 04:08 PM 7/26/00 -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:
> >Randal L Schwartz <merlyn@stonehenge.com> writes:
> > >>>>>> "Dan" == Dan Sugalski <dan@sidhe.org> writes:
> >
> > > Dan> No, I don't think that should be a requirement. If we're going to
> > > Dan> want markup, we might as well go for something like XML.
> >
> > > DocBook. :)
> >
> >That's certainly one way of making sure I won't submit an RFC.  1/2 :)


So DocBook is right out.

Shooting a rabbit with a cannon will work, but there won't be
much usable meat left   :-)


> Text is fine. Text is, in fact, really really good. I think at this point 
> we should use a plain text template and ask people to use it. 


I think we should go with "semi structured text" (or POD) rather than
truly "plain" text.

Then we can point some automation at it.

More on this below.


> If we want 
> fancier stuff, there's no reason not to have an XML template (that 
> something can autogenerate into text).


The official, cannonical, "truth copy" should almost surely
be in XML. This can be done without many hoops to jump through.


> RFCs that get declared as standards could well be done in something more 
> formal, but I don't think we should ask anyone who cares enough to submit 
> one to jump through too many markup hoops. (Including ones as simple as POD)


The important thing to decide at _this_ point is what *content*
we want in an RFC. What format it should be in is a detail that
can be worked out (not much) later.

Once the content is decided, it can be XMLified (and tools developed)
after the fact with little trouble.


I suggest we do something like:

   Define a "semi structured text" format (or use POD). 

   RFC Author writes in semi-structured text (i.e. easy and non-scary).

   Author runs a (provided) tool (30 lines of Perl) that converts
   semi-structured to XML.

   Author runs a (provided) tool that converts the XML back to
   plain text, to see if it still looks right.

   The resultant XML is what is submitted (i.e. becomes "official").

   Tools for translating the XML to plain text, POD, HTML, 
   SQL insert stmts, etc can then have their way with it.


e.g. RFC author types in this:

---------------------------------------------------------
From: Larry Wall
To: bootstrap@perl.org
Date: Thu Jul 27 16:22:04 CDT 2000
Subject: system() should return true on success

Abstract:
---------

The system() operator should return true, rather than false,
when the command succeeds.


Description:
------------

system() is backwards. It is the only ( errr, index() doesn't count)
operator that returns false on success.

Remembering to change the ||die to &&die is easy to forget.

I don't know what I was thinking when I made it that way, but
I know what I'm thinking now (I think).


Discussion:
-----------

No discussion.


Resolution:
-----------

Approved. (rule #1 invoked)

---------------------------------------------------------


When run through the 30-line Perl program (not vaporware), becomes:

<RFC>
<FROM>Larry Wall</FROM>
<TO>bootstrap@perl.org</TO>
<DATE>Thu Jul 27 16:22:04 CDT 2000</DATE>
<SUBJECT>system() should return true on success</SUBJECT>

<ABSTRACT>

<p>The system() operator should return true, rather than false,
when the command succeeds.</p>
</ABSTRACT>

<DESCRIPTION>

<p>system() is backwards. It is the only ( errr, index() doesn't count)
operator that returns false on success.</p>

<p>Remembering to change the ||die to &&die is easy to forget.</p>

<p>I don't know what I was thinking when I made it that way, but
I know what I'm thinking now (I think).</p>
</DESCRIPTION>

<DISCUSSION>

<p>No discussion.</p>
</DISCUSSION>

<RESOLUTION>

<p>Approved. (rule #1 invoked)</p>
</RESOLUTION>
</RFC>
---------------------------------------------------------



P.S. I hereby volunteer to help with any Markup Language related
     aspects of Perl 6. Send me email if you can use markup help.



-- 
    Tad McClellan                          SGML consulting
    tadmc@metronet.com                     Perl programming
    Fort Worth, Texas

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