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The README file: xml2rfc v1.18
The README fileM. Rose
 Dover Beach Consulting, Inc.
 April 2003

xml2rfc v1.18


Table of Contents


1. Introduction

This is a package to convert memos written in XML to the RFC format.

If you don't want to install any software, you can use the web-based service.


2. Requirements

You need to have Tcl/Tk version 8 running on your system. Tcl is a scripting language, Tk is Tcl with support for your windowing system.

To get a source or binary distribution for your system, go to the Scriptics website and install it. If you get the binary distribution, this is pretty simple.

Of course, you may already have Tcl version 8. To find out, try typing this command from the shell (or the "MS-DOS Prompt"):

    % tclsh

If the program launches, you're good to go with Tcl version 8.

If you are running under a windowing system (e.g., X or Windows), you can also try:

    % wish

If a new window comes up along with a "Console" window, then you're good to go with Tk version 8.

Finally, you may notice a file called xml2sgml.tcl in the distribution. It contains some extra functionality for a few special users — so, if you don't know what it is, don't worry about it...


3. Testing

Now test your installation.

3.1 Testing under a windowing system

Type this command from the shell:

    % xml2rfc.tcl

A new window should come up that looks like this:

    |                     Convert XML to RFC                     |
    |                                                            |
    |  Select input file: ____________________________  [Browse] |
    |                                                            |
    | Select output file: ____________________________  [Browse] |
    |                                                            |    
    |               [Convert]               [Quit]               |
    |                                                            |

Fill-in the blanks and click on [Convert].

3.2 Testing without a windowing system

Type this command from the shell:

    % tclsh

If the program launches, type this command to it:

    % source xml2rfc.tcl

and you should see these four lines:

    invoke as "xml2rfc   inputfile outputfile"
           or "xml2txt   inputfile"
           or "xml2html  inputfile"
           or "xml2nroff inputfile"


4. Next steps

Read the 2629bis document. In particular, Section 3 has some good information.

4.1 Processing Instructions

A processing instruction is a directive to an XML application. If you want to give directives to xml2rfc, the processing instructions (PIs) look like this:

    <?rfc keyword='value'?>

Of course, if you like the default behavior, you don't need any PIs in your input file!

4.1.1 Option Settings

The list of valid keywords are:

keyword default meaning
strict no try to enforce the ID-nits conventions and DTD validity
iprnotified no include boilerplate from Section 10.4(d) of [1]
linkmailto yes generate mailto: URL, as appropriate
compact no when producing a txt/nroff file, try to conserve vertical whitespace
subcompact compact if compact is "yes", then setting this to "no" will make things a little less compact
toc no generate a table-of-contents
tocompact yes if toc is "yes", then setting this to "no" will make it a little less compact
tocdepth 3 if toc is "yes", then this determines the depth of the table-of-contents
editing no insert editing marks for ease of discussing draft versions
private "" produce a private memo rather than an RFC or Internet-Draft.
header "" override the leftmost header string
footer "" override the center footer string
slides no when producing an html file, produce multiple files for a slide show
sortrefs no sort references
symrefs no use anchors rather than numbers for references
topblock yes put the famous header block on the first page
background "" when producing an html file, use this image
needLines n/a an integer hint indicating how many contiguous lines are needed at this point in the output

Remember, that as with everything else in XML, keywords and values are case-sensitive.

With the exception of the needLines PI, you normally put all of these processing instructions at the beginning of the document (right after the XML declartion).

4.1.2 Include Files

xml2rfc has an include-file facility, e.g.,

    <?rfc include='file'?>

xml2rfc will consult the $XML_LIBRARY environment variable for a search path of where to look for files. (If this envariable isn't set, the directory containing the file that contains the include-file directive is used.)

You can also have xml2rfc set this envariable directly, by creating a file called .xml2rfc.rc in the directory where your main file is, e.g.,

global env tcl_platform

if {![string compare $tcl_platform(platform) windows]} {
    set sep ";"
} else {
    set sep ":"

if {[catch { set env(XML_LIBRARY) } library]} {
    set library ""
    foreach bibxmlD [lsort -dictionary \
                           [glob -nocomplain $HOME/rfcs/bibxml/*]] {
        append library $sep$bibxmlD

set nativeD [file nativename $inputD]
if {[lsearch [split $library $sep] $nativeD] < 0} {
    set library "$nativeD$sep$library"

set env(XML_LIBRARY) $library

There are links to various bibliographic databases (RFCs, I-Ds, and so on) on the xml2rfchomepage.


5. Additions to RFC 2629

A few additions have been made to the format originally defined in RFC 2629. In particular, Appendix C of the 2629bis document enumerates the additions.

In addition, xml2rfc recognizes an undocumented src attribute in the artwork element, but only if HTML is being generated, e.g.,

       <figure><artwork src='layers.gif' /></figure>

In this case, an img tag is placed in the HTML output, and the textual contents of the artwork, preamble, and postamble elements are ignored.


6. Limitations of xml2rfc



[1] Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, October 1996.


Author's Address

  Marshall T. Rose
  Dover Beach Consulting, Inc.
  POB 255268
  Sacramento, CA 95865-5268
Phone:  +1 916 483 8878


Appendix A. MacOS 9 Installation (courtesy of Ned Freed)

  1. Install Tcl/Tk 8.3.4
  2. When you performed Step 1, a folder in your Extensions folder called Tool Command Language was created. Create a new folder under Extensions, with any name you like.
  3. Drag the file xml2rfc.tcl onto the Drag & Drop Tclets application that was installed in Step 1.
  4. When asked for an appropriate wish stub, select Wish 8.3.4.
  5. The Drap & Drop Tclets application will write out an executable version of xml2rfc.


Appendix B. rfc2629.xslt (courtesy of Julian Reschke)

The file rfc2629.xslt can be used with an XSLT-capable formatter (i.e., IE6) to produce HTML. A word of warning though: the XSLT script doesn't support the processing instructions discussed earlier.


Appendix C. Copyrights

(c) 2003 Marshall T. Rose

Hold harmless the author, and any lawful use is allowed.