Internet Architecture Board


IAB approves RFC format-related drafts for publication

On 3 August 2016, the IAB approved the drafts [1] documenting the requirements for the new RFC format for publication. The RFC Format project goals include:

  • Supporting XML as the unchanging, underlying format
  • Creating TXT, PDF/A-3, and HTML as the outputs
  • Allowing SVG line art (black and white) as per a limited SVG profile
  • Allowing Non-ASCII characters in a controlled fashion

An FAQ about the new RFC Format is available online:

With the approval of the drafts, an RFP will be posted shortly covering the tools required to make this new format a reality. The RFP will be posted on the IETF announce list, rfc-interest, and will be found on the IAOC’s RFP website ( As the tools are developed, tested, and used, all the existing documents will go through a -bis process to capture what we learn through implementation. Please join to participate in the discussion on the new format.

Many thanks to the RFC Format Design Team for their extraordinary efforts!

Nevil Brownlee (ISE), Heather Flanagan (RSE), Tony Hansen, Joe Hildebrand, Paul Hoffman, Ted Lemon, Julian Reschke, Adam Roach, Alice Russo, Robert Sparks (Tools Team liaison), Dave Thaler

[1] Format Document reading order:

The big picture:

Flanagan, H. and N. Brownlee, “RFC Series Format Requirements and Future Development”, RFC 6949, DOI 10.17487/RFC6949, May 2013, <>.

Flanagan, H., “RFC Format Framework”, Work in Progress, draft-iab-rfc-framework-06, June 2016.
The underlying vocabulary

Hoffman, P., “The ‘XML2RFC’ version 3 Vocabulary”, Work in Progress, draft-iab-xml2rfc-04, June 2016.

The outputs:

Hildebrand, J. and P. Hoffman, “HyperText Markup Language Request For Comments Format”, Work in Progress, draft-iab-html-rfc-02, February 2016.

Flanagan, H. “CSS Requirements for RFCs”, Work in Progress, draft-iab-rfc-css-01, July 2016.

Flanagan, H., “Requirements for Plain Text RFCs”, Work in Progress, draft-iab-rfc-plaintext-03, May 2016.

Hansen, T., Masinter, L., and M. Hardy, “PDF for an RFC Series Output Document Format”, Work in Progress, draft-iab-rfc-use-of-pdf-02, May 2016.

Brownlee, N., “SVG Drawings for RFCs: SVG 1.2 RFC”, Work in Progress, draft-iab-svg-rfc-02, February 2016.

Generalized requirements:

Flanagan, H., “The Use of non-ASCII Characters in RFCs”, Work in Progress, draft-iab-rfc-nonascii-02, April 2016.

Workflow and tools:

Hildebrand, J. and P. Hoffman, “RFC v3 Prep Tool Description”, Work in Progress, draft-iab-rfcv3-preptool-02, September 2015.

Hoffman, P. and T. Hansen, “Examples of the ‘XML2RFC’ Version 2 and 3 Vocabularies”, Work in Progress, draft-hoffman-rfcexamples-04, May 2015. Not to be published as an RFC.

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