Skip to main content

Xml2rfc generates RFCs and IETF drafts from document source in XML according to the dtd in RFC2629.

Project description


The IETF uses a specific format for the standards and other documents it publishes as RFCs, and for the draft documents which are produced when developing documents for publications. There exists a number of different tools to facilitate the formatting of drafts and RFCs according to the existing rules, and this tool, xml2rfc, is one of them. It takes as input an xml file which contains the text and meta-information about author names etc., and transforms it into suitably formatted output. The input xml file should follow the DTD given in RFC2629 (or it’s inofficial successor).

The current incarnation of xml2rfc provides output in the following formats: Paginated and unpaginated ascii text, html, nroff, and expanded xml. Only the paginated text format is currently (January 2013) accepable as draft submissions to the IETF.


System Install

To install a system-wide version of xml2rfc, download and unpack the xml2rfc distribution package, then cd into the resulting package directory and run:

$ python install

Alternatively, if you have the ‘pip’ command (‘Pip Installs Packages’) installed, you can run pip to download and install the package:

$ pip install xml2rfc

User Install

If you want to perform a local installation for a specific user, you have a couple of options. You may use python’s default location of user site-packages by specifying the flag --user. These locations are:

  • UNIX: $HOME/.local/lib/python<ver>/site-packages

  • OSX: $HOME/Library/Python/<ver>/lib/python/site-packages

  • Windows: %APPDATA%/Python/Python<ver>/site-packages

You can additionally combine the flag --install-scripts with --user to specify a directory on your PATH to install the xml2rfc executable to. For example, the following command:

$ python install --user --install-scripts=$HOME/bin

will install the xml2rfc library and data to your local site-packages directory, and an executable python script xml2rfc to $HOME/bin.

Custom Install

The option --prefix allows you to specify the base path for all installation files. The script will exit with an error if your PYTHONPATH is not correctly configured to contain the library path the script tries to install to.

The command is used as follows:

$ python install --prefix=<path>

For further fine-tuning of the installation behavior, you can get a list of all available options by running:

$ python install --help


xml2rfc accepts a single XML document as input and outputs to one or more conversion formats.

Basic Usage: xml2rfc SOURCE [options] FORMATS...


The following parameters affect how xml2rfc behaves, however none are required.






purge the cache and exit



show the help message and exit



disable DTD validation step



don’t use the network to resolve references



dont print anything



print extra information



display the version number and exit



specify the base name for output files



specify an alternate cache directory to write to



run as if todays date is DATE (format: yyyy-mm-dd)

-d DTD


specify an alternate dtd file



specify an output filename


At least one but as many as all of the following output formats must be specified. The destination file will be created according to the argument given to –filename. If no argument was given, it will create the file(s) “output.format”. If no format is specified, xml2rfc will default to paginated text (--text).




outputs to a text file, unpaginated


outputs to a text file with proper page breaks


outputs to an nroff file


outputs to an html file


outputs to an XML file with all references expanded

xml2rfc draft.xml
xml2rfc draft.xml --dtd=alt.dtd --basename=draft-1.0 --text --nroff --html


xml2rfc depends on the following packages:


Version 2.13.1 (17 Nov 2018)

  • Filled in missing rendering values for the case when cref is being rendered in inline context in the v3 text renderer. Fixes issue #380.

  • Under python 3.6, dictionary keys() return a set-like object that cannot be indexed. Convert to list for our purposes. Fixes issue #379

  • Remove the ‘alt’ attribute on <artwork> with SVG after setting <desc>.

  • Fixed an issue with missing svg namespace when inserting <desc>.

Version 2.13.0 (17 Nov 2018)

This release provides an number of improvements. Rendering of all v3 elements should now be in place for the v3 text and html formatters, and the renderers have been updated to follow the issue resolutions so far. A bug in the generation of boilerplate for BCPs has been fixed. Feedback on unexpected postal address data has been improved, as has feedback on unexpected combinations of stream, category, and consensus settings.

Details from the commit log:

  • In the html formatter:

    • Added indentation support for <dl> to the v3 html renderer.

    • Fixed a bug in the display of author names in the author addresses section when no postal information is given.

    • Improved <eref> rendering for the case when no eref text is provided.

    • Corrected the anchor placement for slugified names of figures and tables.

    • Added support for <referencegroup>.

    • Added a missing CSS class for <seriesInfo> rendering.

    • Added support for right and center alignment of tables.

  • In the text formatter:

    • Added v3 text formatter support for rendering of blockquote and cref.

    • Minor other tweaks.

  • In the preptool:

    • Added support for <referencegroup> elements.

    • Added support for the <rfc> version attribute.

    • Fixed a string formatting bug.

    • Added attribute valididty checking for integer-valued attributes.

    • Removed the forced inclusion of day for RFC publication dates, reverting to permitting publication with only year and month.

    • Added more sophisticated checking and setting of consensus, based on what is valid for the given stream and category.

    • Refined the handling when given input that already contains boilerplate, authors addresses and index.

  • In the v2v3 converter:

    • Added setting of the <rfc> version attribute.

    • Removed dubious elimination of <format> elements pointing to alternative reference URLs.

    • Fixed a couple of instances of buggy error reporting.

  • Changed util.postal.get_normalized_address() to return a filled-in adr structure even if no country could be identified, for more consistent code in other places.

  • In the Relax NG schema files:

    • Changed the v3 schema default value for <dl> newline so that the effect is the same as for the old ‘hanging’ default value.

    • Added a ‘derivedAnchor’ attribute for <referencegroup>, matching that of <reference>.

  • In the CSS style sheet:

    • Changed the CSS class for Reference Section definition lists from ‘reference’ to ‘references’.

    • Added styling for table alignment and applied the same styling for table labels as for figure labels.

  • Added bcp14, em, iref, strong, sub, and sup to the permitted elements in <name>.

  • Fixed some issues with the error messages for combinations of stream, category, and consensus.

  • Added code to honour the “display” attribute of <cref>.

  • Added a preptool action to check the <rfc> attributes submissionType (i.e., stream), category, and consensus for validity. Invalid combinations are called out, and warnings are issued about setting missing settings to default values.

  • With v2 formatters, treat consensus for BCPs the same way as STD documents,

  • Refactored some logging and address functionality, improved address warnings and other address-related tweaks.

Version 2.12.3 (30 Oct 2018)

This release fixes a schema issue.

Project details

Release history Release notifications | RSS feed

Download files

Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.

Source Distribution

xml2rfc-2.13.1.tar.gz (2.7 MB view hashes)

Uploaded Source

Supported by

AWS AWS Cloud computing and Security Sponsor Datadog Datadog Monitoring Fastly Fastly CDN Google Google Download Analytics Microsoft Microsoft PSF Sponsor Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Sentry Sentry Error logging StatusPage StatusPage Status page