Skip to main content

Xml2rfc generates RFCs and IETF drafts from document source in XML according to the IETF xml2rfc v2 and v3 vocabularies.

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 grammars in RFC7749 (for v2 documents) or RFC7991 (for v3 documents). Note that the grammar for v3 is still being refined, and changes will eventually be captured in the bis draft for 7991. Changes not yet captured can be seen in the xml2rfc source v3.rng.

xml2rfc provides a variety of output formats. See the command line help for a full list of formats. It also provides conversion from v2 to v3, and can run the preptool on its input.


Installation of the python package is done as usual with ‘pip install xml2rfc’, using appropriate switches and/or sudo.

Installation of support libraries for the PDF-formatter

In order to generate PDFs, xml2rfc uses the WeasyPrint module, which depends on external libaries that must be installed as native packages on your platform, separately from the xml2rfc install.

First, install the Cairo, Pango, and GDK-PixBuf library files on your system. See installation instructions on the WeasyPrint Docs:

(Python 3 is not needed if your system Python is 2.7, though).

(On some OS X systems with System Integrity Protection active, you may need to create a symlink from your home directory to the library installation directory (often /opt/local/lib):

ln -s /opt/local/lib ~/lib

in order for weasyprint to find the installed cairo and pango libraries. Whether this is needed or not depends on whether you used macports or homebrew to install cairo and pango, and the homebrew / macport version.)

Next, install the pycairo and weasyprint python modules using pip. Depending on your system, you may need to use ‘sudo’ or install in user-specific directories, using the –user switch. On OS X in particular, you may also need to install a newer version of setuptools using –user before weasyprint can be installed. If you install with the –user switch, you may need to also set PYTHONPATH, e.g.,


for Python 2.7.

The basic pip commands (modify as needed according to the text above) are:

pip install ‘pycairo>=1.18’ ‘weasyprint<=0.42.3’

With these installed and available to xml2rfc, the –pdf switch will be enabled.

For PDF output, you also need to install the Noto font set. Download the full set from, and install as appropriate for your platform.


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

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

Run xml2rfc --help for a full listing of command-line options.


Version 2.25.0 (26 Aug 2019)

This rounds up the remaining known issues raised by the RFC Editor staff. Commit log excerpt:

  • Rolled back an earlier requirements change, and added a restriction on pycountry due to a buggy release.

  • Fixed a number of issues with the xml generated for ToC and Index. This makes the ToC output from prepped files the same as from unprepped files, which was not the case earlier.

  • Fixed an log() argument error.

  • Modified test input files to silence known issues with legacy rfc xml test files, in order to more easily be able to see newly appearing errors.

  • Fixed a string formatting error. Fixes issue #417.

  • Changed processing progress messages to more consistently obey –quiet, and to be visually distinct from errors and warnings.

  • Modified the PI stripping so as to be able to silence warnings during preptool processing.

  • Added indentation handling for variations of <ol> on request from the rfc-editor staff.

  • Moved the check for appropriate <bcp14> content from the text renderer to the preptool, and tweaked it to permit &nbsp;, e.g., ‘MUST&nbsp;NOT’.

  • Added a base_url setting to avoid an error message during pdf generation.

  • Added an option –id-reference-base-url to set base url for rendering of <xref> with I-D section references, with a sensible default; and set a default value for –rfc-reference-base-url for <xref> with section= ease of use.

  • Tweaked the conditions for a preptool warning about missing docName to only apply in non-rfc mode, and added generation of any missing <link rel=’prev’> element from docName if present.

  • Widened the search for seriesInfo elements when handling the –rfc-reference-base-url option, in order to handle all possible placements, and fixed a bug in the creation of target URL when using this option.

  • Added a warning for <vspace> elements without proper v3 alternatives during v2v3 conversion.

  • Fixed a bug introduced in [3201] when stabilizing attribute order, which could cause errors when running v2v3 conversion with XInclude insertion.

  • Changed the code for –info dump to work for both py27 and py3x.

  • The –legacy-list-symbols option was checked for validity before the version attribute of the input file was seen. Moved this check (and some similar cases) later, in order to permit it to be used with v3 input without giving the –v3 option. Fixes issue #414.

Version 2.24.0 (10 Aug 2019)

This release addresses a number of issues and minor feature requests from the RFC Editor. Excerpt from the commit log:

  • Added a switch –rfc-reference-base-url to specify an alternative base url when using <xref> section links.

  • Stabilized XML and HTML output attribute order. With lxml 4.40, the handling of attribute order changed for Py 3.6 and higher, to match the use of ordered dictionaries in Py3.6+. Initial attributes set on an element are now sorted by key value. This matches what lxml did previously, and still does for Py 2.7 and Py 3.[0-5]. Enforcing sorted initial attributes under Py 3.6+ makes our output more stable under varying versions of lxml and Python.

  • Added support for <xref> section references in the v3 text formatter. Refactored some of the xref handling in preptool. Added warnings for some xref attribute and content combinations that don’t make sense.

  • Tweaked the error message for use of -o with multiple output formats.

  • Tweaked the layout of v3 text front page to correctly handle unicode codepoints of different width than 1, in order to get correct line lengths for authors with CJK names.

  • Handled a problem with an unwanted space between year and the following comma in HTML <reference><date> rendering.

  • When using the built-in lxml Element remove() method, it unexpectedly removes not only the element, but also the element’s tail. Dealt with this by using our own remove() where needed.

  • Added pilcrows on <dd>, to match pilcrows on other list entries.

  • Removed address lines with only punctuation from the author address rendering, eliminating for instance lines containing only a comma.

  • Added a viewport meta tag, to improve rendering on some devices.

  • Added class ‘selfRef’ on some Figure and Table links that were missing it.

  • Changed the address format to always start with the author name, according to a conversation with the RFC-Editor staff in Prague.

  • Changed the V3 writer note() method to obey quiet and verbose in the same manner as log.note().

  • Changed the v3 validate() from being separate methods for the v2v3 converter and the preptool to a common method on BaseV3Writer.

  • Tweaked the <date> handling to make year ranges and fuzzy dates possible.

  • Fixed an issue where text was lost when immediately preceded by <xref>.

  • Added a –bom text format option, to insert a BOM mark at the beginning of the text format output. Also added a BOM test, and removed some irrelevant switches.

  • Made the line spacing of <sourcecode> the same as for <artwork>.

  • Removed stripping of horizontal whitespace at the start of artwork in list items.

  • Removed an unwanted attribute inheritance of ‘ulEmpty’ for <ul>.

  • Fixed an issue with the CSS stylesheet for compact <dl> lists.

  • Removed an unintentional change that would permit a ‘contributor’ author role.

Version 2.23.1 (07 Jul 2019)

  • Fixed a bug in the handling of sha1 and base64 methods when generating cache names for references with query arguments.

  • Updated the license file to more strictly follow the BSD 3-Clause license, and changed the license field in the file to be more precise.

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-2.25.0.tar.gz (3.9 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