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 2.27.0 (09 Sep 2019)

  • Added a test for handling of &wj; and &nbsp; during text linebreaking.

  • Corrected the line break handling for &wj; and &zwsp; and changed to using a unicode private use code for internal “don’t break” handling, in order to make use of &wj; possible in the XML source input.

  • Added country name aliases for South Korea.

  • In text renderer: Reverted ‘Internet Draft’ to ‘Internet-Draft’ for series name rendering. Stripped empty parts from Updates: and Obsoletes: lists. Added removal of U+2060 (word joiner) before emitting rendered text.

  • Adjusted the preptool inserted reference target value for Internet-Drafts to include a trailing ‘.txt’ to avoid 404s

  • Added U+2060 (word joiner) to the list of code points that should not trigger non-ASCII warnings

  • Added an –id-is-work-in-progress switch to let the RPC automatically add a <refcontent> element indicating “Work in Progress” for Internet-Drafts.

  • In HTML output, removed blank items from Updates and Obsoletes lists, and reverted ‘Internet Draft’ in reference rendering to ‘Internet-Draft’.

  • Added entity definitions for &wj; and &zwsp;

  • Fixed pyflakes issue; a variable name mismatch.

  • Updated the installation instructions emitted when –pdf is specified without having the necessary libraries in place to also include instructions for Noto font installation.

  • Fixed an issue with the ToC generation where sections without numbers might still be rendered with the whitespace intended to go between number and section title.

  • Fixed an issue with the HTML ToC where sections without numbers might still be rendered with the whitespace intended to go between number and section title.

  • Removed pilcrows from print layout to avoid spurious extra lines for paragraphs where the pilcrow would not fit at the end of the last line.

  • Fixed an insufficient test for URL vs. local file when handling the –metadata-js-url switch.

  • Tweaked the CSS for print to avoid reference entries beginning on a new line, below the reference tag.

Version 2.26.0 (03 Sep 2019)

  • Fixed a broken rendering of Obsoletes: and Updates:, broken in different ways in v3 HTML and v3 text output. Fixes issue #423.

  • Added an alternative style sheet from Martin Thomson (reachable with –css=mt) and rewrote the code to read in alternative style sheets to look in more places. Also added a mt.js file to go with the mt.css file, and tweaked the html renderer to load an alternative .js file if an alternative .css file is set and a matching .js exists.

  • Fixed an issue with nested <ul> with emtpy=”true”.

  • Added a test, with error exit, for duplicate <displayreference> replacement terms. Fixes issue #421.

  • Changed the rendering of Internet-Draft references to follow draft-flanagan-7322bis-03 (RFC Style Guide bis) more closely.

  • Made the address pane for authors’ addresses wider, to accomodate very long email addresses. Changed the bottom margin for some styles used by figures in order to get the same caption placement for figures and tables.

  • Removed the computed <dl><dd> text mode indentation, and replaced it with a fixed indentation of 3.

  • Added an example section using <aside> to element.xml. Updated the <xref> examples that use the section attribute.

  • Updated the prepping and rendering of <xref> with section settings to better handle sectionFormat=”bare”, and changed the handlin of the metadata.js script in HTML output.

  • Added a minified version of the metadata.js script, updated the help text for the –external-css switch, and changed the default for the –metadata-js-url switch to use the minified metadata.js file, and changed the metadata_js_url setting for invocation of xml2rfc renderers as library modules to use the minified metadata.js

  • Updated metadata.js with a new copy received from the RFC Editor staff.

  • Added a warning for mismatch between <rfc number=”…”> and <seriesInfo name=”RFC” value=”…”>.

  • Modified the v2v3 conversion code to deal correctly with multiple instances of <artwork> within an unlabelled Figure. Modified the converter to avoid some lxml-related issues under python 3.x.

  • Updated XmlRfc.__init__() with a new keyword argument to set source file, needed when using the v2v3 converter as a library function (such as from id2xml in v3 mode).

  • Incorporated a new updated copy of the original CSS stylesheet received from the original contractor.

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.

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-2.27.0.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