Re: [abnf-discuss] [art] [Technical Errata Reported] RFC7601 (5435)

Dave Crocker <dcrocker@gmail.com> Mon, 23 July 2018 15:41 UTC

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To: "John R. Levine" <johnl@iecc.com>, Peter Occil <poccil14@gmail.com>
Cc: "ben@nostrum.com" <ben@nostrum.com>, "adam@nostrum.com" <adam@nostrum.com>, Alexey Melnikov <aamelnikov@fastmail.fm>, "art@ietf.org" <art@ietf.org>, "abnf-discuss@ietf.org" <abnf-discuss@ietf.org>, Murray Kucherawy <superuser@gmail.com>
References: <20180723000558.CD758B80F99@rfc-editor.org> <alpine.OSX.2.21.1807222152380.18947@ary.qy> <5b5539e6.1c69fb81.b4b6d.5477@mx.google.com> <alpine.OSX.2.21.1807222231200.19369@ary.qy> <5b55c7e3.1c69fb81.10c36.95dc@mx.google.com> <alpine.OSX.2.21.1807231034060.26353@ary.qy>
From: Dave Crocker <dcrocker@gmail.com>
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Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2018 08:40:59 -0700
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Subject: Re: [abnf-discuss] [art] [Technical Errata Reported] RFC7601 (5435)
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On 7/23/2018 7:49 AM, John R. Levine wrote:
> More to the point, the IETF has used ABNF in its current form for over 
> 20 years,


41 years.

The changes made in the document since ABNF's inception in 1977 -- as 
part of RFC 733 -- are helpful but not fundamental.

And I'll take this opportunity to cite an error in credit I've been 
making over the years...

Within the set of RFC 733 authors, I was the newbie with no formal 
training and wound up as editor of the document.  I spent an afternoon 
in a technical bookstore, getting a little background on parsers.  There 
were lots of specifications being written in those days that did 
variants of BNF; ours was merely one more.

I remember being concerned that we hit a good balance between features 
(complexity) and utility (usability).  And I remember worrying quite a 
bit about the formatting of the ABNF, since that affects comprehension. 
(I was, at the time, in a nascent Human-Computer Interaction graduate 
program.)

What I didn't remember until reviewing the Introduction to RFC 733, 
recently, is that the core credit for creating ABNF goes to Ken Harrenstein.

d/

-- 
Dave Crocker
Brandenburg InternetWorking
bbiw.net