nfoWorks: tools for document interoperability

d141101 nfoWorks devNote
RTFX Development


 0.02 2017-06-14 20:22

RTFX is a package format (.rtfx files) and tools for the non-destructive preservation and portability of files in RTF format.

RTFX files provide a packaged storage of RTF documents in compressed form.  This allows more-secure and compact transport of RTF-based documents. 

Although RTFX is particularly convenient for use with applications that accept and produce RTFX directly, there are companion tools that provide for automatically unpacking and launching the document using existing RTF-accepted applications.

An important application of RTFX is the non-destructive preservation of older RTF documents that must be preserved for historical, administrative, and legal purposes.  The RTFX packaging provides for digital signatures that assert authenticity of the original RTF document.

Documents prepared in older versions of the RTF format often have limited portability.  This is particularly prevalent in forms that use 8-bit character-set encodings and rely on fonts that may no longer be available or known.  RTFX carries adjustments to have the document-file be suitable for contemporary RTF-accepting computer operating systems and software that rely on Unicode.  The result is reliable interchange of text in different character sets, language rules, and cultural practices.  RTFX provides a means for "hot-fixing" the archived original with fix-ups that determine an updated form of RTF that improves the portability and fidelity of the document.  The portable version is delivered to an available RTF-accepting program for display and possible reuse while preserving the original and the fix-ups used to modernize the RTF.

RTFX tools include forensic tools for analysis and verification of RTF-format documents.  RTFX tools also provide for review of documents and specification of modifications so that the document will be correctly rendered by software on computers not used for the original creation of the RTF. This will allow the mechanical creation of fix-ups and derivative versions of the original RTF for delivery to RTF-accepting software and for direct use by RTFX-accepting software.

Because the selection of improvements can be expanded over time, RTFX provides for supplemental introduction of fix-ups and replacement of older, possibly erroneous fix-ups with ones later found preferable.  RTFX provides for retention of stages of improvement and adjustment so that the provenance of the changes and the integrity and authenticity of the RTFX can be asserted using digital-signature technology.  The use of packaging and digital signature technology together safeguard against undetected damage to the materials and prevent tampering from going undetected.  The  principles applied are similar to those for Protected Change-Tracking (PCT).

RTFX tools also provide for extraction of the original form and any intermediates that are part of the retained fix-up history.

Development of RTFX is in a progression of "least that can possibly work" iterations as a voluntary open-source effort.  The Development Status page accounts for the current status.

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Hamilton, Dennis E.
RTFX Development.   nfoWorks devNote folio d141101 0.02, November 4, 2014.  Accessed at <>.
Revision History:
0.02 2014-11-04-08:31 Proofing
Some sentences are touched-up to eliminate run-ons and be more clear what is provided via RTFX tools.
0.01 2014-11-03-09:03 Provide Summary
A simple sketch of the intended capabilities for RTFX is provided.
0.00 2014-11-02-18:06 Establish Initial Placeholder for Material
Have just enough document engineering to be scaffolding for development of further material

Construction Structure (Hard Hat Area)

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created 2014-11-02-18:06 -0800 (pst)
$$Author: Orcmid $
$$Date: 17-06-14 20:22 $
$$Revision: 306 $