Gem Version Build Status Code Climate

This gem is still under development.


This gem processes Asciidoctor documents following a template for generating M3D documents.

The gem currently inherits from the gem, and aligns closely to it. Refer to the ISO gem for guidance, including

The following outputs are generated.

  • (Optional) An HTML preview generated directly from the Asciidoctor document, using native Asciidoctor formatting.

    • AsciiMathML is to be used for mathematical formatting. The gem uses the Ruby AsciiMath parser, which is syntactically stricter than the common MathJax processor; if you do not get expected results, try bracketing terms your in AsciiMathML expressions.

  • an XML representation of the document, intended as a document model for M3D International Standards.

  • The XML representation is processed in turn to generate the following outputs as end deliverable M3D standard drafts.

This AsciiDoc syntax for writing M3D standards is hereby named "AsciiM3D".


$ asciidoctor a.adoc  # HTML output of Asciidoc file
$ asciidoctor -b m3d -r 'asciidoctor-m3d' a.adoc  # M3D XML output

The gem translates the document into M3D XML format, and then validates its output against the M3D XML document model; errors are reported to console against the XML, and are intended for users to check that they have provided all necessary components of the document.

TODO: The gem will then convert the XML to Word Document, HTML, and PDF, and output those files with the appropriate file suffixes. lib/asciidoctor/m3d/m3d2wordhtml.rb is work in progress, and not yet integrated into the executable.

Content Warnings

The gem also realises several format checks as prescribed in ISO/IEC DIR 2, and warns the user about them in the console:

  • Numbers with what looks like dots instead of commas for decimal points.

  • Groups of numbers without spacing for every three digits. (The gem attempts to ignore M3D references.)

  • No space before percent sign.

  • No bracketing of tolerance in percentage (e.g. 15 ± 7 % .)

  • No recommendations, permissions or requirements (detected by keyword) in: foreword, scope, introduction, term examples and examples, notes, footnotes.

  • No subclauses that are the only child of a clause. (In clauses, annexes, or scopes.)

  • 5 levels of subclause nesting. (Never actuated, AsciiDoc only permits 4 levels of subsections.)

  • Non-M3D/IEC reference turning up as normative.

  • Term definition starts with an article, or ends with a period.

  • Title intro or title part appears in only one of French or English.


Document model

The Ribose Standard Document model is an instance of the StandardDocument model.

The M3D format ("M3D XML") intends to introduce rigor into the M3D standards authoring process, and is prescribed in a separate document.

M3D XML is still under development, but it already contains all the markup needed to render a M3D document into HTML.

The current RNG model of M3D XML is out of sync with the UML.


Asciidoctor has been selected as the authoring tool to generate the document model representation of M3D standards. It is a document formatting tool like Markdown and DocBook, which combines the relative ease of use of the former (using relatively lightweight markup), and the rigor and expressively of the latter (it has a well-defined syntax, and was in fact initially developed as a DocBook document authoring tool). Asciidoctor has built-in capability to output Text, DocBook and HTML; so it can be used to preview the file as it is being authored.

Note that in order to generate HTML preview output close to what is intended in the M3D standard, the Asciidoc document includes a fair amount of formatting instructions (e.g. disabling section numbering where appropriate, the titling of Appendixes as Annexes), as well as M3D boilerplate text, and predefined section headers (sections are recognised by fixed titles such as Normative References). Authoring M3D standards in this fashion assumes that users will be populating an Asciidoc template, and not removing needed formatting instructions.

Features not visible in HTML preview

The gem uses built-in Asciidoc formatting as much as possible, so that users can retain the ability to preview documents; for Terms and Definitions clauses, which have a good deal of explicit structure, macros have been introduced for semantic markup (admitted terms, deprecated terms, etc). The default HTML output of an Asciidoc-formatted M3D document is quite close to the intended final output, with the following exceptions. Note that the final outputs of the conversion (Microsoft Word, PDF, HTML) do not have these exceptions, and comply with the M3D Standard specifications.

  • Terms and Definitions: each term is marked up as an unnumbered subclause, the semantic markup of alternate and other terms is not rendered visually.

  • Formulas: Asciidoctor has no provision for the automated numbering of isolated block formulas ("stem"), and does not display the number assigned a block formula in its default HTML processor—although it does provide automated numbering of examples. Formula numbering is provided in the final outputs of the conversion.

  • Missing elements: The document model does not yet include Asciidoc elements that do not appear to be relevant to M3D Standards; these will be ignored in generating M3D XML. Those elements include:

  • sidebars (aside) (as distinct from warnings),

  • ASCII art/preformatted text (literal) (as distinct from sourcecode listings),

  • page breaks (thematic break).

  • Markup: Some connecting text which is used to convey markup structure is left out: in particular, DEPRECATED and SOURCE (replaced by formatting macros).

  • Tables: Table footnotes are treated like all other footnotes: they are rendered at the bottom of the document, rather than the bottom of the table, and they are not numbered separately.

  • Cross-references: Footnoted cross-references are indicated with the reference text fn in m3dlation, or fn: as a prefix to the reference text. The default HTML processor leaves these as is: if no reference text is given, only fn will be displayed (though it will still hyperlink to the right reference).

  • References: The convention for references is that M3D documents are cited without brackets by M3D number, and optionally year, whether they are normative or in the bibliography (e.g. M3D 20483:2013); while all other references are cited by bracketed number in the bibliography (e.g. [1]). The default HTML processor treats all references the same, and will bracket them (e.g. [M3D 20483:2013]). For the same reason, M3D references listed in the bibliography will be listed under an M3D reference, rather than a bracketed number.

  • References: References are rendered cited throughout, since they are automated. For that reason, if reference is to be made to both an undated and a dated version of an M3D reference, these need to be explicitly listed as separate references. (This is not done in the Rice model document, which lists M3D 6646, but under Terms and Definitions cites the dated M3D 6646:2011.

  • References: M3D references that are undated but published have their date indicated under the M3D standards format in an explanatory footnote. Because of constraints introduced by Asciidoctor, that explanation is instead given in square brackets in Asciidoc format.

  • Annexes: Subheadings cannot preserve subsection numbering, while also appearing inline with their text (e.g. Rice document, Annex B.2): they appear as headings in separate lines.

  • Annexes: Cross-references to Annex subclauses are automatically prefixed with Clause rather than Annex or nothing.

  • Metadata: Document metadata such as document numbers, technical committees and title wording are not rendered in the default HTML output.

  • Patent Notice: Patent notices are treated and rendered as a subsection of the introduction, with an explicit subheading.

  • Numbering: The numbering of figures and tables is sequential in the default HTML processor: it does not include the Clause or Annex number. This, Figure 1, not Figure A.1.

  • Notes: There is no automatic note numbering by the default HTML processor.

  • Review Notes: The reviewer on the review note is not displayed.

  • Keys: Keys to formulas and figures are expected to be marked up as definition lists consistently, rather than as inline prose.

  • Figures: Simple figures are marked up as images, figures containing subfigures as examples. Numbering by the default HTML processor may be inconsistent. Subfigures are automatically numbered as independent figures.

  • Markup: The default HTML processor does not support CSS extensions such as small caps or strike through, though these can be marked up as CSS classes through custom macros in Asciidoctor: a custom CSS stylesheet will be needed to render them.

TODO: May need to only encode figures as examples.

Document Attributes

The gem relies on Asciidoctor document attributes to provide necessary metadata about the document. These include:


The document edition


The date the document was last updated


The year which will be claimed as when the copyright for the document was issued


The main component of the English title of the document (mandatory). (The first line of the AsciiDoc document, which contains the title introduced with =, is ignored)


The document type (see M3D deliverables: The different types of M3D publications) (mandatory). The permitted types are:


Code Artifact




Proposal; includes IETF DRAFT


Recommendation; includes IETF RFC




The document status. The permitted types are: proposal, working-draft, committee-draft, draft-standard, final-draft, published, withdrawn.


The name of the relevant M3D technical committee (mandatory)


The language of the document (only en for now) (mandatory)

The attribute :draft:, if present, includes review notes in the XML output; these are otherwise suppressed.

AsciiM3D features not also present in AsciiISO

  • [keyword]#...#: encodes keywords, such as "MUST", "MUST NOT". (Encoded as <span class="keyword">…​</span>.

Data Models

The M3D Standard Document format is an instance of the StandardDocument model. Details of this general model can be found on its page. Details of the M3D modifications to this general model can be found on the M3D model repository.