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.

    • HTML

    • DOC

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


The preferred way to invoke this gem is via the metanorma script:

$ metanorma --type m3d a.adoc                   # output HTML and DOC
$ metanorma --type m3d --extensions html a.adoc # output just HTML
$ metanorma --type m3d --extensions pdf a.adoc  # output just DOC
$ metanorma --type m3d --extensions xml a.adoc  # output M3D XML

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.

The gem then converts the XML into HTML and PDF.

The gem can also be invoked directly within asciidoctor, though this is deprecated:

$ asciidoctor -b m3d -r 'asciidoctor-m3d' a.adoc


If you are using a Mac, the repository has instructions on setting up your machine to run Metanorma scripts such as this one. You need only run the following in a Terminal console:

$ bash <(curl -s
$ gem install asciidoctor-m3d


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.


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.

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 URL that the HTML version of the document will be published to (optional)

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.