Date: Sat, 18 May 1996 02:10:29 -0700
From: "Matthew `GrendelFish' Dockrey" <>
Subject: Proposal for Flavortext standard

This is something I wrote last year, looked like it just might fit in. Webbed at

M. Dockrey
November 1995
Request for Comments: 4242
Catagory: Proposal

Proposal for FlavorText Standard

1. Introduction

This RFC introduces a proposal for the new FlavorText standard, centering on FlavorText Markup Language. Because of the proliferation of ChemoTranmision Input-Output Devices (CTIOD) the use of smells and tastes has expanded expondentialy. When CTIODs were expensive and painfully intrusive instruments, there was little need for standardization. Now that almost every new home computer comes with one, the time has come to create a recognized way to interface them. OlfactoryNet has done a great deal of research into the use of smells, so this RFC will concentrate on the less developed World Wide Tongue.

2. The Overall Scheme for Incorperating Tastes

Tastes will be accesible either through a FlavorText Transfer Protocal (FTTP) or through the use of another application that supports Sweet/Sour/Bitter/Salty (SSBS) codes, such as a FlavorText reader. In this case it will be up to individual uses to formalize the representation of SSBS, but in this RFC the FlavorText Markup Language (FTML) will be discused. Also, detailed technical notes will be included for FTTP.

3. FlavorText Transfer Protocal

There will be a FlavorText Transfer Protocal Daemon listening on tcp port 40. This FTTPD will handle the appropriat connections and transer of Flavor Text. Upon connection the FTTP client will send a string using the following format:


The FTTPD will then return the requested ftml file, assuming that there is one and that the browser given supports the tastes in it. Besides ftml files, FTTP will be able to access other files as well. The file will be returned using the following format:

     BEGIN FTTP...
     (ftml goes here)
     ...END FTTP

Future versions will include the ability to REQUEST multiple ftml files at once.

4. Sweet/Sour/Bitter/Salty Codes

In order to allow FlavorText and the use of CTIODs to remain as open as possible this RFC will deal only partialy with specific uses. Because of the need for one set way to refer to certain, if crude, tastes, this RCF puts forth a proposal for SSBS codes. By giving each of the four basic tastes a hexidecimal value from 0 to ff (1 to 256 in decimal) most simple tastes can be created. For more complex tastes formats such as Flavor Mapped (.FMP) or Joint Culinary Expert Group (.JCEG) are needed. These are discussed in more detail in RCF 2718.

The general format for a SSBS code will be a string of 16 characters, such as #efa90017. In this case we have referenced a taste close to a sweet-n-sour sauce. It can be broken down into ef a9 00 17. It is ef/ff (239/256) sweet, a9/ff (169/256) sour, not at all bitter and 17/359 salty. Of course, this is only an aproximation of sweet-n-sour sauce, but it is much easier to use and transfer than a full blown .FMP file.

5. FlavorText Markup Language

Because of the utter lack of a standard format for referencing tastes, this RCF outlines a FlavorText Markup Language here. While what is given will provide an adequate begining, future versions will include more substance.

Ftml uses tags, consisting of angle brackets surronding the tag, with optional tagmeat, such as <TAG TAGMEAT>. Any tag that affects a range of text is closed with </TAG>. While ftml is not case sensative, the tagmeat is usualy written in caps for readability purposes. A ftml file consists of two major fields: <HEAD> and <BODY>. The <HEAD> field simply gives the name of the page, and has little to do with FTTP. Inside the <BODY> is the plain- and FlavorText of the page.

Flavors are referenced in a ftml page using either SSBS codes or a FTTP link. Both versions can be used for the background, text or inline tastes. In the case of background flavors the taste must be defined in the tagmeat of the <BODY> tag. Also, the default (if any) flavor for text goes inside the the <BODY> tag. Specific text flavors and inline tastes go inside the <BODY> field.

The <BODY> tag is versatile enough to allow either SSBS codes or more advanced flavor mapped files. In the case of the later it tiles the file for the background. An average page might have a <BODY BGTASTE="#efa90017" TEXT="fttp://"> or <BODY BGTASTE="sweet_and_sour.jceg" TEXT="#2a00c401"> as the tag. Inside the BODY tag, BGTASTE and TEXT can be used to change the background and text flavors, respectively. Note that they can reference SSBS codes, local files or even remote files by FTTP.

Inside the <BODY> field there are two ways to use flavor: text and inline tastes. To change text from the default flavor (if any) given in the <BODY> tag, the <FONT> tag is used, as in <FONT FLAVOR="#efa90017">text</FONT>. This is the standard way for SSBS codes, but to reference a flavor mapped file either localy or on a remote machine, one must include a FlavorText link, such as <A FRC="fttp://">text</A>. Inline tastes are easier in that they don't make a difference between SSBS codes and flavor mapped files. Their tag is a simple <FLV SRC="#ef19oo17"> or <FLV SRC="fttp://">

While this has been as brief overview of ftml, it contains enough basics to allow the use and growth of it.

6. Security Concerns

Security concerns are not addressed in this document.

7. Conclusion

Hopefully this RFC has set up the framework for the use of FlavorText and CLIODs in general. Fnord.