Tools Team

The IETF Tools Team is a group of volunteers from the IETF community that develops tools to support the work of the IETF itself.

Key Info

Tools Team Code Spring
IETF Code Sprint sign

The IETF Tools Team members and the team leader are appointed by the General Area Director. The tools team develops tools to support all aspects of the work of the IETF. The team investigates open source tools that can help IETF participants work together more efficiently. When no tools are available, the Tools Team designs, develops, and maintains custom tools. Whenever possible, standards-based solutions are greatly preferred.

The Tools Team works on many projects, including:

  • Datatracker: The IETF Datatracker is the biggest custom tool developed and maintained by the Tools Team. It is the most visible and heavily-used tool of the IETF. The Datatracker is used to upload Internet-Drafts, manage their review and approval, manage meeting materials, and manage working groups. Feedback on the Datatracker is actively solicited, and the Tools Team is constantly working on bug fixes and enhancements.
  • Postconfirm: SPAM is a constant problem, especially for a community like the IETF that depends heavily on email. The Tools Team continues to develop the Postconfirm system, which is part of the email infrastructure for the IETF. The Postconfirm system employs a variety of verification methods to discard unwanted email.
  • Mail Archive: The Mail Archive tool provides advanced, easy-to-use archive searches for all IETF lists, past and present. This tool is under active development, with many new features planned.
  • XML2RFC: Many Internet-Draft authors find the XML2RFC tool an easy way to write documents for the IETF community. While this tool is not required, more than half of the documents that are posted use this tool. The RFC Editor has announced plans to use XML as the standard archive format.
  • RFCdiff: The RFCdiff tool allows easy comparison of the changes between two versions of plain text documents.

Many other tools are used by the IETF community, and the authors of such tools are encouraged to share them on the IETF tools webpage. Please share. It is not necessary to join the Tools Team to do so.

Tools Team members participate in a variety of ways. Daily, members participate in thetools-discuss mail list, exchanging ideas, answering questions, and collaborating with developers. Monthly, the Tools Team holds a conference call to discuss progress and plan for future steps and directions. Liaisons from the IESG, Communications, Secretariat, and RFC Editor join the call for information sharing and coordination. Finally, on the Saturday before each IETF meeting, the Tools Team hosts the IETF Code Sprint, where a day-long coding effort makes improvements to IETF tools. Participants are free to focus on topics of particular interest to them, thereby helping the tools grow organically.

The Tools Team is always seeking more people who are interested in helping make the IETF tools better. All are welcome and wanted! If you want to get involved, please start by joining the tools-discuss mail list, then once you have a feel for the activities that are of interest, send email to the IETF Chair to become more deeply involved.