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Re: parser validation tools

  • Subject: Re: parser validation tools
  • From: Brian McMahon <bm@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 10 May 2000 12:54:00 +0100 (BST)
> Are there any IUCr sanctioned files/tools to assist developers in validating
> parsers and such to meet the DDL1- & DDL2-style standards for CIFs? I am, in

To check the formal syntax, you should use sb (Star_Base) for the full STAR
syntax
             ftp://ftp.crystal.uwa.edu.au/pub/star/sb.tar.Z
or vcif (via the CIF home page) for the restricted CIF syntax.

> particular, looking for examples that would tend to break most
> straightforward parsing but are still correct (for example, something I got
> caught on early on was having a valid dataname at the start of a line in a
> text block).

When I was developing vcif, I had a lot of discussion with Syd Hall and Nick
Spadaccini about fine points of detail. I tried to incorporate the results
of the discussion into vcif; and I also used a number of test files to
test vcif's behaviour with respect to various pathological cases. I've put
together a slightly modified version of these for people to look at and
comment on at
            http://www.iucr.org/iucr-top/cif/developers/trip
Some files are valid but peculiar; others contain well-known and some subtle
errors.

You will of course recognise "TRIP" as the name of Donald Knuth's test suite
to stress and verify TeX implementations, and it may well be worth
developing an extended set of test files to attempt to achieve the same
purpose with CIF/STAR parsers. I invite members of the list to contribute
towards that objective.

A formal BNF for STAR is still awaited (there is a published version in
JCICS, but Nick has promised a revised version for incorporation into the
forthcoming International Tables volume on crystallographic information, and
I'll ask him to post that publicly when it's ready).

Hope this helps.

Brian

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