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I agree with Brian that the common understanding of the "80-character
limit" is that the number of "printable" characters in each line, not
including the line termination characters, if any, is limited to no more
than 80.  This would make CIFs platform independent, which is, I believe
the intention.

However, I also believe it is time to extend the concept of a "CIF" to
include files with other line length limits (to be specified in the
relevant dictionary), so that I would suggest the BNF specify the
existence of a limit, giving 80 characters as an example, rather than
as an intrinsic part of the definition of a CIF.  

  -- Herbert

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On Tue, 19 Sep 2000, Brian McMahon wrote:

> Nick
> The version you posted differs from the one I previewed in its additional
> annotations. I want to (1) flag an error and (2) raise a question.
> (1) CIF datanames now have no formal length restriction (see
>     http://www.iucr.org/iucr-top/cif/cif_core/diff2.0-1.0.html#syn) - but
>     they still have to fit within a line of text.
> Hence
> (2) When writing vcif, I took the "80-character limit" to be in spirit
>     independent of platform and thus the number of characters before the
>     <newline> byte sequence. I would still favour that interpretation
>     (otherwise existing CIFs will break, and to guard against operating
>     systems that invoke even more varied text record delimiting systems).
> What do others think about (2)? 
> Brian

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