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RE: square brackets in the draft

  • Subject: RE: square brackets in the draft
  • From: James Hester <jrh@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2002 08:46:57 +0100 (BST)
I'd like to pick up on the discussion of the introduction of square

John Bollinger asked:
> > > What exactly is the point of introducing the square bracket 
> > delimiters
> > > for text values?

Herbert replied:
> > It is more convenient to use than semicolon delimiters, and allows
> > a handy nesting.

John remarked:
> Okay, I'll buy that it's a convenience feature -- for CIF writers.
> It's an inconvenience for CIF parsers, but it can be handled.  I'd like
> it better if it served a useful role that was not otherwise performed;
> I observe, however, that the bracket-delimited quoting mechanism being
> introduced in the draft specification does fill the hole left by the
> interpretation of semicolon-delimited quoting that I am advocating.

If the only problem that square brackets solve is to provide a more
flexible way to delimit multi-line strings, why can't we just lift the
single line restriction on single and/or double quotes? Why introduce
yet another way of delimiting strings?  For example, why not simply
delimit between quotes the nested bracket string so that the parser
stage doesn't have to care about counting brackets?  Even if nested
brackets are important for STAR work, I don't see yet that a case has
been made for unconditionally accepting them into CIFs.  What do we

James Hester, ANBF                             KEK
e-mail: jrh@anbf2.kek.jp                       Oho 1-1
Phone: +81 298 64 7959                         Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305
  Fax: +81 298 64 7967                         Japan

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