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Re: [Cif2-encoding] How we wrap this up

Faced with the options:

1. Herbert's 'as for CIF1 proposal with UTF8 in place of ASCII' recently posted here and to COMCIFS.
2. Herbert's 'as for CIF1 proposal with UTF8 in place of ASCII', together with Brian's *recommendations*
3. UTF8-only as in the original draft
4. UTF8 + UTF16
5. UTF8, UTF16 + "local"

I have to vote for (4).

When it comes down to it, I believe that the specification of a 'standard' should not be based on uncertainty,
and as 'any encoding' presents uncertainty, it should not be in the standard.

I might be accused of changing my position (I have recently expressed support for flexibilty and even a qualified
acceptance of the 'as for CIF1 proposal with UTF8 in place of ASCII'), but part of the value of these discussions
is to question your own views in the light of other's perspectives. Indeed, I have found these discussions
extremely informative and am now in a far better position to handle the realities of introducing non-ASCII CIFs,
whatever the final COMCIFS decision.

Cheers

Simon




From: "Bollinger, John C" <John.Bollinger@STJUDE.ORG>
To: Group for discussing encoding and content validation schemes for CIF2 <cif2-encoding@iucr.org>
Sent: Thursday, 23 September, 2010 15:02:25
Subject: Re: [Cif2-encoding] How we wrap this up

On Thursday, September 23, 2010 5:46 AM, SIMON WESTRIP wrote:

>1. Herbert's 'as for CIF1 proposal with UTF8 in place of ASCII' recently posted here and to COMCIFS.
>2. Herbert's 'as for CIF1 proposal with UTF8 in place of ASCII', together with Brian's *recommendations*
>3. UTF8-only as in the original draft
>4. UTF8 + UTF16
>5. UTF8, UTF16 + "local"
>
>These can be broken down to:
>
>'any encoding' (1, 2, and 5)
>
>'specified encoding' (3 and 4)
>
>Note I put 5 in the 'any encoding' category as I think 'local' could be interpretted as any encoding.

I agree that 'local' could be interpreted as "any encoding", but I choose to view it as "context-dependent".  Thus a file that is CIF-conformant on one computer might not be CIF-conformant on another.  Some will find that unsatisfactory.  In my view, however, it is the best interpretation of CIF1's provisions; its purpose is thus to ensure that *all* well-formed CIF1 files are also well-formed CIF2 files (a context-dependent question).  Lest I appear to overstate the case, I acknowledge that the UTF8-only and UTF-8 + UTF-16 proposals would have the result that a large majority of well-formed CIF1 files are also well-formed CIF2 files.  The variations of Herb’s proposal probably also make all well-formed CIF1 files well-formed CIF2 files, but I disfavor them on different grounds (mostly that they are too open to differing interpretations).

[...]

>In either case, a degree of work will be required to accommodate user practice and the legacy of CIF1.

I think the entire question reduces to which accommodations for the CIF1 legacy are assured by CIF2 vs. which will constitute non-standard extensions.  I don’t think that individual responses, from Chester for example, are likely to depend much on which option is adopted, but I do think the overall consistency of responses will be affected.  Thus I favor precision of the specification and coverage of the likely uses, in hope of achieving the greatest consistency of response.

I doubt this has swayed anyone's opinion, so please consider it an advance explanation for my upcoming vote (inasmuch as I rely on James's previous assurance that voting rights in this context are not restricted to COMCIFS members).


Best Regards,

John
--
John C. Bollinger, Ph.D.
Department of Structural Biology
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital


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