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Re: Accent escape sequences

Herbert J. Bernstein wrote:
> The practical reality is that the "usual CIF markup" has been used
> in a very large number of existing CIFs on the assumption that
> plain text actually means text with that markup.  I think we
> should formalize that assumption for all quoted strings, making
> the current usage "legal".  Then for anything else:
>    true plain text
>    CBF binary
>    TeX
>    XML
>    HTML
>    ...
I was not sure how much the markup has been used because the mmCIF
dictionaries, which I have been looking at, are essentially limited to
the use of Greek letters, degree, and A-ring. In fact, the ring modifier
is often omitted. Furthermore, mmCIF dictionaries have markup patterns
intended not to be CIF-markup, such as the regular-expression patterns,
and do not appear to have an indicator that these are not CIF-markup
encoded. A MIME header indicating text/plain would be easy to add.

There still needs to be a defined content type for CIF-markup, such as
"text/x-cif-markup". It would be needed for a multipart/alternative that
had CIF-markup as one type, even if not used elsewhere.

> we would use text fields and MIME appropriate headers.  As with email
> the burden would not fall on the general CIF parsers, except to the
> limited extent of being able to reliably find the end of a text field,
> and to deliver whatever was found within the text field to the
> higher level application to parse further, if they choose to do
> so.  CIF writers could invert the path, requiring applications
> to deliver properly wrapped MIME ready to put out as text fields.
> The CIF writer would add the semicolon quotes, MIME boundary markers and the
> content header.   The application would be responsible for any additional
> headers and the actual content as a byte stream.  This division of
> labor would allow most CIF software to have no changes in
> write logic and only modest changes in read logic, but would allow
> applications that need to deliver and to be aware of complex internal
> semantics to do so in a CIF environment instead of having to move
> over to XML.
The advantage of MIME is that a lot of thought was put into keeping a
good balance features, flexibility, and backwards compatibility. It is,
in my opinion, an excellent idea, even if imgCIF was not already using it.
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