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Advice on COMCIFS policy regarding compatibility of CIF syntax withother domains

  • To: "Discussion list of the IUCr Committee for the Maintenance of the CIFStandard (COMCIFS)" <comcifs@iucr.org>
  • Subject: Advice on COMCIFS policy regarding compatibility of CIF syntax withother domains
  • From: James Hester <jamesrhester@gmail.com>
  • Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2011 15:12:15 +1100
Dear COMCIFS members:

The DDLm group is currently engaging in developing an elide mechanism
for the CIF2 standard.  Our deliberations have reached something of an
impasse due to disagreement around the use of triple quotes as a
string delimiter.  Python is a popular programming language that also
uses triple quotes to delimit strings. One side of the discussion
considers that use of triple quotes as a string delimiter means that
all escape sequences recognised by Python should also be recognised by
CIF, in order to avoid confusion and improve consistency with
mainstream (ie Python) practice.  The other side of the discussion
sees little to benefit to CIF from including the additional ten or so
escape sequences and advocates leaving them out of the CIF2 standard,
instead adopting the minimal number of escape sequences to allow

We would like COMCIFS participants to provide some input as to the
appropriate policy to be followed in this situation: should we seek
maximum consistency with other usage of identical syntactical
constructs, despite the imposition of unnecessary technical baggage?
Or should we produce a standard as simple and streamlined as possible,
despite the potential for confusion and unorthodox behaviour?

Details of discussions so far can be found at

T +61 (02) 9717 9907
F +61 (02) 9717 3145
M +61 (04) 0249 4148

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