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Re: Advice on COMCIFS policy regarding compatibility of CIFsyntaxwith other domains. .

Hi Herbert,

I agree that there is an in-principle need for a common semantic
features document, and I thank you for directing our attention to this
issue.  John B has suggested a 'base semantics' document to accompany
the 'base syntax' document.  This seems like a workable approach to
me, and we would call the 'base semantics' document 'common semantic
features' in keeping with CIF1.  I would further suggest we hold off
on developing the 'common semantic features' document until we have
finished the syntax.

Below find a redrafted version of the Preamble and point 1(i) to make
the existence of the common semantic features document clear.

Principles guiding development of CIF syntax

Preamble: The CIF syntax describes a human-readable, syntactic
container for scientific data.  CIF syntax aims to be as simple as
possible.  The domain dictionaries are the primary location of
semantic information in the Crystallographic Information Framework.
In the following, the phrase 'dictionary level' refers either to the domain
dictionaries, the DDL language in which the domain dictionaries are
written, or the CIF2 common semantic features specification which
imposes minimum requirements on the semantics specified by dictionaries
and DDLs.

 1. A feature should only be added to CIF syntax if all of the
 following are satisfied:

 (i) Implementation of the desired behavior by
 changes at the dictionary level rather than to CIF syntax
 is not feasible, or else such changes, while feasible, would
 significantly reduce human readability;

(end of changes)

On Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 11:44 AM, Herbert J. Bernstein
<yaya@bernstein-plus-sons.com> wrote:
> Dear James,
>  I am not objecting to Brian's document.  I think we should keep
> as much of it as possible for CIF2.  The only problem is that it
> is a "semantic" document and your policy according to you and
> John B. seems to want to relegate all semantic issues to the
> dictionaries.  It is that relegation to which I am objecting.
> Most features consist of both syntactic and semantic components,
> and I find it much less confusing to deal with a feature in
> its entirety than to deal with just the syntax.
>  Until this discussion, I had thought the intent of the dictionaries
> was to deal with the tag definitions particular to certain domains
> and that both the syantax and semantics of CIF was a global concern.
> I find the relegation of the semantics of CIF2 to the dictionaries
> surprising and recommend against it.  I want to keep Brian's
> document a global document.
>  Regards,
>    Herbert
> =====================================================
>  Herbert J. Bernstein, Professor of Computer Science
>   Dowling College, Kramer Science Center, KSC 121
>        Idle Hour Blvd, Oakdale, NY, 11769
>                 +1-631-244-3035
>                 yaya@dowling.edu
> =====================================================
> On Wed, 16 Mar 2011, James Hester wrote:
>> Dear Herbert,
>> Please explain why you think that the latest version of the guiding
>> principles is at variance with the 'Common Semantic Features' document
>> and approach.  For example, what would prevent us from adopting a
>> similar CSF document for CIF2?  It would help if you quoted particular
>> points from the guidelines in your reply.
>> James.
>> On Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 3:59 AM, Herbert J. Bernstein
>> <yaya@bernstein-plus-sons.com> wrote:
>>> Dear Colleagues,
>>>   I would suggest that people review Brian's excellent common
>>> semantic features document for CIF 1.1.  I think keeping those
>>> sort of semantic decisions couple to the syntax decisions for
>>> CIF has worked well, and I do not think the sharp departure
>>> now proposed for handling CIF2 will work as well for the
>>> reasons I stated previously.  It ain't broke.  Why are
>>> we fixing it?  New feautures involve a mix of syntax and
>>> semantics depedending on the feature.  I believe we should
>>> be focusing on features rather than the bin within which
>>> they fit for presentation purposes.
>>>   Regards,
>>>      Herbert
>>> =====================================================
>>>  Herbert J. Bernstein, Professor of Computer Science
>>>    Dowling College, Kramer Science Center, KSC 121
>>>         Idle Hour Blvd, Oakdale, NY, 11769
>>>                  +1-631-244-3035
>>>                  yaya@dowling.edu
>>> =====================================================
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