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Re: [ddlm-group] [THREAD 4] UTF8

I would just like to point out a philosophical principle which we tried to observe in the earlier CIFs, and which I think very important, namely that in a standard like CIF it is only necessary to define one convention for each feature in the standard.  Writers are required to convert the input to this convention and readers can always be confident that they will only have to read this one convention.  Every time you allow alternative ways of encoding a piece of information you *require* the reader to be able to read both alternatives.  If you allow three different encodings, you require three different parsers.  If you allow ten different codings, you require ten different parsers in every piece of reading software.  With one standard, a single parser works everywhere.

If a standard allows two different codings, it is no longer a standard, it is two standards, and that is something we have tried to avoid (not always successfully) in CIF.  It should be a goal. 

fn:I.David Brown
org:McMaster University;Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research
adr:;;King St. W;Hamilton;Ontario;L8S 4M1;Canada
title:Professor Emeritus
tel;work:+905 525 9140 x 24710
tel;fax:+905 521 2773

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