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Re: [ddlm-group] Relationship of CIF2 to legacy platforms

Dear Joe,

   This is _not_ a matter of legacy software, but of currently maintained 
data collection software that happens to be written in Fortran.

   People have work to get done.  The failure of CIF2 to support fortran on 
a wide range of platforms will not stop those applications from doing what 
they need to do, it will just further hinder the adoption of CIF in the 
macromolecular community.

  Herbert J. Bernstein, Professor of Computer Science
    Dowling College, Kramer Science Center, KSC 121
         Idle Hour Blvd, Oakdale, NY, 11769


On Fri, 30 Oct 2009, Joe Krahn wrote:

> IMHO, even though Fortran is not dead yet, it's quirky I/O semantics
> should not be an important consideration for CIF2. I still write Fortran
> code, so I am not suggesting that Fortran code be neglected. However,
> still using Fortran should have a modern compiler that supports STREAM
> I/O (including GFortran), which avoids these text I/O problems.
> If you have old software that you don't want to maintain, there can
> always be a CIF2-to-CIF1 utility, so that the old program will still
> work as-is. For new code, it really only makes sense to use Fortran for
> number crunching, and just use a C library to do CIF I/O.
> Joe Krahn
> James Hester wrote:
>> By 'systems' I had in mind computer operating systems and programming
>> environments, in particular multilingual support and Fortran.  So, for
>> example, as Herbert's replies have been indicating, Fortran behaviour
>> continues to influence the CIF standard.
>> On Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 1:04 AM, David Brown <idbrown@mcmaster.ca> wrote:
>>> James asks whether we should require CIF2 to support legacy systems.  I am
>>> not sure what James means by 'systems'.  Are these datafiles or programs?
>>> That is to say is the queston 'should CIF2 applications be able to read
>>> legacy CIFs?', or 'should legacy CIF1 programs be able to read CIF2
>>> datafiles?'?
>>> The answer to the first question is definitely 'yes'.  It is part of the
>>> mandate of CIF2 that its programs should be able to process the existing
>>> archive so that the archive can take advantage of the enhanced functions of
>>> DDLm.  The CIF2 dictionaries will alias all the datanames appearing in the
>>> CIF1 dictionaries in a way that makes such reading easy.
>>> The answer to the second question is almost certainly no, at least in cases
>>> where the CIF data file makes use of the added syntax features.  All the
>>> datanames in CIF1.0 dictionaries differ from those in the CIF2 dictionary by
>>> not using a period at the end of the category part of the name and in some
>>> cases the names differ in other ways.  There would be no point in trying to
>>> produce CIF2 compatible CIF1 dictionaries, since the CIF1 dictionaries are
>>> poorly designed for maintenance and have poor aliasing features.
>>> David
>>> James Hester wrote:
>>> Dear All,
>>> I think it would be helpful to make a policy decision regarding our
>>> treatment of legacy systems in CIF2.0.  This concerns first and
>>> foremost Fortran derived line-length constraints, but may impact on
>>> the encoding discussion in deciding which encodings might get some
>>> special treatment.  There may be other such issues as well.
>>> We have a few choices:
>>> 1. Disregard legacy system issues when designing CIF2, on the basis
>>> that such systems can continue to use CIF1 and will eventually
>>> disappear at about the same time that it does (sort of like ASCII and
>>> Fortran...)
>>> 2. Continue to support legacy systems on the basis that we don't want
>>> to deny such systems the chance to partake of the raw unadulterated
>>> goodness of CIF2, or perhaps more seriously that such legacy systems
>>> are integral to CIF2 takeup.
>>> What do you think?
>>> James.
>>> _______________________________________________
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>>> ddlm-group@iucr.org
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