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Re: [ddlm-group] Recommended character set and use restrictions. .

On Monday, June 21, 2010 10:28 AM, David Brown wrote:
>I can see the advantages of using Unicode in data values where one may
>wish to render text is some non-ascii formmat, but is there any reason
>why data names should not be restricted (at least for the forseeable
>future) to ASCII characters?  These names are assigned by COMCIFS and
>we are in no real danger of running out of ASCII data names.  One day
>we may need to write our dictionaries in Arabic, but I doubt that any
>of us will be around wheb that happens.  If we only allowed non-ASCII
>characters in delimited strings we would meet all the needs of the
>community for many years to come, and save ourselves a lot of grief
>trying to sort out which code points to allow.

That's a fair point.  I observe, though, that COMCIFS controls data names only in the official dictionaries it maintains, not in local dictionaries or other third-party dictionaries.  It appears to be parties maintaining such dictionaries that have the most potential benefit from an expanded character repertoire for data names.  Additionally, general users might receive a small benefit from having a larger character repertoire available for use in data block codes.

Having come late to the party, I hadn't before considered whether there was a real use case for general Unicode data names, etc..  It was already in the first spec draft I saw.  If there is no persuasive use case for it then I don't have any objection to restricting use of non-ASCII characters to within the bounds of one of the multitude of quoted string syntaxes.  That would be the conservative choice, suitable to be relaxed later if need be.

John C. Bollinger, Ph.D.
Department of Structural Biology
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

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