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Re: [ddlm-group] options/text vs binary/end-of-line. .. .. .. .... .. .. .. .

On Friday, June 25, 2010 12:41 PM, SIMON WESTRIP wrote:
>Its using a field for specifying the encoding that worries me.
>Who is to make such a declaration in the CIF - an author who may be blissfully unaware of the encoding they're using?
>Or an author who is preparing a new CIF by editing an old one, again unaware that the text editor they are using is about to save
>the CIF in some other encoding? At least with UTF BOM's we have a fighting chance - I'd rather only accept these.

I don’t understand.  How is it worse to provide authors an opportunity to specify the encoding they have used, even though they may specify wrongly, than it is to deny them an opportunity to specify the encoding at all?

How is it a worse or more impactful mistake for an author to include an incorrect encoding tag than it is for them to use an encoding different from some small set that you are prepared to accept?

>We're also further restricting the number of non-CIF-aware programs that can be used to read the text.

Can you expand on that?  I don't follow you.

>You've also mentioned that we should learn from HTML - just because HTML has an encoding declaration does not mean it is correct,
>which is why browsers seem to apply there own heuristics to determine the encoding.

I see no way to write the specification that can eliminate all possibility of encoding-related errors.  None.  All we can do is choose which errors are possible.  In so doing, there are a lot of competing factors consider, such as likelihood of various errors to be committed, coverage and robustness of the resulting spec, implied responsibilities of various parties, user convenience, and cultural sensitivity.  I think when James's summary is ready it will help us sort through all that.


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

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