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Re: [ddlm-group] Community consulation regarding CIF2 encoding

Hi Herbert: the idea would be to distribute an email with a pointer to the survey.  Your suggested paragraph would be a reasonable text for that email, acting as an introduction to the questionnaire, although the mention of XML and HTML I think is slanting the question somewhat. And indeed we should include an open-ended question in the survey asking for their thoughts.  The point of the short series of questions is that those who have no time to spend familiarising themselves with our discussion and formulating a thoughtful reply are still able to spend a few minutes and provide important information on which we can base our decision.

On Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 8:37 PM, Herbert J. Bernstein <yaya@bernstein-plus-sons.com> wrote:
Dear Colleagues,

 Unless we are assuming that the CIF2 transition is not acutally
going to happen, that transition is going to involve a wide range
of both software developers and users of crystallographic software
throughout the community.  Either we have te dicsussion with them
on a UTF-8-ony standard now, or we will have to have the discussion
with them later, when it is much harder and more expensive to
revise what we will have done.

 If James is reluctant to post his own summary to the lists, then
how about the following:

 COMCIFS, the IUCr Committee of the Maintenance of the CIF standard
is considering some important improvements and extensions to CIF.
Among the extensions being considered is enlarging the character
set allowed from simple ASCII to the full UNICODE character set
(the same set of characters used in web browsers with HTML and in XML).  There is strong disagreement on COMCIFS as to whether
this would best be done by mandating just a single UNICODE encoding,
UTF-8, or whether is would be best to follow the practives of HTML
and XML in allowing alternate encodings.  The full thread of the
discussion thus far can be seen at:


Comments from interested members of the community would be


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


On Thu, 1 Jul 2010, SIMON WESTRIP wrote:

I agree this would probably be more productive.

Perhaps the IUCr could point its authors at such a survey - via its CIF
author services pages (printCIF, checkCIF...)?



From: James Hester <jamesrhester@gmail.com>
To: ddlm-group <ddlm-group@iucr.org>
Sent: Thursday, 1 July, 2010 6:51:47
Subject: [ddlm-group] Community consulation regarding CIF2 encoding

Dear DDLm-ers,

I think Herbert's suggestion of sending a version of my summary out is
unlikely to produce a great deal of enlightenment, because I expect the
range of responses to simply mirror that which we have already seen in this
group, with no ultimate resolution.  I would like to propose instead a
simple questionnaire that we can use to inform our decision.  The questions
I would like to see answered are:
 1. Do you regularly use non-ASCII characters when editing text?  Examples

   of such characters include accented ASCII characters, and the characters
   from Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Cyrillic etc.  (Yes/No/Don't know)
 2. What languages do you usually deal with when editing text?
 3. What text editing programs do you usually use?
 4. Can the text editors that you usually use read and write files in UTF-8

   format? (yes/no/don't know)
 5. Which non-ASCII encoding do you think would result in the least problems

   when transferring your text files across the internet?
 6. Would you object to a new CIF standard which allowed only UTF-8 encoded
   files? If so, why?
 7. Do you have any comments regarding suitable choice of encoding(s) for

   the new CIF standard?
Once we have fine-tuned the questions, I would suggest creating the survey
using www.surveymonkey.com, then posting requests for responses wherever
crystallographers are to be found, but especially in groups where non ASCII
scripts are likely to be found (European Crystallographic Society, Japanese
Crystallographic Society, Computing Commission etc.).

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F +61 (02) 9717 3145
M +61 (04) 0249 4148

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