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Re: [ddlm-group] Treatment of CIF2 unicode characters withCIF1 equivalents

  • To: Group finalising DDLm and associated dictionaries <ddlm-group@iucr.org>
  • Subject: Re: [ddlm-group] Treatment of CIF2 unicode characters withCIF1 equivalents
  • From: "Bollinger, John C" <John.Bollinger@STJUDE.ORG>
  • Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2017 14:40:16 +0000
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Dear DDLm-group,


Although the kind of transformation described by the James’s proposed rule is appropriate under the conditions the rule describes, I am a bit apprehensive about adding the specific proposed text to Vol G.  In particular,


(1) I am inclined to think it inappropriate to assert rules for *applications* in a chapter presenting specifications for the CIF *format*, except to the extent that such rules can be construed as de facto specifications for details of the format or its intended interpretation.


(2) The proposed rule comes awfully close to comingling syntax with semantics, and I think the more separation we can maintain between those, the better.

(3) I’m not convinced that such a provision is needed at all, inasmuch as it seems to follow directly from the principle that CIF data values will be interpreted according to their items’ definitions.


Evidently we’re talking about the next edition of Vol G, and it is unclear to me exactly how that edition will need to be changed to cover CIF 2.0.  Inasmuch as I imagine it will incorporate at least some of the content of the CIF 2.0 specification paper, however, I observe that appendix A.2 of that paper addresses exactly this area already, in the context of a more complete discussion of format conversions such as the current proposal considers.  Since we already have applicable text, I suggest we use that as context and starting point, instead of drafting something new from scratch.  (Hyperlink for the paper: http://journals.iucr.org/j/issues/2016/01/00/aj5269/index.html)






From: ddlm-group [mailto:ddlm-group-bounces@iucr.org] On Behalf Of James Hester
Sent: Sunday, April 23, 2017 6:46 PM
To: ddlm-group <ddlm-group@iucr.org>
Subject: [ddlm-group] Treatment of CIF2 unicode characters with CIF1 equivalents


Dear DDLm-group (aka COMCIFS technical committee)

There has been some lively discussion on the cif-developers mailing list of late which you may review at http://www.iucr.org/__data/iucr/lists/cif-developers/ .

One issue raised was what to do about CIF2 datavalues that contained unicode characters that have equivalent ASCII sequences described by the CIF markup conventions (e.g. Greek characters).

According to section - 17 of International Tables Vol G, by default Greek and some other non-ASCII characters can be represented in text datavalues using a backslash notation <backslash><ascii character>, e.g. \a is alpha.   Different markup conventions are possible on a per-dictionary or per-definition basis. In CIF2, these characters can be represented natively, but legacy CIF applications presented with a datavalue containing non-ASCII values may not be prepared to typeset or present them appropriately.  On the other hand, it would seem inefficient to define separate Unicode-aware datanames for every text value simply to avoid legacy problems.


Proposal: add the following paragraph to Vol G section Note that "meets the requirements of paragraph" means that this paragraph only applies in those cases for which the CIF1 markup conventions would apply. 

( Whenever an application is required to convert a datavalue from a CIF2 datafile containing code points outside the ASCII range to a datavalue containing only ASCII codepoints, the appropriate markup as per paragraphs should be substituted, provided that the relevant definition meets the requirements of paragraph If no markup is defined for the Unicode code point, no CIF1 equivalent value exists and application behaviour is undefined.


Please comment.



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