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Re: changes file format

> I completely fail to understand why anyone is promoting this format.
> It is ugly, and my format is machine readable too.

But Ian, almost _any_ format can be made machine readable -- but
Bill's format is _easily_ machine readable -- you could slap together
a whole bunch of ways to read it.  I'm very much against going all out
for "beauty" when you can have a nice compromise between beauty and
easy functionality.  

I just had to deal with such a problem with our people who make up the
Faculty and Staff directory at my school.  They _insist_ on making it
in Word.  So I get very nice looking ascii text:

	Jim Robinson				Library			371
	 Network Administrator			Network, Room 6
	  The Cottage
	  Simon's Rock College
	  Great Barrington, MA 01230

That is an absolute nightmare to pull apart -- the second "column"
format is constantly changing, as is the little "extras" they add for
people with more then one phone: "334 Tue, 320 Mon-Fri" in the phone
section, and so on!

Compare to:

	Jim Robinson (jimr):  Network Administrator
	Networking Office.
	Phone: (413) 528-7371
	Fax: (413) 528-7380
	Internet mail: jimr@simons-rock.edu

Now, the information content is slightly different, but I find the
latter just as "readable" if not as pretty.  The latter format is also
much easier to pull apart with code.

> Are you saying it looks anywhere near as nice as mine ?  (Ra ra ra
> format wars.)  This sounds really childish, I suppose, but there is an
> important issue here: having our release announcements and changelog
> files look good and be easily readable is important.
> Given that both formats are machine-readable and that they have almost
> exactly the same content there seems little reason to choose the
> uglier of the two.

Hmm, in perl your format is easy to pull apart, in his, perl, awk, and
cut could do it with no problem.  I don't know -- I just squirm at
having to deal with database like information without keys.  I usually
want to do things with database like information, and if I have to
write a context-dependent parser, it gets irritating.
> > I also happen to like seeing the MD5SUM and file size information.
> In my format you can pass the md5sum information to `md5sum -c'.

To check it?  That is nice.  Perhaps you two can merge formats --
somehow get a "key" field in there?  Let's stop bickering, and start
trying to really help one another.  This is getting as tiresome to
watch as the Matt/Ian/Stephen/<me on occasion> wars.


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