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Re: Date and Upsteam-URL fields



Chris Waters <xtifr@debian.org> writes:

> URL: this has been discussed before many times.  No reasonable argument
> for making it a special field, rather than part of the package
> description, has ever been put forth.  The homepage is a matter of
> interest to humans, not computers.

Except that packages.debian.org wants it.  As soon as any reasonably
common automated process wants that field, having it in the long
description is broken.  The horrible hack the Developer's Reference
recommends isn't a fix; it's a work-around that encourages code to parse
free-form text fields, which is inevitably going to bite you later.  Not
to mention that people don't follow the Developer's Reference consistently
and in practice there's all sorts of minor whitespace variation and
similar nonsense that would be entirely avoided by making it a real field.

I'm actually not a fan of having that text in the Developer's Reference
because then people point at it and say that the problem has been solved,
when the design is not at all what we want.  Either we shouldn't bother
providing the data in any computer-readable form and tell anyone who wants
to parse it automatically "sorry," or we should put it in a structured
field so that the parsing can be done properly.  The current half-hearted
stab is just annoying from every angle.

-- 
Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>



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