Tentative agenda for COMCIFS closed meetings Aug 28th and Aug 29th

James Hester jamesrhester at gmail.com
Tue Aug 16 03:45:30 BST 2011

Dear COMCIFS members:

Below is a tentative agenda for the two COMCIFS closed meetings.  Note that
the Aug 29th meeting will occur directly after MS89, at which Nick
Spadaccini and Syd Hall will be presenting a revised version of DDLm.  I
expect that presentation to provoke considerable discussion, which is why
the Aug 29th meeting will be entirely devoted to CIF2 and DDLm discussion.
Please advise if you would like anything added to the agenda on Aug 28th.

COMCIFS meeting agenda: Aug 28th

1. Brief report from chair on developments in previous triennium
2. COMCIFS directions over next triennium:
 (i) reforming dictionary management (see also Brian MacMahon's email of
July 6th)
 (ii) developing a solid software base (APIs, canonical parser libraries in
 (iii) other concerns to be raised by members

COMCIFS meeting agenda: Aug 29th

3. Discussion of DDLm as presented in MS89
4. Subject to outcome, if any, of (3), *final* vote on CIF2 syntax draft as
distributed by email last week
5. Any other business

Explanation of item 2(i):

I propose partitioning dictionaries that are managed by COMCIFS into three
(i) the 'core' group which are small enough and/or general enough for
COMCIFS members to be able to approve both content and technical
(ii) a 'delegated' group where COMCIFS delegates management of dictionary
content to an outside body or dictionary management group; once COMCIFS has
voted to delegate this management, no further votes would be required to
approve dictionary content or updates, but technical correctness would be
(iii) a 'contributed' group where COMCIFS makes no statement as to
scientific content and simply checks technical conformance.  This group
would correspond to those dictionaries that Brian was discussing in his
email, and technical conformance would mean a simple syntax and DDL
conformance check, not requiring a vote at COMCIFS level.

Explanation of item 2(ii):

Over the years COMCIFS has had various initiatives to produce and promote
CIF software, but we are still at the stage where it is difficult to find a
standalone CIF parser written in C that could serve as a starting point for
integration into other languages, scripting or compiled, or could be dropped
into a larger software project.  Part of such an effort would be development
of an API.  I propose that COMCIFS set itself the entirely modest goal of
developing and approving an API and a modular C parser before the next
meeting.  We will discuss the best way forward.

T +61 (02) 9717 9907
F +61 (02) 9717 3145
M +61 (04) 0249 4148
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