Limited modified eclectism (was Re: Reads like ASCII)

On Mon, 16 Sep 1996, Gavin Nicol wrote:

> In addition, the PI is effectively a kind of header that the storage
> manager will be using. If that is the case, why not define a proper
> header syntax instead of a hack? 

Yes. Here is what it achieves (it = limited modified eclectisism):

1) File can be valid SGML (as external general entity) 

2) File can be a canonical storage form, does not require any external 

3) Encoding can be determined merely by looking at the header with any
standard tool that can do an ascii dump of a file (UNIX od, DOS Xtree,

4) Operates with ASCII, ISO 646, ISO 8859-n (+ Windows extended versions),
ISO10646 (Unicode UCS-2/UTF16, UCS4, UTF8, reuters method(?), variable and
fixed EUC for at least J & K & maybe C, shiftJIS (& maybe K version) (I
don't have Lunde with me to check up about Big5), + any state-driven 
encoding that has ISO646 in its inital state. 

5) File compatible with UNIX magic number system (not greatly important!)

>  I would prefer
>   Content-Type: text/xml; charset=shift-jis<CR><LF>
>   <CR><LF>
>   [data]

What if the PI was the storage form of it? There is no reason why the 
data stream form of it couldn't send down 

    Content-Type: text/xml; charset=shift-jis<CR><LF>
    <?XML 0.0 charset=shift-jis>

(or even strip out the PI and reinstert it when the data is stored).
Perhaps there are two different needs here that are reconcilable:
MIME systems need MIME headers, SGML systems accept dumb plain text
files. If the PI was transformable into the MIME header and back,
both needs are met.

Rick Jelliffe            http://www.allette.com.au/allette/ricko
                         email: ricko@allette.com.au
Allette Systems          http://www.allette.com.au
                         email: info@allette.com.au
10/91 York St, 2000,     phone: +61 2 9262 4777
Sydney, Australia        fax:   +61 2 9262 4774

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