[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: problems with zmacs

    Date: Wed 25 Feb 87 00:56:50-PST
    From: Bob Kanefsky <Kanef@SPAR-20.ARPA>
Thanks for your clear and accurate explanation.

    Symbolics documented character styles fairly well -- see, for starters,
    Using Character Styles In ZMACS, in Text Editing and Processing -- but
    I don't think they documented this external representation.  
Well, it's not really an "external" representation.  It's intended
as a representation internal to 1:element-type0 1'character0 files.
It's designed to be as closely as possible a superset of the
external readable-on-other-systems limited-to-simple-characters
files, but any file that contains out-of-the-ordinary stuff can't
really be fully understood by an ordinary system.
    that's because it's supposed to be "invisible to the user".  ...

Close, but a more accurate statement would be that we aren't prepared to
support the interpretation of it from other systems.  You're welcome to
try, of course; we're not trying to stop you, and it shouldn't be hard
at all for "ordinary" files that just use the standard character-set.
(After all, the rel-6-7 compatibility patches have just such a package).
But we're not ready to be pinned down on all the details, at least not
yet.  There are a number of areas where we have deliberately left it
open for extension, and a number of other areas where we already have
plans to extend it.  I don't believe it will ever be the case that
an ordinary system could read the entire range of Symbolics files.
(Hint:  you haven't seen the entire range yet!)

Also, documenting the format seems like an effort with a low rate of
return.  Other systems don't even have the concepts being represented.
I think our efforts are better spent making it easier for you to be sure
you're writing files that only contain the kind of characters those
ordinary systems expect when that's what you want.

But if there's a need you think we haven't met, please let us know.