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Invent a New Format for Date/Event Content

dataflow No Comments »

I saw a discussion involving showing what time various events occur, for planning purposes.

Pop quiz: how would you show when these events happened? An Excel? A text file? A GIF image showing start/stop in a calendar?

Why not look at what’s there to represent dates, events, and durations?

An Excel would hide away the content so that it needs to be re-parsed when needed, and chops out part of the audience (including when Microsoft makes itself incompatible again)

A text file needs to be re-parsed, introducing issues starting in CR-vs-CR/LF and ending in word-wrap and tap-not-space. Seriously, that stuff (plus the changes in an assumed format) consume over 50% of my time to parse random formats, including CSV (where differing interpretations exist)

A GIF image is only usable by meatware — all stop. No re-use.

Did you consider using calendar formats for date/time/duration information? The added (accidental) benefit is that there exists software to convert this to text files, GIFs, and perhaps XLSs, read, resend, and sync into mobile devices to merge with other calendar feeds Oops… I guess I wouldn’t want to accidentally gain re-use and compatibility?

What if you showed all the events, alerts, schedules, user actions as a calendar feed rendered all at once on a single big display? Would that help show what might have been happening when your date/event content occured?


dataflow No Comments »

I use XML for the obvious benefit to “I don’t have to work with ambiguous parsing” — the effect of a simple little typo down a chain of autonomous processes is rather smelly and break-y.

Because of the better parser accuracy, XML can be looser with whitespace; this confuses straight-text tools.

diffxml looks quite helpful.

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