Felipe OƱoro fonoro at RUTELA.INBIO.AC.CR
Thu Mar 23 11:17:49 CST 1995

At  7:24 AM 3/23/95 +0100, Mr Fortuner connection modem wrote:

>In answer to the comments of Joseph H. Kirkbride, Jr.:
>Differences in coding.
>When I want to say "pink", I prefer to write "pink" than
>"6,1-3<pink>", but I suppose this is a question of personal taste...


>Renaud Fortuner
>fortuner at

I think it is _not_ a matter of personal taste. If DELTA is a "standarized"
format it is a matter of "collective taste", if you will. I think most of
the problems with DELTA's user rigidity have to do with the fact that
something like:

    6,1/3 (i.e. character 6, state 1 or state 3)
    6,1-3<depending on soil acidity>

is not a user interface. Or maybe a very poor one.

The Introduction of the WWW document "A Primer for the DELTA System on
MS-DOS and VMS" describes DELTA in this way:

" The DELTA system (DEscription Language for TAxonomy) is a standardized
format for coding taxonomic descriptions. Various computer programs use
this format to create printed keys and natural language descriptions and to
run interactive identifications. "

If DELTA _IS_ a coding format, it should be invisible. Imagine having to
know the details of RTF or some propietary file format in order to save a
file in a word processor !!. Only programmers should have to deal with
these details. Maybe what is needed is a program, like INTKEY or CONFOR,
that can read and write DELTA files but has a REAL user interface.

DELTA should join all those usefull file formats, TIFF, DXF, RTF, BMP, DOC,
or HTML (1), and become invisible.

1 : this format has a status similar to DELTA. You still have to know a
little about the format to be able to use it, mainly because there not much
good programs that read and write HTML files and you have to handle the raw
code in a text editor.

 Felipe Onoro
Curador de Datos  - INBio
Aptd. 22-3100. Sto. Domingo, Heredia, Costa Rica
E-mail:fonoro at / Voice:(506) 236-7690 / Fax:(506) 232-2816

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