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Re: FileSpec enhancement PROPOSAL -HTML oops

Posted By: Walter Rassbach <>
Date: Saturday, 19 September 1998, at 8:46 a.m.

In Response To: FileSpec enhancement PROPOSAL (Walter Rassbach)

In re-reading the parent posting, I noticed that a couple of the special character things got eaten as HTML tokens and do not appear correctly when one reads the posting. Some of this re-posting may also get "eaten" but I have spelled out the character sequences in plain english as well AND replaced all less-than's with '{' and greater-than's with '}'. In addition, I realize I had used equals in a couple of places where it would not be a good idea and have suggested corrections as appropriate...

Item 2) The prefixes I suggested for SizeSpecs are a double-greater-than ("}}"), a double-less-than ("{{"), and a double-equal ("=="). However, the double equal does not work (equal is a filename character), so I would like to suggest either greater-than followed by less-than ("}{") and/or the reverse order ("{}").

The prefixes for Compression ratio were greater-than followed by slash ("}/"), less-than followed by slash ("{/"), and equal followed by slash -- However, I now realize that the last one leads to some ambiguities, for essentially the same reasons that an equal for a DateSpec does, and I would like to change it to colon followed by slash (":/") which does not.

The prefixes for compressed size were greater-than followed by vertical-bar ("}|"), less-than followed by vertical-bar ("{|") and equal followed by a vertical-bar -- again inappropriate, so change it to colon followed by a vertical-bar (":|").

Item 3) Again, greater-than and less-than signs got eaten, and the choice of a '?' for last-accessed was not good since it should be reserved for use as a DateSpec wildcard...

In both cases the prefix should be a standard DateSpec prefix, e.g., a less-than, a colon, a greater-than, etc. following immediately by some special character which is NOT allowed as part of a "label" or as the first character of a date... Backslash can be used for one, but the other requires some thought. One possible alternative might be a colon or backslash followed by a date prefix, e.g., colon-less-than, colon-equal (not double-colon), etc.

Another approach for dates might be the use of a suffix character, similar to the common usage of K, M, AM or A, and PM or P, although we may need to consider cases involving "dates" like TODAY, .-2M, etc.

In fact, the issue is not really which character sequences are used for any of the forms in items (2) or (3) but merely the idea for the form. An appropriate, unambiguous, reasonably mnumonic set of prefixes can be found if a decision is made to implement the various particular items.

Item (9) contained a critical example which was trashed: The example in the description of the second level "grouped"-AND which was intended to show a pair of disjoint DateSpecs was (using '{' for less-than and '}' for greater-than): "{1/1/98, }3/1/98", i.e., before 1/1/98 or after 3/1/98.

Item (8) was mangled horribly by HTML's handling of less-than and greater-than, and is missing large parts of the text. I have captured it and copied it in here and REPLACED all less-thans by { and greater-thans by }

8) The DateSpec TODAY feature that was recently put into ZTree is very nice because it lets one specify an adaptible DateSpec. I would propose that the following kinds of things be added (all w/o the ""s):

. .Relative date forms:
. . . ":." or "{." As brief alternatives to :TODAY and {TODAY
. . . "{.-1" or "{-1" or even "{.." Before yesterday (with obvious extensions)
. . . "}..." or "}-2" Later than 2 days ago (i.e., yesterday or today)
. . . "}.-2M" or "}-2M" In the last two months (Month, Week, Year, others?)
. . . ":*" A possible, more "visible" alternative to ":." for :TODAY, but using * might lead to problems/ambiguities with other (e.g., wildcard) uses of * (e.g., what is ":*-98" -- Is it "98 days ago" or is it [see below] "any month in 1998"??).

. .Period forms (NOTE: The "FileSpec '{'&'}' includes..." configuration option should NOT affect/change the meaning of any "period" form, e.g., '{' ALWAYS excludes files with dates falling in the period...):
. . . "{MONTH" Before this month
. . . ":YEAR" This year
. . . ":WEEK" This week (nominally Sunday thru Saturday -- Do we need a configuration option?)
. . . ":1/?/98" or ":1/*/98" In January, 1998
. . . ":1/98" Alternative form
. . . "{97" Before 1997
. . . ":2?4/98" This one is CUTE but very useful, using a '?' to indicate RANGE, and thus "in February, March, or April 1998" (?3 is like 1?3 and 4? like 4?12).

. .TimeSpec forms (NOTE: Any potential ambiguities arising from the use of colons in a "TimeSpec" can be resolved in the same way that ambiguities with '/' are resolved [and in the same way that they are already resolved in item (7.d)] -- However, spaces CANNOT be used between the date and time, thus the '@' must always appear):
. . . "}*-1@12-00" Since noon yesterday
. . . ":3/3/98@3:*AM" Between 3:00 and 3:59:59 on 3/1/98
. . . "}@15" or "}@3P" Since 3:00PM (today) -- 24-hour clock unless A, AM, P, or PM specified.
. . . "}@-48:30" In the last 4.5 hours

. .Julian Dates (ASIDE: I would like to see Julian dates added as one of the date format configuration options, and would also like to see it accepted anywhere dates are entered, indicated by separation of the day-number from the year by a semi-colon...):
. . . "}52;98" Julian date (same as 2/21/98)

. .These are merely examples, and we can probably add these or any of a large number of other formats when or as needed. I particularly would like to see the "wildcard"/period forms and the "relative" forms, and being able to refine a DateSpec down to a specific time would be nice.

. .As one further extension for DateSpecs, I would like to propose that '}=' and '{=' (and maybe '{:' and '}:') be implemented/provided as prefixes with the obvious interpretations. This would eliminate the need for the "FileSpec '{'&'}' include..." configuration option although it probably must be kept for upward compatibility.

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