Spaces as field separators in sorts ):

From: Alain LaBont/e'/ (
Date: Sat Feb 08 1997 - 16:53:53 EST

At 11:08 97-02-08 +0100, Michael Everson wrote:

>Spaces separate entities in plain text. Other field separators, in
>databases and the like, are commas, tabs, and semicolons.

It separates entities so well (: that yesterday night my wife asked me to
sort the list at (a list of top
classic music at a FM station in Britain, which we found by chance with
Altavista in searching for an audio clip of American composer Barber's great
adagio for strings) by composer... I found a way... I did transform every
occurence of 3 spaces by a ¦ under WinWord 7 then asked it to make me a
table with ¦ as a delimiter, the cut and pasted the third column and passed
it to Excel then asked for the sort... the first column of the field was a
space in many records... all was garbled... I had to go remove that space

You will tell me that I was wrong and am still wrong in what I think but
that is a practical application. With my sort program (or if Excel was
localized to support the Canadian standard CAN/CSA Z243.4.1) nothing would
have been garbled... I would not have had to arrange fields manually...

That said, we agree, we need a toggle since we can't agree on this. That is
the civilized solution indeed. Btw everything in the ISO/IEC 14651 is

[Michael] :
>In general a telephone directory tells you what to do in its front matter.
>In the Maldives, the houses are listed in the telephone directory by name,
>you look up the house and ring it and then ask for the person you want to
>speak to. I guess nobody is going to retrieve you in a Maldivian telephone
>book no matter what you do with SP and NBSP. (Don't these cultural tidbits
>make it all worthwhile?)

[Alain] :
My worst [or best! just toggle it! (: ] case in point is the 1993 Nairobi
phone book, which I paid around 50 CAD (as a specialist in sorts) for postal
costs (a Montréal consultant, very nice, whom I did not know, sent it to me
by mail and I reimbursed her mother here) but which every Nairobian is
pitching it into the waste bin and replacing it by the 1987 edition (:
The 1993 edition is a cultural curiosity... sorted at the fantasy of the
makers, sometimes by surname, sometimes by firts name, sometimes by title
(Miss, Mr, Dr, Professor!), sometimes by second initial, sometimes totally
random... The makers were an innovative Portuguese company who wanted to
make the directory a living one (:

Alain LaBonté

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