[r-t] Central Council Methods Library

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Tue May 29 11:29:16 UTC 2018

On Tue, May 29, 2018 at 4:21 AM, Graham John <graham at changeringing.co.uk>
> The Central Council Methods Library is now available at
> http://methods.cccbr.org.uk. Files can now be viewed or downloaded
> in three formats: Text, Microsiril (new), and XML. If you are
> importing data into other applications, the file formats have been
> rationalised, so please check that the new data format is compatible
> before use. The files will be updated with the newest methods later
> this week.

Many thanks. It is very good to have this in what one presumes will be a
more stable home. And I appreciate all the hard work that must have gone
into it.

However, I would like to suggest for the future a bit more warning to us,
its consumers, of what is coming and when, whenever you do make significant
changes. These changes have been dumped on us with one day’s warning, and
that warning not even giving us any hint of what the changes would be.
Sadly I will not be able to modify my software for at least several weeks,
where with an early heads up I might have been able to be a bit more
prepared. Similarly, giving us a chance to ask questions before hand might
well have lead to a result that better meets your customers’ needs (or
maybe not, as we’re only just learning about it now, so have no idea what
the issues may or may not be, yet).

Though perhaps you, in going live with this now, were caught just as
flat-footed as we, its consumers, and you had planned to give us warning,
but were unable to do so. If that’s the case, my apologies for the
ill-timed complaint, above, and double thanks for taking steps to rectify
the sudden problem. If that is the case, you have certainly done a
wonderful job of minimizing the unanticipated pain.

So, a few questions that pop up before even digging into the changes:

- Tony’s old versions were typically updated at the end of each week. Do
you anticipate holding to a similar update schedule, or will it be
something different, in regularity, granularity, and/or absolute location
in time?

- When deciding whether or not to download the latest XML from Tony’s old
version I would use the HTTP ETag. That is, I’d send an HTTP HEAD request
for the file, and compare the resulting ETag with that I had received from
the last version I’d downloaded, and only proceed to actually download and
install the new file if they differed. Will such a scheme continue to work
correctly in the new regime?

- When unzipping CCCBR_methods.xml.zip it comes out with no permissions at
all, not even readable by owner. Is there a reason for this, or is it some
odd artifact of how you’re zipping it, and perhaps a minor bug?

- From the year in the URL, and the “Version 1.0” in the <documentation>,
it appears the XML schema is unchanged from that used in Tony’s old
version. Is this correct? And, thus, am I correct in believing that for the
XML stuff there are no changes in the format?

- Are there any further changes, other than added or updated content,

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
“[Do not] forget that the plural of anecdote is not data.”
        – Daniel J Levitin, /A Field Guide to Lies/
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