Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Text is not universal. Instead, there is a nearly infinite variety of output formats which consists of 96 printable ASCII characters (or perhaps a superset of those characters), that may be unstructured, structured, or semi-structured, using a variety of often ad-hoc and poorly documented formatting for values, and a (sometimes surprisingly small) subset of the outputs can even be read in again as inputs.

A great example of this is CSV. It's a wonderfully simple format... so simple that there is considerable variety in things such as "how do you quote a field," "how do you delimit fields" (considering its name is Comma-Separated Values, you'd think everyone would agree it's a comma), and "what characters are legal within fields," let alone the semantic interpretation questions of "is there a header row", "is this column numeric or textual or something else," etc.




Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: