Re: Important: Should Circle switch to ASCII playerfiles?

From: DragonMUD [ 4000] [ 4000 (
Date: 04/23/95

I myself think that player files should be in text format. I like to edit 
my player files from the shell. It is easier cause then you don't have to 
erase your players files every time you add something else to save to it, 
just edit them and add the new variable.

		- David 'Dave' Berthiaume of DragonMUD [ 4000]
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On Mon, 24 Apr 1995, Jeremy Elson wrote:

> Before anyone gets too deeply into discussion of how to convert playerfiles,
> for use with other UNIX systems, I may as well bring up an idea I've been
> thinking seriously about for the past couple of weeks: switching Circle
> over to using ASCII-based playerfiles.
> Why?  Well, first, I'll tell you the reason I've wanted to stick with binary
> files in the past:
> -They take up less space (1K per player vs. 4K per player, or whatever the
> min blocksize of your filesystem is.)  I found that less than 25% of players
> have rentfiles in practice, so a binary file saved space.
> -They're faster.
> But, both of these are becoming moot points.  Computers are getting faster,
> bigger, and cheaper, and people are correctly valuing their *own* time,
> which is becoming rarer and more valuable, over the computer's time, which
> is getting more abundant and cheaper.
> The advantages of ASCII files should be obvious to anyone: they're easier
> to use.  They can be easily edited and viewed without special utilties.
> They are portable between systems and even between MUDs.  New features can
> be added without problems of corruption.  Etc.
> I was faced with this problem most recently when inventing the plrtext
> (Player Text) system for saving players' textual data: poofins, poofouts,
> saved aliases, etc.  This would increase the number of places where player
> data is stored to 3 (playerfile, rentfile, playertext file), most likely
> blowing away the space savings of the binary file paradigm, which as I
> mentioned before isn't even an important point anyway.
> I cannot in good conscience make such a dramatic increase in the complexity
> of the CircleMUD system when a much better solution is staring me in the
> face: switch over to a paradigm of ASCII playerfiles, and consolidate
> all data there.  On a similar, related note, the Mail and Board systems
> will probably also switch over to being ASCII-based -- simple text files
> always win over unreadable binary files.
> Comments are welcome.  I haven't come to a firm decision on this yet, and
> although I'm heavily inclined to make the switch, I'd be willing to stay
> with binary if there's serious opposition.
> Serious comments only please.  All flames will be happily ignored.
> --Jeremy Elson

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