No, there are a lot of existing example PBN files. From these will be clear how a PBN file looks like. Only, when you want to do something special, then you must scan the PBN standard. You can also send a message to me, or to the PBN discussion group.
The easiest way of checking a PBN file is using the (Java) PBN Verifier. This tool judges if a PBN file is correct. Errors against the PBN standard are reported in a log file. These errors are indicated with caret characters ^^^ , or with "E: " followed by the error name.
No, the complete set of Mandatory Tags is only needed when you want to claim that your PBN file has Export format. Furthermore, it is not needed that a file has Export format. Most important is that it is a valid PBN file.
A PBN file in Import format has all kind of freedom. The Export format is a very strict format: All tags of the Mandatory Tag Set must be included (possibly with tag value "?"); the order of the tags is prescribed; tokens are separated by a single space; the end-of-line marker is a (MS-DOS) CRLF character. These restrictions guarantee that a PBN file in Export format is unique, and hence portable across all computer platforms.
The (Java) PBN Verifier has the possibility to create Export format from any Import format PBN file. When the PBN file has no errors, then a PBN file in Export format is created (if a filename is given). Note that indentations (tabs) are replaced by single spaces!
Parsing a PBN file is not specified in the PBN standard. It is a matter of implementation depending on the programming language, use of tools, programmer's skills, etc. I have described a PBN parser in pseudo code that relies on Finite State Machines.
A PBN file can be e-mailed, but beware! The
e-mail program might affect the end-of-line markers, converting
them from CRLF to LF or vice versa. The e-mail program might also
break lines in 2 parts, especially for the long Deal tag.
However, for PBN the tag value of the Deal tag must be on a
When a PBN file is included as text (not as attachment) in an e-mail, then one must cope with these problems. Whenever possible, it is recommended to zip a PBN file and atttach it to the e-mail; this also saves bytes.
PBN 1.0 and PBN 2.0 are backward and
forward compatible to eachother. This means that every PBN 1.0
file obeys the PBN 2.0 standard. Also, every PBN 2.0 file can be
parsed by a PBN 1.0 parser. All unknown tags and unknown (supplemental)
sections must be skipped by the PBN 1.0 parser.
Furthermore, the used PBN version in a PBN file can be indicated in an escape line.