Serializations and data structures (was Re: Topic MapsonSQL)

David Brownell db at Eng.Sun.COM
Wed Dec 9 16:59:40 GMT 1998

Lars Marius Garshol wrote:
> Well, you can't very well transmit the data model itself between computers
> or down through time. In other words: you must have the serialization
> syntax. The question is: is an explicit specification of the data model
> of any use?
> Tim seems to be saying no, claiming that it is 'ephemeral'.
> You + Len + Eliot seem to be claiming that without it the chance that we
> don't interpret the syntax the same way is simply too great.
> As the argument stands it looks like checkmate to me.

Because in fact the syntax and the data model are isomorphic
in any good design.

The disagreements come (IMHO) when the system isn't quite so neat
as we'd like to see, so that the data model or the syntax have
"extra" information.  Which is the truth?  This is a pragmatic
question in my book.  I tend to believe that specs get out of
sync with reality in any successful system, so I've got a bias
towards believing the actual data, rather than a version of its
spec which is probably out of date ... :-)

- Dave

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