Serializations and data structures (was Re: Topic Maps onSQL)

Lars Marius Garshol larsga at
Wed Nov 25 18:17:40 GMT 1998

* Lars Marius Garshol
> 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?

* W. Eliot Kimber
> Do you mean the definition of the data model or instances of data that
> conform to it? 

Instances of the data model, hamlet.xml, for example. To be really precise 
(as I should have been all along): in-memory instances encoded as electrical
impulses in the memory chips of a particular computer (or a set of computers),
possibly swapped out to disk, but part of runtime memory of a specific 

> If you mean the latter, again, we have defined serialization mechanisms
> that allow the data instances to be reliably transmitted: [actual examples
> snipped]

Let me quote myself: "In other words: you must have [a] serialization
syntax." Whether it is XML or serialized CORBA objects is immaterial, but
you do need a syntax to ensure that the information persists and that you
can transmit it to another computer or program.

So the question remains: do you need an explicit specification of the data

--Lars M.

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