David Brownell david-b at
Thu Apr 15 16:26:28 BST 1999

Julian Reschke wrote:
> > And fourth, DER and BER are examples of a philosophy of protocol
> > development that's been largely discredited for mainstream applications:
> > "bitstuffing". ...
> > Many folk think DER/BER should be the first to be
> > put against the wall when the revolution (XML?) comes; they're
> > that unpleasant to use.
> > ...
> I would be extremely careful with this. There will always be a reason to
> stick as much as data as possible into a your byte stream. Right now people
> pay a premium in both performance and price for IP over cell phones, 

That isn't "mainstream", either in quantity or bitrate (14.4Kb).

Consider, though:  the DER encoding of 32 bit numbers takes more than
32 bits.  One aspect of "bitstuffing" the DER/BER way is what one might
call "The Joy of BitFields" -- used all over the place to flag and tag
data.  In this case, bitstuffed != space-efficient.

Note that I wasn't advocating _wasting_ bandwidth.  There are systems
where bandwidth is a critical resource ... and it's never completely
free, so it shouldn't be wasted.  That's not the same as designing a
protocol down at the bit level.

- Dave

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