Why self describing data formats:

James A. Donald jamesd at echeque.com
Fri Jun 1 06:59:55 EDT 2007

Many protocols use some form of self describing data format, for example 
ASN.1, XML, S expressions, and bencoding.


Presumably both ends of the conversation have negotiated what protocol 
version they are using (and if they have not, you have big problems) and 
when they receive data, they need to get the data they expect.  If they 
are looking for list of integer pairs, and they get a integer string 
pairs, then having them correctly identified as strings is not going to 
help much.

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