Why self describing data formats:

Nicolas Williams Nicolas.Williams at sun.com
Thu Jun 21 13:10:33 EDT 2007

> >But the main motivation (imho) is that it's trendy. And once anyone
> >proposes a heavyweight "standard" encoding, anyone who opposes it is
> >labeled a Luddite.

Maybe.  But there's quite a lot to be said for standards which lead to
widespread availability of tools implementing them, both, open source
and otherwise.

One of the arguments we've heard for why ASN.1 sucks is the lack of
tools, particularly open source ones, for ASN.1 and its encodings.

Nowadays there is one GPL ASN.1 compiler and libraries: SNACC.  (I'm not
sure if it's output is unencumbered, like bison, or what, but that's
important to a large number of developers who don't want to be forced to
license under GPL, and there's not any full-featured ASN.1 compilers and
libraries licensed under the BSD or BSD-like licenses.)

The situation is markedly different with XML.  Even if you don't like
XML, or its redundancy (as an encoding, but then, see FastInfoSet, a
PER-based encoding of XML), it has that going for it: tool availability.


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