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   Re: [xml-dev] ASN.1 is an XML Schema Language (Fix those lists!)and Bina

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On Mon, 3 Nov 2003 16:02:29 -0500
"Bob Wyman" <bob@wyman.us> wrote:
> this debate began and there is still no end in sight. But, the basic
> principles of good design haven't changed. It is *still* better to
> design using abstract concepts, not concrete and there is *still* a
> need for non-textual encodings...

"We reject kings, presidents, and voting.  We believe in rough consensus
and running code."
  -- Dave Clark, IETF, 1992

The lesson of OSI versus TCP/IP isn't that "clean abstract design" (if
such is possible, which I much doubt) beats running code.  It's that the
only way to get an acceptable design that runs in the real world is to
take it back to committee after the implementers have had a chance at

My bias: I've had to implement this stuff (because no one I ever worked
for was willing to pay for tool kits, which were always either
gloriously expensive or not available for the target platforms).  From
that standpoint (this was at a time when BER was what there was; DER was
known but not used in the protocols of interest) it's horrible stuff,
nearly impossible to eyeball except via hex dump and byte-by-byte
tracking.  TCP/IP protocols that used NVT were always easy to code for,
easy to debug.  SNMP and LDAP encoders/decoders were nearly as much of a
pain as the Sun RPC stuff (which also used an abstract notation, XDR in
that case).

We believe in unicode and concrete syntax.

Well, some of us do, at any rate.

Amelia A. Lewis                    amyzing {at} talsever.com
I have spent nights with matches and knives, leaning over ledges, only 
two flights up.  Cutting my heart, burning my soul.  Nothing left to
hold.  Nothing left, but blood and fire.
                -- Indigo Girls


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