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Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
>At 9:00 AM -0400 4/16/04, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>>Binary doesn't imply there isn't any well-formedness
>> checking, obviously.
> For once I agree. Obviously, binary doesn't imply that.
> However, in practice, the binary formats I do see rarely
> do as much well-formedness checking as a parser does,
> either in the XML domain or elsewhere.
It sounds like you've had some bad experiences with poorly
written code that worked with binary data. All of us have. However,
that doesn't make it right to attack the whole class of binary formats
or programmers who use binary formats. It just means that when you're
working with binary stuff you *must* be more careful -- much more
careful. While folk are often "casual" about their handling of
text-based stuff, when you're working with binary, you really must pay
attention. For some applications, the "cost" of greater diligence is
justified. For others, it isn't.
Of course, the easiest way to avoid or reduce these problems
is to use code libraries that have long and proven histories. For
instance, when I use ASN.1 binary formats, I typically use the OSS
Nokalva stuff which is the result of well over 15 years of
development, testing, and proof in the field. Since I'm using a proven
library, I can be a great deal more relaxed about these issues then
someone using some random package that they discovered by doing a
We don't need to be lectured on the fact that working with
binary requires a higher standard of diligence and discipline than
working with text-based encodings. This is obvious. But, just because
it's a bit "harder" doesn't mean it is bad.