Re: Serialisation formats

Tom Anderson <>
Mon, 4 Aug 2008 01:52:16 +0100
On Sun, 3 Aug 2008, Stefan Ram wrote:

Tom Anderson <> writes:

Any other significant ones?

 It is remarkable how fast YAML is being forgotten,
 it has been replaced by JSON in the public mind.

Partly because YAML was invented by semi-insane perl guys, and betrays its

 Well-known formats you have not mentioned are the
 two classic ones: S expressions and SGML.

I love S-expressions, but they're not exactly a standard format. I guess i
could do Scheme sexps or something. But how do you express DAGs? Can't
they only do trees?

Actually, i think JSON has that problem too. I came up with an extended
form of JSON that gets around it, where you have a sequence of statements,
not a single expression; it's not compatible with existing JSON
implementations, though.

That reminds me, there's bencoding:

 A variant of S expressions augmented with attributes
 is called Unotal, and was implemented for Java as Junotal:

Interesting. For me, one of the beautiful things about S-expressions is
their simplicity - they don't have this duality of attributes and
subelements that XML has. Unotal seems to discard that, and indeed to be
more complicated (although in some way more uniform) than XML.

 Searching for languages that directly implement cyclic
 graphs, one also might find RDF and its variants.
 Knowledge-Languages, such as CycL or Prolog, also can
 be used to store graphs.

True, i hadn't thought of that! But at this point, i think we're beyond
practical territory and into the realm of interesting ideas.

 Even Java could be used. The graph A<--B-->C--. might be
 rendered in Java as: ^ |
class A {}
class B { static A $0; static C $1; }
class C { static A $0; }

I would certainly agree that java objects are capable of representing the
java objects i am working with.


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