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Serialization and XML. Pat Palmer 2.0. What is serialization?. “The process of converting an object (or a graph of objects) into a linear sequence of bytes for either storage or transmission to another location.” . What is deserialization?.

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what is serialization
What is serialization?

“The process of converting an object (or a graph of objects) into a linear sequence of bytes for either storage or transmission to another location.”

what is deserialization
What is deserialization?

“The process of taking in stored information and recreating objects from it.”

  • Wikipedia currently has a decent overview of serialization
how to deserialize badly
how to deserialize badly
  • If a program is both the serializer and deserializer, things are straightforward.
  • If a program receives a serialized file from another company:
    • What does the program need to know to rebuild an identical object in memory?
      • Text or binary format
        • If binary, need to know everything
      • If text, what byte encoding?
      • If valid XML, we can at least read in the data
        • But whether we know what to do with it is uncertain
some serialization formats
some serialization formats
  • Binary
  • .csv
  • XML
  • SOAP
  • JSON
  • Protocol Buffers
uses of xml serialization format
uses of XML serialization format
  • saving program state (“settings”) between executions
  • sharing data between companies
    • Purchase orders, course enrollments, catalogs, news feeds, etc.
  • platform-independent Remote Procedure Calls (RPC’s)
    • plain text passes through firewalls if attached to email
      • or sent as the payload of an HTTP request
    • human-readable and machine readable
    • both data and metadata (data about data), and thus self-describing
    • unrecognized elements can be ignored during deserialization
xml serialization the bad
XML serialization: the bad
  • some folks object to using XML as the RPC message format
    • efficiency concerns
      • XML typically creates larger files than a binary, proprietary format does
      • The larger the document, the longer it takes to transmit over a network
    • privacy and security
      • inherently insecure because human readable
      • goes through firewalls
representational state transfer rest
REpresentational State Transfer (REST)
  • HTTP GET requests (parameters in the URL) are RESTful
    • E.g., Google Charts API, HTML validator links, Amazon books
      • the URL’s get ugly, and are limited in length by browsers
  • Also, a philosophy promoted in blogs with the following claims:
    • every object that can be retrieved over a network should have a unique URL that can be used to bookmark it
    • XML is too bulky for shipping over the network, if more concise “platform independent” formats are available as alternatives
  • REST has been promoted by employees of Sun, Apple, and IBM, while Microsoft strongly supported the XML standard and adopted RPC using SOAP (a special version of XML)
  • Some REST drawbacks: no authentication scheme, no transactions, no standardized error reporting mechanism, no formal contract definitions
the end
The End

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