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Re: going back to stone axes

At 19:01 2/26/96, PALAMBER.US.ORACLE.COM wrote:
>Data definition languages are good for you... it seems that seat-of-the-pants
>programmers that have never worked on large developments have no concept of
>design documents and the need for clear design specifications.  Just defining
>the "bits" does not provide clear and concise design specifications.

Data definition languages *can be* good for you, if they allow you to define
data in the proper way.  ASN.1 fails in that regard.  For more on this,
see my http://www.clark.net/pub/cme/P1363/asn1.html

To summarize here:  in my past life as a performance engineer and consultant,
the worst problem I found was that a designer [or worse, a design committee]
would wax poetic during the formal specification phase for a large project
and ignore implementation issues.  ["a mere matter of programming"]

In this process, a vital design step was omitted -- that step during which
an experienced implementor chooses data structures in such a way as to
make the resulting implementation efficient.

ASN.1 exacerbates this problem in two ways:

1.      by being even more abstract -- so abstract that the user is
        positively encouraged to make ASN.1 definitions which compile to
        inefficient structures, parsing code and utilization code;

2.      by being easy enough that non-implementors can dabble in
        structure design.


Much though I enjoy discussions of the use and misuse of ASN.1, I do think
we should create a separate mailing list for this topic.  ...unless, of course,
there is nothing more substantive to discuss about certificates than the
religious ASN.1/X.509 issues.

 - Carl

|Carl M. Ellison          cme@cybercash.com   http://www.clark.net/pub/cme |
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