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The Art of Unix Programming
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Unix Programming - Application Protocol Metaformats

Just as data file metaformats have evolved to simplify serialization for storage, application protocol metaformats have evolved to simplify serialization for transactions across networks. The tradeoffs are a little different in this case; because network bandwidth is more expensive than storage, there is more of a premium on transaction economy. Still, the transparency and interoperability benefits of textual formats are sufficiently strong that most designers have resisted the temptation to optimize for performance at the cost of readability.


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The Art of Unix Programming
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