External data representation and Marshalling

What is External Data Representation and why we need it?

External Data Representation is representing data structures and primitive data types in an agreed standard.

  • Floats — Different representation in different architectures
  • Characters — ASCII and Unicode
  • The values are transmitted in the sender’s format, together with an indication of the format used, and the recipient converts the values if necessary.

Marshalling and Unmarshalling

Marshalling is the process of gathering data items and transforming them into an external data representation type suitable for transmission or storing.

Different External Data Representations.

  • CORBA’s Common Data Representation (CDR)
  • Java’s Object Serialization
  • XML (Extensible Markup Language)
  • Long (32-bit)
  • Unsigned short
  • Unsigned long
  • Float (32-bit)
  • Double (64-bit)
  • Char
  • Boolean (TRUE, FALSE)
  • Octet (8-bit)
  • String
  • Array
  • Struct
  • Enumerated
  • Union
CORBA CDR message



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