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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary (also found in English - English (Wordnet), )
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programming To represent an arbitrarily complex datastructure in a location-independent way so that it can be
communicated or stored elsewhere.
For example, an object representing a time, with
attributes for year, month, timezone, etc., could be
serialised as the string "2002-02-24T14:33:52-0800", or an
XML element "dateobj year='2002' month='02' day='24'
hour='14' minute='33' second='52' timezone='-0800' /", or as
a binary string.
As well as providing an external data representation
(e.g. representing an integer as a string of ASCII
digits) and marshalling components into a single block of
data, a serialisation algorithm needs to follow pointers
to include objects referred to by the initial object. This is
further complicated by the possible presence of cycles in the
It should be possible to store the serialised representation
on disk, or transmit it across a network, and then restore it
as an object (graph) that is the same as the original.