Serialization and Version-Transparency

S. Manoharan (New Zealand)


Serialization, versioning, application states, backwardcompatibility, forward compatibility.


Serialization is the process of saving the contents of an ob ject to a storage medium from where the object can be later re-constructed. Typical applications that require serial ization include long-running scientific applications, word processors, and web applications. A versioning problem arises when an object serialized in an old version of an ap plication needs to re-constructed by a new version of the application (offering backward compatibility), or when an object serialized in a new version of an application needs to be re-constructed by an old version of the application (offering forward compatibility). This paper addresses the requirements of serializa tion in the light of versioning. It compares serialization mechanisms offered by some of the modern language en vironments. It then proposes a limited scheme for version transparent serialization.

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