|Good if student knows||Tcl, C|
|Priority||Medium to Low|
|Difficulty||Medium to High|
|Benefits to the student||Learning about data serialization, the challenges therein.|
|Benefits to Tcl||Enhanced ability to exchange data with other languages|
|Related Projects & Ideas|| GSoC Idea: Tcl Binding to Protocol Buffers |
GSoC Idea: Tcl Binding to MessagePack
GSoC Idea: Updated Tcl bindings for ZeroMQ
We currently have three possibilities of handling the (de)serialization of Tcl data structures to other formats. The main constraint in the design is that most (all?) (de)serialization formats around are (strongly) typed, whereas Tcl's basic data structures are not.
The main ways of dealing with this impedance mismatch are:
Each of these methods has their own advantages and disadvantages.
Examples of both (1) and (2) can be found in Tcl YAML , with (1) using separate type description data structures.
Regarding approach (3) I am not aware of existing examples.
This is what I am interested in here, with this idea. If that is a feasible approach, and if yes, what are its (dis)advantages ?
SEH -- FWIW, I use Metakit when I need to serialize data from a Tcl program into a type-aware external format. I have written a JSON exporter that automatically converts the contents of a Metakit view to a JSON string. The view is initialized using Metakit's simple schema format for specifying types. The JSON exporter uses Metakit's introspection features to determine the type of each field and construct the corresponding JSON string appropriately. Metakit has the additional advantage of supporting sub-views, so a hierarchically-structured JSON string can be constructed from a view and its subviews.
If a pure-Tcl solution is a must-have, maybe a Metakit-type approach could be used as design inspiration.