Binary Data - possible topic for joint session

Brendan Eich brendan at
Fri Nov 6 10:21:07 PST 2009

On Nov 6, 2009, at 9:18 AM, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:

> On Nov 6, 2009, at 8:26 AM, Brendan Eich wrote:
> Indeed, I'd rather not propose APIs like that in the initial version  
> (though I think eventually we may want a way to copy sequences of  
> 16-, 32-bit or 64-bit values swapping from network byte order to  
> host byte order or vice versa to make it practical to interpret  
> popular binary formats.

Could be -- I agree we should defer.

> However, I think a common use case for binary data is to pass it  
> around for point A to point B, without unpacking the internals at  
> all, just as for strings. For example, you may read a file in binary  
> form, pass the binary data off to a Worker, and then have the Worker  
> upload it to a server. This is part of why I leaned towards a name  
> that does not overly emphasize the byte sequence nature.

Yet the minimal API will give byte-element access, not variable-length  
bit string or any other such access. Concrete beats abstract every  
time in this level of discourse, in my experience.

>> Therefore I think a concrete name such as ByteVector or ByteArray  
>> is better, all else equal.
>> Moreover a name such as ByteVector is much easier to inject as a  
>> global property. No hits for the obvious function and var forms of  
>> it, one hit for ByteArray:
> Some other possible names (based in part on some other binary data  
> proposals that I've seen):
> BinaryData
> BinData
> ByteString

These look free of conflicts from some quick codesearch'ing --  
ByteString is good, better than ByteVector if we do not allow bytes to  
be mutated.

> Binary

Existing uses:

If any of these involve detection, we probably can't use Binary. I did  
not look further, but suggest we eliminate candidate names that are  
already in use according to Google codesearch.

> Blob

A few hits:

> Good topic for in-person discussion maybe?
> Regards,
> Maciej

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