5. Textuality: Good Protocols Make Good Practice

It’s a well-known fact that computing devices such as the abacus were invented thousands of years ago. But it’s not well known that the first use of a common computer protocol occurred in the Old Testament. This, of course, was when Moses aborted the Egyptians’ process with a control-sea.

rec.arts.comics, February 1992 —Tom Galloway

In this chapter, we’ll look at what the Unix tradition has to tell us about two different kinds of design that are closely related: the design of file formats for retaining application data in permanent storage, and the design of application protocols for passing data and commands between cooperating programs, possibly over a network.

What unifies these two kinds ...

Get The Art of UNIX Programming now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.