ASN.1 : Java Glossary


ASN.1 (Abstract Syntax Notation 1) is a standard for describing binary file layouts for interchange records. It has much the same function as XML (extensible Markup Language), except the records defined are in binary rather than text. There are tools for creating the descriptions and manipulating the files themselves. ASN.1 has been around since 1984. It is used to define all manner of thing from the format of digital certificates, credit card transactions, cellphone messages.

ASN.1, when written against the more strict XER (Xml Encoding Rules) coding rules, can be automatically converted to XML and vice versa. ASN.1 is much more compact than XML. Full ASN.1 can describe structures that have no equivalent in XML. The main disadvantage of ASN.1 over XML is that you can’t make much sense of the file without the schema. With XML, you can still make reasonable sense of the file just by eyeballing it.

You can visually edit ASN.1 files.

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