[erlang-questions] Question about Erlang's term serialization for message passing

Christoph Dornheim <>
Tue Mar 6 22:21:15 CET 2007


Hi,

when experimenting with distributed message passing and the external term format
transformation with term_to_binary, I wonder if the internal encoding used for
passing Erlang terms to local or remote processes is a representation of their
in-memory pointer structure (similar to Java's serialization of object graphs)
or if it is value-oriented like the external term format.

I guess the former is true since otherwise message passing would lead to
problems such that data possibly needs more memory space in the receiving
process than in the sending one (think of sending [L,L] for L=[1,2,3] from
process P1 to P2: if something like term_to_binary is used for encoding the
received term needs the same space as [L,[1,2,3]] would have been sent).

Is there any documentation about Erlang's data serialization method?
Any hints are welcome.

Best regards,

Christoph




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