String encoding/decoding

Rudolph van Graan rvg@REDACTED
Wed Apr 16 15:57:48 CEST 2003

Hi all,

A couple of newbie questions here... Hope you can help

Suppose you have a string, for which the Hex representation looks
something like this:


In reality the string is coded as this:

Byte  1:	Length of Word [2 byte unsigned]
Bytes 2,3:	High Byte, Low Byte of unsigned work
Byte  4: 	Length of string to following
Bytes 5-9:	A 5 character string

So if I want to decode it, I would usually write some code that looks
like this [in pseudocode, doesn't imply any language]

Len1    = String.GetByte(1)		//Returns a single byte
Word1   = String.GetWord(Len1)	//Returns a word of len vLen1
Len2    = String.GetByte(1)		//Returns a single byte
String1 = String.GetString(vLen2)	//Returns the string "12345"

Now, my question is this. If I want to write an elegant module in
erlang, that decodes a complex string into its members [members can be
any type, being byte, word, string, etc etc] into an erlang structure,
how would I do that? We don't use ASN.1, so my question deals
specifically with raw strings. You can assume that the string is an
erlang list and that the output must be an erlang tuple. Also, I would
like to do exactly the reverse as well - generate these strings from

I can imagine needing a function that takes 1/2/4 integers [byte values]
from the list and that builds a single 32bit signed/unsigned int and
also the reverse. The above example is quite simplistic, my typical
strings would contain a number of encoded elements, the structure of
which is known. 

Any ideas or help would be really appreciated!


Rudolph van Graan

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