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In order to convert e.g. a python object to json you would use a serializer. As far as I understand it, serialization leaves the possibility to change the converted object back to the original.

Where does the term serialization come from/why is the process called serialization?

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From the fact that in order to transmit any information you need to put all parts of that information into a series of bytes.

In order to transmit a record full of information you would have to "serialize" all the bytes that comprise the record, send them over the wire and at the other end would have to deserialize them back into a record.

With the advent of client / server applications, the concept was generalized to serializing objects into some kind of (textual) form that could be transmitted across a network and deserialized back into objects at the other end.

Client / server communication started with several proprietary protocols that handled the deconstruction and reconstruction of object before and after transmission between client and server. With SOAP for client server communication xml became a defacto protocol standard for the textual representation of objects. Javascript and the abundance of web clients using it brought the need for a more concise representation and led to Json.

  • As far as hardware guys are concerned, transmitting a byte at a time is parallel: It's 8 bits in parallel. In that context, everything is measured in bits. – user7043 Jan 26 '14 at 15:00
  • @delnan: yeah, I know, just didn't want to muddy the waters even further. – Marjan Venema Jan 26 '14 at 15:01
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    I don't think mentioning serial/parallel transmission at hardware level is useful at all. The important part is that there is a conceptual order at any level: Record after record, inside a record value after value, inside a value octet after octet, inside an octet bit after bit. – user7043 Jan 26 '14 at 15:02
  • @delnan: you are right. edited. – Marjan Venema Jan 26 '14 at 15:04

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