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Subject: RE: DOCBOOK: Offtopic: EBNF equivelant for describing bitstreams

EBNF should suffice to what you describe here, but yes, there are other
relevant standards.

BTW, did you know there's an ISO standard for EBNF?


ASN.1, Abstract Syntax Notation number One, is a standard that defines a
formalism for the specification of abstract data types.

It is used e.g. for specification of telecom protocols (and you don't get
more bit-oriented than that). There's a lot of tools for editing ASN.1
specifications and compiling them to executable programs etc. 

Google for ASN.1 or start here:


The STEP standards (ISO 10303) specify a set of protocols to exchange
product model data for international trade and cooperation in major
industries including automotive, electronics, aerospace, plant engineering
and civil engineering. The STEP standards are defined using a modelling
language called EXPRESS (ISO 10303-11). 

EXPRESS is an extremely nice language for describing structures and
constraints in general. If you have money to spend, you can buy the standard
from ISO:


If you are just curious, working drafts are available here:


and there's a bit of overview of EXPRESS in relation to XML on this Cover


Kind regards
Peter Ring

-----Original Message-----
From: BigSmoke [mailto:bigsmoke@home.nl]
Sent: 12. december 2002 14:35
To: docbook@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: DOCBOOK: Offtopic: EBNF equivelant for describing bitstreams

Does anyone know of an EBNF equivelant for describing bitstreams.
I'm asking since I've recently switched to EBNF for describing my syntactic
blocks, I've saved lots of time, especially since I can now generate
railroad diagrams automatically from my EBNF (Before I read about EBNF,
I didn't even know of railroad diagrams).
  I love the use of EBNF in a refsynopsisdiv.

I'm asking this in this list because noone else, anwhere else seems to know,
and I thought: Heck, if someone knows it, it must be one of those fanatics
trying to write semantically correct mark-up.
  I've searched the web for hours and spend additional hours browsing
dir.google.com, which makes me just as happy with an answer which tells me
that there just isn't a standard method to do what I want to do.

If there's not some meta-language to describe bitstreams, I'd appreciate any
pointers on how to mark up this type of information in DocBook.

The smallest bitstream blocks which I need to describe are one bit in size;
think that rules out EBNF.

Thanks in advance for any sound advice and suggestions,

 - Rowan van der Molen

Humbly they tried
Their faces fried
Burned by sunshine
Doing just fine

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