Decode Encode Language (DEL)
RFC - Unknown
(June 1969; Errata)
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RFC 5 (Unknown)
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Network Working Group 4691
RFC-5 Jeff Rulifson
June 2, l969
:DEL, 02/06/69 1010:58 JFR ; .DSN=1; .LSP=0; ['=] AND NOT SP ; ['?];
The Decode-Encode Language (DEL) is a machine independent language
tailored to two specific computer network tasks:
accepting input codes from interactive consoles, giving immediate
feedback, and packing the resulting information into message
packets for network transmissin.
and accepting message packets from another computer, unpacking
them, building trees of display information, and sending other
information to the user at his interactive station.
This is a working document for the evolution of the DEL language.
Comments should be made through Jeff Rulifson at SRI.
The initial ARPA network working group met at SRI on October 25-26,
It was generally agreed beforehand that the runmning of interactive
programs across the network was the first problem that would be
This group, already in agreement about the underlaying notions of
a DEL-like approach, set down some terminology, expectations for
DEL programs, and lists of proposed semantic capability.
At the meeting were Andrews, Baray, Carr, Crocker, Rulifson, and
A second round of meetings was then held in a piecemeal way.
Crocker meet with Rulifson at SRI on November 18, 1968. This
resulted in the incorporation of formal co-routines.
and Stoughton meet with Rulifson at SRI on Decembeer 12, 1968. It
was decided to meet again, as a group, probably at UTAH, in late
The first public release of this paper was at the BBN NET meeting in
Cambridge on February 13, 1969.
NET STANDARD TRANSLATORS
NST The NST library is the set of programs necessary to mesh
efficiently with the code compiled at the user sites from the DEL
programs it receives. The NST-DEL approach to NET interactive system
communication is intended to operate over a broad spectrum.
The lowest level of NST-DEL usage is direct transmission to the
server-host, information in the same format that user programs
would receive at the user-host.
In this mode, the NST defaults to inaction. The DEL program
does not receive universal hardware representation input but
input in the normal fashion for the user-host.
And the DEL 1 program becomes merely a message builder and
A more intermediate use of NST-DEL is to have echo tables for a
TTY at the user-host.
In this mode, the DEL program would run a full duplex TTY for
It would echo characters, translate them to the character set
of the server-host, pack the translated characters in messages,
and on appropriate break characters send the messages.
When messages come from the server-host, the DEL program would
translate them to the user-host character set and print them on
A more ambitious task for DEL is the operation of large,
display-oriented systems from remote consoles over the NET.
Large interactive systems usually offer a lot of feedback to
the user. The unusual nature of the feedback make it
impossible to model with echo table, and thus a user program
must be activated in a TSS each time a button state is changed.
This puts an unnecessarily large load on a TSS, and if the
system is being run through the NET it could easily load two
To avoid this double overloading of TSS, a DEL program will
run on the user-host. It will handle all the immediate
feedback, much like a complicated echo table. At appropriate
button pushes, message will be sent to the server-host and
display updates received in return.
One of the more difficult, and often neglected, problems is the
effective simulation of one nonstandard console on another non-
We attempt to offer a means of solving this problem through
the co-routine structure of DEL programs. For the
complicated interactive systems, part of the DEL programs
will be constructed by the server-host programmers.
Interfaces between this program and the input stream may
easily be inserted by programmers at the user-host site.
UNIVERSAL HARDWARE REPRESENTATION
To minimize the number of translators needed to map any facility's
user codes to any other facility, there is a universal hardware
This is simply a way of talking, in general terms, about all the
hardware devices at all the interactive display stations in the initial
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