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ASN.1 Complete 1st Edition

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 060-8628343532
ISBN-10: 0122334353
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

ASN.1 Complete teaches you everything you need to know about ASN.1-whether you're specifying a new protocol or implementing an existing one in a software or hardware development project. Inside, the author begins with an overview of ASN.1's most commonly encountered features, detailing and illustrating standard techniques for using them. He then goes on to apply the same practice-oriented approach to all of the notation's other features, providing you with an easy-to-navigate, truly comprehensive tutorial.
The book also includes thorough documentation of both the Basic and the Packed Encoding Rules-indispensable coverage for anyone doing hand-encoding, and a valuable resource for anyone wanting a deeper understanding of how ASN.1 and ASN.1 tools work. The concluding section takes up the history of ASN.1, in terms of both the evolution of the notation itself and the role it has played in hundreds of protocols and thousands of applications developed since its inception.


  • Covers all the features-common and not so common-available to you when writing a protocol specification using ASN.1.
  • Teaches you to read, understand, and implement a specification written using ASN.1.
  • Explains how ASN.1 tools work and how to use them.
  • Contains hundreds of detailed examples, all verified using OSS's ASN.1 Tools package.
  • Considers ASN.1 in relation to other protocol specification standards.

About the Author

John Larmouth was the Founding Director of the Information Technology Institute at the University of Salford, where he has worked for over twenty years. A graduate of Cambridge University, he has been involved with ASN.1 since its introduction as an ISO standard in the early 1980s. He served as Editor of the Standard for the first ten years of ASN.1's existence and has been ISO Rapporteur for ASN.1 for the past decade.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (November 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0122334353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0122334351
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,280,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Keith Burdis on December 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book does an excellent job of not only explaining how ASN.1 works but why it works that way. It is obvious that the author is an expert in this field. His explanations are clear and he makes good use of diagrams. He also draws on historical evidence and his own experiences.
The author has a literary style that makes what could be a dry and boring subject easy to read, and in some places quite entertaining.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Clower on April 10, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is excellent ASN.1 reference material as well as a strong instructional work dealing with ASN.1. 'ASN.1 Complete' was apparently aimed for a multilevel audience: People who have no prior experience with ASN.1, those who are learning ASN.1, and those who merely require satisfactory reference material on ASN.1. For all intents and purposes the author successfully geared the discussions toward any person who deals with ASN.1 on any basis, as they would evolve in their usage of ASN.1. Larmouth does not discuss the material in a monotonous manner as do so many other authors, however he is able to teach with 'programmer's sarcasm and humor', without deviating from the purpose he is teaching. A rather difficult task at times. The only major weakness of 'ASN.1 Complete' is, inevitably, the inability to provide the 'absolute beginner' with the information required to apprehend the information upon it's introduction. The non-familiar reader would be best off reading Section 1 straight through and then going back to re-read all of the sections from the beginning.

Section 1: Section 1 introduces ASN.1, describes it's intents and history. Larmouth gives the reader an overview of the ways ASN.1 can be used and how it is implemented (the theory behind implementation). Most of the basic features are introduced, not discussed in great detail.

Section 2: The basic areas of ASN.1 are discussed thoroughly, and many intermediate topics are introduced and explained. Larmouth usually gives examples supporting the current discussion. Toward the end of the section Larmouth dedicates chapters to the more advanced areas, giving a better understanding to the reader.

Section 3: Mostly for implementors and programmers, Section 3 ventures deep into the sets of encoding rules.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Pratte on November 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this book cover to cover back when I had to deal directly with parsing ASN.1. The book is an interesting read, excellently and expertly written. Moreover, I felt like an expert when I finished reading it; I took my new-found knowledge and applied it to my work at hand. Of course, there are portions of the book that are more theoretical than practical, and I didn't have the tools available to build ASN.1 parsers from rules. However, ASN.1 is important despite the dearth of information on it. This book doesn't merely fill the void - it makes a dry topic interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a difficult book. Difficult to read and difficult to review. But I can't say it's a bad one.
After reading the first chapter I thought: "one of the best 7-layer OSI model explanation I've ever read"; then I read the rest of the book and I thought: "ehm... what?..."
I had to re-read it completely another time, going foreward and backward to follow the concepts, and integrating it with documents found here and there on the web, in order to have a good idea on the arguments.
After the first time reading, I did not even understand that "information object classes" have nothing to do with "object identifiers" (because they have nothing to do each other, isn't it?...)
Maybe this is the result of the fact that the author is an international standard writer!... ;-)
If you ever had the chance to read an ISO/OSI/UNI/EN/etc. standard specification, you understand what I mean: international standards are always a big mess.
Could be this the reason because ASN.1 is so little diffused: although it was born long time ago, ASN.1 power seems far bigger than its diffusion.
I am an embedded engineer developer, and I always have to deal with the problem of exchanging data and commands between (usually many) microcontrollers in the system: in other words, to specify and implement custom protocols.
ASN.1 could be a big help when specifying protocols, also for small 8bit microcontrollers (I think that in this case the protocol encoder/decoder implementation should be hand-written); when using high-end microcontrollers (ARM7 or higher, for example) ASN.1 tools (compilers) like the open-source asn1c could be used (maybe with some customized optimization wrappers, in my opinion).
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Of the 4 other reviews here, they are from 1999, 2001, 2004, and 2010. This is an old book. It is as boring to read as an RFC but it tries to be less dry by inserting a lot of exclamation points and referencing "the alert reader". It also has it's own little quirks such as referencing "Figure 999" which it states as meaning "I will refer to Figure 999 whenever a remark appears in this book that may be somewhat contentious."

ASN.1 is not an interesting subject so I shouldn't be too harsh, and the author does add some relevant discussion of "why" for things which you won't find in a spec. The author has since passed away. He was involved in the standardization community for 30 years, focused specifically on ASN.1, so this written by an expert.

This book and the other ASN.1 books appear to be public domain now if you look around.
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