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Although several applications need to know the format of network packets to perform their tasks, till now, each application uses its own packet description database. This paper addresses this problem by proposing the NetPDL, an XML-based language for describing packet headers, which has the potential of enabling the realization of a common, application-independent protocol description database that can be shared among several applications. Further, common functionalities related to the protocol database can be implemented in a library, which can be a basic building block for implementing networking applications.
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