Configuration files or some sort of data description language are often used in order to make a system independent of the format of its input data. Our work on TDL was inspired by the ISO standard ASN.1 (Abstract Syntax Notation One) , which is used in some protocol analyzers to describe the format of the data packets. A similar approach to describe and filter monitoring data was used by Miller et al. in the DPM project (Distributed Program Monitor) . Their language allows the description of name, number and size of the components in an event record. The description of trace structures such as segments and of the physical representation of data values is not supported. Its main targets are distributed systems with Send/Receive communication.
In our opinion, the most important work on describing events was the definition of the event trace description language EDL by Bates and Wileden . Their work inspired many others, among them our group. The main purpose of EDL is the definition of complex events out of primitive events. In EDL, attributes of the primitive events can be defined, but not their format or representation .