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A binary protocol is a protocol which is intended to be read by a machine rather than a human being, as opposed to a plain text protocol such as IRC, SMTP, or HTTP/1.1. Binary protocols have the advantage of terseness, which translates into speed of transmission and interpretation.
Binary protocol is also used in the context of a protocol between exactly two parties, in contrast to a multi-party protocol. Binary protocol, or binary collaboration have been used in the terminology of standards such as EbXML, HTTP/2 and EDOC. An interface in UML  may also be considered a binary protocol.
- Chapter 5 of "The Tao of Unix Programming" champions textual formats over binary protocols.
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