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Composable object stream Transform


Composable object stream Transform

var ObjectTransform = require('object-transform');
var util = require('util');
util.inherits(MyStream, ObjectTransform);
function MyStream(opts) {
  var self = (this instanceof MyStream)
           ? this
           : Object.create(MyStream.prototype);
  opts = opts || {};
  opts.meta = 'myMetaData';, opts);
  return self;
MyStream.prototype._expand = function(myMetaDatamsgoutputcallback) {
  // If myMetaData has length property, is automatically grown 
  // to accomodate writing it out at offset 
  myMetaData.serializeOut(, msg.offset);
  msg.offset += myMetaData.length;
  // asynchronously push out the resulting object 
  // asynchronously indicate input msg has been consumed 
MyStream.prototype._reduce = function(msgoutputcallback) {
  msg.myMetaData = DoSomeParsing(, msg.offset);
  msg.offset += msg.myMetaData.length;
  // convenience for sync, one-to-one _expand/_reduce 
  //  - return msg to have output(msg) and callback() called automatically 
  //  - must return null if you call async functions yourself 
  return msg;
// Use the stream to parse a binary stream 
var mstream = new MyStream();
var msg =; === buf;
msg.myMetaData !== null;
msg.offset === msg.myMetaData.length;
// Use the stream write a binary stream... 
// from defaults 
var mstream2 = new MyStream({myMetaData: defaultMetaData});
mstream2.write({data: buf2});
var msg2 =;
msg2.offset === defaultMetaData.length;
// from per-object meta-data 
mstream2.write({data: buf3, myMetaData: someMetaData});
var msg3 =;

See these other modules:

ObjectTransform is a base class designed to make it easy to create composable object streams.

What is a "composable object stream"? This is a convention I've found myself working towards in my own stream implementations. It provides some rough rules for how to structures messages in order to make it easier to combine multiple stream pipelines together.

Message objects passed through a stream pipeline look like this:

  data: new Buffer(),     // Binary buffer being written to or read from 
  offset: 23,             // Our place in the buffer 
  meta1: { /* ... */ },   // Module-specific meta-data 
  meta2: { /* ... */}     // Module-specific meta-data 

A composable object stream can can operate in one of two logical modes.

  • Expand the content in a Buffer by writing out pre-existing meta-data.
  • Reduce the content in a Buffer by reading out new meta-data.

If the input to the stream provides the right meta-data assume we are expanding into the buffer. Perform any serialization needed to write the bytes out to the buffer at the current offset.

If the input is a raw Buffer or an object without the expected meta-data then assume we are reducing. Read the bytes at the current offset and store the resulting meta-data in the object at a module specific property name.

If anything goes wrong will reading or writing meta-data, then emit an 'ignored' event that provides an Error and the message that was discarded. In mixed type streams, this may be expected which is why we don't emit 'error' here.

To implement a stream using this pattern do the following:

  1. Extend the ObjectTransform class.
  2. Specify the name of your meta-data property in the options when calling the ObjectTransform constructor.
  3. Implement the _expand(metaData, msg, output, callback) function to write data to the buffer.
  4. Implement the _reduce(msg, output, callback) function to read from and store the results at your specific meta-data property on msg.