A mixin for making serializable objects


This npm provides a Serializable mixin to streamline the process of writing serializable classes. Include the mixin and implement two instance methods (::serializeParams and ::deserializeParams) to add serialization to your class.

Before digging into how to implement serializable classes, let's touch on how to use them. To serialize an object, call ::serialize. To deserialize an object, call .deserialize on its class with the results of a previous call to ::serialize.

train1 = new Train(cars: 20hasCaboose: true)
train1State = train1.serialize()
train2 = Train.deserialize(train1State)
expect( 20
expect(train2.hasCaboose).toBe true

You can pass .deserialize an optional second argument containing additional non-serializable parameters which will be merged with the deserialized parameters when constructing the object. For example, say that trains need a reference to a RailNetwork instance, but that the RailNetwork isn't serialized as part of Train:

train1 = new Train(cars: 20hasCaboose: truerailNetwork: network)
train1State = train1.serialize() # does not contain a serialized RailNetwork 
train2 = Train.deserialize(train1StaterailNetwork: network)

The Serializable mixin is implemented with the mixto npm. To include it, use the .includeInto class method or simply subclass Serializable.

Serializable = require 'serializable'
class Automobile extends Vehicle

This method should return a plain JavaScript object containing the serialized version of all parameters required to reconstruct the object.

class Automobile extends Vehicle
  constructor: (@doors=4, @engine='v8') ->
  serializeParams: -> {@doors@engine}

If all your parameters are scalars, this is all that's required. When deserializing, Serializable will match up the names of the keys in the params hash with the names of your constructor parameters to reconstruct your object.

auto1 = new Automobile(2'v6')
auto2 = Automobile.deserialize(auto1.serialize())
expect(auto2.doors).toBe 2
expect(auto2.engine).toBe 'v6'

You can also take a params hash as your constructor argument, in which case Serializable won't attempt to match up constructor parameter names.

class Train extends Vehicle
  constructor: ({@cars, @hasCaboose}={}) ->
  serializeParams: -> {@cars@hasCaboose}

If your params hash contains nested serialized objects, you'll need to deserialize the nested objects before they are passed to the constructor of the parent object. You perform this deserialization in the optional ::deserializeParams instance method.

class Plane extends Vehicle
  constructor: (@engines, @pilot) ->
    @pilot ?= new Pilot(name: "Bob"plane: this)
  serializeParams: -> {@enginespilot: @pilot.serialize()}
  deserializeParams: (params) ->
    params.pilot = Pilot.deserialize(params.pilotplane: this)

Using some JS trickery, this method is called before your object's constructor, allowing you to reference the instance being deserialized when deserializing its children. You can also perform pre-initialization in this method. Note that it is safe to modify the params object that is passed into your method. This is convenient when only a subset of your params need to be deserialized.

If you can't know the specific class of the object you are deserializing ahead of time, you can call ::registerDeserializers on a superclass (or any serializable class) to enable polymorphic deserialization.

vehicleStates = [planetrainauto].map (vehicle) -> vehicle.serialize()
vehicles = (vehicleState) -> Vehicle.deserialize(vehicleState)