serio
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2.0.1 • Public • Published

serio

Fluent binary serialization / deserialization in TypeScript.

If you need to work with binary protocols and file formats, or manipulate C/C++ structs and arrays from TypeScript, this library is for you. It provides an ergonomic API for defining TypeScript classes that can serialize and deserialize to binary formats.

Quickstart

Installation

npm install --save serio

Requirements:

  1. TypeScript 5.0 or higher;
  2. The experimentalDecorators setting should NOT be enabled in tsconfig.json.

Basic usage

import {SObject, SUInt32LE, field} from serio;

/** An object that maps to the following C struct:
 *
 *     struct Position {
 *         uint32_t x;
 *         uint32_t y;
 *     };
 */
class Position extends SObject {
  @field(SUInt32LE)
  x = 0;
  @field(SUInt32LE)
  y = 0;

  // Properties without the @field() decorator are ignored during serialization
  // and deserialization.
  foo = 100;
}


// Create instance with default values:
const pos1 = new Position();
// ...or with a set of initial values (can be partial):
const pos2 = Position.with({x: 5, y: 0});
// ...or by deserializing from an existing Buffer:
const pos3 = Position.from(buffer.subarray(...));


// Fields can be manipulated normally:
pos1.x = 5;
pos1.y = pos1.x + 10;


// Serialize to Buffer:
const buf = pos1.serialize(); // => Buffer
// Get the byte size of the instance's serialized form:
const size = pos1.getSerializedLength();  // => 8
// Deserialize into an existing instance, returning number of bytes red
const bytesRead = pos1.deserialize(buffer.subarray(...));  // => 8

Serializable

Serializable is the base class that all serializable values (such as SUInt8 and SObject) derive from. It provides a common interface for basic operations such as creating, serializing and deserializing values.

Example usage of a Serializable class X:

// Create an instance using default values:
const obj1 = new X();
// Create an instance by decoding from Buffer:
const obj2 = X.from(buffer.subarray(...));

// Serialize to Buffer:
const buffer = obj1.serialize(); // => Buffer

// Deserialize from a Buffer into the current instance:
obj2.deserialize(buffer);

// Get the byte size of the instance's serialized form:
const size = obj2.getSerializedLength();

Integers

serio provides a set of Serializable wrappers for common integer types.

Example usage:

// Create an unsigned 32-bit integer in little endian format:
const v1 = new SUInt32LE();
// ...with an initial value:
const v2 = SUInt32LE.of(100);
// ...by decoding from a Buffer:
const v3 = SUInt32LE.from(buffer.subarray(...));

// Manipulate the wrapped value:
v1.value = 100;
v2.value = v1.value * 10;

// Serialize / deserialize:
const buffer = v1.serialize(); // => Buffer
v2.deserialize(buffer);

const size = v2.getSerializedLength(); // => 4

The full list of provided integer types:

Type Size (bytes) Signed Endianness
SUInt8 1 Unsigned N/A
SInt8 1 Signed N/A
SUInt16LE 2 Unsigned Little endian
SInt16LE 2 Signed Little endian
SUInt16BE 2 Unsigned Big endian
SInt16BE 2 Signed Big endian
SUInt32LE 4 Unsigned Little endian
SInt32LE 4 Signed Little endian
SUInt32BE 4 Unsigned Big endian
SInt32BE 4 Signed Big endian

Enums

All of the integer wrappers above also support looking up an enum label for conversion to JSON. For example:

enum MyType {
  FOO = 0,
  BAR = 1,
}
JSON.stringify(SUInt8.of(0)); // => 0
JSON.stringify(SUInt8.enum(MyType).of(0)); // => "FOO"

class MyObject extends SObject {
  @field(SUInt8.enum(MyType))
  type = MyType.FOO;
}

// Convert to / from JSON:
JSON.stringify(new MyObject()); // => {"type": "FOO"}
JSON.stringify(MyObject.withJSON({type: MyType.FOO})); // => {"type": "FOO"}
JSON.stringify(MyObject.withJSON({type: 'FOO'})); // => {"type": "FOO"}

Strings

serio provides the SStringNT and SString classes for working with string values. Both classes wrap a string value and can have variable or fixed length. The difference is that SStringNT reads and writes C-style null-terminated strings, whereas SString reads and writes string values without a trailing null type.

These classes uses the iconv-lite library under the hood for encoding / decoding. See here for the list of supported encodings.

Variable-length strings

Example usage:

// Create a variable-length null-terminated string:
const str1 = new SStringNT();
// ...with an initial value:
const str2 = SStringNT.of('hello world!');
// ...by decoding from a buffer using the default encoding (UTF-8):
const str3 = SStringNT.from(buffer.subarray(...));
// ...by decoding from a buffer using a different encoding:
const str4 = SStringNT.from(buffer.subarray(...), {encoding: 'gb2312'});

// Manipulate the wrapped value:
str1.value = 'foo bar';

// Serialize to a Buffer using the default encoding (UTF-8):
const buf1 = str1.serialize();
// ...or using a different encoding:
const buf2 = str1.serialize({encoding: 'win1251'});
// Deserialize from a Buffer using the default encoding:
str1.deserialize(buffer.subarray(...));
// ...or using a different encoding:
str1.deserialize(buffer.subarray(...), {encoding: 'win1251'});

const size = SStringNT.of('hi').getSerializedLength(); // => 3
const size = SString.of('hi').getSerializedLength(); // => 2

If your application uses a non-UTF-8 encoding by default, you can also change the default encoding used by serio to avoid having to pass {encoding: 'XX'} every time:

// Default encoding is UTF-8:
const buf1 = str1.serialize();

setDefaultEncoding('cp437');
// ...will now use CP437 if no encoding specified:
const buf1 = str1.serialize();

Fixed sized strings

SStringNT.ofLength(N) can be used to represent fixed size strings (equivalent to C character arrays char[N]). An instance of SStringNT.ofLength(N) will zero pad / truncate the raw data to size N during serialization and deserialization.

Example usage:

// Create a fixed size null-terminated string:
const str1 = new (SStringNT().ofLength(5))();
// ...with an initial value:
const str2 = SStringNT.ofLength(5).of('hello world!');
// ...by decoding from a buffer using the default encoding (UTF-8):
const str3 = SStringNT.ofLength(5).from(buffer.subarray(...));

// Manipulate the wrapped value:
str1.value = 'foo bar';

// Fixed size strings will zero-pad up to its specified size for serialization
// / deserialization:
const str1 = new (SStringNT.ofLength(3))();
console.log(str1.value); // =>  ''
const buf1 = str1.serialize(); // => '\x00\x00\x00'
const size1 = str1.getSerializedLength(); // => 3
str1.value = 'A';
const buf2 = str1.serialize(); // => 'A\x00\x00'
const size2 = str1.getSerializedLength(); // => 3

// Fixed size strings will truncate values down to its specified size for
// serialization / deserialization:
const str2 = SStringNT.ofLength(3).of('hello');
console.log(str2.value); // => 'hello'
str2.serialize(); // => 'he\x00'
str2.getSerializedLength(); // => 3
str2.deserialize(Buffer.from('hello', 'utf-8'));
console.log(str2.value); // => 'hel'

// SString works similarly but does not write a trailing null byte.
const str3 = SString.ofLength(3).of('hello');
console.log(str3.value); // => 'hello'
str3.serialize(); // => 'hel'
str3.getSerializedLength(); // => 3
str3.deserialize(Buffer.from('hello', 'utf-8'));
console.log(str3.value); // => 'hel'

Arrays

serio provides the SArray class for working with array values. An SArray instance can wrap an array of other Serializables, including SObjects and other SArrays:

// Create an empty SArray object:
const arr1 = new SArray<SUInt32LE>();
// ...with an initial set of values:
const arr2 = SArray.of([obj1, obj2, obj3]);
// ...with an element value repeated N times:
const arr3 = SArray.of(_.times(5, () => SUInt32LE.of(0)));

// The underlying array can be manipulated via the `value` property:
arr1.value.forEach(...);
arr1.value = [obj1, obj2];


// Serialize to Buffer:
const buf1 = arr1.serialize();

// Deserialize from a Buffer into the current elements in `value`:
arr1.deserialize(buffer);

// Returns the total serialized length of all elements in `value`:
const size = arr1.getSerializedLength();

To wrap arrays of numbers, strings, and other raw values, SArray can be combined with wrapper classes such as SUInt32LE and SStringNT using SArray.of(wrapperClass). To wrap multi-dimensional arrays, multiple levels of SArrays can be created using SArray.of(SArray.of(...)). For example:

// Create an SArray equivalent to uint8_t[3], initialized to 0.
const arr1 = SArray.of(SUInt8).of([0, 0, 0]);
console.log(arr1.value); // [0, 0, 0]
console.log(arr1.serialize()); // Buffer.of(0, 0, 0)

// Create an SArray of strings from an existing array:
const arr3 = SArray.of(SStringNT.ofLength(10)).of(['hello', 'foo', 'bar']);
console.log(arr3.value); // 'hello', 'foo', 'bar'

// Create a 3x3 2D SArray:
const arr4 = SArray.of(SArray.of(SUInt8)).of([
  [0, 0, 0],
  [1, 1, 1],
  [2, 2, 2],
]);
console.log(arr4.value[2][0]); // => 2

// Serialization / deserialization options are passed through to contained elements.
const arr5 = SArray.of(SStringNT).of(['你好', '世界']);
console.log([
  arr5.getSerializedLength(), // => 14
  arr5.getSerializedLength({encoding: 'gb2312'}), // 10
]);
arr5.serialize({encoding: 'gb2312'});
arr5.deserialize(buffer, {encoding: 'gb2312'});

Fixed sized arrays

SArray.ofLength(N, elementType) and SArray.of(wrapperType).ofLength(N) can be used to represent fixed size arrays, equivalent to C arrays (elementType[N]). An instance of SArray.ofLength(N, elementType) or SArray.of(wrapperType).ofLength(N) will pad / truncate the array to size N during serialization and deserialization.

Example usage:

// Create a fixed size array equivalent to uint8_t[3], initialized to 0.
const arr1 = new (SArray.of(SUInt8).ofLength(3))();
console.log(arr1.value); // [0, 0, 0]

// Extra elements are ignored during serialization.
arr1.value = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];
console.log(arr1.getSerializedLength()); // 3
console.log(arr1.toJSON()); // [1, 2, 3]
console.log(arr1.serialize()); // Buffer.of([1, 2, 3]);
// Extra elements are preserved as-is during deserialization.
arr1.deserialize(Buffer.of(6, 7, 8, 9, 10));
console.log(arr1.value); // [6, 7, 8, 4, 5]
console.log(arr1.serialize()); // Buffer.of([6, 7, 8]);

// Missing elements are padded with default values during serialization.
arr1.value = [];
console.log(arr1.getSerializedLength()); // 3
console.log(arr1.serialize()); // Buffer.of([0, 0, 0]);
// Missing elements are added during deserialization.
arr1.deserialize(Buffer.of(101, 102, 103));
console.log(arr1.value); // [101, 102, 103]

To create / update nested SObjects and SArrays with JSON / POJO values, use ofJSON() and assignJSON():

const arr = SArray.ofLength(3, MyObject).ofJSON([{...}, {...}, {...}]);
arr.assignJSON([{prop1: '...'}, {...}, {...}]);

Objects

serio provides the SObject class for defining serializable objects that are conceptually equivalent to C/C++ structs.

To define a serializable object:

  1. Define a class that extends SObject.
  2. Use the @field() decorator to annotate class properties that should be serialized / deserialized:
    • @field() prop = X; if the property is itself a Serializable, such as another object;
    • @field(WrapperClass) prop = X; if the property should be wrapped with a Serializable wrapper, such as an integer or a string.

Basic example:

/** A class that maps to the following C struct:
 *
 *     struct Position {
 *         uint32_t x;
 *         uint32_t y;
 *     };
 */
class Position extends SObject {
  // This will serialize / deserialize x as an SUInt32LE behind the scenes,
  // but allows it to be manipulated as a normal numeric property.
  @field(SUInt32LE)
  x = 0;

  @field(SUInt32LE)
  y = 0;

  // Undecorated object properties are ignored during serialization /
  // deserialization, but are included in JSON output by default.
  // Use `@json(false)` to exclude them.
  @json(false)
  foo = 100;

  // Computed properties are excluded from JSON output by default. Use
  // `@json(true)` to include them.
  @json(true)
  get distFromOrigin() {
    return Math.sqrt(this.x * this.x + this.y * this.y);
  }
}

// Create instance with default values:
const pos1 = new Position();
// ...or with a set of initial values (can be partial):
const pos2 = Position.with({x: 5, y: 0});
// ...or by deserializing from an existing Buffer:
const pos3 = Position.from(buffer.subarray(...));

// Fields can be manipulated normally:
pos1.x = 5;
pos1.y = pos1.x + 10;

// Serialize to Buffer:
const buf = pos1.serialize(); // => Buffer
// Get the byte size of the instance's serialized form:
const size = pos1.getSerializedLength();  // => 8
// Deserialize into an existing instance, returning number of bytes red
const bytesRead = pos1.deserialize(buffer.subarray(...));  // => 8

A more advanced example showing @field() with getter / setters:

/** A class that implements 8-bit color in the format RRR GG BB (see
 *  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8-bit_color).
 */
class Color extends SObject {
  // We expose red, green and blue component values as separate properties to
  // make them easy to manipulate.
  red = 0;
  green = 0;
  blue = 0;

  // We use @field() to decorate our getter / setter for `color`, which
  // encodes red / green / blue components as an 8-bit color value in the
  // format RRR GGG BB.
  @field(SUInt8)
  // Getters / setters aren't included in JSON output by default. Use
  // `@json(true)` to include them.
  @json(true)
  get value() {
    return (
      ((this.red & 0x07) << 5) | (this.green & (0x07 << 2)) | (this.blue & 0x03)
    );
  }
  set value(v: number) {
    this.red = (v >> 5) & 0x07;
    this.green = (v >> 2) & 0x07;
    this.blue = v & 0x03;
  }
}

Note: Avoid using @field() with both regular properties and getters / setters in the same SObject class. This is due to a quirk in the ES6 decorator spec: decorator initializers for getters / setters always run before regular properties, so if a class contains a mixure of decorated properties and decorated getters / setters, the resulting serialization order may be different from the declaration order in the code.

Example combining objects and arrays:

class ExampleObject extends SObject {
  // Equivalent C: Point[10]
  @field(SArray)
  prop1 = Array(10)
    .fill()
    .map(() => new Point());

  // Equivalent C: uint8_t[10]
  @field(SArray.of(SUInt8))
  prop2 = Array(10).fill(0);

  // Equivalent C: char[2][2][10]
  @field(SArray.of(SArray.of(SStringNT.ofLength(10))))
  prop3 = [
    ['hello', 'world'],
    ['foo', 'bar'],
  ];
}

// Equivalent C: ExampleObject[5]
const arr1 = SArray.of(_.times(5, () => new ExampleObject()));
console.log(arr1.value[0].prop3[0][0]); // => 'hello'

To create / update nested SObjects and SArrays with JSON / POJO values, use withJSON() and assignJSON():

class Segment extends SObject {
  @field()
  p1 = new Point();
  @field()
  p2 = new Point();
}
// Create nested SObject's from JSON / POJO value:
const s2 = Segment.withJSON({
  p1: {x: 1, y: 1},
  p2: {x: 2, y: 2},
});
// The above is equivalent to:
// const s1 = Segment.with({
//   p1: Point.with({x: 1, y: 1}),
//   p2: Point.with({x: 2, y: 2}),
// });

// Perform partial update on nested SObject with JSON / POJO value:
s2.assignJSON({p2: {x: 10}});
console.log(s2.toJSON()); // => {p1: {x: 1, y: 1}, p2: {x: 10, y: 2}}

Bitmasks

serio provides the SBitmask class for working with bitmask values that represent the binary OR of several fields. The interface is similar to SObject. Example usage:

/** An 8-bit color in the format RRR GG BB (see
 * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8-bit_color).
 *
 * SBitmask.of(wrapperClass) produces a base class that serializes
 * to the specified length.
 */
class Color8Bit extends SBitmask.of(SUInt8) {
  // @bitfield(number of bits) is used to annotate the fields that go into the
  // bitmask, from most significant to least significant.
  @bitfield(3)
  r = 0;
  @bitfield(3)
  g = 0;
  @bitfield(2)
  b = 0;
}

const c1 = new Color8Bit();
c1.serialize(); // => Buffer.of(0b00000000)
c1.r = 0b111;
c1.g = 0b001;
c1.serialize(); // => Buffer.of(0b11100100)

const c2 = Color8Bit.with({r: 0b000, g: 0b111, b: 0b01});
c2.serialize(); // => Buffer.of(0b00011101)
console.log(c2.value); // => 0b00011101
c2.value = 0b11100010;
console.log(c2.toJSON()); // => {r: 7, g: 0, b: 2}

c2.deserialize(Buffer.of(0b11111111));
console.log(c2.toJSON()); // => {r: 7, g: 7, b: 3}

const c3 = Color8Bit.of(0b11100010);
console.log(c3.toJSON()); // => {r: 7, g: 0, b: 2}

Boolean flags are also supported:

class MyBitmask extends SBitmask.of(SUInt8) {
  @bitfield(1)
  flag1 = false;
  @bitfield(2)
  flag2 = false;
  @bitfield(6)
  @json(false) // Exclude from JSON output
  unused = 0;
}

const bm1 = MyBitmask.of(0b11000000);
console.log(bm1.toJSON()); // => {flag1: true, flag2: true}
bm1.flag1 = false;
bm1.serialize(); // => Buffer.of(0b01000000)

Similar to @field(), you can also use @bitfield() with getters / setters, but you should avoid using @bitfield() with both getters / setters and regular properties in the same class.

Creating new Serializable classes

To define your own Serializable classes that can be used with SArray, SObject etc, you can extend the Serializable abstract class and provide the required method implementations:

class MyType extends Serializable {
  x = 0;
  name = SStringNT.ofLength(32);

  /** Serializes this value into a buffer. */
  serialize(opts?: SerializeOptions): Buffer {
    const buffer = Buffer.alloc(this.getSerializedLength(opts));
    buffer.writeUInt8(this.x, 0);
    this.name.serialize(opts).copy(buffer, 1);
    return buffer;
  }
  /** Deserializes a buffer into this value. */
  deserialize(buffer: Buffer, opts?: DeserializeOptions): number {
    this.x = buffer.readUInt8(0);
    this.name.deserialize(buffer.subarray(1), opts);
    return this.getSerializedLength(opts);
  }
  /** Computes the serialized length of this value. */
  getSerializedLength(opts?: SerializeOptions): number {
    return 1 + this.name.getSerializedLength(opts);
  }

  /** Optionally, define how to convert this value to JSON.
   *
   * SObject.toJSON() and SArray.toJSON() will recursively invoke the toJSON()
   * method of their elements.
   */
  toJSON() {
    return {x: this.x, name: this.name};
  }

  /** Optionally, define how to parse / hydrate this value from JSON.
   *
   * SObject.assignJSON() and SArray.assignJSON() will recursively invoke the
   * assignJSON() method of their elements.
   */
  assignJSON(jsonValue: {x: string; name: string}) {
    this.x = jsonValue.x;
    this.name = jsonValue.name;
  }
}

// MyType can be constructed like other `Serializable`s:
const obj1 = new MyType();
const obj2 = MyType.from(buffer);

// MyType can be used together with SArray, SObject etc:
const arr1 = SArray.of([new MyType(), new MyType()]);
class SomeObject extends SObject {
  @field()
  myType = new MyType();
}

To define a class that wraps a raw value, to be used with @field() and SArray.of(), you can instead extend the SerializableWrapper class:

/** An example class that wraps a number. */
class MyWrapperType extends SerializableWrapper<number> {
  // A SerializableWrapper must have a `value` property that represents the raw
  // value to be wrapped.
  value = 0;

  // Define `serialize()`, `deserialize()` and `getSerializedLength()` as above
  serialize(opts?: SerializeOptions): Buffer {
    /* ... */
  }
  deserialize(buffer: Buffer, opts?: DeserializeOptions): number {
    /* ... */
  }
  getSerializedLength(opts?: SerializeOptions): number {
    /* ... */
  }
  // Define `toJSON()` and `assignJSON()` as above
  toJSON() {
    /* ... */
  }
  assignJSON(jsonValue: unknown) {
    /* ... */
  }
}

// MyWrapperType can be used in the same way as built-in wrappers such as `SInt8`:
const obj1 = new MyWrapperType();
const obj2 = MyWrapperType.from(buffer);
const obj3 = MyWrapperType.of(42);

// MyWrapperType can be used with `SArray.of()` and `@field()`:
const arr1 = SArray.of(MyWrapperType).of([1, 2, 3]);
class SomeObject extends SObject {
  @field(MyWrapperType)
  foo: number = 0;
}

About

serio is distributed under the Apache License v2.

Changelog

2.0

  • New APIs to simplify the construction of nested SObjects and SArrays from JSON / POJO values:
    • Introduce the assignJSON() method to most Serializable classes as a canonical method for hydrating a Serializable from a JSON / POJO value.
    • Introduce SObject.withJSON() and SArrayWithWrapper.ofJSON(), allowing inline construction of nested SObjects and SArrays from JSON / POJO values.
  • New API for converting SObjects and SBitmasks to JSON / POJO values:
    • Introduce the @json(boolean) decorator to control whether a field should appear in the output of toJSON() without having to override the latter.
  • Breaking changes:
    • SObject.assignFromSerializable() has been renamed to SObject.assignSerializableMap() for consistency with assignJSON(), and passing in unknown properties in the argument will now throw an error instead of being silently ignored.
    • SObject.mapValuesToSerializable() has been renamed to SObject.toSerializableMap() for consistency with toJSON().
    • SBitmask.toJSON() previously only returned fields decorated with @bitfield(). Its behavior has been updated to be consistent with SObject.toJSON(): it now returns all properties on the object, with support for field-level control with @json(boolean).

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