node package manager


encode/decode variable binary structures


NPM Package Build Status Dependency status



encode/decode variable binary structures.

This module makes creating binary formats easy. It supports both fixed length structures (like classic c structs), and variable (usually length delemited) structures.

Example - a 3d vector

var vstruct = require('varstruct')
//create a vector codec. 
var vector = vstruct([
  { name: 'x', type: vstruct.DoubleBE },
  { name: 'y', type: vstruct.DoubleBE },
  { name: 'z', type: vstruct.DoubleBE }
// or shortcut 
var vector = vstruct([
  ['x', vstruct.DoubleBE],
  ['y', vstruct.DoubleBE],
  ['z', vstruct.DoubleBE]
//encode a object to get a buffer 
var buffer = vector.encode({
  x: 93.1, y: 87.3, z: 10.39
var v = vector.decode(buffer)

Example - a message metadata + attachments

var vstruct = require('varstruct')
var VarIntProtobuf = require('varint')
//codec for a sha256 hash 
var SHA256 = vstruct.Buffer(32)
var message = vstruct([
  // the hash of the previous message 
  { name: 'previous', type: SHA256 },
  // the hash of the author's public key 
  { name: 'author', type: SHA256 },
  // an arbitary length buffer 
  { name: 'message', type: vstruct.VarBuffer(VarIntProtobuf) },
  // hashes of related documents. 
  { name: 'attachments', type: vstruct.VarArray(vstruct.Byte, SHA256) }


varstruct uses abstract-encoding as interface and provides next types:

varstruct([{ name: string, type: codec }])

Instead object you can use [String name, Codec type]

Create a codec with a fixed number of fields. If any subcodec has a variable length, then the new codec will as well.

Byte, Int8, UInt8, Int16, UInt16, Int32, UInt32, Int32, UInt64, Float, Double

If you want Big Endian, append BE, for examlpe Int16BE or add LE for Little Endian.

64 bit ints are actually only 53 bit ints, but they will still be written to 8 bytes. (based on int53)

Array(lengthArray, itemCodec)

Create codec that encodes an array with fixed length.

VarArray(lengthCodec, itemCodec)

Create a variable length codec that encodes an array of items. itemCodec may be any varstruct compatible codec, including a VarArray. As long as it can encode very element in the array, lengthCodec must encode an integer.

Sequence([ itemType, itemType, ..., itemType ])

Create codec that encodes an array with fixed length and various types.


Create a fixed length buffer codec.


Create a variable length buffer codec. This will first write out the length of the value buffer and then the value buffer itself. The lengthCodec may be variable length itself, but must encode an integer.

String(length [, encoding = 'utf-8'])

Create a fixed length (in bytes) string codec.

VarString(lengthCodec [, encoding = 'utf-8'])

Create a variable length string codec. This codec uses VarBuffer (buffer will be created from string with given encoding).

Bound(itemCodec, checkValue)

Return a codec that will check value before encode and after decode. checkValue should throw error if value is wrong.