C++ Boost



Other Implementations

Here, we use the term "serialization" to mean the reversible deconstruction of an arbitrary set of C++ data structures to a sequence of bytes. Such a system can be used to reconstitute an equivalent structure in another program context. Depending on the context, this might used implement object persistence, remote parameter passing or other facility. In this system we use the term "archive" to refer to a specific rendering of this stream of bytes. This could be a file of binary data, text data, XML, or some other created by the user of this library.

Our goals for such a system are:

  1. Code portability - depend only on ANSI C++ facilities.
  2. Code economy - exploit features of C++ such as RTTI, templates, and multiple inheritance, etc. where appropriate to make code shorter and simpler to use.
  3. Independent versioning for each class definition. That is, when a class definition changed, older files can still be imported to the new version of the class.
  4. Deep pointer save and restore. That is, save and restore of pointers saves and restores the data pointed to.
  5. Proper restoration of pointers to shared data.
  6. Serialization of STL containers and other commonly used templates.
  7. Data Portability - Streams of bytes created on one platform should be readable on any other.
  8. Orthogonal specification of class serialization and archive format. That is, any file format should be able to store serialization of any arbitrary set of C++ data structures without having to alter the serialization of any class.
  9. Non-intrusive. Permit serialization to be applied to unaltered classes. That is, don't require that classes to be serialized be derived from a specific base class or implement specified member functions. This is necessary to easily permit serialization to be applied to classes from class libraries that we cannot or don't want to have to alter.
  10. The archive interface must be simple enough to easily permit creation of a new type of archive.
  11. The archive interface must be rich enough to permit the creation of an archive that presents serialized data as XML in a useful manner.

Other implementations

Before getting started I searched around for current implementations. I found several.

Revised 1 November, 2004

© Copyright Robert Ramey 2002-2004. Distributed under the Boost Software License, Version 1.0. (See accompanying file LICENSE_1_0.txt or copy at http://www.boost.org/LICENSE_1_0.txt)