जगदीश खोलिया: Type of serialization

Friday, June 1, 2012

Type of serialization

.NET provides 2 ways for serializtion 1) XmlSerializer and 2) BinaryFormatter/SoapFormatter

XmlSerializer is used for Web Services. The BinaryFormatter & SoapFormatter is used for Remoting. While using XmlSerializer, it is required that the target class has parameter less constructors, has public read-write properties and has fields that can be serialized. The XmlSerializer has good support for XML documents. It can be used to construct objects from existing XML documents. The XmlSerializer enables us to serialize and deserialize objects to an XML format.

SoapFormatter enables us to serialize & deserialize objects to SOAP format. They can serialize private and public fields of a class. The target class must be marked with the Serializable attribute. On deserialization, the constructor of the new object is not invoked.

BinaryFormatter has the same features as the SoapFormatter except that it formats data into binary format. The BinaryForamatter (and the SoapFormatter) has two main methods. Serialize and Deserialize. To serialize an object, we pass an instance of the stream and the object to the Serialize method. To Deserialize an object, you pass an instance of a stream to the Deserialize method.

You can use the BinaryFormatter to serialize many, but not all, classes in the .NET Framework. For example, you can serialize ArrayLists, DataSets, and Arrays but not other objects, such as DataReaders or TextBox controls. To serialize a class, the class must have the Serializable attribute or implement the ISerializable interface.

Note that the XmlSerializer captures only the public members of the class, whereas the BinaryFormatter & the SoapFormatter captures both the public & private members of the class. The output using the BinaryFormatter is quite compact, as the information is in binary format, whereas the XmlSerializer format is filled with XML tags.
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