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bitwriter Build Status

A better interface for writing bytes to a buffer with a priority on safety.


$ npm install bitwriter


$ npm test


var BitWriter = require('bitwriter');


BitWriter Inherits from Buffer, so you get all of the buffer methods (fill, slice, copy, etc) as well. You can also use Buffer.concat with instances.

BitWriter(length, [endianness='BE'])

var buf = BitWriter(4); 
buf.inspect(); // <BitWriter 00 00 00 00>

// or if you need a little endian writer
buf = BitWriter(4, 'LE');

BitWriter(array, [endianness='BE'])

@see BitWriter#writeInt

You can also specify an array of integers or objects representing integers. Uses BitWriter#writeInt internally.

var buf = BitWriter([ 1, 2, 64738, 23 ]);
buf.out(); // <Buffer 01 02 fc e2 17>
var obuf = BitWriter([ 1, 2, 64738, { value: 23, width: 16 } ]);
obuf.out(); // <Buffer 01 02 fc e2 00 17>

BitWriter#write(data, [opts])

@returns this
@see BitWriter#writeInt
@see BitWriter#writeString
@see BitWriter#writeRaw

Make some assumptions and does its best to figure out what type of data you're writing and how large that data is, then delegates to one of the write methods below.


@returns {Buffer}

Returns reference to internal buffer.

BitWriter#writeRaw(arraylike, [opts])

@returns this
@throws TypeError
@throws RangeError
@see BitWriter#write8
@see Buffer#copy

Takes an array-like object and iterates through it, writing raw bytes to the buffer.

Arrays are type-checked to be byte arrays and range-checked for values between [0, 255].

Delegates to Buffer#copy if given a buffer, which skips type checks and is generally way more efficient.

var buf = BitWriter(8);
buf.write([0xff, 0xdd, 0xaa, 0xbb]); // <BitWriter ff dd aa bb 00 00 00 00>
buf.write(Buffer('helo')); // <BitWriter ff dd aa bb 68 65 6c 6f>

If is true, will skip type checks which is a bit more efficient since it will only iterate over the array once, but can be dangerous with unknown data.

Throws TypeError if the array contains any non-numeric values.

Throws RangeError if any values are outside the eight bit range.

BitWriter#writeString(string, [opts])

@returns this
@throws OverflowError

Writes a string to the buffer. By default, a single 0x00 will be added after the string if there is room left in the buffer.

var buf = BitWriter(7);
buf.write('hey'); // <BitWriter 68 65 79 00 00 00 00>
buf.write('sup'); // <BitWriter 68 65 79 00 73 75 70>

If you don't want to write a null byte, you can pass an { null: false }

var buf = BitWriter(6);
buf.write('hey', { null: false }); // <BitWriter 68 65 79 00 00 00 >
buf.write('sup'); // <BitWriter 68 65 79 73 75 70>

If you have a specific amount of bytes you need to fit a string into, you can use { size: <int> }. This will either truncate the string to fit, or pad the right side with 0x00.

var buf = BitWriter(4);
buf.write('hey this string is way too long!', { size: 4 });
buf.inspect(); // <BitWriter 68 65 79 20>

Throws OverflowError if there are less than string.length bytes left in the buffer.

BitWriter#writeInt(integer, [opts])


@returns this
@throws RangeError
@throws TypeError
@throws OverflowError
@throws DispatchError


  • size: specify integer size
  • width: alias for size

Writes an integer to the buffer, testing against the maximum and minimum values 8, 16 and 32 bit numbers, both signed and unsigned, to figure out how best to store your bytes.

If a single object is passed, tries to find the integer value from opts.value.

Unsigned integers

var buf = BitWriter(8);
buf.write(128); //<BitWriter 80 00 00 00 00 00 00 00>

Signed integers

buf.write(-1); // <BitWriter 80 ff 00 00 00 00 00 00>

16 bits

buf.write(61453); // <BitWriter 80 ff f0 0d 00 00 00 00>

32 bits

buf.write(262254561); // <BitWriter 80 ff f0 0d 0f a1 af e1>

If you have a number that fits in 8 bytes but you need to store it in a larger size, you can specify that:

var buf = BitWriter(4);
buf.write(-128, { size: 32 }); // <BitWriter ff ff ff 80>

Returns this so you can chain a bunch of writes:

var output = BitWriter(4);
  .write(0x04); // <BitWriter 01 02 03 04>

Throws TypeError if it gets a string that is not completely composed of digits.

Throws RangeError an invalid size option is given. Valid sizes can be found in the constant BitWriter.INT_SIZES (currently [8, 16, 32]).

Throws RangeError if the value is less than the minimum value of a 32 bit signed integer or the maximum value of a 32 bit unsigned integer. These values can be found in BitWriter.MAX_VALUE and BitWriter.MIN_VALUE

Throws OverflowError when attempting to write more bytes than are available in the buffer.

Throws DispatchError if it can't figure out what to do with a value.


Convenience for BitWriter#write(integer, { size: 8 })


Convenience for BitWriter#write(integer, { size: 16 })


Convenience for BitWriter#write(integer, { size: 32 })

BitWriter[length-1], BitWriter[length-1] = [-128, 255]

@returns {Integer[0,255] | Undefined}
@throws RangeError

Exactly like array accessing a Buffer with one difference: this will throw RangeError if the value is less than -128 or greater than 255

Accessing a position < 0 or > length - 1 will return undefined.


@returns this.

Resets the internal cursor to position 0 and fills the buffer with 0x00.


@returns {Integer}

Returns the position of the internal cursor


@returns this
@throws RangeError
@throws TypeError

Sets the position of the internal cursor. Value be between [0, length-1]

Throws RangeError if position is out of bounds.

Throws TypeError if input is not a number.


@returns this
@see BitWriter#position

Move the cursor a relative amount from where it is. Uses BitWriter#position internally.

var buf = BitWriter(4);
buf.position(); // 1
buf.position(); // 0
buf.position(); // 3

buf.move(+10); // throw RangeError

BitWriter#attach(object, [key])

@returns object

This attachs hard this-bound versions of the write* methods to another object.

var meta = BitWriter(16).attach({
  name: 'SomeThing',
  widgets: [],
}, 'data');

meta.write('widget co');
meta.write32(0xff);; // <BitWriter 77 69 64 67 65 74 20 63 6f 00 00 00 ff 00 00 00>