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Buffy The ByteBuffer Slayer, Clojure library for working with binary data.
Clojure

README.md

Buffy, The Byte Buffer Slayer

Buffy is a Clojure library for working with binary data, writing complete binary protocol implementations in Clojure, storing complex data structures in an off-heap cache, reading binary files and doing everything you would usually do with ByteBuffer.

Main features

  • partial deserialization (read and deserialize parts of a byte buffer)
  • named access (access parts of your buffer by names)
  • composing/decomposing from key/value pairs
  • pretty hexdump
  • many useful default types that you can combine and extend easily

Project Maturity

Buffy is a young project. The API is fairly stable and the project has reached 1.0 in December 2014.

Installation

Artefacts

Latest artifacts are published to Clojars If you are using Maven, add the following repository definition to your pom.xml:

<repository>
  <id>clojars.org</id>
  <url>http://clojars.org/repo</url>
</repository>

The Most Recent Release

With Leiningen:

[clojurewerkz/buffy "1.0.1"]

With Maven:

<dependency>
  <groupId>clojurewerkz</groupId>
  <artifactId>buffy</artifactId>
  <version>1.0.1</version>
</dependency>

Usage

Require Buffy's main namespace:

(ns my.app
  (:require [clojurewerkz.buffy.core :refer :all]))

Buffy creates buffers from a spec you specify. The spec consists of one or more fields of known data types, for example:

(spec :my-field-1 (int32-type)
      :my-field-2 (string-type 10))

The spec can be a map (e.g. array-map) or a vector of vectors. Avoid using hash maps, since they are unordered.

Below is a specification for a buffer containing 2 fields, one 4 bytes long and second one 10:

0            4                         14
+------------+-------------------------+
| my-field-1 |         my-field-2      |
|    (int)   |        (10 string)      |
+------------+-------------------------+

Now you can use this specification to create a byte buffer:

(compose-buffer (spec :my-field-1 (int32-type) :my-field-2 (string-type 10)))
;= a byte buffer

Note that they keys (:my-field-1, :my-field-2) are not part of the byte buffer (not serialized in the data). If you're transferring a byte buffer over a network, the receiving end should be able to deserialize it.

Accessing Fields In The Payload

Use get-field and set-field to access individual fields of the payload.

Here's an example:

(ns my-binary-project.core
  (:require [clojurewerkz.buffy.core :refer :all]))

(let [s    (spec :int-field (int32-type)
                 :string-field (string-type 10))
      buf  (compose-buffer s)]

  (set-field buf :int-field 101)
  (get-field buf :int-field)
  ;; => 101

  (set-field buf :string-field "stringie")
  (get-field buf :string-field)
  ;; => "stringie"
  )

Deserializing complete buffer

You can also serialize and deserialize a complete buffer:

(let [s     (spec :first-field (int32-type)
                  :second-field (string-type 10)
                  :third-field (boolean-type))
      buf  (compose-buffer spec)]

  (set-fields buf {:first-field 101
                   :second-field "string"
                   :third-field true})

  (decompose buf)
  ;; => {:third-field true :second-field "string" :first-field 101}
)

Data Types

Built-in data types are:

Primitive types

  • int32-type: 32 bit integer
  • boolean-type: boolean (1 byte)
  • byte-type: a single byte
  • short-type: 16 bit integer
  • medium-type: 24 bit integer
  • float-type: 32 bit floating point
  • long-type: 64 bit integer

Arbitrary-length types

  • string-type - arbitrary size string (you define the length).

In order to construct a string-type, specify its length:

(string-type 15)
  • bytes-type - arbitrary size byte-array (you define length yourself)

Same is true for BytesType, when constructing it, just pass a number of bytes it should contain:

(bytes-type 25)

Bit type

Bit type is n bits long sequence of bits that are turned either on or off, for example,

[true true false false
 false false false false
 false false false false
 false false false false
 false false false false
 false false false false
 false false false false
 false false false false]

Translates to binary

0000 0000 0000 00011

Which translates to decimal 3, that is stored in a 4-bits integer field.

There are some helper functions, such as:

(clojurewerkz.buffy.util/bits-on-at [0 1 2])

[true true true false
 false false false false
 false false false false
 false false false false
 false false false false
 false false false false
 false false false false
 false false false false]

Or an inverse of it, clojurewerkz.buffy.util/bits-off-at.

Also, on-bits-indexes that returns positions at which bits are set, and off-bits-indexes that returns positions at which bits are cleared.

In order to use bit type, you need to give it a 32-items long sequence of truthy or falsy falues:

(let [s (spec :first-field (bit-type 4) ;; Bit field that fills 4 bytes
              :second-field (string-type 10))
      buf (compose-buffer s)]
  (set-field b :first-field [true  true  false false
                             false false false false
                             false false false false
                             false false false false
                             false false false false
                             false false false false
                             false false false false
                             false false false false]))

Complex (Composite) Types

Composite types combine multiple primitive types.

composite-type produces a slice of a buffer. In the byte representation, no paddings or offsets are added. All parts are written to the buffer sequentially:

Here's what composite type consisting of int and 10 characters long string would look like:

(composite-type (int32-type) (string-type 10))

repeated-type repeats a type one or more times. Repeated types are used when you need to have many fields of the same size:

(repeated-type (string-type 10) 5)

will produce a type consisting of 5 strings of length 10.

It's possible to combine repeated-type and composite-type:

(repeated-type (composite-type (int32-type) (string-type 10)) 5)

Which will construct a type consisting of int/string chunks repeated 5 times.

enum-type produces a mapping between human-readable values and their internal binary representation.

Consider a binary protocol where the STARTUP verb is encoded as a long value of 0x01 and the QUERY verb is encoded as 0x07:

(enum-type (long-type) {:STARTUP 0x02 :QUERY 0x07})

With this enum type, it is possible to set a field using :STARTUP and :QUERY keywords:

(set-field buffer :payload-type :STARTUP)

When reading a field, its symbolic representation is returned:

(get-field buffer :payload-type)
;; => :QUERY

Buffer types

Currently, Buffy supports direct, heap and wrapped buffers. In order to create a heap buffer:

(def my-spec (spec :first-field (int32-type)
                   :second-field (string-type 10)))
(compose-buffer my-spec :buffer-type :heap)

For off-heap (direct) buffer:

(def my-spec (spec :first-field (int32-type)
                   :second-field (string-type 10)))
(compose-buffer my-spec :buffer-type :direct)

And for wrapped buffer (that wraps the given byte array, j.nio.ByteBuffer or netty ByteBuf):

(def my-spec (spec :first-field (int32-type)
                   :second-field (string-type 10)))
(compose-buffer my-spec :orig-buffer (java.nio.ByteBuffer/allocate 14))

Dynamic Frames

If you're working with sophisticated protocols, more often than not you can't know the buffer size before you construct an entire type. One of the most primitive examples is the netstrings protocol, that consists of

(short-type) ;; Identifies the length of string
(string-type 10) ;; Identifies the string itself

Problem with construction of such type lays in the fact that you can't construct a buffer before you know the value of the string itself. Buffy helps you here, too. This feature is called dynamic frame. In order to construct a dynamic frame, you should create an encoder and decoder. Let's take a closer look at netstrings protocol implementation:

First, encoder:

(frame-encoder [value]
               ;; Name     ;; Child frame or type      ;; Dynamic value
               length      (short-type)                (count value)
               string      (string-type (count value)) value)

Here, in a binding you have a value. length part of the frame is a short-type that holds a length of the string, you specify this value through (count value).

Next off, the string itself, that is a string-type and holds a value itself.

Decoder is written in a same manner:

(frame-decoder [buffer offset]
               length (short-type)
               string (string-type (read length buffer offset)))

Since values are not decoded by that time just yet, and you may need access to an entire buffer in order to read a certain field's value, you specify only types and have a possibility of "look-behind", using already constructed types.

So, string type is constructed by reading off the length as a first field of the frame.

An entire frame would look as follows:

(def dynamic-string-payload
  (dynamic-buffer
   (frame-type
    (frame-encoder [value]
                   length (short-type) (count value)
                   string (string-type (count value)) value)
    (frame-decoder [buffer offset]
                   length (short-type)
                   string (string-type (read length buffer offset)))
    second ;; Value Formatter
    )))

second here is just a value formatter. When we read off the value from the buffer, we see the short as well as string, but it's just a helper for correct decomposition, therefore we should discard it and take only the second value, which is a string itself.

In order to compose/decompose it, you should use compose and decompose functions:

(compose dynamic-string-payload ["super-duper-random-string" "long-ans-senseless-stringyoyoyo"])

This one will return a buffer. Same with decompose, that receives dynamic buffer and a value, and returns deserialized value.

You can go ahead and create even more complicated patterns. For example, you can construct a map of strings (as in Cassandra binary CQL protocol), where the map is specified by

<short>|(repeated <string>|<string>)

Where each <string> is actually

<short>|<string itself>

It's implementation is a little bit more complex, but still reasonably simple. First, we define a dynamic string frame in the same manner as we made with netstrings:

(def dynamic-string
  (frame-type
   (frame-encoder [value]
                  length (short-type) (count value)
                  string (string-type (count value))
                  value)
   (frame-decoder [buffer offset]
                  length (short-type)
                  string (string-type (read length buffer offset)))
   second))

Next off, key-value pairs. Each one of them is nothing more than a string repeated twice.

(def key-value-pair
  (composite-frame
   dynamic-string
   dynamic-string))

Next is dynamic map, which is a frame type that holds a length which is short-type and repeated-frame of key-value-pairs:

(def dynamic-map
  (frame-type
   (frame-encoder [value]
                  length (short-type) (count value)
                  map    (repeated-frame key-value-pair (count value)) value)
   (frame-decoder [buffer offset]
                  length (short-type)
                  map    (repeated-frame key-value-pair (read length buffer offset)))
   second))

Now, our dynamic map is ready for composition and decomposition:

(let [dynamic-type (dynamic-buffer dynamic-map)]
  (compose dynamic-type [[["key1" "value1"] ["key1" "value1"] ["key1" "value1"]]]) ;; Returns a constructred buffer

  (-> dynamic-type
      (compose [[["key1" "value1"] ["key1" "value1"] ["key1" "value1"]]])
      decompose) ;; Decomposes it back to the key-value pairs

Working With Bits

In Java, there are no data types for bits, therefore we've added some wrapper functions for existing types, that may represent your values as series of 1s and 0es. For example, you can convert an integer 101 to it's binary representation:

(to-bit-map (int32-type) 101)

This will return a bitmap of 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0110 0101 (represented as vector of true and false), which is a binary representation of 101.

Same way, you can convert a bitmap consisting of true and false back to it's actual value with from-bit-map function.

Hex Dump

It is possible to produce a hex-dump of a buffer created with Buffy using clojurewerkz.buffy.util/hex-dump. It will produce the following representation:

            +--------------------------------------------------+
            | 0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7   8  9  a  b  c  d  e  f  |
 +----------+--------------------------------------------------+------------------+
 | 00000000 | 48 69 65 72 20 69 73 74  20 65 69 6e 20 42 65 69 | Hier ist ein Bei |
 | 00000010 | 73 70 69 65 6c 74 65 78  74 2e 20 44 65 72 20 48 | spieltext. Der H |
 | 00000020 | 65 78 64 75 6d 70 20 69  73 74 20 61 75 66 20 64 | exdump ist auf d |
 | 00000030 | 65 72 20 6c 69 6e 6b 65  6e 20 53 65 69 74 65 20 | er linken Seite  |
 | 00000040 | 7a 75 20 73 65 68 65 6e  2e 20 4e 65 75 65 20 5a | zu sehen. Neue Z |
 | 00000050 | 65 69 6c 65 6e 20 6f 64  65 72 20 41 62 73 c3 a4 | eilen oder Abs.. |
 | 00000060 | 74 7a 65 20 73 69 6e 64  20 64 61 6e 6e 20 61 75 | tze sind dann au |
 | 00000070 | 63 68 20 22 5a 65 69 63  68 65 6e 22 20 6d 69 74 | ch "Zeichen" mit |
 | 00000080 | 20 65 69 6e 65 6d 20 62  65 73 74 69 6d 6d 74 65 |  einem bestimmte |
 | 00000090 | 6e 20 43 6f 64 65 20 28  30 61 29 00 00 00 00 00 | n Code (0a)..... |
 +----------+--------------------------------------------------+------------------+

Community

To subscribe for announcements of releases, important changes and so on, please follow @ClojureWerkz on Twitter.

Supported Clojure Versions

Buffy requires Clojure 1.4+.

Continuous Integration Status

Continuous Integration status

Buffy Is a ClojureWerkz Project

Buffy is part of the group of Clojure libraries known as ClojureWerkz, together with

and several others.

Development

Buffy uses Leiningen 2. Make sure you have it installed and then run tests against supported Clojure versions using

lein all test

Then create a branch and make your changes on it. Once you are done with your changes and all tests pass, submit a pull request on GitHub.

License

Copyright © 2013-2015 Alex Petrov, Michael S. Klishin and the ClojureWerkz Team.

Double licensed under the Eclipse Public License (the same as Clojure) or the Apache Public License 2.0.

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