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Memory efficient JS using binary formats instead of objects.

var BinaryFormat = require('tiny-binary-format');

var Tile = new BinaryFormat([
  { length: 8, name: 'type' },
  { length: 8, name: 'height' },
  { length: 1, name: 'vegetation' }

Tile.pack(4, 48, 1);
// 000000100001100001 (2145)

// { type: 4, height: 48, vegetation: 1 }

// [4, 48, 1]

This library is designed to be used as a very thin wrapper around dealing with binary data yourself.

Define a format by creating an instance of BinaryFormat and passing in your field specifications. Then call the resulting object, passing instance data as arguments in order to create a binary representation.

When you need to read the values back, pass the number to either .unpack which returns the values in an object, or .unpackArray which returns them in an array.


npm install tiny-binary-format
# or
bower install tiny-binary-format


The module was designed for storing lightweight tile representations for games, however it could be used for a lot of other things too. Just remember that once the data has been serialized, it will always be read back out as numbers.

This module should be used for removing the neccessity of working with bitwise operators when dealing with binary formats. It's not a framework and it won't hold your hand.

This module does no error handling whatsoever. If you care enough about performance to be using a binary format in the first place, then you'll appreciate the transparency of the pack and unpack methods.

However, this does mean that if you pass in a 9 bit number into an 8 bit field, you'll lose precision silently. Use it carefully.

As pointed out by @dioxmat, you're still bound by the restrictions of MAX_SAFE_INTEGER. If you're dealing with integers greater than 2 ^ 53, then expect things to break.


What if I need to store strings or objects too?

If you arrived here looking for a Javascript library for parsing binary format files that include lots of data types, you've come to the wrong place. Go and check out binary-format

It doesn't seem to work for 64 bit floating numbers?

That's because the Javascript bitwise operators don't either. For a quick workaround, use the 64-bit-support branch.

What would be a good use case for this library?

This code was born from a game engine, read more about where it might be useful in the accompanying blog blost.


Memory efficient binary formats instead of objects.








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