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// Copyright 2012 Google, Inc. All rights reserved.
// Use of this source code is governed by a BSD-style license
// that can be found in the LICENSE file in the root of the source
// tree.
package gopacket
import (
// SerializableLayer allows its implementations to be written out as a set of bytes,
// so those bytes may be sent on the wire or otherwise used by the caller.
// SerializableLayer is implemented by certain Layer types, and can be encoded to
// bytes using the LayerWriter object.
type SerializableLayer interface {
// SerializeTo writes this layer to a slice, growing that slice if necessary
// to make it fit the layer's data.
// Args:
// b: SerializeBuffer to write this layer on to. When called, b.Bytes()
// is the payload this layer should wrap, if any. Note that this
// layer can either prepend itself (common), append itself
// (uncommon), or both (sometimes padding or footers are required at
// the end of packet data). It's also possible (though probably very
// rarely needed) to overwrite any bytes in the current payload.
// After this call, b.Bytes() should return the byte encoding of
// this layer wrapping the original b.Bytes() payload.
// opts: options to use while writing out data.
// Returns:
// error if a problem was encountered during encoding. If an error is
// returned, the bytes in data should be considered invalidated, and
// not used.
// SerializeTo calls SHOULD entirely ignore LayerContents and
// LayerPayload. It just serializes based on struct fields, neither
// modifying nor using contents/payload.
SerializeTo(b SerializeBuffer, opts SerializeOptions) error
// LayerType returns the type of the layer that is being serialized to the buffer
LayerType() LayerType
// SerializeOptions provides options for behaviors that SerializableLayers may want to
// implement.
type SerializeOptions struct {
// FixLengths determines whether, during serialization, layers should fix
// the values for any length field that depends on the payload.
FixLengths bool
// ComputeChecksums determines whether, during serialization, layers
// should recompute checksums based on their payloads.
ComputeChecksums bool
// SerializeBuffer is a helper used by gopacket for writing out packet layers.
// SerializeBuffer starts off as an empty []byte. Subsequent calls to PrependBytes
// return byte slices before the current Bytes(), AppendBytes returns byte
// slices after.
// Byte slices returned by PrependBytes/AppendBytes are NOT zero'd out, so if
// you want to make sure they're all zeros, set them as such.
// SerializeBuffer is specifically designed to handle packet writing, where unlike
// with normal writes it's easier to start writing at the inner-most layer and
// work out, meaning that we often need to prepend bytes. This runs counter to
// typical writes to byte slices using append(), where we only write at the end
// of the buffer.
// It can be reused via Clear. Note, however, that a Clear call will invalidate the
// byte slices returned by any previous Bytes() call (the same buffer is
// reused).
// 1) Reusing a write buffer is generally much faster than creating a new one,
// and with the default implementation it avoids additional memory allocations.
// 2) If a byte slice from a previous Bytes() call will continue to be used,
// it's better to create a new SerializeBuffer.
// The Clear method is specifically designed to minimize memory allocations for
// similar later workloads on the SerializeBuffer. IE: if you make a set of
// Prepend/Append calls, then clear, then make the same calls with the same
// sizes, the second round (and all future similar rounds) shouldn't allocate
// any new memory.
type SerializeBuffer interface {
// Bytes returns the contiguous set of bytes collected so far by Prepend/Append
// calls. The slice returned by Bytes will be modified by future Clear calls,
// so if you're planning on clearing this SerializeBuffer, you may want to copy
// Bytes somewhere safe first.
Bytes() []byte
// PrependBytes returns a set of bytes which prepends the current bytes in this
// buffer. These bytes start in an indeterminate state, so they should be
// overwritten by the caller. The caller must only call PrependBytes if they
// know they're going to immediately overwrite all bytes returned.
PrependBytes(num int) ([]byte, error)
// AppendBytes returns a set of bytes which appends the current bytes in this
// buffer. These bytes start in an indeterminate state, so they should be
// overwritten by the caller. The caller must only call AppendBytes if they
// know they're going to immediately overwrite all bytes returned.
AppendBytes(num int) ([]byte, error)
// Clear resets the SerializeBuffer to a new, empty buffer. After a call to clear,
// the byte slice returned by any previous call to Bytes() for this buffer
// should be considered invalidated.
Clear() error
// Layers returns all the Layers that have been successfully serialized into this buffer
// already.
Layers() []LayerType
// PushLayer adds the current Layer to the list of Layers that have been serialized
// into this buffer.
type serializeBuffer struct {
data []byte
start int
prepended, appended int
layers []LayerType
// NewSerializeBuffer creates a new instance of the default implementation of
// the SerializeBuffer interface.
func NewSerializeBuffer() SerializeBuffer {
return &serializeBuffer{}
// NewSerializeBufferExpectedSize creates a new buffer for serialization, optimized for an
// expected number of bytes prepended/appended. This tends to decrease the
// number of memory allocations made by the buffer during writes.
func NewSerializeBufferExpectedSize(expectedPrependLength, expectedAppendLength int) SerializeBuffer {
return &serializeBuffer{
data: make([]byte, expectedPrependLength, expectedPrependLength+expectedAppendLength),
start: expectedPrependLength,
prepended: expectedPrependLength,
appended: expectedAppendLength,
func (w *serializeBuffer) Bytes() []byte {
func (w *serializeBuffer) PrependBytes(num int) ([]byte, error) {
if num < 0 {
panic("num < 0")
if w.start < num {
toPrepend := w.prepended
if toPrepend < num {
toPrepend = num
w.prepended += toPrepend
length := cap( + toPrepend
newData := make([]byte, length)
newStart := w.start + toPrepend
w.start = newStart = newData[:toPrepend+len(]
w.start -= num
return[w.start : w.start+num], nil
func (w *serializeBuffer) AppendBytes(num int) ([]byte, error) {
if num < 0 {
panic("num < 0")
initialLength := len(
if cap( < num {
toAppend := w.appended
if toAppend < num {
toAppend = num
w.appended += toAppend
newData := make([]byte, cap(
copy(newData[w.start:],[w.start:]) = newData[:initialLength]
// Grow the buffer. We know it'll be under capacity given above. =[:initialLength+num]
return[initialLength:], nil
func (w *serializeBuffer) Clear() error {
w.start = w.prepended =[:w.start]
w.layers = w.layers[:0]
return nil
func (w *serializeBuffer) Layers() []LayerType {
return w.layers
func (w *serializeBuffer) PushLayer(l LayerType) {
w.layers = append(w.layers, l)
// SerializeLayers clears the given write buffer, then writes all layers into it so
// they correctly wrap each other. Note that by clearing the buffer, it
// invalidates all slices previously returned by w.Bytes()
// Example:
// buf := gopacket.NewSerializeBuffer()
// opts := gopacket.SerializeOptions{}
// gopacket.SerializeLayers(buf, opts, a, b, c)
// firstPayload := buf.Bytes() // contains byte representation of a(b(c))
// gopacket.SerializeLayers(buf, opts, d, e, f)
// secondPayload := buf.Bytes() // contains byte representation of d(e(f)). firstPayload is now invalidated, since the SerializeLayers call Clears buf.
func SerializeLayers(w SerializeBuffer, opts SerializeOptions, layers ...SerializableLayer) error {
for i := len(layers) - 1; i >= 0; i-- {
layer := layers[i]
err := layer.SerializeTo(w, opts)
if err != nil {
return err
return nil
// SerializePacket is a convenience function that calls SerializeLayers
// on packet's Layers().
// It returns an error if one of the packet layers is not a SerializableLayer.
func SerializePacket(buf SerializeBuffer, opts SerializeOptions, packet Packet) error {
sls := []SerializableLayer{}
for _, layer := range packet.Layers() {
sl, ok := layer.(SerializableLayer)
if !ok {
return fmt.Errorf("layer %s is not serializable", layer.LayerType().String())
sls = append(sls, sl)
return SerializeLayers(buf, opts, sls...)
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