A fast, robust, richly-featured table serialisation library for Lua
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Since 2016-02-16, Ser is deprecated. I will still fix reported bugs, but for new projects, I recommend bitser if you're using LuaJIT, and binser otherwise.


Ser is a fast, robust, richly-featured table serialization library for Lua. It was specifically written to store configuration and save files for LÖVE games, but can be used anywhere.

Originally, this was the code to write save games for Space, but was released as a stand-alone library after many much-needed improvements.

Like Space itself, you use, distribute and extend Ser under the terms of the MIT license.


Ser is very simple and easy to use:

local serialize = require 'ser'

print(serialize({"Hello", world = true}))
-- prints:
-- return {"Hello", world = true}


Using Serpent's benchmark code, Ser is 33% faster than Serpent.


Sometimes you have strange, non-euclidean geometries in your table constructions. It happens, I don't judge. Ser can deal with that, where some other serialization libraries cry "Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!" and give up — or worse, silently produce incorrect data.

local serialize = require 'ser'

local cthulhu = {{}, {}, {}}
cthulhu.fhtagn = cthulhu
cthulhu[1][cthulhu[2]] = cthulhu[3]
cthulhu[2][cthulhu[1]] = cthulhu[2]
cthulhu[3][cthulhu[3]] = cthulhu
-- prints:
-- local _3 = {}
-- local _2 = {}
-- local _1 = {[_2] = _3}
-- local _0 = {_1, _2, _3}
-- _0.fhtagn = _0
-- _2[_1] = _2
-- _3[_3] = _0
-- return _0


Check out tests.lua to see how Ser behaves with all kinds of inputs.

Other solutions

Check out the Lua-users wiki for other libraries that do roughly the same thing.

See also

  • Lady: for trusted-source savegames
  • Smallfolk: for untrusted-source serialization