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Highly optimized bit-level Reader and Writer for Go.
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LICENSE Initial commit May 31, 2016 Rearranged badges. Jan 24, 2017
bitio_test.go Test Writer also with an io.Writer that does not implement io.ByteWriter Feb 21, 2018
doc.go Improved documentation. May 31, 2016
reader.go Taken care of gometalinter warnings. Updated travis to test with Go 1.8. Feb 17, 2017
writer.go Change behaviour not to close underlying io.Writer by Writer.Close() Feb 21, 2018


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Package bitio provides a highly optimized bit-level Reader and Writer for Go.

You can use Reader.ReadBits() to read arbitrary number of bits from an io.Reader and return it as an uint64, and Writer.WriteBits() to write arbitrary number of bits of an uint64 value to an io.Writer.

Both Reader and Writer also provide highly optimized methods for reading / writing 1 bit of information in the form of a bool value: Reader.ReadBool() and Writer.WriteBool(). These make this package ideal for compression algorithms that use Huffman coding for example, where decision whether to step left or right in the Huffman tree is the most frequent operation.

Reader and Writer give a bit-level view of the underlying io.Reader and io.Writer, but they also provide a byte-level view (io.Reader and io.Writer) at the same time. This means you can also use the Reader.Read() and Writer.Write() methods to read and write slices of bytes. These will give you best performance if the underlying io.Reader and io.Writer are aligned to a byte boundary (else all the individual bytes are assembled from / spread to multiple bytes). You can ensure byte boundary by calling the Align() method of Reader and Writer.

Bit order

The more general highest-bits-first order is used. So for example if the input provides the bytes 0x8f and 0x55:

HEXA    8    f     5    5
BINARY  1100 1111  0101 0101
        aaaa bbbc  ccdd dddd

Then ReadBits will return the following values:

r := NewReader(bytes.NewBuffer([]byte{0x8f, 0x55}))
a, err := r.ReadBits(4) //   1100 = 0x08
b, err := r.ReadBits(3) //    111 = 0x07
c, err := r.ReadBits(3) //    101 = 0x05
d, err := r.ReadBits(6) // 010101 = 0x15

Writing the above values would result in the same sequence of bytes:

b := &bytes.Buffer{}
w := NewWriter(b)
err := w.WriteBits(0x08, 4)
err = w.WriteBits(0x07, 3)
err = w.WriteBits(0x05, 3)
err = w.WriteBits(0x15, 6)
err = w.Close()
// b will hold the bytes: 0x8f and 0x55
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