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MessagePack for C# (.NET, .NET Core, Unity, Xamarin)

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The extremely fast MessagePack serializer for C#. It is 10x faster than MsgPack-Cli and outperforms other C# serializers. MessagePack for C# also ships with built-in support for LZ4 compression - an extremely fast compression algorithm. Performance is important, particularly in applications like game development, distributed computing, microservice architecture, and caching.

image

MessagePack has compact binary size and full set of general purpose expression. Please see the comparison with JSON, protobuf, ZeroFormatter section. If you want to know why MessagePack C# is fastest, please see performance section.

Installation

The library provides in NuGet except for Unity.

Standard library for .NET Framework 4.5, .NET Standard 1.6 and .NET Standard 2.0(.NET Core, Xamarin).

Install-Package MessagePack

Visual Studio Analyzer to help object definition

Install-Package MessagePackAnalyzer

Extension Packages(info is see extensions section).

Install-Package MessagePack.ImmutableCollection
Install-Package MessagePack.ReactiveProperty
Install-Package MessagePack.UnityShims
Install-Package MessagePack.AspNetCoreMvcFormatter

for Unity, download from releases page, providing .unitypackage. Unity IL2CPP or Xamarin AOT Environment, check the pre-code generation section.

Quick Start

Define class and mark as [MessagePackObject] and public members(property or field) mark as [Key], call MessagePackSerializer.Serialize<T>/Deserialize<T>. ToJson helps dump binary.

// mark MessagePackObjectAttribute
[MessagePackObject]
public class MyClass
{
    // Key is serialization index, it is important for versioning.
    [Key(0)]
    public int Age { get; set; }

    [Key(1)]
    public string FirstName { get; set; }

    [Key(2)]
    public string LastName { get; set; }

    // public members and does not serialize target, mark IgnoreMemberttribute
    [IgnoreMember]
    public string FullName { get { return FirstName + LastName; } }
}

class Program
{
    static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        var mc = new MyClass
        {
            Age = 99,
            FirstName = "hoge",
            LastName = "huga",
        };

        // call Serialize/Deserialize, that's all.
        var bytes = MessagePackSerializer.Serialize(mc);
        var mc2 = MessagePackSerializer.Deserialize<MyClass>(bytes);

        // you can dump msgpack binary to human readable json.
        // In default, MeesagePack for C# reduce property name information.
        // [99,"hoge","huga"]
        var json = MessagePackSerializer.ToJson(bytes);
        Console.WriteLine(json);
    }
}

By default the attribute is required. Optionally it can be unnecessary, see Object Serialization section and Formatter Resolver section for details.

Analyzer

MessagePackAnalyzer helps object definition. Attributes, accessibility etc are detected and it becomes a compiler error.

analyzergif

If you want to allow a specific type (for example, when registering a custom type), put MessagePackAnalyzer.json at the project root and make the Build Action to AdditionalFiles.

image

This is a sample of the contents of MessagePackAnalyzer.json.

[ "MyNamespace.FooClass", "MyNameSpace.BarStruct" ]

Built-in support types

These types can serialize by default.

Primitives(int, string, etc...), Enum, Nullable<>, TimeSpan, DateTime, DateTimeOffset, Nil, Guid, Uri, Version, StringBuilder, BitArray, ArraySegment<>, BigInteger, Complext, Task, Array[], Array[,], Array[,,], Array[,,,], KeyValuePair<,>, Tuple<,...>, ValueTuple<,...>, List<>, LinkedList<>, Queue<>, Stack<>, HashSet<>, ReadOnlyCollection<>, IList<>, ICollection<>, IEnumerable<>, Dictionary<,>, IDictionary<,>, SortedDictionary<,>, SortedList<,>, ILookup<,>, IGrouping<,>, ObservableCollection<>, ReadOnlyOnservableCollection<>, IReadOnlyList<>, IReadOnlyCollection<>, ISet<>, ConcurrentBag<>, ConcurrentQueue<>, ConcurrentStack<>, ReadOnlyDictionary<,>, IReadOnlyDictionary<,>, ConcurrentDictionary<,>, Lazy<>, Task<>, custom inherited ICollection<> or IDictionary<,> with paramterless constructor, IList, IDictionary and custom inherited ICollection or IDictionary with paramterless constructor(includes ArrayList and Hashtable).

You can add custom type support and has some official/third-party extension package. for ImmutableCollections(ImmutableList<>, etc), for ReactiveProperty and for Unity(Vector3, Quaternion, etc...), for F#(Record, FsList, Discriminated Unions, etc...). Please see extensions section.

MessagePack.Nil is built-in null/void/unit representation type of MessagePack for C#.

Object Serialization

MessagePack for C# can serialze your own public Class or Struct. Serialization target must marks [MessagePackObject] and [Key]. Key type can choose int or string. If key type is int, serialized format is used array. If key type is string, serialized format is used map. If you define [MessagePackObject(keyAsPropertyName: true)], does not require KeyAttribute.

[MessagePackObject]
public class Sample1
{
    [Key(0)]
    public int Foo { get; set; }
    [Key(1)]
    public int Bar { get; set; }
}

[MessagePackObject]
public class Sample2
{
    [Key("foo")]
    public int Foo { get; set; }
    [Key("bar")]
    public int Bar { get; set; }
}

[MessagePackObject(keyAsPropertyName: true)]
public class Sample3
{
    // no needs KeyAttribute
    public int Foo { get; set; }

    // If ignore public member, you can use IgnoreMemberAttribute
    [IgnoreMember]
    public int Bar { get; set; }
}

// [10,20]
Console.WriteLine(MessagePackSerializer.ToJson(new Sample1 { Foo = 10, Bar = 20 }));

// {"foo":10,"bar":20}
Console.WriteLine(MessagePackSerializer.ToJson(new Sample2 { Foo = 10, Bar = 20 }));

// {"Foo":10}
Console.WriteLine(MessagePackSerializer.ToJson(new Sample3 { Foo = 10, Bar = 20 }));

All patterns serialization target are public instance member(field or property). If you want to avoid serialization target, you can add [IgnoreMember] to target member.

target class must be public, does not allows private, internal class.

Which should uses int key or string key? I recommend use int key because faster and compact than string key. But string key has key name information, it is useful for debugging.

MessagePackSerializer requests target must put attribute is for robustness. If class is grown, you need to be conscious of versioning. MessagePackSerializer uses default value if key does not exists. If uses int key, should be start from 0 and should be sequential. If unnecessary properties come out, please make a missing number. Reuse is bad. Also, if Int Key's jump number is too large, it affects binary size.

[MessagePackObject]
public class IntKeySample
{
    [Key(3)]
    public int A { get; set; }
    [Key(10)]
    public int B { get; set; }
}

// [null,null,null,0,null,null,null,null,null,null,0]
Console.WriteLine(MessagePackSerializer.ToJson(new IntKeySample()));

I want to use like JSON.NET! I don't want to put attribute! If you think that way, you can use a contractless resolver.

public class ContractlessSample
{
    public int MyProperty1 { get; set; }
    public int MyProperty2 { get; set; }
}

var data = new ContractlessSample { MyProperty1 = 99, MyProperty2 = 9999 };
var bin = MessagePackSerializer.Serialize(data, MessagePack.Resolvers.ContractlessStandardResolver.Instance);

// {"MyProperty1":99,"MyProperty2":9999}
Console.WriteLine(MessagePackSerializer.ToJson(bin));

// You can set ContractlessStandardResolver as default.
MessagePackSerializer.SetDefaultResolver(MessagePack.Resolvers.ContractlessStandardResolver.Instance);

// serializable.
var bin2 = MessagePackSerializer.Serialize(data);

I want to serialize private member! In default, can not serialize/deserialize private members. But you can use allow-private resolver.

[MessagePackObject]
public class PrivateSample
{
    [Key(0)]
    int x;

    public void SetX(int v)
    {
        x = v;
    }

    public int GetX()
    {
        return x;
    }
}

var data = new PrivateSample();
data.SetX(9999);

// You can choose StandardResolverAllowPrivate or  ContractlessStandardResolverAllowPrivate
var bin = MessagePackSerializer.Serialize(data, MessagePack.Resolvers.DynamicObjectResolverAllowPrivate.Instance);

I don't need type, I want to use like BinaryFormatter! You can use as typeless resolver and helpers. Please see Typeless section.

Resolver is key customize point of MessagePack for C#. Details, please see extension point.

DataContract compatibility

You can use [DataContract] instead of [MessagePackObject]. If type is marked DataContract, you can use [DataMember] instead of [Key] and [IgnoreDataMember] instead of [IgnoreMember].

[DataMember(Order = int)] is same as [Key(int)], [DataMember(Name = string)] is same as [Key(string)]. If use [DataMember], same as [Key(nameof(propertyname)].

Using DataContract makes it a shared class library and you do not have to refer to MessagePack for C#. However, it is not included in analysis by Analyzer or code generation by mpc.exe. Also, functions like UnionAttribute, MessagePackFormatterAttribute, SerializationConstructorAttribute etc can not be used. For this reason, I recommend that you use the MessagePack for C# attribute basically.

Serialize ImmutableObject(SerializationConstructor)

MessagePack for C# supports deserialize immutable object. For example, this struct can serialize/deserialize naturally.

[MessagePackObject]
public struct Point
{
    [Key(0)]
    public readonly int X;
    [Key(1)]
    public readonly int Y;

    public Point(int x, int y)
    {
        this.X = x;
        this.Y = y;
    }
}

var data = new Point(99, 9999);
var bin = MessagePackSerializer.Serialize(data);

// Okay to deserialize immutable obejct
var point = MessagePackSerializer.Deserialize<Point>(bin);

MessagePackSerializer choose constructor with the least matched argument, match index if key in integer or match name(ignore case) if key is string. If encounts MessagePackDynamicObjectResolverException: can't find matched constructor parameter you should check about this.

If can not match automatically, you can specify to use constructor manually by [SerializationConstructorAttribute].

[MessagePackObject]
public struct Point
{
    [Key(0)]
    public readonly int X;
    [Key(1)]
    public readonly int Y;

    // If not marked attribute, used this(least matched argument)
    public Point(int x)
    {
        X = x;
    }

    [SerializationConstructor]
    public Point(int x, int y)
    {
        this.X = x;
        this.Y = y;
    }
}

Serialization Callback

If object implements IMessagePackSerializationCallbackReceiver, received OnBeforeSerialize and OnAfterDeserialize on serilization process.

[MessagePackObject]
public class SampleCallback : IMessagePackSerializationCallbackReceiver
{
    [Key(0)]
    public int Key { get; set; }

    public void OnBeforeSerialize()
    {
        Console.WriteLine("OnBefore");
    }

    public void OnAfterDeserialize()
    {
        Console.WriteLine("OnAfter");
    }
}

Union

MessagePack for C# supports serialize interface. It is like XmlInclude or ProtoInclude. MessagePack for C# there called Union. UnionAttribute can only attach to interface or abstract class. It requires discriminated integer key and sub-type.

// mark inheritance types
[MessagePack.Union(0, typeof(FooClass))]
[MessagePack.Union(1, typeof(BarClass))]
public interface IUnionSample
{
}

[MessagePackObject]
public class FooClass : IUnionSample
{
    [Key(0)]
    public int XYZ { get; set; }
}

[MessagePackObject]
public class BarClass : IUnionSample
{
    [Key(0)]
    public string OPQ { get; set; }
}

// ---

IUnionSample data = new FooClass() { XYZ = 999 };

// serialize interface.
var bin = MessagePackSerializer.Serialize(data);

// deserialize interface.
var reData = MessagePackSerializer.Deserialize<IUnionSample>(bin);

// use type-switch of C# 7.0
switch (reData)
{
    case FooClass x:
        Console.WriteLine(x.XYZ);
        break;
    case BarClass x:
        Console.WriteLine(x.OPQ);
        break;
    default:
        break;
}

C# 7.0 type-switch is best match for Union. Union is serialized to two-length array.

IUnionSample data = new BarClass { OPQ = "FooBar" };

var bin = MessagePackSerializer.Serialize(data);

// Union is serialized to two-length array, [key, object]
// [1,["FooBar"]]
Console.WriteLine(MessagePackSerializer.ToJson(bin));

Using Union in Abstract Class, you can use same of interface.

[Union(0, typeof(SubUnionType1))]
[Union(1, typeof(SubUnionType2))]
[MessagePackObject]
public abstract class ParentUnionType
{
    [Key(0)]
    public int MyProperty { get; set; }
}

[MessagePackObject]
public class SubUnionType1 : ParentUnionType
{
    [Key(1)]
    public int MyProperty1 { get; set; }
}

[MessagePackObject]
public class SubUnionType2 : ParentUnionType
{
    [Key(1)]
    public int MyProperty2 { get; set; }
}

Serialization of inherited type, flatten in array(or map), be carefult to integer key, it cannot duplicate parent and all childrens.

Dynamic(Untyped) Deserialization

If use MessagePackSerializer.Deserialize<object> or MessagePackSerializer.Deserialize<dynamic>, convert messagepack binary to primitive values that convert from msgpack-primitive to bool, char, sbyte, byte, short, int, long, ushort, uint, ulong, float, double, DateTime, string, byte[], object[], IDictionary<object, object>.

// sample binary.
var model = new DynamicModel { Name = "foobar", Items = new[] { 1, 10, 100, 1000 } };
var bin = MessagePackSerializer.Serialize(model, ContractlessStandardResolver.Instance);

// dynamic, untyped
var dynamicModel = MessagePackSerializer.Deserialize<dynamic>(bin, ContractlessStandardResolver.Instance);

Console.WriteLine(dynamicModel["Name"]); // foobar
Console.WriteLine(dynamicModel["Items"][2]); // 100

So you can access indexer for msgpack map and array.

Object Type Serialization

StandardResolver and ContractlessStandardResolver can serialize object type as concrete type by DynamicObjectTypeFallbackResolver.

var objects = new object[] { 1, "aaa", new ObjectFieldType { Anything = 9999 } };
var bin = MessagePackSerializer.Serialize(objects);

// [1,"aaa",[9999]]
Console.WriteLine(MessagePackSerializer.ToJson(bin));

// Support Anonymous Type Serialize
var anonType = new { Foo = 100, Bar = "foobar" };
var bin2 = MessagePackSerializer.Serialize(anonType, MessagePack.Resolvers.ContractlessStandardResolver.Instance);

// {"Foo":100,"Bar":"foobar"}
Console.WriteLine(MessagePackSerializer.ToJson(bin2));

Unity supports is limited.

When deserializing, same as Dynamic(Untyped) Deserialization.

Typeless

Typeless API is like BinaryFormatter, embed type information to binary so no needs type to deserialize.

object mc = new Sandbox.MyClass()
{
    Age = 10,
    FirstName = "hoge",
    LastName = "huga"
};

// serialize to typeless
var bin = MessagePackSerializer.Typeless.Serialize(mc);

// binary data is embeded type-assembly information.
// ["Sandbox.MyClass, Sandbox",10,"hoge","huga"]
Console.WriteLine(MessagePackSerializer.ToJson(bin));

// can deserialize to MyClass with typeless
var objModel = MessagePackSerializer.Typeless.Deserialize(bin) as MyClass;

Type information is serialized by mspgack ext format, typecode is 100.

MessagePackSerializer.Typeless is shortcut of Serialize/Deserialize<object>(TypelessContractlessStandardResolver.Instance). If you want to configure default typeless resolver, you can set by MessagePackSerializer.Typeless.RegisterDefaultResolver.

TypelessFormatter can use standalone and combinate with existing resolvers.

// replace `object` uses typeless
MessagePack.Resolvers.CompositeResolver.RegisterAndSetAsDefault(
    new[] { MessagePack.Formatters.TypelessFormatter.Instance },
    new[] { MessagePack.Resolvers.StandardResolver.Instance });

public class Foo
{
    // use Typeless(this field only)
    [MessagePackFormatter(typeof(TypelessFormatter))]
    public object Bar;
}

If type name was changed, can not deserialize. If you need to typename fallback, you can use TypelessFormatter.BindToType.

MessagePack.Formatters.TypelessFormatter.BindToType = typeName =>
{
    if (typeName.StartsWith("SomeNamespace"))
    {
        typeName = typeName.Replace("SomeNamespace", "AnotherNamespace");
    }
    
    return Type.GetType(typeName, false);
};

Performance

Benchmarks comparing to other serializers run on Windows 10 Pro x64 Intel Core i7-6700K 4.00GHz, 32GB RAM. Benchmark code is here - and there version info, ZeroFormatter and FlatBuffers has infinitely fast deserializer so ignore deserialize performance.

image

MessagePack for C# uses many techniques for improve performance.

  • Serializer uses only ref byte[] and int offset, don't use (Memory)Stream(call Stream api has overhead)
  • High-level API uses internal memory pool, don't allocate working memory under 64K
  • Don't create intermediate utility instance(XxxWriter/Reader, XxxContext, etc...)
  • Avoid boxing all codes, all platforms(include Unity/IL2CPP)
  • Getting cached generated formatter on static generic field(don't use dictinary-cache because dictionary lookup is overhead): see:Resolvers
  • Heavyly tuned dynamic il code generation: see:DynamicObjectTypeBuilder
  • Call PrimitiveAPI directly when il code generation knows target is primitive
  • Reduce branch of variable length format when il code generation knows target(integer/string) range
  • Don't use IEnumerable<T> abstraction on iterate collection, see:CollectionFormatterBase and inherited collection formatters
  • Uses pre generated lookup table to reduce check messagepack type, see: MessagePackBinary
  • Uses optimized type key dictionary for non-generic methods, see: ThreadsafeTypeKeyHashTable
  • Avoid string key decode for lookup map(string key) key and uses automata based name lookup with il inlining code generation, see: AutomataDictionary
  • For string key encode, pre-generated member name bytes and use fixed sized binary copy in IL, see: UnsafeMemory.cs

Before creating this library, I implemented a fast fast serializer with ZeroFormatter#Performance. And this is a further evolved implementation. MessagePack for C# is always fast, optimized for all types(primitive, small struct, large object, any collections).

Deserialize Performance per options

Performance varies depending on options. This is a micro benchamark with BenchmarkDotNet. Target object has 9 members(MyProperty1 ~ MyProperty9), value are zero.

Method Mean Error Scaled Gen 0 Allocated
IntKey 72.67 ns NA 1.00 0.0132 56 B
StringKey 217.95 ns NA 3.00 0.0131 56 B
Typeless_IntKey 176.71 ns NA 2.43 0.0131 56 B
Typeless_StringKey 378.64 ns NA 5.21 0.0129 56 B
MsgPackCliMap 1,355.26 ns NA 18.65 0.1431 608 B
MsgPackCliArray 455.28 ns NA 6.26 0.0415 176 B
ProtobufNet 265.85 ns NA 3.66 0.0319 136 B
Hyperion 366.47 ns NA 5.04 0.0949 400 B
JsonNetString 2,783.39 ns NA 38.30 0.6790 2864 B
JsonNetStreamReader 3,297.90 ns NA 45.38 1.4267 6000 B
JilString 553.65 ns NA 7.62 0.0362 152 B
JilStreamReader 1,408.46 ns NA 19.38 0.8450 3552 B

IntKey, StringKey, Typeless_IntKey, Typeless_StringKey are MessagePack for C# options. All MessagePack for C# options achive zero memory allocation on deserialization process. JsonNetString/JilString is deserialized from string. JsonNetStreamReader/JilStreamReader is deserialized from UTF8 byte[] with StreamReader. Deserialization is normally read from Stream. Thus, it will be restored from byte[](or Stream) instead of string.

MessagePack for C# IntKey is fastest. StringKey is slower than IntKey because matching from the character string is required. If IntKey, read array length, for(array length) { binary decode }. If StringKey, read map length, for(map length) { decode key, lookup by key, binary decode } so requires additional two steps(decode key and lookup by key).

String key is often useful, contractless, simple replacement of JSON, interoperability with other languages, and more certain versioning. MessagePack for C# is also optimized for String Key. First of all, it do not decode UTF8 byte[] to String for matching with the member name, it will look up the byte[] as it is(avoid decode cost and extra allocation).

And It will try to match each long type (per 8 character, if it is not enough, pad with 0) using automata and inline it when IL code generating.

image

This also avoids calculating the hash code of byte[], and the comparison can be made several times on a long unit.

This is the sample decompile of generated deserializer code by ILSpy.

image

If the number of nodes is large, search with a embedded binary search.

Extra note, this is serialize benchmark result.

Method Mean Error Scaled Gen 0 Allocated
IntKey 84.11 ns NA 1.00 0.0094 40 B
StringKey 126.75 ns NA 1.51 0.0341 144 B
Typeless_IntKey 183.31 ns NA 2.18 0.0265 112 B
Typeless_StringKey 193.95 ns NA 2.31 0.0513 216 B
MsgPackCliMap 967.68 ns NA 11.51 0.1297 552 B
MsgPackCliArray 284.20 ns NA 3.38 0.1006 424 B
ProtobufNet 176.43 ns NA 2.10 0.0665 280 B
Hyperion 280.14 ns NA 3.33 0.1674 704 B
ZeroFormatter 149.95 ns NA 1.78 0.1009 424 B
JsonNetString 1,432.55 ns NA 17.03 0.4616 1944 B
JsonNetStreamWriter 1,775.72 ns NA 21.11 1.5526 6522 B
JilString 547.51 ns NA 6.51 0.3481 1464 B
JilStreamWriter 778.78 ns NA 9.26 1.4448 6066 B

Of course, IntKey is fastest but StringKey also good.

LZ4 Compression

MessagePack is a fast and compact format but it is not compression. LZ4 is extremely fast compression algorithm, with MessagePack for C# can achive extremely fast perfrormance and extremely compact binary size!

MessagePack for C# has built-in LZ4 support. You can use LZ4MessagePackSerializer instead of MessagePackSerializer. Builtin support is special, I've created serialize-compression pipeline and special tuned for the pipeline so share the working memory, don't allocate, don't resize until finished.

Serialized binary is not simply compressed lz4 binary. Serialized binary is valid MessagePack binary used ext-format and custom typecode(99).

var array= Enumerable.Range(1, 100).Select(x => new MyClass { Age = 5, FirstName = "foo", LastName = "bar" }).ToArray();

// call LZ4MessagePackSerializer instead of MessagePackSerializer, api is completely same
var lz4Bytes = LZ4MessagePackSerializer.Serialize(array);
var mc2 = LZ4MessagePackSerializer.Deserialize<MyClass[]>(lz4Bytes);

// you can dump lz4 message pack
// [[5,"hoge","huga"],[5,"hoge","huga"],....]
var json = LZ4MessagePackSerializer.ToJson(lz4Bytes);
Console.WriteLine(json);

// lz4Bytes is valid MessagePack, it is using ext-format( [TypeCode:99, SourceLength|CompressedBinary] )
// [99,"0gAAA+vf3ABkkwWjZm9vo2JhcgoA////yVBvo2Jhcg=="]
var rawJson = MessagePackSerializer.ToJson(lz4Bytes);
Console.WriteLine(rawJson);

built-in LZ4 support uses primitive LZ4 API. The LZ4 API is more efficient if you know the size of original source length. Therefore, size is written on the top.

Compression speed is not always fast. Depending on the target binary, it may be short or longer. However, even at worst, it is about twice, but it is still often faster than other uncompressed serializers.

If target binary size under 64 bytes, LZ4MessagePackSerializer does not compress to optimize small size serialization.

Compare with protobuf, JSON, ZeroFormatter

protbuf-net is major, most used binary-format library on .NET. I love protobuf-net and respect that great work. But if uses protobuf-net for general-purpose serialization format, you may encounts annoying issue.

[ProtoContract]
public class Parent
{
    [ProtoMember(1)]
    public int Primitive { get; set; }
    [ProtoMember(2)]
    public Child Prop { get; set; }
    [ProtoMember(3)]
    public int[] Array { get; set; }
}

[ProtoContract]
public class Child
{
    [ProtoMember(1)]
    public int Number { get; set; }
}

using (var ms = new MemoryStream())
{
    // serialize null.
    ProtoBuf.Serializer.Serialize<Parent>(ms, null);

    ms.Position = 0;
    var result = ProtoBuf.Serializer.Deserialize<Parent>(ms);

    Console.WriteLine(result != null); // True, not null. but all property are zero formatted.
    Console.WriteLine(result.Primitive); // 0
    Console.WriteLine(result.Prop); // null
    Console.WriteLine(result.Array); // null
}

using (var ms = new MemoryStream())
{
    // serialize empty array.
    ProtoBuf.Serializer.Serialize<Parent>(ms, new Parent { Array = new int[0] });

    ms.Position = 0;
    var result = ProtoBuf.Serializer.Deserialize<Parent>(ms);

    Console.WriteLine(result.Array == null); // True, null!
}

protobuf(-net) can not handle null and empty collection correctly. Because protobuf has no null representation( this is the protobuf-net authors answer).

MessagePack specification can completely serialize C# type system. This is the reason to recommend MessagePack over protobuf.

Protocol Buffers has good IDL and gRPC, that is a much good point than MessagePack. If you want to use IDL, I recommend Google.Protobuf than MessagePack.

JSON is good general-purpose format. It is perfect, simple and enough spec. Utf8Json which created me that adopts same architecture as MessagePack for C# and avoid encoding/decoing cost so work like binary. If you want to know about binary vs text, see Utf8Json/which serializer should be used section.

ZeroFormatter is similar as FlatBuffers but specialized to C#. It is special. Deserialization is infinitely fast but instead the binary size is large. And ZeroFormatter's caching algorithm requires additional memory.

Again, ZeroFormatter is special. When situation matches with ZeroFormatter, it demonstrates power of format. But for many common uses, MessagePack for C# would be better.

Extensions

MessagePack for C# has extension point and you can add external type's serialization support. There are official extension support.

Install-Package MessagePack.ImmutableCollection
Install-Package MessagePack.ReactiveProperty
Install-Package MessagePack.UnityShims
Install-Package MessagePack.AspNetCoreMvcFormatter

MessagePack.ImmutableCollection package add support for System.Collections.Immutable library. It adds ImmutableArray<>, ImmutableList<>, ImmutableDictionary<,>, ImmutableHashSet<>, ImmutableSortedDictionary<,>, ImmutableSortedSet<>, ImmutableQueue<>, ImmutableStack<>, IImmutableList<>, IImmutableDictionary<,>, IImmutableQueue<>, IImmutableSet<>, IImmutableStack<> serialization support.

MessagePack.ReactiveProperty package add support for ReactiveProperty library. It adds ReactiveProperty<>, IReactiveProperty<>, IReadOnlyReactiveProperty<>, ReactiveCollection<>, Unit serialization support. It is useful for save viewmodel state.

MessagePack.UnityShims package provides shim of Unity's standard struct(Vector2, Vector3, Vector4, Quaternion, Color, Bounds, Rect, AnimationCurve, Keyframe, Matrix4x4, Gradient, Color32, RectOffset, LayerMask, Vector2Int, Vector3Int, RangeInt, RectInt, BoundsInt) and there formatter. It can enable to commnicate between server and Unity client.

After install, extension package must enable by configuration. Here is sample of enable all extension.

// set extensions to default resolver.
MessagePack.Resolvers.CompositeResolver.RegisterAndSetAsDefault(
    // enable extension packages first
    ImmutableCollectionResolver.Instance,
    ReactivePropertyResolver.Instance,
    MessagePack.Unity.Extension.UnityBlitResolver.Instance,
    MessagePack.Unity.UnityResolver.Instance,

    // finaly use standard(default) resolver
    StandardResolver.Instance);
);

Configuration details, see:Extension Point section.

MessagePack.AspNetCoreMvcFormatter is add-on of ASP.NET Core MVC's serialization to boostup performance. This is configuration sample.

public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
{
    services.AddMvc().AddMvcOptions(option =>
    {
        option.OutputFormatters.Clear();
        option.OutputFormatters.Add(new MessagePackOutputFormatter(ContractlessStandardResolver.Instance));
        option.InputFormatters.Clear();
        option.InputFormatters.Add(new MessagePackInputFormatter(ContractlessStandardResolver.Instance));
    });
}

Author is creating other extension packages, too.

You can make your own extension serializers or integrate with framework, let's create them and share it!

High-Level API(MessagePackSerializer)

MessagePackSerializer is the entry point of MessagePack for C#. Its static methods are main API of MessagePack for C#.

API Description
DefaultResolver FormatterResolver that used resolver less overloads. If does not set it, used StandardResolver.
SetDefaultResolver Set default resolver of MessagePackSerializer APIs.
Serialize<T> Convert object to byte[] or write to stream. There has IFormatterResolver overload, used specified resolver.
SerializeUnsafe<T> Same as Serialize<T> but return ArraySegement<byte>. The result of ArraySegment is contains internal buffer pool, it can not share across thread and can not hold, so use quickly.
Deserialize<T> Convert byte[] or ArraySegment<byte> or stream to object. There has IFormatterResolver overload, used specified resolver.
NonGeneric.* NonGeneric APIs of Serialize/Deserialize. There accept type parameter at first argument. This API is bit slower than generic API but useful for framework integration such as ASP.NET formatter.
Typeless.* Typeless APIs of Serialize/Deserialize. This API no needs type parameter like BinaryFormatter. This API makes .NET specific binary and bit slower than standard APIs.
ToJson Dump message-pack binary to JSON string. It is useful for debugging.
FromJson From Json string to MessagePack binary.
ToLZ4Binary (LZ4 only)Convert msgpack binary to LZ4 msgpack binary.
Decode (LZ4 only)Convert LZ4 msgpack binary to standard msgpack binary.

MessagePack for C# operates at the byte[] level, so byte[] API is faster than Stream API. If byte [] can be used for I/O, I recommend using the byte [] API.

Deserialize<T>(Stream) has bool readStrict overload. It means read byte[] from stream strictly size. The default is false, it reads all stream data, it is faster than readStrict but if the data is contiguous, you can use readStrict = true.

High-Level API uses memory pool internaly to avoid unnecessary memory allocation. If result size is under 64K, allocates GC memory only for the return bytes.

LZ4MessagePackSerializer has same api with MessagePackSerializer and DefaultResolver is shared. LZ4MessagePackSerializer has additional SerializeToBlock method.

Low-Level API(IMessagePackFormatter)

IMessagePackFormatter is serializer by each type. For example Int32Formatter : IMessagePackFormatter<Int32> represents Int32 MessagePack serializer.

public interface IMessagePackFormatter<T>
{
    int Serialize(ref byte[] bytes, int offset, T value, IFormatterResolver formatterResolver);
    T Deserialize(byte[] bytes, int offset, IFormatterResolver formatterResolver, out int readSize);
}

All api works on byte[] level, no use Stream, no use Writer/Reader so improve performance. Many builtin formatters exists under MessagePack.Formatters. You can get sub type serializer by formatterResolver.GetFormatter<T>. Here is sample of write own formatter.

// serialize fileinfo as string fullpath.
public class FileInfoFormatter<T> : IMessagePackFormatter<FileInfo>
{
    public int Serialize(ref byte[] bytes, int offset, FileInfo value, IFormatterResolver formatterResolver)
    {
        if (value == null)
        {
            return MessagePackBinary.WriteNil(ref bytes, offset);
        }

        return MessagePackBinary.WriteString(ref bytes, offset, value.FullName);
    }

    public FileInfo Deserialize(byte[] bytes, int offset, IFormatterResolver formatterResolver, out int readSize)
    {
        if (MessagePackBinary.IsNil(bytes, offset))
        {
            readSize = 1;
            return null;
        }

        var path = MessagePackBinary.ReadString(bytes, offset, out readSize);
        return new FileInfo(path);
    }
}

Created formatter needs to register to IFormatterResolver. Please see Extension Point section.

You can see many other samples from builtin formatters.

Primitive API(MessagePackBinary)

MessagePackBinary is most low-level API like Reader/Writer of other serializers. MessagePackBinary is static class because avoid create Reader/Writer allocation.

Method Description
ReadNext Skip MessagePackFormat binary block, returns read size.
ReadNextBlock Skip MessagePackFormat binary block with sub structures(array/map), returns read size. This is useful for create deserializer.
ReadMessageBlockFromStreamUnsafe Read binary block from Stream, if readOnlySingleMessage = false then read sub structures(array/map).
ReadStringSegment Read string format but do not decode UTF8, returns ArraySegment<byte>.
ReadBytesSegment Read binary format but do not copy bytes, returns ArraySegment<byte>.
Write/ReadMapHeader Write/Read map format header(element length).
WriteMapHeaderForceMap32Block Write map format header, always use map32 format(length is fixed, 5).
Write/ReadArrayHeader Write/Read array format header(element length).
WriteArrayHeaderForceArray32Block Write array format header, always use array32 format(length is fixed, 5).
Write/Read*** *** is primitive type name(Int32, Single, String, etc...)
Write***Force***Block *** is primitive integer name(Byte, Int32, UInt64, etc...), acquire strict block and write code
Write/ReadBytes Write/Read byte[] to use bin format.
Write/ReadExtensionFormat Write/Read ext format header(Length + TypeCode) and content byte[].
Write/ReadExtensionFormatHeader Write/Read ext format, header(Length + TypeCode) only.
WriteExtensionFormatHeaderForceExt32Block Write ext format header, always use ext32 format(length is fixed, 6).
WriteRaw Write msgpack block directly.
IsNil Is TypeCode Nil?
GetMessagePackType Return MessagePackType of target MessagePack bianary position.
GetExtensionFormatHeaderLength Calculate extension formatter header length.
GetEncodedStringBytes Get msgpack packed raw binary.
EnsureCapacity Resize if byte can not fill.
FastResize Buffer.BlockCopy version of Array.Resize.
FastCloneWithResize Same as FastResize but return copied byte[].

Read API returns deserialized primitive and read size. Write API returns write size and guranteed auto ensure ref byte[]. Write/Read API has byte[] overload and Stream overload, basically the byte[] API is faster.

DateTime is serialized to MessagePack Timestamp format, it serialize/deserialize UTC and loses Kind info. If you useNativeDateTimeResolver serialized native DateTime binary format and it can keep Kind info but cannot communicate other platforms.

MessagePackType means msgpack spec of source types.

MessagePackCode means msgpack format of first byte. Its static class has ToMessagePackType and ToFormatName utility methods.

MessagePackRange means Min-Max fix range of msgpack format.

Extension Point(IFormatterResolver)

IFormatterResolver is storage of typed serializers. Serializer api accepts resolver and can customize serialization.

Resovler Name Description
BuiltinResolver Builtin primitive and standard classes resolver. It includes primitive(int, bool, string...) and there nullable, array and list. and some extra builtin types(Guid, Uri, BigInteger, etc...).
StandardResolver Composited resolver. It resolves in the following order builtin -> attribute -> dynamic enum -> dynamic generic -> dynamic union -> dynamic object -> dynamic object fallback. This is the default of MessagePackSerializer.
ContractlessStandardResolver Composited StandardResolver(except dynamic object fallback) -> DynamicContractlessObjectResolver -> DynamicObjectTypeFallbackResolver. It enables contractless serialization.
StandardResolverAllowPrivate Same as StandardResolver but allow serialize/deserialize private members.
ContractlessStandardResolverAllowPrivate Same as ContractlessStandardResolver but allow serialize/deserialize private members.
PrimitiveObjectResolver MessagePack primitive object resolver. It is used fallback in object type and supports bool, char, sbyte, byte, short, int, long, ushort, uint, ulong, float, double, DateTime, string, byte[], ICollection, IDictionary.
DynamicObjectTypeFallbackResolver Serialize is used type in from object type, deserialize is used PrimitiveObjectResolver.
AttributeFormatterResolver Get formatter from [MessagePackFormatter] attribute.
CompositeResolver Singleton helper of setup custom resolvers. You can use Register or RegisterAndSetAsDefault API.
NativeDateTimeResolver Serialize by .NET native DateTime binary format.
UnsafeBinaryResolver Guid and Decimal serialize by binary representation. It is faster than standard(string) representation.
OldSpecResolver str and bin serialize/deserialize follows old messagepack spec(use raw format)
DynamicEnumResolver Resolver of enum and there nullable, serialize there underlying type. It uses dynamic code generation to avoid boxing and boostup performance serialize there name.
DynamicEnumAsStringResolver Resolver of enum and there nullable. It uses reflection call for resolve nullable at first time.
DynamicGenericResolver Resolver of generic type(Tuple<>, List<>, Dictionary<,>, Array, etc). It uses reflection call for resolve generic argument at first time.
DynamicUnionResolver Resolver of interface marked by UnionAttribute. It uses dynamic code generation to create dynamic formatter.
DynamicObjectResolver Resolver of class and struct maked by MessagePackObjectAttribute. It uses dynamic code generation to create dynamic formatter.
DynamicContractlessObjectResolver Resolver of all classes and structs. It does not needs MessagePackObjectAttribute and serialized key as string(same as marked [MessagePackObject(true)]).
DynamicObjectResolverAllowPrivate Same as DynamicObjectResolver but allow serialize/deserialize private members.
DynamicContractlessObjectResolverAllowPrivate Same as DynamicContractlessObjectResolver but allow serialize/deserialize private members.
TypelessObjectResolver Used for object, embed .NET type in binary by ext(100) format so no need to pass type in deserilization.
TypelessContractlessStandardResolver Composited resolver. It resolves in the following order nativedatetime -> builtin -> attribute -> dynamic enum -> dynamic generic -> dynamic union -> dynamic object -> dynamiccontractless -> typeless. This is the default of MessagePackSerializer.Typeless

It is the only configuration point to assemble the resolver's priority. In most cases, it is sufficient to have one custom resolver globally. CompositeResolver will be its helper.

// use global-singleton CompositeResolver.
// This method initialize CompositeResolver and set to default MessagePackSerializer
CompositeResolver.RegisterAndSetAsDefault(
    // resolver custom types first
    ImmutableCollectionResolver.Instance,
    ReactivePropertyResolver.Instance,
    MessagePack.Unity.Extension.UnityBlitResolver.Instance,
    MessagePack.Unity.UnityResolver.Instance,

    // finaly use standard resolver
    StandardResolver.Instance);

Here is sample of use DynamicEnumAsStringResolver with DynamicContractlessObjectResolver(It is JSON.NET-like lightweight setting.)

// composite same as StandardResolver
CompositeResolver.RegisterAndSetAsDefault(
    MessagePack.Resolvers.BuiltinResolver.Instance,
    MessagePack.Resolvers.AttributeFormatterResolver.Instance,

    // replace enum resolver
    MessagePack.Resolvers.DynamicEnumAsStringResolver.Instance,

    MessagePack.Resolvers.DynamicGenericResolver.Instance,
    MessagePack.Resolvers.DynamicUnionResolver.Instance,
    MessagePack.Resolvers.DynamicObjectResolver.Instance,

    MessagePack.Resolvers.PrimitiveObjectResolver.Instance,

    // final fallback(last priority)
    MessagePack.Resolvers.DynamicContractlessObjectResolver.Instance
);

If you want to write custom composite resolver, you can write like following.

public class CustomCompositeResolver : IFormatterResolver
{
    public static IFormatterResolver Instance = new CustomCompositeResolver();

    static readonly IFormatterResolver[] resolvers = new[]
    {
        // resolver custom types first
        ImmutableCollectionResolver.Instance,
        ReactivePropertyResolver.Instance,
        MessagePack.Unity.Extension.UnityBlitResolver.Instance,
        MessagePack.Unity.UnityResolver.Instance,
            
        // finaly use standard resolver
        StandardResolver.Instance
    };

    CustomCompositeResolver()
    {
    }

    public IMessagePackFormatter<T> GetFormatter<T>()
    {
        return FormatterCache<T>.formatter;
    }

    static class FormatterCache<T>
    {
        public static readonly IMessagePackFormatter<T> formatter;

        static FormatterCache()
        {
            foreach (var item in resolvers)
            {
                var f = item.GetFormatter<T>();
                if (f != null)
                {
                    formatter = f;
                    return;
                }
            }
        }
    }
}

IFormatterResolver can use per serialize/deserialize method.

MessagePackSerializer.Serialize(data, CustomCompositeResolver.Instance);

If you want to make your extension package, you need to make formatter and resolver. IMessagePackFormatter accepts IFormatterResolver on every request of serialize/deserialize. You can get child-type serialize on resolver.GetFormatterWithVerify<T>.

Here is sample of own resolver.

public class SampleCustomResolver : IFormatterResolver
{
    // Resolver should be singleton.
    public static IFormatterResolver Instance = new SampleCustomResolver();

    SampleCustomResolver()
    {
    }

    // GetFormatter<T>'s get cost should be minimized so use type cache.
    public IMessagePackFormatter<T> GetFormatter<T>()
    {
        return FormatterCache<T>.formatter;
    }

    static class FormatterCache<T>
    {
        public static readonly IMessagePackFormatter<T> formatter;

        // generic's static constructor should be minimized for reduce type generation size!
        // use outer helper method.
        static FormatterCache()
        {
            formatter = (IMessagePackFormatter<T>)SampleCustomResolverGetFormatterHelper.GetFormatter(typeof(T));
        }
    }
}

internal static class SampleCustomResolverGetFormatterHelper
{
    // If type is concrete type, use type-formatter map
    static readonly Dictionary<Type, object> formatterMap = new Dictionary<Type, object>()
    {
        {typeof(FileInfo), new FileInfoFormatter()}
        // add more your own custom serializers.
    };

    internal static object GetFormatter(Type t)
    {
        object formatter;
        if (formatterMap.TryGetValue(t, out formatter))
        {
            return formatter;
        }

        // If target type is generics, use MakeGenericType.
        if (t.IsGenericParameter && t.GetGenericTypeDefinition() == typeof(ValueTuple<,>))
        {
            return Activator.CreateInstance(typeof(ValueTupleFormatter<,>).MakeGenericType(t.GenericTypeArguments));
        }

        // If type can not get, must return null for fallback mecanism.
        return null;
    }
}

MessagePackFormatterAttribute

MessagePackFormatterAttribute is lightweight extension point of class, struct, interface, enum and property/field. This is like JSON.NET's JsonConverterAttribute. For example, serialize private field, serialize x10 formatter.

[MessagePackFormatter(typeof(CustomObjectFormatter))]
public class CustomObject
{
    string internalId;

    public CustomObject()
    {
        this.internalId = Guid.NewGuid().ToString();
    }

    // serialize/deserialize internal field.
    class CustomObjectFormatter : IMessagePackFormatter<CustomObject>
    {
        public int Serialize(ref byte[] bytes, int offset, CustomObject value, IFormatterResolver formatterResolver)
        {
            return formatterResolver.GetFormatterWithVerify<string>().Serialize(ref bytes, offset, value.internalId, formatterResolver);
        }

        public CustomObject Deserialize(byte[] bytes, int offset, IFormatterResolver formatterResolver, out int readSize)
        {
            var id = formatterResolver.GetFormatterWithVerify<string>().Deserialize(bytes, offset, formatterResolver, out readSize);
            return new CustomObject { internalId = id };
        }
    }
}

// per field, member

public class Int_x10Formatter : IMessagePackFormatter<int>
{
    public int Deserialize(byte[] bytes, int offset, IFormatterResolver formatterResolver, out int readSize)
    {
        return MessagePackBinary.ReadInt32(bytes, offset, out readSize) * 10;
    }

    public int Serialize(ref byte[] bytes, int offset, int value, IFormatterResolver formatterResolver)
    {
        return MessagePackBinary.WriteInt32(ref bytes, offset, value * 10);
    }
}

[MessagePackObject]
public class MyClass
{
    // You can attach custom formatter per member.
    [Key(0)]
    [MessagePackFormatter(typeof(Int_x10Formatter))]
    public int MyProperty1 { get; set; }
}

Formatter is retrieved by AttributeFormatterResolver, it is included in StandardResolver.

IgnoreFormatter

IgnoreFormatter<T> is lightweight extension point of class and struct, if exists can't serializable type in external type, you can register IgnoreFormatter<T> that serialize to nil.

// CompositeResolver can set custom formatter.
MessagePack.Resolvers.CompositeResolver.RegisterAndSetAsDefault(
    new IMessagePackFormatter[] 
    {
        // for example, register reflection infos(can not serialize in default)
        new IgnoreFormatter<MethodBase>(),
        new IgnoreFormatter<MethodInfo>(),
        new IgnoreFormatter<PropertyInfo>(),
        new IgnoreFormatter<FieldInfo>()
    },
    new IFormatterResolver[] 
    {
        ContractlessStandardResolver.Instance
    });

Reserved Extension Types

MessagePack for C# already used some messagepack ext type codes, be careful to use same ext code.

Code Type Use by
-1 DateTime msgpack-spec reserved for timestamp
30 Vector2[] for Unity, UnsafeBlitFormatter
31 Vector3[] for Unity, UnsafeBlitFormatter
32 Vector4[] for Unity, UnsafeBlitFormatter
33 Quaternion[] for Unity, UnsafeBlitFormatter
34 Color[] for Unity, UnsafeBlitFormatter
35 Bounds[] for Unity, UnsafeBlitFormatter
36 Rect[] for Unity, UnsafeBlitFormatter
37 Int[] for Unity, UnsafeBlitFormatter
38 Float[] for Unity, UnsafeBlitFormatter
39 Double[] for Unity, UnsafeBlitFormatter
99 All LZ4MessagePackSerializer
100 object TypelessFormatter

for Unity

You can install by package and includes source code. If build target as PC, you can use as is but if build target uses IL2CPP, you can not use Dynamic***Resolver so use pre-code generation. Please see pre-code generation section.

In Unity, MessagePackSerializer can serialize Vector2, Vector3, Vector4, Quaternion, Color, Bounds, Rect, AnimationCurve, Keyframe, Matrix4x4, Gradient, Color32, RectOffset, LayerMask, Vector2Int, Vector3Int, RangeInt, RectInt, BoundsInt and there nullable, there array, there list by built-in extension UnityResolver. It is included StandardResolver by default.

MessagePack for C# has additional unsafe extension. UnsafeBlitResolver is special resolver for extremely fast unsafe serialization/deserialization for struct array.

image

x20 faster Vector3[] serialization than native JsonUtility. If use UnsafeBlitResolver, serialize special format(ext:typecode 30~39) Vector2[], Vector3[], Quaternion[], Color[], Bounds[], Rect[]. If use UnityBlitWithPrimitiveArrayResolver, supports int[], float[], double[] too. This special feature is useful for serialize Mesh(many Vector3[]) or many transform position.

If you want to use unsafe resolver, you must enables unsafe option and define additional symbols. At first, write -unsafe on smcs.rsp, gmcs.rsp etc. And define ENABLE_UNSAFE_MSGPACK symbol.

image

Here is sample of configuration.

Resolvers.CompositeResolver.RegisterAndSetAsDefault(
    MessagePack.Unity.UnityResolver.Instance,
    MessagePack.Unity.Extension.UnityBlitWithPrimitiveArrayResolver.Instance,

    // If PC, use StandardResolver
    // MessagePack.Resolvers.StandardResolver.Instance,

    // If IL2CPP, Builtin + GeneratedResolver.
    // MessagePack.Resolvers.BuiltinResolver.Instance,
);

MessagePack.UnityShims NuGet package is for .NET ServerSide serialization support to communicate with Unity. It includes shim of Vector3 etc and Safe/Unsafe serialization extension.

If you want to share class between Unity and Server, you can use SharedProject or Reference as Link or new MSBuild(VS2017)'s wildcard reference etc. Anyway you need to source-code level share. This is sample project structure of use SharedProject.

  • SharedProject(source code sharing)
    • Source codes of server-client shared
  • ServerProject(.NET 4.6/.NET Core/.NET Standard)
    • [SharedProject]
    • [MessagePack]
    • [MessagePack.UnityShims]
  • ClientDllProject(.NET 3.5)
    • [SharedProject]
    • [MessagePack](not dll, use MessagePack.unitypackage's sourcecodes)
  • Unity
    • [Builded ClientDll]

Other ways, use plain POCO by DataContract/DataMember can use.

Pre Code Generation(Unity/Xamarin Supports)

MessagePack for C# generates object formatter dynamically by ILGenerator. It is fast and transparently generated at run time. But it needs generate cost at first time and it does not work on AOT environment(Xamarin, Unity IL2CPP, etc.).

Note: If Unity's build target as PC, does not need code generation. It works well.

If you want to avoid generate cost or run on Xamarin or Unity, you need pre-code generation. mpc.exe(MessagePackCompiler) is code generator of MessagePack for C#. mpc can download from releases page, mpc.zip. mpc is using Roslyn so analyze source code.

mpc arguments help:
  -i, --input              [required]Input path of analyze csproj
  -o, --output             [required]Output file path
  -c, --conditionalsymbol  [optional, default=empty]conditional compiler symbol
  -r, --resolvername       [optional, default=GeneratedResolver]Set resolver name
  -n, --namespace          [optional, default=MessagePack]Set namespace root name
  -m, --usemapmode         [optional, default=false]Force use map mode serialization
// Simple Sample:
mpc.exe -i "..\src\Sandbox.Shared.csproj" -o "MessagePackGenerated.cs"

// Use force map simulate DynamicContractlessObjectResolver
mpc.exe -i "..\src\Sandbox.Shared.csproj" -o "MessagePackGenerated.cs" -m

If you create DLL by msbuild project, you can use Pre/Post build event.

<PropertyGroup>
    <PreBuildEvent>
        mpc.exe, here is useful for analyze/generate target is self project.
    </PreBuildEvent>
    <PostBuildEvent>
        mpc.exe, here is useful for analyze target is another project.
    </PostBuildEvent>
</PropertyGroup>

In default, mpc.exe generates resolver to MessagePack.Resolvers.GeneratedResolver and formatters generates to MessagePack.Formatters.***. And application launch, you need to set Resolver at first.

// CompositeResolver is singleton helper for use custom resolver.
// Ofcourse you can also make custom resolver.
MessagePack.Resolvers.CompositeResolver.RegisterAndSetAsDefault(
    // use generated resolver first, and combine many other generated/custom resolvers
    MessagePack.Resolvers.GeneratedResolver.Instance,

    // finally, use builtin/primitive resolver(don't use StandardResolver, it includes dynamic generation)
    MessagePack.Resolvers.BuiltinResolver.Instance,
    AttributeFormatterResolver.Instance,
    MessagePack.Resolvers.PrimitiveObjectResolver.Instance
);

Note: mpc.exe is basically run on only Windows. But you can run on Mono, that supports Mac and Linux.

RPC

MessagePack advocated MessagePack RPC, but formulation is stopped and it is not widely used. I've created gRPC based MessagePack HTTP/2 RPC streaming framework called MagicOnion. gRPC usually communicates with Protocol Buffers using IDL. But MagicOnion uses MessagePack for C# and does not needs IDL. If communicates C# to C#, schemaless(C# classes as schema) is better than IDL.

How to Build

Open MessagePack.sln on Visual Studio 2017.

Unity Project is using symbolic link. At first, run make_unity_symlink.bat so linked under Unity project. You can open src\MessagePack.UnityClient on Unity Editor.

Author Info

Yoshifumi Kawai(a.k.a. neuecc) is a software developer in Japan.
He is the Director/CTO at Grani, Inc.
Grani is a mobile game developer company in Japan and well known for using C#.
He is awarding Microsoft MVP for Visual C# since 2011.
He is known as the creator of UniRx(Reactive Extensions for Unity)

Blog: https://medium.com/@neuecc (English)
Blog: http://neue.cc/ (Japanese)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/neuecc (Japanese)

License

This library is under the MIT License.

lz4 compression support is using Milosz Krajewski's lz4net code with some modified.