Skip to content
Permalink
Branch: master
Find file Copy path
Find file Copy path
Fetching contributors…
Cannot retrieve contributors at this time
229 lines (175 sloc) 6.54 KB

Bencodex: Bencoding Extended

The version of this document is 1.2. See also changelog.

There is a list of implementations. See also LIBRARIES.tsv file.

Bencodex is a serialization format that extends BitTorrent's Bencoding. Since it is a superset of Bencoding, every valid Bencoding representation is a valid Bencodex representation of the same meaning (i.e., represents the same value). Bencodex adds the below data types to Bencoding:

  • null
  • Boolean values
  • Unicode strings besides byte strings
  • Dictionaries with both byte and Unicode string keys

Why not [insert your favorite format here]

The unique feature of Bencoding is forced normalization. According to Wikipedia's Bencode page:

For each possible (complex) value, there is only a single valid bencoding; i.e. there is a bijection between values and their encodings. This has the advantage that applications may compare bencoded values by comparing their encoded forms, eliminating the need to decode the values.

This makes things really simple when an application needs to determine if encoded values are the same, in particular, with cryptographic hash or digital signatures.

There have been countless improvements in data serialization like rich data types, human readability, compact binary representation, zero-copy serialization, and even streaming, but canonical representation is still not well counted.

Bencodex actually does not aim high in ambition; it purposes to merely leverage Bencoding's good things with average-level data types of modern serialization formats.

Encoding

Note that notations for the semantics (i.e., the values that encodings represent) use Python's literals.

  • Null is represented by n (6e).

  • Boolean true is represented by t (74), and false is represented by f (66).

  • Byte strings are length-prefixed base 10 followed by a colon and the byte string.

    For example, 4:spam (34 3a 73 70 61 6d) corresponds to b"spam".

  • Unicode strings are represented by u followed by UTF-8 byte length base 10 and UTF-8 encoding of the Unicode string.

    For example, u6:단팥 (75 36 3a eb 8b a8 ed 8c a5) corresponds to u"\ub2e8\ud325".

  • Integers are represented by an i followed by the number in base 10 followed by an e.

    For example, i3e (69 33 65) corresponds to 3, and i-3e (69 2d 33 65) corresponds to -3.

    Integers have no size limitation.

    i-0e (69 2d 30 65) is invalid. All encodings with a leading zero, such as i03e (69 30 33 65), are invalid, other than i0e (69 30 65), which of course corresponds to 0.

  • Lists are encoded as an l followed by their elements (also represented in Bencodex) followed by an e.

    For example, l4:spamu4:eggse (6c 34 3a 73 70 61 6d 75 34 3a 65 67 67 73 65) corresponds to [b"spam", u"eggs"].

  • Dictionaries are encoded as a d followed by a list of alternating keys and their corresponding values followed by an e.

    For example, d3:cowu3:moou4:spam4:eggse (64 33 3a 63 6f 77 75 33 3a 6d 6f 6f 75 34 3a 73 70 61 6d 34 3a 65 67 67 73 65) corresponds to {b"cow": u"moo", u"spam": b"eggs"}, and du4:spaml1:au1:bee (64 75 34 3a 73 70 61 6d 6c 31 3a 61 75 31 3a 62 65 65) corresponds to {u"spam": [b"a", u"b"]}.

    Keys must be Unicode or byte strings, and appear in the certain order:

    • Unicode strings do not appear earlier than byte strings.

    • Byte strings are sorted as raw strings, not alphanumerics.

    • Unicode strings are sorted as their UTF-8 byte representations, not any collation order or chart order listed by Unicode.

      For example, b (62) should be followed by á (C3 A1), because the byte 62 is less than the byte C3.

    du1:k1:v1:k1:ve (64 75 31 3a 6b 31 3a 76 31 3a 6b 31 3a 76 65) is invalid because u1:k appear earlier than 1:k.

Test suite

The testsuite/ directory contains a set of Bencodex tests. Every test case is a triple of .dat which is an arbitrary Bencodex data, a .yaml which is its corresponding value in YAML, and a .json which is an alternative to YAML and renders an AST of the Bencodex value.

For example, list.dat contains the below Bencodex data:

lu16:a Unicode string13:a byte stringi123ei-456etfndu1:au4:dictelu1:au4:listee

which encodes the value corresponding to list.yaml, that is:

- a Unicode string
- !!binary "YSBieXRlIHN0cmluZw=="  # b"a byte string"
- 123
- -456
- true
- false
- null
- a: dict
- [a, list]

Or, as an alternative there's list.json which renders an AST of the value structure:

{
  "type": "list",
  "values": [
    {
      "type": "text",
      "value": "a Unicode string"
    },
    {
      "base64": "YSBieXRlIHN0cmluZw==",
      "type": "binary"
    },
    {
      "decimal": "123",
      "type": "integer"
    },
    {
      "decimal": "-456",
      "type": "integer"
    },
    {
      "type": "boolean",
      "value": true
    },
    {
      "type": "boolean",
      "value": false
    },
    {
      "type": "null"
    },
    {
      "pairs": [
        {
          "key": {
            "type": "text",
            "value": "a"
          },
          "value": {
            "type": "text",
            "value": "dict"
          }
        }
      ],
      "type": "dictionary"
    },
    {
      "type": "list",
      "values": [
        {
          "type": "text",
          "value": "a"
        },
        {
          "type": "text",
          "value": "list"
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

Note that the schema of .json files is formally described in JSON Schema. see also utils/testsuite-schema.json.

An implementation should satisfy the below rules:

  • Bytes that an encoder builds from a YAML/JSON content should be exactly same to the contents of a .dat file that corresponds to the .yaml/json file.

  • A content a decoder read from a .dat file should be equivalent to the content of a .yaml/.json file that corresponds to the .dat file.


This document (README.md) and every content in this repository including the test suite (testsuite/) are in the public domain.

You can’t perform that action at this time.