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data serialization using typed netstrings
C Python
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tnetstring: data serialization using typed netstrings

This is a data serialization library. It's a lot like JSON but it uses a new syntax called "typed netstrings" that Zed has proposed for use in the Mongrel2 webserver. It's designed to be simpler and easier to implement than JSON, with a happy consequence of also being faster.

An ordinary netstring is a blob of data prefixed with its length and postfixed with a sanity-checking comma. The string "hello world" encodes like this:

11:hello world,

Typed netstrings add other datatypes by replacing the comma with a type tag. Here's the integer 12345 encoded as a tnetstring:


And here's a list mixing integers and bools:


Simple enough? This module gives you the following functions:

dumps:dump an object as a tnetstring to a string
loads:load a tnetstring-encoded object from a string
pop:pop a tnetstring-encoded object from the front of a string

When I get around to it, I will also add the following:

dump:dump an object as a tnetstring to a file
load:load a tnetstring-encoded object from a file

Note that since parsing a tnetstring requires reading all the data into memory at once, there's no efficiency gain from using the file-based versions of these functions; I'm only planning to add them for API compatability with other serialization modules e.g. pickle and json.

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