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object to byte[] in c#

Posted on 2006-11-12
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hi All!

I'm working with c# and would like to put an object type into a byte[].  I found some documentation on how to put a struct into a buffer and how to dynamically allocate memory to copy a void* to another void*, but not how to copy an object into a buffer.  I also looked at MemoryStream and BitConverter.  If anyone has any ideas, I'm more than happy to hear them!

Thanks!

choo_chu
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Question by:choo_chu
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Expert Comment

by:Ravi Singh
ID: 17925633
Hi, do you want to write the object out to disk and then later read it back in? I think your refering to serialization, this article gives a good explanation using the BinaryFormatter class:

http://www.codeproject.com/csharp/objserial.asp
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by:choo_chu
ID: 17925920
I have looked at the BinaryFormatter, but I'm not looking for serialization because I don't need all the extra information that is needed to reproduce the class when it's deserialized.  I just need the data.  (Notice that sizeof() and the amount of bytes used to serialize and object aren't the same.)  In c++, what I'm looking for would be akin to memcpy().


Thanks!

choo_chu
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Expert Comment

by:yotamsher
ID: 17925944
Hey choo_chu

what does your class look like?
I got the feeling, that it is more like a struct, can't you just write a ToByteArray and FromByteArray functions?
why do you need to memcpy? are you then transfering it somewhere?

the more details you give, the better answers you'll get

Yotam
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Author Comment

by:choo_chu
ID: 17926073
Hi,

I won't know what the incoming object looks like, I will only know its size.  The constructor has the following definition:
            DBObject( object obj, int size )

The class DBObject is the class of objects that are in the nodes of a b-tree.  The class contains two data members, _size and _data.  The constructor will set values _size = size and _data = obj...I want to be able to copy obj into _data, which is a byte[].  The data in this object (_size and _data) will be written to file and later retrieved.  

Thanks!

choo_chu
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Accepted Solution

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yotamsher earned 2000 total points
ID: 17926226
Hey choo_chu
my gfeeling, is that you should be going in the direction of serialization, as offered by  Zephyr__
  )-:
but look at this article
    http://www.codeguru.com/csharp/csharp/cs_syntax/reflection/article.php/c5885/
it might give you a hint to a different road:

Yotam
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Author Comment

by:choo_chu
ID: 17926357
Thanks for the article Yotam...I think that will help a lot.  I'll keep you posted.

choo_chu
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Author Comment

by:choo_chu
ID: 17926854
Ok, I figured out how to do what I want using reflection...it's actually kinda neat ;)  This isn't all the code, but is the jist of what I did.  I got the field type, and I stuff the values into the byte[] using BitConverter.GetBytes().  When I get to the byte[] type, I just use the GetValue() supplied by the FieldInfo.  Mind you this is test code, so it doesn't pay attention to where in the byte[] it is putting things, it is just over writing previous values.  It is just so I could see whether this idea would actually work.


                              // copy to byte[]
                              switch( fieldType )
                              {
                                    case( "System.Int32" ): // int or long
                                          if( fi[c].Name.ToString() == "_size" )
                                          {
                                                size = (int)fi[c].GetValue( obj );
                                          }
                                          _data = BitConverter.GetBytes( size );
                                          break;
                                    case( "System.Int64" ):
                                          _data = BitConverter.GetBytes( (long)fi[c].GetValue( obj ) );
                                          break;
                                    case( "System.Boolean" ):
                                          _data = BitConverter.GetBytes( (bool)fi[c].GetValue( obj ) );
                                          break;
                                                                                                                   :
                                                                                                                   :

Thanks a lot for your input!

choo_chu
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