Basic Serialization


Zhenyang Hua

Updated: Sep 02, 2018

Serialization includes the part that serializes an object to a file and deserializes a file to an object that has the desired same state as it was in. It is typically done by using two high-level classes from the `` package - `ObjectOutputStream` and `ObjectInputStream`. In this article, we demonstrate the basic operations of serializing and deserializing.

# Key Points in Serialization - A class must implement `Serializable` interface before its object can be serialized. - If a class implements `Serializable`, all its instances variables that have a reference to another object must be `transient `or the object referenced to must also implement `Serializable`. - If an instance variable is marked `transient`, it will not be serialized. - `private void writeObject(ObjectOutputStream oos)` and `private void readObject(ObjectInputStream ois)` could be used to manually add additional logic to the serialization process. This could be very useful to serialize objects that don't implement `Serializable`. - `oos.defaultWriteObject()` and `ois.defaultReadObject()` could be used before custom serialization logic happens to auto-serialize serializable objects. - `oos.writeXXX()` and `ois.readXXX()` could be used to write and read additional state in custom serialization process. The read order must be the same as the write order. - If a superclass implements `Serializable`, its subclasses do automatically. - If a superclass doesn't implements `Serializable`, when a subclass object is deserialized, the superclass constructor will be invoked along with its super-constructor(s). If the superclass contains constructor(s) with argument(s), it must explicitly define a nonargument constructor. # Example ```java import*; public class SerializePlay { public static void main(String... args) { Dog dog = new Dog("female", new Collar(4), "wangwang"); System.out.println("Sex: " + dog.getSex()); try(ObjectOutputStream oos = new ObjectOutputStream( new FileOutputStream("dog.ser"))) { oos.writeObject(dog); } catch(IOException e) { e.printStackTrace(); } try(ObjectInputStream ois = new ObjectInputStream( new FileInputStream("dog.ser"))) { Dog dogRestored = (Dog) ois.readObject(); System.out.println("Collar size: " + dogRestored.getCollar().getSize()); System.out.println("Nickname: " + dogRestored.getNickname()); System.out.println("Sex: " + dogRestored.getSex()); } catch(IOException | ClassNotFoundException e) { e.printStackTrace(); } } } class Collar { private int size; Collar (int size) { this.size = size; } int getSize() { return size; } } class Animal { private String sex; Animal() {} Animal(String sex) { = sex; } String getSex() { return sex; } void setSex(String sex) { = sex; } } class Dog extends Animal implements Serializable { transient private Collar collar; private String nickname; Dog(String sex, Collar collar, String nickname) { super(sex); this.collar = collar; this.nickname = nickname; } Collar getCollar() { return collar; } String getNickname() { return nickname; } private void writeObject(ObjectOutputStream oos) { try { oos.defaultWriteObject(); oos.writeInt(collar.getSize()); oos.writeObject(getSex()); } catch(IOException e) { e.printStackTrace(); } } private void readObject(ObjectInputStream ois) { try { ois.defaultReadObject(); collar = new Collar(ois.readInt()); setSex((String) ois.readObject()); } catch(IOException | ClassNotFoundException e) { e.printStackTrace(); } } } ```