serialise definition programming
To represent an arbitrarily complex data structure
in a location-independent way so that it can be communicated or stored elsewhere.
For example, an object
representing a time, with attributes
for year, month, timezone, etc., could be serialised as the string
"2002-02-24T14:33:52-0800", or an XML
", or as a binary
As well as providing an external data representation (e.g. representing an integer
as a string of ASCII
digits) and marshalling
components into a single block of data, a serialisation algorithm
needs to follow pointers
to include objects referred to by the initial object. This is further complicated by the possible presence of cycles in the object graph.
It should be possible to store the serialised representation on disk, or transmit it across a network, and then restore it as an object (graph) that is the same as the original.