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The term serialization is used in the context of object-oriented applications and the persistent storage of data associated with an object. Normally, a non-serialized object is not persistent. As soon as the software using the object terminates, the existence of this object also ends.

Persistence, specifically related to an object being serialized, means its ability to exist and function outside of the program that created it. Objects can be stored in serialized form and read out again. The serialization finds application with the transmission of states from a computer to another or generally in distributed software systems.

The serialized and stored object continues to serve a purpose in that it contains information that, once loaded into a program, allows the object to exist again. This is also referred to as deserialization. The mechanism of serializing data or entire object structures generates a dataset that basically only one user can work on. Serialization does not support the simultaneous use of data or object structures.

One speaks also of object serialization and means with it for example in Java, the possibility of reading or writing the information of the object which can be stored with a Stream. Here a Stream is an object, which transports data from a source to another place. With Streams, a separate class is available for this purpose. Using the special Serializeable interface, an object can specify that it can be used with Streams. No special methods are then required for this, the indication of the interface is sufficient that objects of this class can be stored and read in serial form. All objects to which an object to be stored has references are also stored when it is serialized. Thus the production of an object stream is possible, which cares at the same time for numerous further objects.

Englisch: serialization
Updated at: 09.02.2010
#Words: 301
Links: object (O), data, arsenic (As), software (SW), program
Translations: DE

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