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Serialization Formatters

This topic is specific to a legacy technology that is retained for backward compatibility with existing applications and is not recommended for new development. Distributed applications should now be developed using the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF).

Serialization is the process of taking objects and converting their state information into a form that can be stored or transported. The basic idea of serialization is that an object writes its current state, usually indicated by the value of its member variables, to temporary (either memory or network streams) or persistent storage. Later, the object can be re-created by reading, or deserializing, the object's state from storage. Serialization handles all the details of object pointers and circular object references that are used when you serialize an object.

The serialized stream might be encoded using XML, SOAP, or a compact binary representation. The Formatter object that is used determines the format. The formatter is actually a pluggable component of a channel, and a custom formatter can be plugged in to replace the standard XML or binary formatters supplied by remoting. Pluggable formatters allow the developer to serialize objects in the two supplied formats (binary and SOAP) or create their own.

For details, see Sinks and Sink Chains.

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