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C# in a Nutshell by Peter Drayton, Ted Neward, Ben Albahari

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ISerializable

As flexible as the preceding approaches are, they still constrain the type implementer somewhat. Type implementers who need the serialized format to use different names than the in-memory members, or who need the mapping of members to serialized data to be something other than 1:1, or who would like to serialize as one type and deserialize as another (proxy) type, may want to take control of their own serialization via ISerializable and the other interfaces and attributes that make up the Serialization architecture.

To indicate to the runtime that it wants to fully control serialization and deserialization, a type implements the ISerializable interface, which looks like this:

namespace System.Runtime.Serialization {
  public interface ISerializable {
    void GetObjectData(SerializationInfo si, StreamingContext sc);
  }
}

The SerializationInfo parameter is a reference to a property bag[4]that you should store the type member values in. Additionally, SerializationInfo also contains properties that you can use to control the type and assembly the instance should deserialize as. The StreamingContext parameter is a structure that contains, among other things, an enumeration value indicating where the serialized instance is headed (to disk, into the remoting plumbing, etc.).

In addition to implementing ISerializable, a type that is controlling its own serialization needs to provide a deserialization constructor that takes two parameters: a SerializationInfo object reference and a ...

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