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Python in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition by Alex Martelli

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Serialization

Python supplies a number of modules dealing with I/O operations that serialize (save) entire Python objects to various kinds of byte streams and deserialize (load and recreate) Python objects back from such streams. Serialization is also known as marshaling.

The marshal Module

The marshal module supports the specific serialization tasks needed to save and reload compiled Python files (.pyc and .pyo). marshal handles only fundamental built-in data types: None, numbers (int, long, float, complex), strings (plain and Unicode), code objects, and built-in containers (tuple, list, dict) whose items are instances of elementary types. marshal does not handle sets nor user-defined types and classes. marshal is faster than other serialization modules, and is the one such module that supports code objects. Module marshal supplies the following functions.

dump, dumps

dump(value,fileobj) dumps(value)

dumps returns a string representing object value. dump writes the same string to file object fileobj, which must be opened for writing in binary mode. dump(v,f) is just like f.write(dumps(v)). fileobj cannot be any file-like object: it must be specifically an instance of type file.

load, loads

load(fileobj) loads(str)

loads creates and returns the object v previously dumped to string str so that, for any object v of a supported type, v==loads(dumps(v)). If str is longer than dumps(v), loads ignores the extra bytes. load reads the right number of bytes from file object fileobj, which must ...

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