Data::Serializer::(3) Modules that serialize data structures


use Data::Serializer;

$obj = Data::Serializer->new();
$obj = Data::Serializer->new(
serializer => 'Storable',
digester => 'MD5',
cipher => 'DES',
secret => 'my secret',
compress => 1,
$serialized = $obj->serialize({a => [1,2,3],b => 5});
$deserialized = $obj->deserialize($serialized);
print "$deserialized->{b}\n";


Provides a unified interface to the various serializing modules currently available. Adds the functionality of both compression and encryption.

By default Data::Serializer(3) adds minor metadata and encodes serialized data structures in it's own format. If you are looking for a simple unified pass through interface to the underlying serializers then look into Data::Serializer::Raw(3) that comes bundled with Data::Serializer(3).


Please see Data::Serializer::Cookbook(3)


new - constructor
  $obj = Data::Serializer->new();
  $obj = Data::Serializer->new(
                         serializer => 'Data::Dumper',
                         digester   => 'SHA-256',
                         cipher     => 'Blowfish',
                         secret     => undef,
                         portable   => '1',
                         compress   => '0',
                   serializer_token => '1',
                           options  => {},

new is the constructor object for Data::Serializer(3) objects.

  • The default serializer is "Data::Dumper"
  • The default digester is "SHA-256"
  • The default cipher is "Blowfish"
  • The default secret is "undef"
  • The default portable is 1
  • The default encoding is "hex"
  • The default compress is 0
  • The default compressor is "Compress::Zlib"
  • The default serializer_token is 1
  • The default options is "{}" (pass nothing on to serializer)
serialize - serialize reference
  $serialized = $obj->serialize({a => [1,2,3],b => 5});

Serializes the reference specified.

Will compress if compress is a true value.

Will encrypt if secret is defined.

deserialize - deserialize reference
  $deserialized = $obj->deserialize($serialized);

Reverses the process of serialization and returns a copy of the original serialized reference.

freeze - synonym for serialize
  $serialized = $obj->freeze({a => [1,2,3],b => 5});
thaw - synonym for deserialize
  $deserialized = $obj->thaw($serialized);
raw_serialize - serialize reference in raw form
  $serialized = $obj->raw_serialize({a => [1,2,3],b => 5});

This is a straight pass through to the underlying serializer, nothing else is done. (no encoding, encryption, compression, etc)

If you desire this functionality you should look at Data::Serializer::Raw(3) instead, it is faster and leaner.

raw_deserialize - deserialize reference in raw form
  $deserialized = $obj->raw_deserialize($serialized);

This is a straight pass through to the underlying serializer, nothing else is done. (no encoding, encryption, compression, etc)

If you desire this functionality you should look at Data::Serializer::Raw(3) instead, it is faster and leaner.

secret - specify secret for use with encryption

Changes setting of secret for the Data::Serializer(3) object. Can also be set in the constructor. If specified than the object will utilize encryption.

portable - encodes/decodes serialized data
Uses encoding method to ascii armor serialized data

Aids in the portability of serialized data.

compress - compression of data
Compresses serialized data. Default is not to use it. Will compress if set to a true value
raw - all calls to serializer and deserializer will automatically use raw mode
Setting this to a true value will force serializer and deserializer to work in raw mode (see raw_serializer and raw_deserializer). The default is for this to be off.

If you desire this functionality you should look at Data::Serializer::Raw(3) instead, it is faster and leaner.

serializer - change the serializer
Currently supports the following serializers:

Default is to use Data::Dumper.

Each serializer has its own caveat's about usage especially when dealing with cyclical data structures or CODE references. Please see the appropriate documentation in those modules for further information.

cipher - change the cipher method
Utilizes Crypt::CBC(3) and can support any cipher method that it supports.
digester - change digesting method
Uses Digest(3) so can support any digesting method that it supports. Digesting function is used internally by the encryption routine as part of data verification.
compressor - changes compresing module
Currently Compress::Zlib(3) and Compress::PPMd(3) are the only options
encoding - change encoding method
Encodes data structure in ascii friendly manner. Currently the only valid options are hex, or b64.

The b64 option uses Base64 encoding provided by MIME::Base64(3), but strips out newlines.

serializer_token - add usage hint to data
Data::Serializer(3) prepends a token that identifies what was used to process its data. This is used internally to allow runtime determination of how to extract serialized data. Disabling this feature is not recommended. (Use Data::Serializer::Raw(3) instead).
options - pass options through to underlying serializer
Currently is only supported by Config::General(3), and XML::Dumper(3).

  my $obj = Data::Serializer->new(serializer => 'Config::General',
                                  options    => {
                                             -LowerCaseNames       => 1,
                                             -UseApacheInclude     => 1,
                                             -MergeDuplicateBlocks => 1,
                                             -AutoTrue             => 1,
                                             -InterPolateVars      => 1
                                              ) or die "$!\n";
  my $obj = Data::Serializer->new(serializer => 'XML::Dumper',
                                  options    => { dtd => 1, }
                                  ) or die "$!\n";
store - serialize data and write it to a file (or file handle)
  $obj->store({a => [1,2,3],b => 5},$file, [$mode, $perm]);
  $obj->store({a => [1,2,3],b => 5},$fh);

Serializes the reference specified using the serialize method and writes it out to the specified file or filehandle.

If a file path is specified you may specify an optional mode and permission as the next two arguments. See IO::File for examples.

Trips an exception if it is unable to write to the specified file.

retrieve - read data from file (or file handle) and return it after deserialization
  my $ref = $obj->retrieve($file);
  my $ref = $obj->retrieve($fh);

Reads first line of supplied file or filehandle and returns it deserialized.


Neil Neely <[email protected]>.

Feature requests are certainly welcome.


Extend the persistent framework. Perhaps Persistent::Base(3) framework would be useful to explore further. Volunteers for putting this together would be welcome.


Copyright (c) 2001-2011 Neil Neely. All rights reserved.

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself, either Perl version 5.8.2 or, at your option, any later version of Perl 5 you may have available.



Gurusamy Sarathy and Raphael Manfredi for writing MLDBM(3), the module which inspired the creation of Data::Serializer(3).

And thanks to all of you who have provided the feedback that has improved this module over the years.

In particular I'd like to thank Florian Helmberger, for the numerous suggestions and bug fixes.


This module is dedicated to my beautiful wife Erica.