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Java Fundamental Classes Reference

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ObjectOutputStream

Name

ObjectOutputStream

Synopsis

Class Name:

java.io.ObjectOutputStream

Superclass:

java.io.OutputStream

Immediate Subclasses:

None

Interfaces Implemented:

java.io.ObjectOutput

Availability:

New as of JDK 1.1

Description

The ObjectOutputStream class can write both primitive types and object instances to an underlying OutputStream. The objects and other data can then be read by an ObjectInputStream. These two classes provide persistent storage of objects when they are used in conjunction with FileInputStream and FileOutputStream. The classes can also be used with socket streams to pass objects across the network.

Only objects that are instances of classes that implement the Serializable or Externalizable interfaces can be serialized to an output stream. The default serialization mechanism is implemented by writeObject(). When an object is serialized, the class of the object is encoded, along with the class name, the signature of the class, the values of the non-static and non-transient fields of the object, including any other objects referenced by the object (except those that do not implement the Serializable interface themselves). Multiple references to the same object are encoded using a reference sharing mechanism, so that a graph of the object can be restored appropriately. Strings and arrays are objects in Java, so they are treated as objects during serialization.

For example, the following code opens a file called color.ser and writes out a Color object:

FileOutputStream fileOut;
ObjectOutputStream out;
try {
    fileOut = new FileOutputStream("color.ser");
    out = new ObjectOutputStream(fileOut);
    out.writeObject(Color.blue);
    out.close();
}
catch (IOException e) {
    System.out.println("Error writing: " + e);
}

Classes that require special handling during serialization and deserialization must implement the following methods (with these exact signatures):

private void readObject(ObjectOutputStream stream) 
             throws IOException, ClassNotFoundException
private void writeObject(ObjectOutputStream stream) throws IOException

The writeObject() method is responsible for writing the state of the object for the particular class so that it can be restored by readObject(). The writeObject() method does not need to handle writing the state for the object's superclass or any of its subclasses except in the case where the superclass does not itself implement the Serializable interface. In this case, the nonserializable class must have a no-argument constructor that can be called to initialize its fields, and it is the responsibility of the subclass to save the state of its superclass.

A class that inherits the implementation of Serializable prevents itself from being serialized by defining readObject() and writeObject() methods that throw NotSerializableException objects.

If a class needs complete control over the contents and formatting of the serialized form of its objects, it should implement the Externalizable interface.

Class Summary

public class java.io.ObjectOutputStream extends java.io.OutputStream
             implements java.io.ObjectOutput {
  // Constructors
  public ObjectOutputStream(OutputStream out);
  // Instance Methods
  public void close();
  public final void defaultWriteObject();
  public void flush();
  public void reset();
  public void write(int data);
  public void write(byte[] b);
  public void write(byte[] b, int off, int len);
  public void writeBoolean(boolean data);
  public void writeByte(int data);
  public void writeBytes(String data);
  public void writeChar(int data);
  public void writeChars(String data);
  public void writeDouble(double data);
  public void writeFloat(float data);
  public void writeInt(int data);
  public void writeLong(long data);
  public final void writeObject(Object obj);
  public void writeShort(int data);
  public void writeUTF(String data);
  // Protected Instance Methods
  protected void annotateClass(Class cl);
  protected void drain();
  protected final boolean enableReplaceObject(boolean enable);
  protected Object replaceObject(Object obj);
  protected void writeStreamHeader();
}

Constructors

ObjectOutputStream

public ObjectOutputStream(OutputStream out) throws IOException

Parameters

out

The underlying output stream.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Description

This constructor creates an ObjectOutputStream that writes to the given output stream. The constructor writes the stream header, which consists of a magic number and version number, in preparation for serialization.

Instance Methods

close

public void close() throws IOException

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

ObjectOutput.close()

Overrides

OutputStream.close()

Description

This method closes the stream and releases any system resources that are associated with it.

defaultWriteObject

public final void defaultWriteObject() throws IOException

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

NotActiveException

If serialization is not active.

Description

This method writes the fields of the object that are not static or transient. The method can only be called from the private writeObject() method of an object that is being serialized; it throws a NotActiveException if it is called at any other time. This method implements the default serialization mechanism.

flush

public void flush() throws IOException

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

ObjectOutput.flush()

Overrides

OutputStream.flush()

Description

This method takes any buffered output and forces it to be written to the underlying stream.

reset

public void reset() throws IOException

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Description

This method sets the state of the ObjectOutputStream to the same state as when it was created. As objects are serialized to the stream, the ObjectOutputStream remembers which ones are already serialized. If the program requests that already serialized objects be written again, the ObjectOutputStream just writes out a reference to the previous object. Calling reset() causes the ObjectOutputStream to forget what it has done before, so all subsequent objects are fully serialized.

write

public void write(int data) throws IOException

Parameters

data

The value to write.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

ObjectOutput.write(int)

Overrides

OutputStream.write(int)

Description

This method writes the lowest eight bits of b to the underlying stream as a byte.

public void write(byte[] b) throws IOException

Parameters

b

An array of bytes to write.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

ObjectOutput.write(byte[])

Overrides

OutputStream.write(byte[])

Description

This method writes the given array of bytes to the underlying stream.

public void write(byte[] b, int off, int len) throws IOException

Parameters

b

An array of bytes to write to the stream.

off

An offset into the byte array.

len

The number of bytes to write.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

ObjectOutput.write(byte[], int, int)

Overrides

OutputStream.write(byte[], int, int)

Description

This method writes len bytes from the given array, starting off elements from the beginning of the array, to the underlying stream.

writeBoolean

public void writeBoolean(boolean data) throws IOException

Parameters

data

The boolean value to write.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

DataOutput.writeBoolean()

Description

If data is true, this method writes a byte that contains the value 1 to the underlying stream. If data is false, the method writes a byte that contains the value 0.

writeByte

public void writeByte(int data) throws IOException

Parameters

data

The value to write.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

DataOutput.writeByte()

Description

This method writes an 8-bit byte to the underlying stream, using the lowest eight bits of the given integer data.

writeBytes

public void writeBytes(String data) throws IOException

Parameters

data

The String to write.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

DataOutput.writeBytes()

Description

This method writes the characters in the given String to the underlying stream as a sequence of 8-bit bytes. The high-order bytes of the characters in the string are ignored.

writeChar

public void writeChar(int data) throws IOException

Parameters

data

The value to write.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

DataOutput.writeChar()

Description

This method writes a 16-bit char to the underlying stream, using the lowest two bytes of the given integer data.

writeChars

public void writeChars(String data) throws IOException

Parameters

data

The String to write.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

DataOutput.writeChars()

Description

This method writes the characters in the given String object to the underlying stream as a sequence of 16-bit characters.

writeDouble

public void writeDouble(double data) throws IOException

Parameters

data

The double value to write.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

DataOutput.writeDouble()

Description

This method writes a 64-bit double to the underlying stream. The double value is converted to a long using doubleToLongBits() of Double; the long value is then written to the underlying stream as eight bytes with the highest byte first.

writeFloat

public void writeFloat(float data) throws IOException

Parameters

data

The float value to write.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

DataOutput.writeFloat()

Description

This method writes a 32-bit float to the underlying stream. The float value is converted to a int using floatToIntBits() of Float; the int value is then written to the underlying stream as four bytes with the highest byte first.

writeInt

public void writeInt(int data) throws IOException

Parameters

data

The int value to write.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

DataOutput.writeInt()

Description

This method writes a 32-bit int to the underlying stream. The value is written as four bytes with the highest byte first.

writeLong

public void writeLong(long data) throws IOException

Parameters

data

The long value to write.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

DataOutput.writeLong()

Description

This method writes a 64-bit long to the underlying stream. The value is written as eight bytes with the highest byte first.

writeObject

 public final void writeObject(Object obj) throws IOException, InvalidClassException, NotSerializableException 

Parameters

obj

The object to be serialized.

Throws

InvalidClassException

If there is a problem with the class of the object.

NotSerializableException

If the object does not implement Serializable or Externalizable.

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

ObjectOutput.writeObject()

Description

This method serializes the given object to the stream. The class of the object is encoded, along with the class name, the signature of the class, the values of the non-static and non-transient fields of the object, including any other objects referenced by the object (except those that do not implement the Serializable interface themselves). Multiple references to the same object are encoded using a reference sharing mechanism, so that a graph of object can be restored appropriately.

writeShort

public void writeShort(int data) throws IOException

Parameters

data

The value to write.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

DataOutput.writeShort()

Description

This method writes a 16-bit short to the underlying stream, using the lowest two bytes of the given integer data.

writeUTF

public void writeUTF(String data) throws IOException

Parameters

data

The String to write.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Implements

DataOutput.writeUTF()

Description

This method writes the given String to the underlying stream using the UTF-8 encoding. See the description of DataOutputStream.writeUTF(String) for more information.

Protected Instance Methods

annotateClass

protected void annotateClass(Class cl) throws IOException

Parameters

cl

The class to be serialized.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Description

This method is called once for each unique class during serialization. The implementation in ObjectOutputStream does nothing; subclasses can override this method to write out more information about a class. A corresponding subclass of ObjectInputStream should override the resolveClass() method to read the extra class information.

drain

protected void drain() throws IOException

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Description

This method is a helper method for flush(). It forces a write of any buffered data in the ObjectOutputStream, but does not call flush() on the underlying stream.

enableReplaceObject

 protected final boolean enableReplaceObject(boolean enable) throws SecurityException 

Parameters

enable

A boolean value that specifies whether or not object replacement is enabled.

Returns

true if object replacement was previously enabled; false otherwise.

Throws

SecurityException

If enable is true and getClassLoader()called on the class of the stream does not return null.

Description

This method determines if a trusted subclass of ObjectOutputStream is allowed to replace serialized objects. If the method is called with true, replacement is enabled. Each time an object is serialized, replaceObject() is called to give the ObjectOutputStream a chance to replace the object. A trusted stream is one whose class has no ClassLoader.

replaceObject

protected Object replaceObject(Object obj) throws IOException

Parameters

obj

The object to be replaced.

Returns

A replacement for the given object.

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Description

If object replacement is enabled for this ObjectOutputStream (see enableReplaceObject()), this method is called with each object to be serialized to give the stream a chance to replace the object. In ObjectOutputStream, this method simply returns the object that was passed to it. Subclasses can override this method to provide more useful functionality.

writeStreamHeader

protected void writeStreamHeader() throws IOException

Throws

IOException

If any kind of I/O error occurs.

Description

This method writes the serialization stream header, which consists of a magic number and a version number. This method is called by the constructor for ObjectOutputStream. If you subclass ObjectOutputStream, you can override this method to provide your own stream header.

Inherited Methods

Method Inherited From Method Inherited From

clone()

Object

equals(Object)

Object

finalize()

Object

getClass()

Object

hashCode()

Object

notify()

Object

notifyAll()

Object

toString()

Object

wait()

Object

wait(long)

Object

wait(long, int)

Object

   

See Also

Class, DataOutput, Double, Externalizable, Float, InvalidClassException, IOException, NotActiveException, NotSerializableException, ObjectInputStream, ObjectOutput, OutputStream, SecurityException, Serializable, String


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