Allows an object to control its own serialization and deserialization.

See Also: ISerializable Members


public interface ISerializable


Any class that might be serialized must be marked with the SerializableAttribute. If a class needs to control its serialization process, it can implement the System.Runtime.Serialization.ISerializable interface. The System.Runtime.Serialization.Formatter calls the ISerializable.GetObjectData(SerializationInfo, StreamingContext) at serialization time and populates the supplied System.Runtime.Serialization.SerializationInfo with all the data required to represent the object. The System.Runtime.Serialization.Formatter creates a System.Runtime.Serialization.SerializationInfo with the type of the object in the graph. Objects that need to send proxies for themselves can use the SerializationInfo.FullTypeName and SerializationInfo.AssemblyName methods on System.Runtime.Serialization.SerializationInfo to change the transmitted information.

In the case of class inheritance, it is possible to serialize a class that derives from a base class that implements System.Runtime.Serialization.ISerializable. In this case, the derived class should call the base class implementation of ISerializable.GetObjectData(SerializationInfo, StreamingContext) inside its implementation of ISerializable.GetObjectData(SerializationInfo, StreamingContext). Otherwise, the data from the base class will not be serialized.

The System.Runtime.Serialization.ISerializable interface implies a constructor with the signature constructor (System.Runtime.Serialization.SerializationInfo information, System.Runtime.Serialization.StreamingContext context). At deserialization time, the current constructor is called only after the data in the System.Runtime.Serialization.SerializationInfo has been deserialized by the formatter. In general, this constructor should be protected if the class is not sealed.

The order in which objects are deserialized cannot be guaranteed. For example, if one type references a type that has not been deserialized yet, an exception will occur. If you are creating types that have such dependencies, you can work around the problem by implementing the IDeserializationCallback interface and the OnDeserialization method.

The serialization architecture handles object types that extend MarshalByRefObject the same as types that extend object. These types can be marked with the SerializableAttribute and implement the System.Runtime.Serialization.ISerializable interface as any other object type. Their object state will be captured and persisted onto the stream.

When these types are being used through System.Runtime.Remoting, the remoting infrastructure provides a surrogate that preempts typical serialization and instead serializes a proxy to the MarshalByRefObject. A surrogate is a helper that knows how to serialize and deserialize objects of a particular type. The proxy, invisible to the user in most cases, will be of type System.Runtime.Remoting.ObjRef.

As a general design pattern, it would be unusual for a class to be both marked with the serializable attribute and extend MarshalByRefObject. Developers should think carefully about the possible serialization and remoting scenarios when combining these two characteristics. One example where this might be applicable is with a System.IO.MemoryStream. While the base class of System.IO.MemoryStream (System.IO.Stream) extends from MarshalByRefObject, it is possible to capture the state of a System.IO.MemoryStream and restore it at will. It might, therefore, be meaningful to serialize the state of this stream into a database and restore it at some later point in time. However, when used through remoting, an object of this type would be proxied.

For more information about serialization of classes that extend MarshalByRefObject, see System.Runtime.Remoting.Messaging.RemotingSurrogateSelector. For more information about implementing System.Runtime.Serialization.ISerializable, see [<topic://cpconCustomSerialization>].


Namespace: System.Runtime.Serialization
Assembly: mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)
Assembly Versions: 1.0.5000.0,,