Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Buffers in Node – Part 1

Pure javascript, while great with unicode-encoded strings, does not handle straight binary data very well. This is fine on the browser, where most data is in the form of strings. However, node.js servers have to also deal with TCP streams and reading and writing to the filesystem, both which make it necessary to deal with purely binary streams of data. Node has several strategies for manipulating, creating, and consuming streams.

Raw data is stored in instances of the Buffer class. A Buffer is similar to an array of integers but corresponds to a raw memory allocation outside the V8 heap. A Buffer cannot be resized.

The Buffer class is a global, making it very rare that one would need to ever require('buffer').

Converting between Buffers and JavaScript string objects requires an explicit encoding method. The encodings that are supported are 'ascii', 'utf8', 'usc2', 'base64', 'binary' and 'hex'. Read more...

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