FluentBin is a library for reading binary files. 


Develop an universal library for reading binary formatted files (streams). Avoid reflection at the run-time. Support bit-by-bit reading. Have a nice API for declaring file format specification.


  • Reading object tree that consists of:

    • Value types (Int32, Byte, Double, Boolean, etc.)

    • Complex types (other objects)

    • Strings

    • Fixed and variable sized arrays

    • Lists

  • Big-endian and little-endian byte order

  • Bit-by-bit reading

  • Polymorphic members

  • Various configuration for object members



The main interfaces that an API client deals with are:

  • IFileFormatBuilder – a file format configuration builder.
  • IFileFormat<T> – represents compiled expression tree for reading the file format configured with IFileFormatBuilder.

Basic usage involving those types:

IFileFormatBuilder formatBuilder = Bin.Format()…; // file format configuration follows

IFileFormat<T> format = formatBuilder.Build<T>(); // builds expression tree for reading T

T instance = format.Read(inputStream);



Any file format may be mapped to an object tree. All objects types must be included into file format configuration with the IFileFormatBuilder.Includes method:

IFileFormatBuilder.Includes<T>(Action<ITypeBuilder<T>> typeBuilderConfiguration = null)

ITypeBuilder<T> interface is used to configure included type members. Not all members must be mentioned in the configuration. Some may be configured automatically. ITypeBuilder<T> interface has several methods:

  • ITypeBuilder<T>.Read(member, memberConfiguration) – overloaded. Use it to configure a T member format.

  • ITypeBuilder<T>.Skip(member, memberConfiguration) – a T member can be read from file but it is not needed so this member is to be skipped.

  • ITypeBuilder<T>.Ignore(member) – a T member that should be ignored while reading.

  • ITypeBuilder<T>.OverrideEndianess(endianness) – makes entire object tree starting from T to use passed endianness.

member argument in listed above methods is actually a Expression<Func<T, TMember>> that must be a MemberExpression;

memberConfiguration is an Action<memberBuilder>, where memberBuilder is an interface inherited from IMemberBuilder<T>:

  • IMemberBuilder<T, TMember>, has the following methods:

    • UseFactory(Expression<Func<IContext<T>, TMember>> expression) – factory method;

    • SizeOf(BinarySize sizeInBytes) – static size of member;

    • SizeOf(Expression<Func<IContext<T>, BinarySize>> expression) – dynamic size of member;

    • If(Expression<Func<IContext<T>, Boolean>> expression) – conditional reading;

    • ConvertValue(Expression<Func<IMemberContext<T, TMember>, TMember>> expression) – value conversion after read;

    • Assert(Expression<Func<IMemberContext<T, TMember>, Boolean>> expression) – value assertion, throws BinaryReadingAssertException if fails;

    • AfterRead(Expression<Action<IMemberContext<T, TMember>>> expression) – an action to perform after read;

    • SetOrder(Int32 order) – order of the member in T;

    • Position(Expression<Func<IContext<T>, BinaryOffset>> expression) – stream position where to start reading;

    • PositionAfter(Expression<Func<IMemberContext<T, TMember>, BinaryOffset>> expression) – stream position where to set pointer after reading;

    • OverrideEndianess(Endianness endianness) – read member with different endianness;

    • StringEncoding(Encoding encoding) – static string encoding (may be used only for string member);

    • StringEncoding(Expression<Func<IContext<T>, Encoding>> encodingExpression) – dynamic string encoding (may be used only for string member);

  • ICollectionMemberBuilder<T, TMember, TElement>, inherits from IMemberBuilder<T, TMember>, has additionally a method for configuring its elements:

    • Element(Action<IMemberBuilder<TMember, TElement>> elementBuilderConfiguration)

  • IArrayMemberBuilder<T, TElement>, inherits from ICollectionMemberBuilder<T, TMember, TElement>, has additionally a couple of methods for configuration:

    • Length(UInt64 length) – fixed sized array;

    • Length(Expression<Func<IContext<T>, UInt64>> expression) – variable sized array;

  • IListMemberBuilder<T, TElement>, inherits from ICollectionMemberBuilder<T, TMember, TElement>, has additionally the following method:

    • LastElementWhen(Expression<Func<ICollectionMemberContext<T, IList<TElement>>, Boolean>> expression) – declares a function for determining the last element in the list.



+ bit size level data

+ polymorphic member support

+ fluent api

+ expression trees. no reflection

- no native support for stream files (however there are several workarounds)

Last edited Oct 29, 2014 at 11:15 AM by maxibrain, version 7