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AltBinary is a part of Streams library, what implements binary I/O and serialization faсilities. Just a list of features implemented in this lib:

- class-based AltBinary interface plus emulation of NewBinary library interface - compatibility with Hugs and GHC, with GHC-specific speed optimizations - (de)serialization speed of 20-60 mb/sec on 1GHz CPU - free intermixing of text and binary i/o on the same Stream - support for byte-aligned and bit-aligned, low-endian and big-endian

   serialization using the same interface

- classical Binary class with "get" and "put_" functions defines

   default representation for each type

- get/put_ uses fixed-size encoding for Int8..Word64, but variable-length encoding

   for Int/Word/Integer (including encoding of array bounds and list lengths)

- any integral value can be saved with explicitly specified size using

   functions "putBits bh bits value" and "getBits bh bits" (their shortcuts
   putBit/putWord8...putWord64/getBit/... is also supported for all integral types)

- get/put_ uses UTF8 encoding for strings/chars - Binary class instances (i.e. get/put_ implementation) for Bounded Enum,

   Storable, arrays, maps and sets

- lots of alternative representations for Strings, lists and arrays,

   including ability to use user-supported function to read/write
   each list/array element, such as "putMArrayWith (putBits 15) h arr".
   for example, "putString0With putLatin1Char h s" implements
   ASCIIZ string encoding

- Template Haskell can used to automatically derive new Binary instances - ability to serialize data to any Stream, including Handle, raw

   files, memory-mapped files, memory and string buffers, pipes,
   network sockets and so on

- after all, it can work in any monad. the only thing required for

   it's work is something supporting ByteStream interface, i.e.
   implementing vGetByte and vPutByte operations in some monad

... and i still don't mentioned some features such as (encode :: a->String) and decode functions. i think that i implemented in this lib everything that anyone (except for Einar ;)) ever imagined :)