kpozin kpozin - 7 months ago 45
Javascript Question

Converting between strings and ArrayBuffers

Is there a commonly accepted technique for efficiently converting JavaScript strings to ArrayBuffers and vice-versa? Specifically, I'd like to be able to write the contents of an ArrayBuffer to

localStorage
and to read it back.

Answer

Although Dennis and gengkev solutions of using Blob/FileReader work, I wouldn't suggest taking that approach. It is a async approach to a simple problem, and it is much slower than a direct solution. I've made a post in html5rocks with a simpler and (much faster) solution: http://updates.html5rocks.com/2012/06/How-to-convert-ArrayBuffer-to-and-from-String

And the solution is:

function ab2str(buf) {
  return String.fromCharCode.apply(null, new Uint16Array(buf));
}

function str2ab(str) {
  var buf = new ArrayBuffer(str.length*2); // 2 bytes for each char
  var bufView = new Uint16Array(buf);
  for (var i=0, strLen=str.length; i<strLen; i++) {
    bufView[i] = str.charCodeAt(i);
  }
  return buf;
}

EDIT:

The Encoding API helps solving the string conversion problem. Check out the response from Jeff Posnik on Html5Rocks.com to the above original article.

Excerpt:

The Encoding API makes it simple to translate between raw bytes and native JavaScript strings, regardless of which of the many standard encodings you need to work with.

<pre id="results"></pre>

<script>
  if ('TextDecoder' in window) {
    // The local files to be fetched, mapped to the encoding that they're using.
    var filesToEncoding = {
      'utf8.bin': 'utf-8',
      'utf16le.bin': 'utf-16le',
      'macintosh.bin': 'macintosh'
    };

    Object.keys(filesToEncoding).forEach(function(file) {
      fetchAndDecode(file, filesToEncoding[file]);
    });
  } else {
    document.querySelector('#results').textContent = 'Your browser does not support the Encoding API.'
  }

  // Use XHR to fetch `file` and interpret its contents as being encoded with `encoding`.
  function fetchAndDecode(file, encoding) {
    var xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();
    xhr.open('GET', file);
    // Using 'arraybuffer' as the responseType ensures that the raw data is returned,
    // rather than letting XMLHttpRequest decode the data first.
    xhr.responseType = 'arraybuffer';
    xhr.onload = function() {
      if (this.status == 200) {
        // The decode() method takes a DataView as a parameter, which is a wrapper on top of the ArrayBuffer.
        var dataView = new DataView(this.response);
        // The TextDecoder interface is documented at http://encoding.spec.whatwg.org/#interface-textdecoder
        var decoder = new TextDecoder(encoding);
        var decodedString = decoder.decode(dataView);
        // Add the decoded file's text to the <pre> element on the page.
        document.querySelector('#results').textContent += decodedString + '\n';
      } else {
        console.error('Error while requesting', file, this);
      }
    };
    xhr.send();
  }
</script>
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