Chris Miller Chris Miller -3 years ago 215
C# Question

Reading a C/C++ data structure in C# from a byte array

What would be the best way to fill a C# struct from a byte[] array where the data was from a C/C++ struct? The C struct would look something like this (my C is very rusty):

typedef OldStuff {
CHAR Name[8];
UInt32 User;
CHAR Location[8];
UInt32 TimeStamp;
UInt32 Sequence;
CHAR Tracking[16];
CHAR Filler[12];
}


And would fill something like this:

[StructLayout(LayoutKind.Explicit, Size = 56, Pack = 1)]
public struct NewStuff
{
[MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.ByValTStr, SizeConst = 8)]
[FieldOffset(0)]
public string Name;

[MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.U4)]
[FieldOffset(8)]
public uint User;

[MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.ByValTStr, SizeConst = 8)]
[FieldOffset(12)]
public string Location;

[MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.U4)]
[FieldOffset(20)]
public uint TimeStamp;

[MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.U4)]
[FieldOffset(24)]
public uint Sequence;

[MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.ByValTStr, SizeConst = 16)]
[FieldOffset(28)]
public string Tracking;
}


What is best way to copy
OldStuff
to
NewStuff
, if
OldStuff
was passed as byte[] array?

I'm currently doing something like the following, but it feels kind of clunky.

GCHandle handle;
NewStuff MyStuff;

int BufferSize = Marshal.SizeOf(typeof(NewStuff));
byte[] buff = new byte[BufferSize];

Array.Copy(SomeByteArray, 0, buff, 0, BufferSize);

handle = GCHandle.Alloc(buff, GCHandleType.Pinned);

MyStuff = (NewStuff)Marshal.PtrToStructure(handle.AddrOfPinnedObject(), typeof(NewStuff));

handle.Free();


Is there better way to accomplish this?




Would using the
BinaryReader
class offer any performance gains over pinning the memory and using
Marshal.PtrStructure
?

Answer Source

From what I can see in that context, you don't need to copy SomeByteArray into a buffer. You simply need to get the handle from SomeByteArray, pin it, copy the IntPtr data using PtrToStructure and then release. No need for a copy.

That would be:

NewStuff ByteArrayToNewStuff(byte[] bytes)
{
    GCHandle handle = GCHandle.Alloc(bytes, GCHandleType.Pinned);
    try
    {
        NewStuff stuff = (NewStuff)Marshal.PtrToStructure(handle.AddrOfPinnedObject(), typeof(NewStuff));
    }
    finally
    {
        handle.Free();
    }
    return stuff;
}

Generic version:

T ByteArrayToStructure<T>(byte[] bytes) where T: struct 
{
    GCHandle handle = GCHandle.Alloc(bytes, GCHandleType.Pinned);
    try
    {
        T stuff = (T)Marshal.PtrToStructure(handle.AddrOfPinnedObject(), typeof(T));
    }
    finally
    {
        handle.Free();
    }
    return stuff;
}

Simpler version (requires unsafe switch):

unsafe T ByteArrayToStructure<T>(byte[] bytes) where T : struct
{
    fixed (byte* ptr = &bytes[0])
    {
        return (T)Marshal.PtrToStructure((IntPtr)ptr, typeof(T));
    }
}
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