QDataStream Class Reference

The QDataStream class provides serialization of binary data to a QIODevice.

  1. #include <QDataStream>

Note: All functions in this class are reentrant.

Detailed Description

The QDataStream class provides serialization of binary data to a QIODevice.

A data stream is a binary stream of encoded information which is 100% independent of the host computer's operating system, CPU or byte order. For example, a data stream that is written by a PC under Windows can be read by a Sun SPARC running Solaris.

You can also use a data stream to read/write raw unencoded binary data. If you want a "parsing" input stream, see QTextStream.

The QDataStream class implements the serialization of C++'s basic data types, like char, short, int, char *, etc. Serialization of more complex data is accomplished by breaking up the data into primitive units.

A data stream cooperates closely with a QIODevice. A QIODevice represents an input/output medium one can read data from and write data to. The QFile class is an example of an I/O device.

Example (write binary data to a stream):

  1.                 QFile file("file.dat");
  2. file.open(QIODevice::WriteOnly);
  3. QDataStream out(&file);   // we will serialize the data into the file
  4. out << QString("the answer is");   // serialize a string
  5. out << (qint32)42;        // serialize an integer

Example (read binary data from a stream):

  1.                 QFile file("file.dat");
  2. file.open(QIODevice::ReadOnly);
  3. QDataStream in(&file);    // read the data serialized from the file
  4. QString str;
  5. qint32 a;
  6. in >> str >> a;           // extract "the answer is" and 42

Each item written to the stream is written in a predefined binary format that varies depending on the item's type. Supported Qt types include QBrush, QColor, QDateTime, QFont, QPixmap, QString, QVariant and many others. For the complete list of all Qt types supporting data streaming see Serializing Qt Data Types.

For integers it is best to always cast to a Qt integer type for writing, and to read back into the same Qt integer type. This ensures that you get integers of the size you want and insulates you from compiler and platform differences.

To take one example, a char * string is written as a 32-bit integer equal to the length of the string including the '\0' byte, followed by all the characters of the string including the '\0' byte. When reading a char * string, 4 bytes are read to create the 32-bit length value, then that many characters for the char * string including the '\0' terminator are read.

The initial I/O device is usually set in the constructor, but can be changed with setDevice(). If you've reached the end of the data (or if there is no I/O device set) atEnd() will return true.

Versioning

QDataStream's binary format has evolved since Qt 1.0, and is likely to continue evolving to reflect changes done in Qt. When inputting or outputting complex types, it's very important to make sure that the same version of the stream (version()) is used for reading and writing. If you need both forward and backward compatibility, you can hardcode the version number in the application:

  1. stream.setVersion(QDataStream::Qt_4_0);

If you are producing a new binary data format, such as a file format for documents created by your application, you could use a QDataStream to write the data in a portable format. Typically, you would write a brief header containing a magic string and a version number to give yourself room for future expansion. For example:

  1.                 QFile file("file.xxx");
  2. file.open(QIODevice::WriteOnly);
  3. QDataStream out(&file);
  4.  
  5. // Write a header with a "magic number" and a version
  6. out << (quint32)0xA0B0C0D0;
  7. out << (qint32)123;
  8.  
  9. out.setVersion(QDataStream::Qt_4_0);
  10.  
  11. // Write the data
  12. out << lots_of_interesting_data;

Then read it in with:

  1.                 QFile file("file.xxx");
  2. file.open(QIODevice::ReadOnly);
  3. QDataStream in(&file);
  4.  
  5. // Read and check the header
  6. quint32 magic;
  7. in >> magic;
  8. if (magic != 0xA0B0C0D0)
  9.     return XXX_BAD_FILE_FORMAT;
  10.  
  11. // Read the version
  12. qint32 version;
  13. in >> version;
  14. if (version < 100)
  15.     return XXX_BAD_FILE_TOO_OLD;
  16. if (version > 123)
  17.     return XXX_BAD_FILE_TOO_NEW;
  18.  
  19. if (version <= 110)
  20.     in.setVersion(QDataStream::Qt_3_2);
  21. else
  22.     in.setVersion(QDataStream::Qt_4_0);
  23.  
  24. // Read the data
  25. in >> lots_of_interesting_data;
  26. if (version >= 120)
  27.     in >> data_new_in_XXX_version_1_2;
  28. in >> other_interesting_data;

You can select which byte order to use when serializing data. The default setting is big endian (MSB first). Changing it to little endian breaks the portability (unless the reader also changes to little endian). We recommend keeping this setting unless you have special requirements.

Reading and writing raw binary data

You may wish to read/write your own raw binary data to/from the data stream directly. Data may be read from the stream into a preallocated char * using readRawData(). Similarly data can be written to the stream using writeRawData(). Note that any encoding/decoding of the data must be done by you.

A similar pair of functions is readBytes() and writeBytes(). These differ from their raw counterparts as follows: readBytes() reads a quint32 which is taken to be the length of the data to be read, then that number of bytes is read into the preallocated char *; writeBytes() writes a quint32 containing the length of the data, followed by the data. Note that any encoding/decoding of the data (apart from the length quint32) must be done by you.

Reading and writing Qt collection classes

The Qt container classes can also be serialized to a QDataStream. These include QList, QLinkedList, QVector, QSet, QHash, and QMap. The stream operators are declared as non-members of the classes.

Reading and writing other Qt classes.

In addition to the overloaded stream operators documented here, any Qt classes that you might want to serialize to a QDataStream will have appropriate stream operators declared as non-member of the class:

  1. QDataStream &operator<<(QDataStream &, const QXxx &);
  2. QDataStream &operator>>(QDataStream &, QXxx &);

For example, here are the stream operators declared as non-members of the QImage class:

  1. QDataStream & operator<< (QDataStream& stream, const QImage& image);
  2. QDataStream & operator>> (QDataStream& stream, QImage& image);

To see if your favorite Qt class has similar stream operators defined, check the Related Non-Members section of the class's documentation page.

See also QTextStream and QVariant.

Public Types

Toggle detailsenum QDataStream::

ByteOrderByteOrder { BigEndian , LittleEndian QSysInfo::LittleEndian ...} { BigEndian , LittleEndian QSysInfo::LittleEndian }

The byte order used for reading/writing the data.

ConstantValueDescription
QDataStream::BigEndian QSysInfo::BigEndian Most significant byte first (the default)
QDataStream::LittleEndian QSysInfo::LittleEndian Least significant byte first

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Toggle detailsenum QDataStream::

FloatingPointPrecisionFloatingPointPrecision { SinglePrecision , DoublePrecision 1 ...} { SinglePrecision , DoublePrecision 1 }

The precision of floating point numbers used for reading/writing the data. This will only have an effect if the version of the data stream is Qt_4_6 or higher.

Warning: The floating point precision must be set to the same value on the object that writes and the object that reads the data stream.

ConstantValueDescription
QDataStream::SinglePrecision 0 All floating point numbers in the data stream have 32-bit precision.
QDataStream::DoublePrecision 1 All floating point numbers in the data stream have 64-bit precision.

See also setFloatingPointPrecision() and floatingPointPrecision().

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Toggle detailsenum QDataStream::

StatusStatus { Ok , ReadPastEnd , ReadCorruptData 2 ...} { Ok , ReadPastEnd , ReadCorruptData 2 }

This enum describes the current status of the data stream.

ConstantValueDescription
QDataStream::Ok 0 The data stream is operating normally.
QDataStream::ReadPastEnd 1 The data stream has read past the end of the data in the underlying device.
QDataStream::ReadCorruptData 2 The data stream has read corrupt data.

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Toggle detailsenum QDataStream::

VersionVersion { Qt_1_0 , Qt_2_0 , Qt_2_1 , Qt_3_0 , Qt_3_1 , Qt_3_3 , Qt_4_0 , Qt_4_1 , Qt_4_2 , Qt_4_3 , Qt_4_4 , Qt_4_5 , Qt_4_6 , Qt_4_7 Qt_4_6 Qt_4_8 Qt_4_7 ...} { Qt_1_0 , Qt_2_0 , Qt_2_1 , Qt_3_0 , Qt_3_1 , Qt_3_3 , Qt_4_0 , Qt_4_1 , Qt_4_2 , Qt_4_3 , Qt_4_4 , Qt_4_5 , Qt_4_6 , Qt_4_7 Qt_4_6 Qt_4_8 Qt_4_7 }

This enum provides symbolic synonyms for the data serialization format version numbers.

ConstantValueDescription
QDataStream::Qt_1_0 1 Version 1 (Qt 1.x)
QDataStream::Qt_2_0 2 Version 2 (Qt 2.0)
QDataStream::Qt_2_1 3 Version 3 (Qt 2.1, 2.2, 2.3)
QDataStream::Qt_3_0 4 Version 4 (Qt 3.0)
QDataStream::Qt_3_1 5 Version 5 (Qt 3.1, 3.2)
QDataStream::Qt_3_3 6 Version 6 (Qt 3.3)
QDataStream::Qt_4_0 7 Version 7 (Qt 4.0, Qt 4.1)
QDataStream::Qt_4_1 Qt_4_0 Version 7 (Qt 4.0, Qt 4.1)
QDataStream::Qt_4_2 8 Version 8 (Qt 4.2)
QDataStream::Qt_4_3 9 Version 9 (Qt 4.3)
QDataStream::Qt_4_4 10 Version 10 (Qt 4.4)
QDataStream::Qt_4_5 11 Version 11 (Qt 4.5)
QDataStream::Qt_4_6 12 Version 12 (Qt 4.6)
QDataStream::Qt_4_7 Qt_4_6 Qt_4_8 = Qt_4_7 Same as Qt_4_6.

See also setVersion() and version().

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    Public Functions

    Toggle details QDataStream

    QDataStreamQDataStream () ()

    Constructs a data stream that has no I/O device.

    See also setDevice().

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    Toggle details QDataStream

    QDataStreamQDataStream ( QIODevice *d ) ( QIODevice *d )

    Constructs a data stream that uses the I/O device d.

    Warning: If you use QSocket or QSocketDevice as the I/O device d for reading data, you must make sure that enough data is available on the socket for the operation to successfully proceed; QDataStream does not have any means to handle or recover from short-reads.

    See also setDevice() and device().

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    Toggle details QDataStream

    QDataStreamQDataStream ( QByteArray *a , QIODevice::OpenMode mode ...) ( QByteArray *a , QIODevice::OpenMode mode )

    Constructs a data stream that operates on a byte array, a. The mode describes how the device is to be used.

    Alternatively, you can use QDataStream(const QByteArray &) if you just want to read from a byte array.

    Since QByteArray is not a QIODevice subclass, internally a QBuffer is created to wrap the byte array.

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    Toggle details QDataStream

    QDataStreamQDataStream ( const QByteArray &a ) ( const QByteArray &a )

    Constructs a read-only data stream that operates on byte array a. Use QDataStream(QByteArray*, int) if you want to write to a byte array.

    Since QByteArray is not a QIODevice subclass, internally a QBuffer is created to wrap the byte array.

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    Toggle details QDataStream

    ~QDataStream~QDataStream () () [virtual]

    Destroys the data stream.

    The destructor will not affect the current I/O device, unless it is an internal I/O device (e.g. a QBuffer) processing a QByteArray passed in the constructor, in which case the internal I/O device is destroyed.

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    Toggle details bool QDataStream

    atEndatEnd () ()const

    Returns true if the I/O device has reached the end position (end of the stream or file) or if there is no I/O device set; otherwise returns false.

    See also QIODevice::atEnd().

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    Toggle details ByteOrder QDataStream

    byteOrderbyteOrder () ()const

    Returns the current byte order setting -- either BigEndian or LittleEndian.

    See also setByteOrder().

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    Toggle details QIODevice * QDataStream

    devicedevice () ()const

    Returns the I/O device currently set, or 0 if no device is currently set.

    See also setDevice().

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    Toggle details FloatingPointPrecision QDataStream

    floatingPointPrecisionfloatingPointPrecision () ()const

    Returns the floating point precision of the data stream.

    See also FloatingPointPrecision and setFloatingPointPrecision().

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    readBytesreadBytes ( char *&s , uint &l ) ( char *&s , uint &l )

    Reads the buffer s from the stream and returns a reference to the stream.

    The buffer s is allocated using new. Destroy it with the delete[] operator.

    The l parameter is set to the length of the buffer. If the string read is empty, l is set to 0 and s is set to a null pointer.

    The serialization format is a quint32 length specifier first, then l bytes of data.

    See also readRawData() and writeBytes().

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    Toggle details int QDataStream

    readRawDatareadRawData ( char *s , int len ) ( char *s , int len )

    Reads at most len bytes from the stream into s and returns the number of bytes read. If an error occurs, this function returns -1.

    The buffer s must be preallocated. The data is not encoded.

    See also readBytes(), QIODevice::read(), and writeRawData().

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    Toggle details void QDataStream

    resetStatusresetStatus () ()

    Resets the status of the data stream.

    See also Status, status(), and setStatus().

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    Toggle details void QDataStream

    setByteOrdersetByteOrder ( ByteOrder bo ) ( ByteOrder bo )

    Sets the serialization byte order to bo.

    The bo parameter can be QDataStream::BigEndian or QDataStream::LittleEndian.

    The default setting is big endian. We recommend leaving this setting unless you have special requirements.

    See also byteOrder().

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    Toggle details void QDataStream

    setDevicesetDevice ( QIODevice *d ) ( QIODevice *d )

    void QDataStream::setDevice(QIODevice *d)

    Sets the I/O device to d, which can be 0 to unset to current I/O device.

    See also device().

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    Toggle details void QDataStream

    setFloatingPointPrecisionsetFloatingPointPrecision ( FloatingPointPrecision precision ...) ( FloatingPointPrecision precision )

    Sets the floating point precision of the data stream to precision. If the floating point precision is DoublePrecision and the version of the data stream is Qt_4_6 or higher, all floating point numbers will be written and read with 64-bit precision. If the floating point precision is SinglePrecision and the version is Qt_4_6 or higher, all floating point numbers will be written and read with 32-bit precision.

    For versions prior to Qt_4_6, the precision of floating point numbers in the data stream depends on the stream operator called.

    The default is DoublePrecision.

    Warning: This property must be set to the same value on the object that writes and the object that reads the data stream.

    See also floatingPointPrecision().

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    Toggle details void QDataStream

    setStatussetStatus ( Status status ) ( Status status )

    Sets the status of the data stream to the status given.

    See also Status, status(), and resetStatus().

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    Toggle details void QDataStream

    setVersionsetVersion ( int v ) ( int v )

    Sets the version number of the data serialization format to v.

    You don't have to set a version if you are using the current version of Qt, but for your own custom binary formats we recommend that you do; see Versioning in the Detailed Description.

    To accommodate new functionality, the datastream serialization format of some Qt classes has changed in some versions of Qt. If you want to read data that was created by an earlier version of Qt, or write data that can be read by a program that was compiled with an earlier version of Qt, use this function to modify the serialization format used by QDataStream.

    Qt Version QDataStream Version
    Qt 4.612
    Qt 4.511
    Qt 4.410
    Qt 4.39
    Qt 4.28
    Qt 4.0, 4.17
    Qt 3.36
    Qt 3.1, 3.25
    Qt 3.04
    Qt 2.1, 2.2, 2.33
    Qt 2.02
    Qt 1.x1

    The Version enum provides symbolic constants for the different versions of Qt. For example:

    1.                     QDataStream out(file);
    2. out.setVersion(QDataStream::Qt_4_0);

    See also version() and Version.

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    Toggle details int QDataStream

    skipRawDataskipRawData ( int len ) ( int len )

    Skips len bytes from the device. Returns the number of bytes actually skipped, or -1 on error.

    This is equivalent to calling readRawData() on a buffer of length len and ignoring the buffer.

    See also QIODevice::seek().

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    Toggle details Status QDataStream

    statusstatus () ()const

    Returns the status of the data stream.

    See also Status, setStatus(), and resetStatus().

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    Toggle details int QDataStream

    versionversion () ()const

    Returns the version number of the data serialization format.

    See also setVersion() and Version.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    writeByteswriteBytes ( const char *s , uint len ) ( const char *s , uint len )

    Writes the length specifier len and the buffer s to the stream and returns a reference to the stream.

    The len is serialized as a quint32, followed by len bytes from s. Note that the data is not encoded.

    See also writeRawData() and readBytes().

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    Toggle details int QDataStream

    writeRawDatawriteRawData ( const char *s , int len ) ( const char *s , int len )

    Writes len bytes from s to the stream. Returns the number of bytes actually written, or -1 on error. The data is not encoded.

    See also writeBytes(), QIODevice::write(), and readRawData().

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator<<operator<< ( qint8 i ) ( qint8 i )

    Writes a signed byte, i, to the stream and returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator<<operator<< ( bool i ) ( bool i )

    Writes a boolean value, i, to the stream. Returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator<<operator<< ( quint8 i ) ( quint8 i )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Writes an unsigned byte, i, to the stream and returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator<<operator<< ( quint16 i ) ( quint16 i )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Writes an unsigned 16-bit integer, i, to the stream and returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator<<operator<< ( qint16 i ) ( qint16 i )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Writes a signed 16-bit integer, i, to the stream and returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator<<operator<< ( qint32 i ) ( qint32 i )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Writes a signed 32-bit integer, i, to the stream and returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator<<operator<< ( quint64 i ) ( quint64 i )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Writes an unsigned 64-bit integer, i, to the stream and returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator<<operator<< ( qint64 i ) ( qint64 i )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Writes a signed 64-bit integer, i, to the stream and returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator<<operator<< ( quint32 i ) ( quint32 i )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Writes an unsigned integer, i, to the stream as a 32-bit unsigned integer (quint32). Returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator<<operator<< ( floatf ) ( floatf )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Writes a floating point number, f, to the stream using the standard IEEE 754 format. Returns a reference to the stream.

    See also setFloatingPointPrecision().

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator<<operator<< ( double f ) ( double f )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Writes a floating point number, f, to the stream using the standard IEEE 754 format. Returns a reference to the stream.

    See also setFloatingPointPrecision().

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator<<operator<< ( const char *s ) ( const char *s )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Writes the '\0'-terminated string s to the stream and returns a reference to the stream.

    The string is serialized using writeBytes().

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator>>operator>> ( qint8 &i ) ( qint8 &i )

    Reads a signed byte from the stream into i, and returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator>>operator>> ( bool &i ) ( bool &i )

    Reads a boolean value from the stream into i. Returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator>>operator>> ( quint8 &i ) ( quint8 &i )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Reads an unsigned byte from the stream into i, and returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator>>operator>> ( quint16 &i ) ( quint16 &i )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Reads an unsigned 16-bit integer from the stream into i, and returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator>>operator>> ( qint16 &i ) ( qint16 &i )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Reads a signed 16-bit integer from the stream into i, and returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator>>operator>> ( quint32 &i ) ( quint32 &i )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Reads an unsigned 32-bit integer from the stream into i, and returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator>>operator>> ( qint32 &i ) ( qint32 &i )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Reads a signed 32-bit integer from the stream into i, and returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator>>operator>> ( quint64 &i ) ( quint64 &i )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Reads an unsigned 64-bit integer from the stream, into i, and returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator>>operator>> ( qint64 &i ) ( qint64 &i )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Reads a signed 64-bit integer from the stream into i, and returns a reference to the stream.

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator>>operator>> ( float &f ) ( float &f )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Reads a floating point number from the stream into f, using the standard IEEE 754 format. Returns a reference to the stream.

    See also setFloatingPointPrecision().

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator>>operator>> ( double &f ) ( double &f )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Reads a floating point number from the stream into f, using the standard IEEE 754 format. Returns a reference to the stream.

    See also setFloatingPointPrecision().

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    operator>>operator>> ( char *&s ) ( char *&s )

    This is an overloaded function.

    Reads the '\0'-terminated string s from the stream and returns a reference to the stream.

    Space for the string is allocated using new -- the caller must destroy it with delete[].

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    Toggle details void QDataStream

    unsetDeviceunsetDevice () () Obsolete function

    Unsets the I/O device. Use setDevice(0) instead.

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    Toggle details QDataStream

    QDataStreamQDataStream ( QByteArray *array , int mode ) ( QByteArray *array , int mode ) Qt3-support

    Constructs a data stream that operates on the given array. The mode specifies how the byte array is to be used, and is usually either QIODevice::ReadOnly or QIODevice::WriteOnly.

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    Toggle details bool QDataStream

    eofeof () ()const Qt3-support

    Use atEnd() instead.

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    Toggle details bool QDataStream

    isPrintableDataisPrintableData () ()const Qt3-support

    In Qt 4, this function always returns false.

    See also setPrintableData().

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    readRawBytesreadRawBytes ( char *str , uint len ) ( char *str , uint len ) Qt3-support

    Use readRawData() instead.

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    Toggle details void QDataStream

    setPrintableDatasetPrintableData ( bool enable ) ( bool enable ) Qt3-support

    In Qt 3, this function enabled output in a human-readable format if enable was false.

    In Qt 4, QDataStream no longer provides a human-readable output. This function does nothing.

    See also isPrintableData().

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    Toggle details QDataStream & QDataStream

    writeRawByteswriteRawBytes ( const char *str , uint len ...) ( const char *str , uint len ) Qt3-support

    Use writeRawData() instead.

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    Notes provided by the Qt Community
    Informative
    • 0

    Votes: 0

    Coverage: Qt library 4.7

    Picture of Diluka Diluka

    Hobby Entomologist
    23 notes

    Nokia Developer side which related to QDataStream

    Important link for beginners it redirect to the nokia web site and it has some tutorials with examples

    http://www.developer.nokia.com/Community/Wiki/How_to_perform_file_IO_using_QDataStream_in_Qt

    [Revisions]