Presentation of UniversalSerializer

UniversalSerializer is a free open-source advanced serializer for .NET and .NET Core.
It has been designed to be able to serialize very complex types with ease (as the WPF's Window class for example).

It can run on Windows, Linux, Android and (probably) macOS1 and iOS1.


Get the compiled libraries

Three NuGet packages are available that contain the compiled DLLs:
  • UniversalSerializer
    The main package, containing the 8 main libraries.
  • UniversalSerializer.WPF
    The specific library for the WPF types.
    This package depends on the main package.
  • UniversalSerializer.Windows.Forms
    The specific library for the Windows Forms types.
    For versionning reasons, it includes the right main UniversalSerializer library. Therfore this package does not depend on the main package.

Some characteristics

  • No need to add attributes nor interfaces to the types (classes & structures).
  • Optional mechanisms let you serialize types that would not serialize normally:
    encapsulation in Containers, Filters, and additionnal attributes.
  • A class instance can be referenced multiple times (it is not duplicated).
  • Circular references are allowed.
  • Existing serialization or transcoding mechanisms are reused.
    Currently: [Serializable], ISerializable, [ValueSerializer], and [TypeConverter].
  • Types with no default constructor are allowed, if a parametric constructor can be found (it is automatic).
  • Not-generic ICollection classes can be serialized if an Add or an Insert method can be found (private or public functions are found automatically).
  • I added specialized libraries that let you serialize types of WPF and Windows Forms.


The sources are available on GitHub.

Technical article

You can read the article I wrote on CodeProject.
It presents UniversalSerializer in details, and explains its origin and some of the techniques I introduced for it.

The DLLs

The available libraries are:

Library platform Operating systems File formats
  Windows macOS1 Linux Android iOS1 Binary XML json
.NET 3.5 yes no no no no yes yes no
.NET 4.0 yes Mono Mono Xamarin Xamarin yes yes yes
.NET 4.5 yes Mono Mono Xamarin Xamarin yes yes yes
.NET Core 2 yes yes yes no no yes yes yes
.NET Standard 2 yes yes yes Xamarin Xamarin yes yes yes
Android       Xamarin   yes yes yes
Silverlight yes yes no no no yes yes yes
UWP (Universal Windows) yes no no no no yes yes no
Windows Forms on .NET 3.5 yes no no no no yes yes yes
Windows Forms on .NET 4.0 yes no no no no yes yes yes
WPF yes no no no no yes yes yes

And a test application under Xamarin Forms (using the .NET Standard library), on Windows, Android and iOS.

A code example

var data = new Hashtable(); data.Add(0, 1);
using (var s = new UniversalSerializer("serialized.uniser"))
  var data2 = s.Deserialize<Hashtable>();

There are more examples on this page.



(1) Apple: Some libraries are compiled for macOS and iOS. But I did not test them on these systems (I don't own this hardware).