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VC++ Article: DECLARE_SERIAL and IMPLEMENT_SERIAL and serialize data from or to disk.



This article will show you how you can serialize data to disk and retrieve it again in non doc/view architecture projects. Just follow the steps outlined.

Steps to follow

  • Create a normal project as you usually do.
  • Add the class which you would use to serialize the data. It might contain just normal variables or collection classes or any kind of data that you want to store.
    • Be sure to derive that class from CObject. Only then you can serialize the data.
    • Be sure to use the DECLARE_SERIAL macro inside.
    Collapse Copy Code
    class CInfo : public CObject
        virtual void Serialize(CArchive& ar);
        int m_nIndex;
        CString m_strName;
  • Add the serialization function in this class's .cpp file. Be sure to use the IMPLEMENT_SERIAL macro as shown.
    Collapse Copy Code
    #include "stdafx.h"
    #include "CInfo.h"
    void CInfo::Serialize(CArchive& ar)
        if (ar.IsLoading()) // If you are loading data from the disk
            ar >> m_strName;
            ar >> m_nIndex;
        else // If you are storing data to the disk
            ar << m_strName;
            ar << m_nIndex;
  • As this example is concerned with just 2 variables, assume that 2 edit controls have been created to accommodate the Index and the Name. Add 2 variables to those edit controls using the Class Wizard. Now the File to which the data has to be written or read from has to be defined. I do that simply by :-
    Collapse Copy Code
    // The Accounts.dat file is the 
    // file that we are going to use 
    // to save and read data
    #define DATA_FILE _T("Accounts.dat") 
  • Now, we write the code for storing the data to the disk. Here, m_bCanSave is declared in the header file as BOOL m_bCanSave; and in the constructor it has been initialized as m_bCanSave = FALSE;
    Collapse Copy Code
    void SaveRecords()                  
    //  Code to serialize and save the data
        UINT nFlags = CFile::typeBinary | CFile::modeWrite;
        if (_access(DATA_FILE, 0))
            nFlags |= CFile::modeCreate;            
            // The file doesn't exist, so create it
            m_bCanSave = TRUE;
            int nTemp = _access(DATA_FILE, 6);  
            // Check Read Write Permissions
                m_bCanSave = TRUE;
        if (m_bCanSave)
            CFile file;
            CFileException fe;
            // The file exists with read & write permissions
            if (file.Open(DATA_FILE, nFlags, &fe))
                CArchive ar(&file, CArchive::store);
                Info.m_nIndex = m_nIndex;
                Info.m_strName = m_strName;
                Info.Serialize(ar); // Serialize the data
  • Now , we write the code for reading the data from the disk.
    Collapse Copy Code
    void LoadRecords()
        if (_access(DATA_FILE, 6)==0) // If File Exists
            CFile file;
            CFileException fe; 
            if (file.Open(DATA_FILE,CFile::typeBinary | 
                CFile::modeRead, &fe))
                CArchive ar(&file, CArchive::load);
        m_nIndex = Info.m_nIndex;
        m_strName = Info.m_strName;


That's it. A Simple tutorial for serialization is complete. You have a program that can serialize data to the disk and retrieve it later. You didn't know that serialization was so easy. Did you? All Luck and have a nice time.

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