zvariant 2.3.0

D-Bus & GVariant encoding & decoding

This crate provides API for serialization/deserialization of data to/from D-Bus wire format. This binary wire format is simple and very efficient and hence useful outside of D-Bus context as well. A modified form of this format, GVariant is very commonly used for efficient storage of arbitrary data and is also supported by this crate.

Since version 2.0, the API is serde-based and hence you'll find it very intuitive if you're already familiar with serde. If you're not familiar with serde, you may want to first read its tutorial before learning further about this crate.

Serialization and deserialization is achieved through the toplevel functions:

use std::collections::HashMap;
use byteorder::LE;
use zvariant::{from_slice, to_bytes};
use zvariant::EncodingContext as Context;

// All serialization and deserialization API, needs a context.
let ctxt = Context::<LE>::new_dbus(0);

// i16
let encoded = to_bytes(ctxt, &42i16).unwrap();
let decoded: i16 = from_slice(&encoded, ctxt).unwrap();
assert_eq!(decoded, 42);

// strings
let encoded = to_bytes(ctxt, &"hello").unwrap();
let decoded: &str = from_slice(&encoded, ctxt).unwrap();
assert_eq!(decoded, "hello");

// tuples
let t = ("hello", 42i32, true);
let encoded = to_bytes(ctxt, &t).unwrap();
let decoded: (&str, i32, bool) = from_slice(&encoded, ctxt).unwrap();
assert_eq!(decoded, t);

// Let's use the more efficient GVariant format.
let ctxt = Context::<LE>::new_gvariant(0);

// Vec
let v = vec!["hello", "world!"];
let encoded = to_bytes(ctxt, &v).unwrap();
let decoded: Vec<&str> = from_slice(&encoded, ctxt).unwrap();
assert_eq!(decoded, v);

// Dictionary
let mut map: HashMap<i64, &str> = HashMap::new();
map.insert(1, "123");
map.insert(2, "456");
let encoded = to_bytes(ctxt, &map).unwrap();
let decoded: HashMap<i64, &str> = from_slice(&encoded, ctxt).unwrap();
assert_eq!(decoded[&1], "123");
assert_eq!(decoded[&2], "456");

Apart from the obvious requirement of EncodingContext instance by the main serialization and deserialization API, the type being serialized or deserialized must also implement Type trait in addition to Serialize or Deserialize, respectively. Please refer to Type module documentation for more details.

Most of the basic types of D-Bus match 1-1 wit all the primitive Rust types. The only two exceptions being, Signature and ObjectPath, which are really just strings. These types are covered by the Basic trait.

Similarly, most of the container types also map nicely to the usual Rust types and collections (as can be seen in the example code above). The only note worthy exception being ARRAY type. As arrays in Rust are fixed-sized, serde treats them as tuples and so does this crate. This means they are encoded as STRUCT type of D-Bus. If you need to serialize to, or deserialize from a D-Bus array, you'll need to use a slice (array can easily be converted to a slice), a Vec or an arrayvec::ArrayVec.

The generic D-Bus type, VARIANT is represented by Value, an enum that holds exactly one value of any of the other types. Please refer to Value module documentation for examples.


While std is currently a hard requirement, optional no-std support is planned in the future. On the other hand, noalloc support is not planned as it will be extremely difficult to accomplish. However, community contribution can change that. 😊

Optional features

Feature Description
arrayvec Implement Type for arrayvec::ArrayVec and arrayvec::ArrayString
enumflags2 Implement Type for [enumflags2::BitFlags<F>]


zvariant is currently Unix-only and will fail to build on non-unix. This is hopefully a temporary limitation.