Crate serde_bytes

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Wrapper types to enable optimized handling of &[u8] and Vec<u8>.

Without specialization, Rust forces Serde to treat &[u8] just like any other slice and Vec<u8> just like any other vector. In reality this particular slice and vector can often be serialized and deserialized in a more efficient, compact representation in many formats.

When working with such a format, you can opt into specialized handling of &[u8] by wrapping it in serde_bytes::Bytes and Vec<u8> by wrapping it in serde_bytes::ByteBuf.

Additionally this crate supports the Serde with attribute to enable efficient handling of &[u8] and Vec<u8> in structs without needing a wrapper type.

use serde::{Deserialize, Serialize};

#[derive(Deserialize, Serialize)]
struct Efficient<'a> {
    #[serde(with = "serde_bytes")]
    bytes: &'a [u8],

    #[serde(with = "serde_bytes")]
    byte_buf: Vec<u8>,

    #[serde(with = "serde_bytes")]
    byte_array: [u8; 314],


  • Wrapper around [u8; N] to serialize and deserialize efficiently.
  • Wrapper around Vec<u8> to serialize and deserialize efficiently.
  • Wrapper around [u8] to serialize and deserialize efficiently.


  • Types that can be deserialized via #[serde(with = "serde_bytes")].
  • Types that can be serialized via #[serde(with = "serde_bytes")].


  • Serde deserialize_with function to deserialize bytes efficiently.
  • Serde serialize_with function to serialize bytes efficiently.