Usage patterns

Parsing a structure directly from a local file:

AnExampleClass.fromFile("an_example.data")

Parsing a structure from a byte array (byte[]):

new AnExampleClass(new KaitaiStream(byteArray))

Note that parsing from non-seekable streams (i.e. FileInputStream, BufferedInputStream, etc) is not supported and probably won’t be supported, as a lot of parsing functionality in KS relies on seek support.

Runtime library

Installation

Generated code for Java relies on Kaitai Struct runtime library for Java. It is a small, MIT-licensed library, which is published in Maven’s Central Repository, so typically it’s enough to add the following to one’s pom.xml:

<dependency>
    <groupId>io.kaitai</groupId>
    <artifactId>kaitai-struct-runtime</artifactId>
    <version>0.7</version>
</dependency>

For other build tools, such as Ivy, SBT, Gradle, Leiningen, Buildr, etc, please consult Central Repository’s page for exact instructions.

Alternatively, one can just copy whole source code to one’s project: the library is intentionally kept as only 2 .java files, so it should be easy enough as well.

API

Following most other runtimes example, everything revolves around two basic classes:

  • KaitaiStruct — a common superclass for all classes that represent user types in KS. Java implementation is very limited and basically only keeps _io member of type KaitaiStream and provides a getter for it.

  • KaitaiStream — a useful abstraction of seekable input stream that can be read with Kaitai Struct stream API (i.e. methods like readU4le(). Internally, it uses a ByteBuffer (either a MappedByteBuffer backed by FileChanel for parsing local files, or a regular wrapper over a given byte array), so it can work on both local files and in-memory data.

Naming

KS tries to follow mandatory and recommended Java practices as close as possible.

Class names would be represented in upper camel case (i.e. an_example_classAnExampleClass).

All attributes and instance names use lower camel case (i.e. an_example_attributeanExampleAttribute).

Types

All user types are mapped 1-to-1 to relevant Java classes. Nested types are mapped to nested classes, i.e. for nested types like this:

meta:
  id: parent
# ...
types:
  child:
    # ...
    types:
      grandchild:
        # ...

one can expect to get the following class structure:

public class Parent extends KaitaiStruct {
    public static class Child extends KaitaiStruct {
        public static class GrandChild extends KaitaiStruct {
        }
    }
}

Every generated class will have 3 constructors and a static factory method (plus a private _read() method that is invoked from all the constructors to do actual parsing):

public AnExampleClass(KaitaiStream _io)
public AnExampleClass(KaitaiStream _io, KaitaiStruct _parent)
public AnExampleClass(KaitaiStream _io, KaitaiStruct _parent, AnExampleClass _root)
public static AnExampleClass fromFile(String fileName)

Attributes

Sequence attribute parsing is done in _read() method which is typically invoked from a constructor. All parsed attributes are stored as private member variables.

For all attributes, a relevant getter method will be generated, so an attribute can be accessed outside of class like classInstance.anExampleAttribute().

Instances

TODO

Enums

TODO

Primitive type mapping

There are several things of note that influence mapping KS types to Java types:

  • There are no support for unsigned integer types in Java. In some cases it’s no big deal, but some use cases (for example, comparison or bit shifts) may be severely hindered by that issue. KS tries to make up for that fact by using larger signed types where that’s possible and reasonable to do. Where it’s not possible (i.e. 64-bit unsigned integers — u8), KS would use signed long type.

  • Java has 2 types for every numeric type: "primitive" type (i.e. int) and "reference" type (i.e. Integer) — the latter being a full-featured object that can have null assigned to it and stored in collections. It’s not practical to use reference types everywhere, so KS makes use of them only in the following situations:

  • when data type is used as part of a collection

  • when it’s possible that a particular attribute / instance will be unassigned (i.e. because of [[if|attribute description#if]] expression) — null will be returned in this case

The overall primitive type mapping goes as follows:

type Java primitive type Java reference type

no type

byte[]

byte[]

u1

int

Integer

u2

int

Integer

u4

long

Long

u8

long

Long

s1

byte

Byte

s2

short

Short

s4

int

Integer

s8

long

Long

str, strz

String

String

String encoding

Encoding a stream of bytes into a String is done with the standard Java API: String method constructor

Array types

All repetitions in Java are translated to ArrayList<~>