In computing, serialization (US spelling) or serialisation (UK spelling) is the process of translating a data structure or object state into a format that can be stored (for example, in a file or memory data buffer) or transmitted (for example, over a computer network) and reconstructed later (possibly in a different computer environment). When the resulting series of bits is reread according to the serialization format, it can be used to create a semantically identical clone of the original object. For many complex objects, such as those that make extensive use of references, this process is not straightforward. Serialization of object-oriented objects does not include any of their associated methods with which they were previously linked.
This process of serializing an object is also called marshalling an object in some situations. The opposite operation, extracting a data structure from a series of bytes, is deserialization, (also called unserialization or unmarshalling).