Working with byte arrays

Flash Player 9 and later, Adobe AIR 1.0 and later

The ByteArray class allows you to read from and write to a binary stream of data, which is essentially an array of bytes. This class provides a way to access data at the most elemental level. Because computer data consists of bytes, or groups of 8 bits, the ability to read data in bytes means that you can access data for which classes and access methods do not exist. The ByteArray class allows you to parse any stream of data, from a bitmap to a stream of data traveling over the network, at the byte level.

The writeObject() method allows you to write an object in serialized Action Message Format (AMF) to a ByteArray, while the readObject() method allows you to read a serialized object from a ByteArray to a variable of the original data type. You can serialize any object except for display objects, which are those objects that can be placed on the display list. You can also assign serialized objects back to custom class instances if the custom class is available to the runtime. After converting an object to AMF, you can efficiently transfer it over a network connection or save it to a file.

The sample Adobe® AIR® application described here reads a .zip file as an example of processing a byte stream, extracting a list of the files that the .zip file contains and writing them to the desktop.