SPOS stands for Small Payload Object Serializer


Keywords
serializer, LoRa, Globalstar, low-bandwidth
License
Other
Install
pip install spos==1.2.4b0

Documentation

SPOS

SPOS stands for Small Payload Object Serializer.

codecov CodeFactor PyPI version License: MIT

SPOS is a tool for serializing simple objects. This tool focuses in maintaining a consistent payload size while sacrificing precision. Applications with limited bandwidth like LoRa or Globalstar are ideal candidates for SPOS. SPOS has implementations for python3 (SPOS) and node.js (node-SPOS).

In this document we will be using JSON notation to describe payload specifications and payload data. For each programming language there's usually an analogous data type for each notation. Eg: object <=> dict, array <=> list, etc.

Quick Start

To encode data, SPOS needs two arguments: The payload_data (object) to be serialized and the payload specification.

import spos
payload_spec = {
  "name": "example payload",
  "version": 1,
  "body": [{
    "type": "integer",
    "key": "constant_data",
    "value": 2,      # 10
    "bits": 2
  }, {
    "type": "integer",
    "key": "int_data",
    "bits": 6
  }, {
    "type": "float",
    "key": "float_data",
    "bits": 6
}]
payload_data = {
  "int_data": 13,    # 001101
  "float_data": 0.6  # 010011 (19/32 or 0.59375)
                     # padding 000
}

message = spos.encode(payload_data, payload_spec, output="bin")
"0b1000110110011000"

Then, to decode the message:

import spos
payload_spec = {
  "name": "example payload",
  "version": 1,
  "body": [{
    "type": "integer",
    "key": "constant_data",
    "value": 2,
    "bits": 2
  }, {
    "type": "integer",
    "key": "int_data",
    "bits": 6
  }, {
    "type": "float",
    "key": "float_data",
    "bits": 6
}]

message = "0b1000110110011000"
decoded = spos.decode(message, payload_spec)
decoded
{
  "meta": {
    "name": "example payload",
    "version": 1,
  },
  "body": {
    "constant_data": 2,
    "int_data": 13,
    "float_data": 0.59375
  }
}

Installation

pip install spos

Payload Specification

The payload specification consists of an object with four keys: name, version, meta, an optional object witch describes additional payload configuration and data, and body which describes the data being sent.

payload_spec = {
  "name": "my payload",
  "version": 1
  "meta": {
    "encode_version": True,
    "version_bits": 4,
    "crc8": True,
    "header": [{
      "type": "integer",
      "key": "meaning",
      "value": 42
    }]
  },
  "body": [{
    "type:": "integer",
    "key": "temperature",
    "bits": 6,
    "offset": 273
  }],
}

Payload specification keys

  • name (string): String that briefly describes the payload.

  • version (integer): Positive integer representing message version.

  • meta (object): Additional configuration may be added to the payload, this is done by configuring values in the meta object. The following keys are allowed:

    • encode_version (boolean): SPOS will send the version as the first block of the message if set to True. This is useful when handling multiple messages with different versions. If this flag is set, version_bits becomess a required key.

    • version_bits (integer): Sets the number of bits used to encode the version in the header of the message.

    • crc8 (boolean): If True calculates the CRC8 (8bits) for the message and appends it to payload. The decoder also checks if the CRC8 is valid.

    • header (blocklist): The header should be an array of blocks which we call blocklist. In the header any static value is not encoded in the message and when decoding the value is gathered from payload specification. This static block does not needs to specify any extra keys other than key and value. Eg:

      payload_spec = {
        "name": "payload meta",
        "version": 1,
        "meta": {
          "header": [{
              "key": "static key",
              "value": 1024
            }, {
              "key": "normal key",
              "type": "integer,
              "bits": 6
          }]
        }
      }
      
  • body (blocklist): The body should be an array of blocks describing each section of the serialized message.


Block

The block describes each portion of the serialized message by specifying a key and a data type. value is an optional key. For each type there might be aditional required keys and/or optional keys.

The value to be encoded is either a key in found in the payload_data object or a statuc value.

The encoded data is big-endian and truncations of data may occour in the least significant bits when applicable. Data overflow is set to the maximum value and underflow to the minimum.

Block keys

  • key (string): The key is used to get the value for the block in payload_data, and then to describe it's value in the decoded messasge. Optionally, the key can accesss a value in a nested objects using a dot . to separate the levels. Eg:
payload_spec = {
  "name": "example nested value",
  "version": 10,
  "body": [{
    "type": "integer",
    "bits": 8,
    "key": "nested.value"  # HERE
  }]
payload_data = {
  "nested": {
    "value": 255
  }
}
spos.encode(payload_data, payload_spec, output="bin")
"0b11111111"
  • value (any): Static value for the block (optional).

  • type (string): Data type for encoding the message. There are 10 avaliable types for serializing data: boolean, binary, integer, float, pad, array, object, string, steps, and categories.


Types

boolean

Input: boolean, integer.

Additional keys: None.

binary

The data can be a binary string or an hex string. Eg

"0b10101010"  # binary
"0xdeadbeef"  # hex

This data is truncated in the least significant bits if the size of the string in binary is bigger than bits.

Input: string.

Additional keys:

  • bits (int): length of the block in bits

integer

Input: integer.

Additional key:

  • bits (int): length of the block in bits
  • offset (int): An integer to offset the final value. Default: 0.

float

This type divides the interval between the lower and upper boundaries in equal parts according to the avaliable bits. The serialized value is the closest to the real one by default ("approximation": "round").

Input: int|float.

Additional keys:

  • bits (int): length of the block in bits
  • lower (int|float), optional: Float lower boundary. Default 0.
  • upper (int|float), optional: Float upper boundary. Default 1.
  • approximation (str), optional: Float approximation method. Values can be: "round", "floor", "ceil". Default: "round"

pad

Pads the message. No data is collected from this block.

Input: None.

Additional keys:

  • bits (int): length of the block in bits

array

An array containing block values.

The size in bits of this type is between bits (0 length) and bits + length * blocksbits (full array).

Input: An array of values allowed for the defined block.

Additional keys:

  • bits (int): Number of bits to store the maximum length of the array.
  • blocks (block): The block specification of the data in the array.

object

Maps the data to an object.

The size in bits of this type is the sum of sizes of blocks declared for this block.

Input: object.

Additional keys:

  • blocklist (blocklist): The array of blocks describing the object.

string

This data type encodes the input string to base64. Characters outside the base64 index table are replaced with / (index 62) and spaces are replaced with + (index 63).

The size in bits of this type is 6 * length.

Input: string.

Additional keys:

  • length (int): String length.
  • custom_alphabeth (object), optional: Remaps the characters to another index. eg: Adding support for json string but sacrificing the first 7 uppercase letters (ABCDEFG).
payload_spec = {
  "body": [{
    "type:": "string",
    "key": "text",
    "length": 128,
    "custom_alphabeth": {
      0: "{",
      1: "}",
      2: "[",
      3: "]",
      4: '"',
      5: ',',
      6: '.',
    }
}]

steps

Maps a numeric value to named steps. Eg:

payload_spec = {
  "body": [{
    "type:": "steps",
    "key": "battery",
    "steps": [0.1, 0.6, 0.95],
    "steps_names": ["critical", "low", "discharging", "charged"]
    # [-Inf, 0.1) critical, [0.1, 0.6) low, [0.6, 0.95) discharging, [0.95, Inf) charged
}]
payload_data = {"bat": 0.3}  # low

The number of bits for this type is the closest integer above log2(length steps + 1). In the example above it is 2 bits.

An additional step error may be given on decoding if the message overflows for this type.

Input: int|float.

Additional keys:

  • steps (array): Array listing the boundaries of each step.
  • steps_names (array), optional: Names for each step. If not provided the names are created based on steps.

categories

Maps strings to categories: Eg:

payload_spec = {
  "body": [{
    "type:": "categories",
    "key": "color",
    "categories": ["red", "green", "blue", "iridescent"],
}]
payload_data = {"color": "red"}  # low

The number of bits for this type is the closest integer above log2(length steps + 1). In the example above it is 2 bits.

The category unknown is added to represent data that are not present in the categories array.

An additional category error may be given on decoding if the message overflows for this type.

Input: string.

Additional keys:

  • categories (array): The array of categories strings.

Encode and Decode Functions

def encode(payload_data, payload_spec, output="bin"):
    """
    Encodes a message from payload_data according to payload_spec.

    Args:
        payload_data (dict): Payload data.
        payload_spec (dict): Payload specification.
        output (str): Return format (bin, hex or bytes). default: "bin".

    Returns:
        message (bytes): Message.
    """
def decode(message, payload_spec):
    """
    Decodes a message according to payload_spec.

    Args:
        message (bin | hex | bytes): Message.
        payload_spec (dict): Payload specification.

    Returns:
        body (dict): Payload data.
        meta (dict): Payload metadata.
    """
def decode_from_specs(message, specs):
    """
    Decodes message from an avaliable pool of payload specificaions by
    matching message version with specification version.

    All the payload specifications must have `meta.encode_version` set
    and also the same value for `meta.version_bits`.

    Raises:
        PayloadSpecError: If message version is not in 'specs'
        SpecsVersionError: If names doesn't match or has duplicate versions
        Other Exceptions: For incorrect payload specification syntax.
            see spos.utils.validate_payload_spec and
            block.Block.validate_block_spec_keys

    Args:
        message (bin | hex | bytes): Message.

    Returns:
        body (dict): Payload data.
        meta (dict): Payload metadata.
    """

Decoding messages of multiple versions

One possible use case of SPOS is to use the same bus to send messages of different versions. If this is the case, SPOS will send the version in the header of the message and the receiver can decode with an array of expected payload specifications.

specs = [
    payload_spec_v0,
    payload_spec_v1,
    payload_spec_v2,
    payload_spec_v3,
    payload_spec_v4,
]
decoded = spos.decode_from_specs(message, specs)

To do this, all payload specifications must set encode_version to True, set the same ammounts of version_bits and use the same name. There must be only one specification for each version.

Random payloads

It may be interesting to generate random payloads for testing. The module spos.random contains functions to generate those messages and payload data.

def random_payloads(payload_spec, output="bin"):
    """
    Builds a random message conforming to `payload_spec`.

    Args:
        payload_spec (dict): Payload specification.
        output (str): Output format (bin, hex or bytes). default: "bin".

    Returns:
        message (bin | hex | bytes): Random message
        payload_data (object): Equivalent payload_data to generate
            message.
    """

Command line usage

# Encode data
cat payload_data | spos -p payload_spec.json

# Decode data
cat message | spos -d -p payload_spec.json

# Avaliable Options
spos --help
usage: spos [-h] [-d] -p PAYLOAD_SPEC [PAYLOAD_SPEC ...] [-f {bin,hex,bytes}] [-r | -I] [-m] [-i [INPUT]]
            [-o [OUTPUT]] [-v]

Spos is a tool for serializing objects.

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -d, --decode          decodes a message.
  -p PAYLOAD_SPEC [PAYLOAD_SPEC ...], --payload-specs PAYLOAD_SPEC [PAYLOAD_SPEC ...]
                        json file payload specifications.
  -f {bin,hex,bytes}, --format {bin,hex,bytes}
                        Output format
  -r, --random          Creates a random message/decoded_message
  -I, --random-input    Creates a random payload data input
  -m, --meta            Outputs the metadata when decoding
  -i [INPUT], --input [INPUT]
                        Input file
  -o [OUTPUT], --output [OUTPUT]
                        Output file
  -v, --version         Software version

Contributors

License

MIT License

Copyright (c) 2020 Luiz Eduardo Amaral

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.