kOS has the ability to transform certain data structures into a format that can be stored in a file or in memory and later reconstruct those objects without any data loss. In computer science this is usually called serialization.

Take for example a slightly complicated data structure - a list that contains other lists. In kOS it would be created like so: LIST(LIST(1,2,3), LIST(4,5)). This is a complex structure that isn’t easy for a kOS developer to store in a file. This is where kOS’s serialization comes in.

There’s no need for you to understand how it works internally. This pages exist primarily to explain two most important things about serialization:

  1. Only certain types of objects can be serialized. If a type is serializable then that fact is explicitly mentioned in the type’s documentation with a note like this one:


This type is serializable.

All collection types (List, Lexicon etc.) are serializable. They can contain other serializable types or primitives (numbers, string, booleans) and still be serializable.

2. Currently there are 2 functionalities within kOS that use serialization. The first are WRITEJSON AND READJSON commands. They allow to transform data structures into JSON objects and store them in a file. The other functionality is Communication. It serializes messages currently stored on message queues to ConfigNode (KSP data format) and adds them to KSP save files.

It is important to remember that any data that you supply to WRITEJSON(OBJECT, PATH) and Connection:SENDMESSAGE must be serializable.