public protocol ByteToMessageDecoder : ChannelInboundHandler where Self.InboundIn == ByteBuffer

ChannelInboundHandler which decodes bytes in a stream-like fashion from one ByteBuffer to another message type.

If a custom frame decoder is required, then one needs to be careful when implementing one with ByteToMessageDecoder. Ensure there are enough bytes in the buffer for a complete frame by checking buffer.readableBytes. If there are not enough bytes for a complete frame, return without modifying the reader index to allow more bytes to arrive.

To check for complete frames without modifying the reader index, use methods like buffer.getInteger. One MUST use the reader index when using methods like buffer.getInteger. For example calling buffer.getInteger(at: 0) is assuming the frame starts at the beginning of the buffer, which is not always the case. Use buffer.getInteger(at: buffer.readerIndex) instead.

If you move the reader index forward, either manually or by using one of* methods, you must ensure that you no longer need to see those bytes again as they will not be returned to you the next time decode is called. If you still need those bytes to come back, consider taking a local copy of buffer inside the function to perform your read operations on.

The ByteBuffer passed in as buffer is a slice of a larger buffer owned by the ByteToMessageDecoder implementation. Some aspects of this buffer are preserved across calls to decode, meaning that any changes to those properties you make in your decode method will be reflected in the next call to decode. In particular, the following operations are have the described effects:

  1. Moving the reader index forward persists across calls. When your method returns, if the reader index has advanced, those bytes are considered consumed and will not be available in future calls to decode. Please note, however, that the numerical value of the readerIndex itself is not preserved, and may not be the same from one call to the next. Please do not rely on this numerical value: if you need to recall where a byte is relative to the readerIndex, use an offset rather than an absolute value.
  2. Mutating the bytes in the buffer will cause undefined behaviour and likely crash your program