IronCompress: Multi-format Compression Library

C++ compression methods joined together in one native library, cross-compiled for multiple architectures and exposed as a .NET library. .NET has built-in support for Gzip and Brotli (which is what this library is using) but other compression methods are either available only as native libraries hard (impossible for some) to consume, or ill-ported C# alternatives. In fact, I myself wrote one of them. Using native, original implementations is the way to go if you want to keep performance, security, and features up to date.

The library supports the following formats:

And periodically updates to the latest binaries. All the binaries are compiled from C/C++ source with CMake for major x64 systems i.e. Linux, Windows and MacOSX. They are then wrapped safely with a .NET interface.


This library only compresses buffers. It may work with streams in the future, but I am currently only interested in buffers. Essentially, you pass ReadOnlySpan<byte> as an input, and receive Span<T> as an output in the most efficient way.

Here is an example of how to compress buffer with snappy codec:

using IronCompress;	// root namespace

// Construct library entry point and optionally pass an implementation of ArrayPool.
// I will pass default shared pool here.
var iron = new Iron(ArrayPool<byte>.Shared);

byte[] input = ...;
using(Result compressed = iron.Compress(Codec.Snappy, input.AsSpan()))
    // ... use data

Compressand Decompress methods actually return a Result class which wraps byte array of compression or decompression operation. You can access the underlying result by calling to .AsSpan() method inside the result. On dispose, Result makes sure the underlying memory is freed up - if pooling was used, it will be returned back to the pool.

To decompress:

using (Result uncompressed = iron.Decompress(Codec.Snappy, compressed, input.Length))
	// ... use data

As with compression, this returns Result with decompressed data. It’s worth nothing one important difference - decompression needs the length of output buffer specified as third parameter (input.Length). Although some decompressors can guess uncompressed length more or less correct, the others won’t know it beforehand. In reality this problem is solved by using a framing format that adds metadata about resulting length, however many compression formats do not define that and consider compressed packets to be implementation specific.


Source code available on GitHub.

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