libasinine provides decoding facilities of DER encoded ASN.1 data, as well as X.509v3 (and earlier) certificates. The focus is on small size and static memory allocation, making it suitable for use in an embedded environment. In general, you are encouraged to ship libasinine with your code, and link to it statically.


The library is still alpha quality, but correctly parses and validates 98% of the certificates used by the Alexa Top 10k sites.

Be warned: libasinine will shoot you in the foot and then run away with the savings you hid under your mattress.


The implementation follows ITU-T X.680 (11/2008) and ITU-T X.690 (11/2008), and has the functionality required to parse X.509 certificates. The only supported character set is UTF-8 (and by extension ASCII).


The implementation largely follows RFC 5280. Only a limited set of extensions is supported:

  • Basic Constraints
  • Key Usage
  • Extended Key Usage
  • Subject Alternative Name (only common ones)

This is enough to parse most certificates used for HTTP traffic. There is a small utility which excercises this part of the library.

> brew install mbedtls # on macOS
> make x509
> ./bin/Debug/x509 -h
x509 <options> (<certs file>|-)
  --check[=trust store|-]    Validate certificates against trust store

  Use '-' to read from stdin. Only a single argument can be read from stdin.


  • GCC / Clang (C99)
  • libc
  • Optional: mbedtls (for utilities)


> make tests
> ./bin/Debug/tests


The current API is subject to change. Have a look at x509.c for a more complex / convoluted example.

#include <stdint.h>
#include <asinine/dsl.h>

/* ... */

parse_asn1(const uint8_t *data, size_t length) {
    asn1_parser_t parser;
    asn1_init(&parser, data, length);


    // "token" now contains the next token
    if (!asn1_is_seq(parser.token)) {
        return ERROR(ASININE_ERR_INVALID, "expected sequence");

    // Iterate over unknown number of children

    while (!asn1_eof(&parser)) {
        // Call NEXT_TOKEN and process it

    // Undo the push from before

    // Do some more parsing

    // Make sure there the buffer has been fully parsed
    if (!asn1_end(&parser)) {
        return ERROR(ASININE_ERR_MALFORMED, "trailing data");

    // Yay!


libasinine is licensed unter the Mozilla Public License 2.0, please see LICENSE for details.

The implications are: you can link statically to libasinine, without having to release your own code. Modifications to libasinine have to be made public though.


Embeddable ASN.1 (DER) and X.509v3 decoder

Asinine Info

⭐ Stars 25
🔗 Source Code
🕒 Last Update a year ago
🕒 Created 8 years ago
🐞 Open Issues 2
➗ Star-Issue Ratio 13
😎 Author lmb