Google Releases Protocol Buffers as Open Source

Via Joe Gregorio, I discovered that Google has released one of their internal projects, Protocol Buffers, under an open source license. Protocol Buffers is a fast and efficient data serialization format, along with a simple RPC interface and IDL compiler.

I initially wondered why Google saw fit to define a binary serialization format, when both XML and JSON are suitable and human-friendly. But it didn’t take long to see the benefits, considering the scale at which Google operates, and the sheer amount of data it wrangles.

I’ve done a cursory read through of the documentation, and while there are some features I’m not sold on, it looks solid as a whole. I’ll be experimenting further, in order to add it to my toolchain, and see where I can apply it to my projects.

This release also solves one outstanding mystery for me, which originated a couple weeks ago when Chris Messina tweeted:

Apparently XML gives Google indigestion. They convert all XML to binary but the crap it all over the web.


Lonna Hanson
July 8, 2008 at 6:44 PM

It was fun to read one of your entries again. I hope you indeed can use some of your findings as you study the code to enhance your projects.

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