Feeds

Google releases serialization scheme

Pedantic programmers hold love-in

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

It’s All About Makin’ That R-P-C

The protocol buffer definition language allows you to specify RPC servers that take protocol messages as input and output. The compiler will generate some code to help you with this RPC, but it will not give you an actual server. Google’s engineering team, overgrown with developers from academia, has left this as an exercise to the reader. This isn’t so much a shortcoming as it is another opportunity for you, the developer, to swing your dick around. You get to write a multithreaded RPC system with connection pooling and load balancing and all that shit.

Think of how scalable that shit’s gonna be. You’ll put a real hurt on all that imaginary load your system is taking. Then, you get to go home and fuck the prom queen.

If you really like the protocol buffer idea but aren’t so hot on writing your own RPC system, there is relief. About a year ago, Facebook released a project called Thrift that does essentially the same thing as protocol buffers. Thrift failed to gain heavy traction because its name isn’t terribly cool, nor does it give way to an acronym that contains the letters J or X. Nonetheless, Thrift does include a variety of RPC implementations.

Interestingly, one of Facebook’s engineers on the Thrift project, Mark Slee, worked at Google before his arrival at Facebook. It’s therefore unsurprising that Thrift and protocol buffers share many design decisions. Unfortunately, because of heavy inbreeding within Silicon Valley engineering teams, the two products, although functionally similar, are not compatible with one another.

If you want to do it, writing your own RPC layer isn’t a herculean task. I managed to hack something together on top of Tomcat in a couple of hours. It didn’t make me feel as manly as I hoped it would, so to supplement, I suggest you have two cigars, a glass of Maker’s Mark, no ice, and a copy of The Godfather trilogy within reach.

Alright, Wrap It Up, Windbag

Since the release of protocol buffers, the tech blogosphere (long regarded as the dominant scholarly force of the internet) has been chattering. Of course, none of these bloggers have actually used protocol buffers in any code that matters to anybody, but as you know, that is no reason to prevent the offering of a strong opinion on the matter. If you work with a pretentious little shit, you know this phenomenon all too well.

The Web 2.0 startup circle, being mostly composed of pretentious little shits, is likely to adopt protocol buffers as a first-class data interchange format. You, the legitimate developer at a corporation that actually earns money, have nothing to worry about from this uprising. These trends rarely escape from the echo chamber.

Considering everything about protocol buffers, the bottom line is this: you can continue to do the least possible amount of work and make the most possible amount of money just as you are doing. This technology is unlikely to move into widespread use, but if it does, you’re looking at a loss of 3 to 4 YouTube hours to learn enough of it so that you don’t look like an idiot at the next team meeting. If this sort of thing does suit your fancy, it provides a few good opportunities to passive-aggressively flex your nuts to co-workers. ®

Ted Dziuba is a co-founder at Milo.com You can read his regular Reg column, Fail and You, every other Monday.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.