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lwpb

The "Lightweight Protocol Buffer Library" provides fast encoding and decoding of Google Protocol Buffers in C and Python.

Some distinctive things about lwpb:

  • lwpb does not require a codegen step.

  • lwpb does not force OO on the programmer. Encoding and decoding works with dicts in Python, and plain old structures in C.

  • lwpb is fast and small. The C library is 31kb stripped. The Python module is mostly written in C and performs well in benchmarks.

  • lwpb does not depend on Google's C++ API or anything outside the Python standard libraries.

  • lwpb supports most features of the protocol buffer serialization format -- probably, all the ones you care about. :)

Python library

Quick Python synopsis:

from lwpb.codec import MessageCodec

codec = MessageCodec( pb2file='person.pb2', typename='example.Person' )
serialized = codec.encode( { 'name': 'John Doe', 'id': 1234  } )
deserialized = codec.decode( serialized )

print deserialized

This expects a compiled .proto file you can generate with:

protoc person.proto -o person.pb2

To build the Python module, first compile the C library (see below), then:

cd python
./build_inplace
python setup.py test
python setup.py build
python setup.py install

For Debian and Ubuntu users:

cd python
debian/rules binary
dpkg -i ../*.deb

C library

The C library was originally released by Simon Kallweit. More documentation on the C API can be found here: http://code.google.com/p/lwpb/

To compile:

make

To test it:

make check

Performance

From a recent benchmark which included the lwpb Python module (lower times are better):

JSON
3.56521892548

SimpleJSON 
0.727998971939

Protocol Buffer (fast)
0.38397192955

Protocol Buffer (standard)
4.86640501022

Protocol Buffer (lwpb)
0.323328971863

cPickle
0.811990976334

Completeness

Supported types:

  • INT32
  • UINT32
  • INT64
  • UINT64
  • FIXED32
  • FIXED64
  • SFIXED32
  • SFIXED64
  • DOUBLE
  • FLOAT
  • BOOL
  • STRING
  • MESSAGE
  • BYTES
  • ENUM

That is to say, everything but GROUP, which Google has deprecated.

Supported options:

  • packed repeated fields

Supported by the C library, but not by the Python library:

  • services
  • RPC

Not supported:

  • extensions

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Lightweight Protocol Buffers for C and Python

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