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Apache Thrift

Last Modified: 2014-03-16


Licensed to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) under one or more contributor license agreements. See the NOTICE file distributed with this work for additional information regarding copyright ownership. The ASF licenses this file to you under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.


Thrift is a lightweight, language-independent software stack with an associated code generation mechanism for RPC. Thrift provides clean abstractions for data transport, data serialization, and application level processing. The code generation system takes a simple definition language as its input and generates code across programming languages that uses the abstracted stack to build interoperable RPC clients and servers.

Thrift is specifically designed to support non-atomic version changes across client and server code.

For more details on Thrift's design and implementation, take a gander at the Thrift whitepaper included in this distribution or at the files in your particular subdirectory of interest.




Contains the Thrift compiler, implemented in C++.


Contains the Thrift software library implementation, subdivided by
language of implementation.



Contains sample Thrift files and test code across the target programming


Contains a basic tutorial that will teach you how to develop software
using Thrift.


See for an up-to-date list of build requirements.


More information about Thrift can be obtained on the Thrift webpage at:


Thrift was inspired by pillar, a lightweight RPC tool written by Adam D'Angelo, and also by Google's protocol buffers.


If you are building from the first time out of the source repository, you will need to generate the configure scripts. (This is not necessary if you downloaded a tarball.) From the top directory, do:


Once the configure scripts are generated, thrift can be configured. From the top directory, do:


You may need to specify the location of the boost files explicitly. If you installed boost in /usr/local, you would run configure as follows:

./configure --with-boost=/usr/local

Note that by default the thrift C++ library is typically built with debugging symbols included. If you want to customize these options you should use the CXXFLAGS option in configure, as such:

./configure CXXFLAGS='-g -O2'
./configure CFLAGS='-g -O2'

To enable gcov required options -fprofile-arcs -ftest-coverage enable them:

./configure  --enable-coverage

Run ./configure --help to see other configuration options

Please be aware that the Python library will ignore the --prefix option and just install wherever Python's distutils puts it (usually along the lines of /usr/lib/pythonX.Y/site-packages/). If you need to control where the Python modules are installed, set the PY_PREFIX variable. (DESTDIR is respected for Python and C++.)

Make thrift:


From the top directory, become superuser and do:

make install

Note that some language packages must be installed manually using build tools better suited to those languages (at the time of this writing, this applies to Java, Ruby, PHP).

Look for the file in the lib// folder for more details on the installation of each language library package.


There are a large number of client library tests that can all be run from the top-level directory.

      make -k check

This will make all of the libraries (as necessary), and run through the unit tests defined in each of the client libraries. If a single language fails, the make check will continue on and provide a synopsis at the end.

To run the cross-language test suite, please run:

      make cross

This will run a set of tests that use different language clients and servers.

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