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Docs: Added a longish section on the correct use of the toolset to RE…

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dcodeIO committed Mar 20, 2017
1 parent 99667c8 commit 1c9055dd69f7696d2582942b307a1ac8ac0f5533
Showing with 73 additions and 16 deletions.
  1. +73 −16
@@ -87,6 +87,63 @@ In case of doubt you can just use the full library.
### Understanding the toolset
For optimal performance, protobuf.js tries to avoid redundant assertions. Instead, it provides multiple methods, each doing just one thing.
* **Message.verify**(message: *Object*): *?string*<br />
explicitly performs verification prior to encoding / converting a plain object (i.e. where data comes from user input). Instead of throwing, it returns the error message as a string, if any.
var payload = "invalid (not an object)";
var err = AwesomeMessage.verify(payload);
if (err)
throw Error(err);
* **Message.encode**(message: *Message|Object*[, writer: *Writer*]): *Writer*<br />
is a message specific encoder expecting a valid message. Hence, if your data is already known to be valid, you can skip verification and just call the encoder. It accepts both a runtime message (recommended where messages are reused, i.e. use `.fromObject`) or a valid plain object.
var buffer = AwesomeMessage.encode(message).finish();
* **Message.decode**(reader: *Reader|Uint8Array*): *Message*<br />
is a message specific decoder expecting a valid buffer. If required fields are missing, it throws a `protobuf.util.ProtocolError` with an `instance` property set to the so far decoded message - otherwise an `Error`. The result is a runtime message.
try {
var decodedMessage = AwesomeMessage.decode(buffer);
} catch (e) {
if (e instanceof protobuf.util.ProtocolError) {
// e.instance holds the so far decoded message
* **Message.create**(properties: *Object*): *Message*<br />
quickly creates a new runtime message from known to be valid properties without any conversion being performed.
var message = AwesomeMessage.create({ awesomeField: "AwesomeString" });
* **Message.fromObject**(object: *Object*): *Message*<br />
converts any plain object to a runtime message. Tries to convert whatever is specified (use `.verify` before if necessary).
var message = AwesomeMessage.fromObject({ awesomeField: 42 });
// converts awesomeField to a string
* **Message.toObject**(message: *Message*, options: *ConversionOptions*): *Object*<br />
can be used to convert a runtime message to a plain object. See: [ConversionOptions](
var object = AwesomeMessage.toObject(message, { enums: String, longs: String, bytes: String, defaults: true });
// converts enums, longs and bytes to their string representation and includes default values
### Using .proto files
It's possible to load existing .proto files using the full library, which parses and compiles the definitions to ready to use (reflection-based) message classes:
@@ -109,37 +166,37 @@ protobuf.load("awesome.proto", function(err, root) {
// Obtain a message type
var AwesomeMessage = root.lookup("awesomepackage.AwesomeMessage");
// Create a new message
var message = AwesomeMessage.create({ awesomeField: "AwesomeString" });
// Exemplary payload
var payload = { awesomeField: "AwesomeString" };
// Verify the message if necessary (i.e. when possibly incomplete or invalid)
var errMsg = AwesomeMessage.verify(message);
// Verify the payload if necessary (i.e. when possibly incomplete or invalid)
var errMsg = AwesomeMessage.verify(payload);
if (errMsg)
throw Error(errMsg);
// Create a new message
var message = AwesomeMessage.fromObject(payload);
// Encode a message to an Uint8Array (browser) or Buffer (node)
var buffer = AwesomeMessage.encode(message).finish();
// ... do something with buffer
// Or, encode a plain object
var buffer = AwesomeMessage.encode({ awesomeField: "AwesomeString" }).finish();
// ... do something with buffer
// Decode an Uint8Array (browser) or Buffer (node) to a message
var message = AwesomeMessage.decode(buffer);
// ... do something with message
// If your application uses length-delimited buffers, there is also encodeDelimited and decodeDelimited.
// Maybe convert the message back to a plain object
var object = AwesomeMessage.toObject(message, {
longs: String,
enums: String,
bytes: String,
// see ConversionOptions
**Note:** To avoid redundant assertions where messages are already known to be valid, there is a separate method for encoding and verification.
* `Message.verify` can be used to explicitly perform verification prior to encoding any object where necessary. Instead of throwing, it returns the error message, if any.
* `Message.encode` does not implicitly verify a message but tries to encode whatever is specified, possibly resulting in a runtime error being thrown somewhere down the road.
* `Message.decode` throws if a buffer is invalid or missing required fields (a `protobuf.util.ProtocolError` with an `instance` property set to the so far decoded message in the latter case) and doesn't require calling `Message.verify` afterwards.
* `Message.fromObject` and `Message.toObject` safely translate between runtime messages and plain JavaScript objects.
Additionally, promise syntax can be used by omitting the callback, if preferred:
@@ -230,7 +287,7 @@ protobuf.Class.create(root.lookup("awesomepackage.AwesomeMessage") /* or use ref
AwesomeMessage.customStaticMethod = function() { ... };
AwesomeMessage.prototype.customInstanceMethod = function() { ... };
// Continue at "Create a message" above (you can also use the constructor directly)
// Continue at "Create a message"
Afterwards, decoded messages of this type are `instanceof AwesomeMessage`.

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