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README.md

tarpc: Tim & Adam's RPC lib

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Disclaimer: This is not an official Google product.

tarpc is an RPC framework for rust with a focus on ease of use. Defining a service can be done in just a few lines of code, and most of the boilerplate of writing a server is taken care of for you.

Documentation

What is an RPC framework?

"RPC" stands for "Remote Procedure Call," a function call where the work of producing the return value is being done somewhere else. When an rpc function is invoked, behind the scenes the function contacts some other process somewhere and asks them to evaluate the function instead. The original function then returns the value produced by the other process.

RPC frameworks are a fundamental building block of most microservices-oriented architectures. Two well-known ones are gRPC and Cap'n Proto.

tarpc differentiates itself from other RPC frameworks by defining the schema in code, rather than in a separate language such as .proto. This means there's no separate compilation process, and no cognitive context switching between different languages. Additionally, it works with the community-backed library serde: any serde-serializable type can be used as arguments to tarpc fns.

Usage

NB: this example is for master. Are you looking for other versions?

Add to your Cargo.toml dependencies:

tarpc = "0.12.0"
tarpc-plugins = "0.4.0"

Example: Sync

tarpc has two APIs: sync for blocking code and future for asynchronous code. Here's how to use the sync api.

#![feature(plugin, use_extern_macros, proc_macro_path_invoc)]
#![plugin(tarpc_plugins)]

#[macro_use]
extern crate tarpc;

use std::sync::mpsc;
use std::thread;
use tarpc::sync::{client, server};
use tarpc::sync::client::ClientExt;
use tarpc::util::{FirstSocketAddr, Never};

service! {
    rpc hello(name: String) -> String;
}

#[derive(Clone)]
struct HelloServer;

impl SyncService for HelloServer {
    fn hello(&self, name: String) -> Result<String, Never> {
        Ok(format!("Hello, {}!", name))
    }
}

fn main() {
    let (tx, rx) = mpsc::channel();
    thread::spawn(move || {
        let mut handle = HelloServer.listen("localhost:0", server::Options::default())
            .unwrap();
        tx.send(handle.addr()).unwrap();
        handle.run();
    });
    let client = SyncClient::connect(rx.recv().unwrap(), client::Options::default()).unwrap();
    println!("{}", client.hello("Mom".to_string()).unwrap());
}

The service! macro expands to a collection of items that form an rpc service. In the above example, the macro is called within the hello_service module. This module will contain SyncClient, AsyncClient, and FutureClient types, and SyncService and AsyncService traits. There is also a ServiceExt trait that provides starter fns for services, with an umbrella impl for all services. These generated types make it easy and ergonomic to write servers without dealing with sockets or serialization directly. Simply implement one of the generated traits, and you're off to the races! See the tarpc_examples package for more examples.

Example: Futures

Here's the same service, implemented using futures.

#![feature(plugin, use_extern_macros, proc_macro_path_invoc)]
#![plugin(tarpc_plugins)]

extern crate futures;
#[macro_use]
extern crate tarpc;
extern crate tokio_core;

use futures::Future;
use tarpc::future::{client, server};
use tarpc::future::client::ClientExt;
use tarpc::util::{FirstSocketAddr, Never};
use tokio_core::reactor;

service! {
    rpc hello(name: String) -> String;
}

#[derive(Clone)]
struct HelloServer;

impl FutureService for HelloServer {
    type HelloFut = Result<String, Never>;

    fn hello(&self, name: String) -> Self::HelloFut {
        Ok(format!("Hello, {}!", name))
    }
}

fn main() {
    let mut reactor = reactor::Core::new().unwrap();
    let (handle, server) = HelloServer.listen("localhost:10000".first_socket_addr(),
                                  &reactor.handle(),
                                  server::Options::default())
                          .unwrap();
    reactor.handle().spawn(server);
    let options = client::Options::default().handle(reactor.handle());
    reactor.run(FutureClient::connect(handle.addr(), options)
            .map_err(tarpc::Error::from)
            .and_then(|client| client.hello("Mom".to_string()))
            .map(|resp| println!("{}", resp)))
        .unwrap();
}

Example: Futures + TLS

By default, tarpc internally uses a TcpStream for communication between your clients and servers. However, TCP by itself has no encryption. As a result, your communication will be sent in the clear. If you want your RPC communications to be encrypted, you can choose to use TLS. TLS operates as an encryption layer on top of TCP. When using TLS, your communication will occur over a TlsStream<TcpStream>. You can add the ability to make TLS clients and servers by adding tarpc with the tls feature flag enabled.

When using TLS, some additional information is required. You will need to make TlsAcceptor and client::tls::Context structs; client::tls::Context requires a TlsConnector. The TlsAcceptor and TlsConnector types are defined in the native-tls. tarpc re-exports external TLS-related types in its native_tls module (tarpc::native_tls).

Both TLS streams and TCP streams are supported in the same binary when the tls feature is enabled. However, if you are working with both stream types, ensure that you use the TLS clients with TLS servers and TCP clients with TCP servers.

#![feature(plugin, use_extern_macros, proc_macro_path_invoc)]
#![plugin(tarpc_plugins)]

extern crate futures;
#[macro_use]
extern crate tarpc;
extern crate tokio_core;

use futures::Future;
use tarpc::future::{client, server};
use tarpc::future::client::ClientExt;
use tarpc::tls;
use tarpc::util::{FirstSocketAddr, Never};
use tokio_core::reactor;
use tarpc::native_tls::{Pkcs12, TlsAcceptor};

service! {
    rpc hello(name: String) -> String;
}

#[derive(Clone)]
struct HelloServer;

impl FutureService for HelloServer {
    type HelloFut = Result<String, Never>;

    fn hello(&self, name: String) -> Self::HelloFut {
        Ok(format!("Hello, {}!", name))
    }
}

fn get_acceptor() -> TlsAcceptor {
    let buf = include_bytes!("test/identity.p12");
    let pkcs12 = Pkcs12::from_der(buf, "password").unwrap();
    TlsAcceptor::builder(pkcs12).unwrap().build().unwrap()
}

fn main() {
    let mut reactor = reactor::Core::new().unwrap();
    let acceptor = get_acceptor();
    let (handle, server) = HelloServer.listen("localhost:10000".first_socket_addr(),
                                            &reactor.handle(),
                                            server::Options::default().tls(acceptor)).unwrap();
    reactor.handle().spawn(server);
    let options = client::Options::default()
                                   .handle(reactor.handle())
                                   .tls(tls::client::Context::new("foobar.com").unwrap());
    reactor.run(FutureClient::connect(handle.addr(), options)
            .map_err(tarpc::Error::from)
            .and_then(|client| client.hello("Mom".to_string()))
            .map(|resp| println!("{}", resp)))
        .unwrap();
}

Tips

Sync vs Futures

A single service! invocation generates code for both synchronous and future-based applications. It's up to the user whether they want to implement the sync API or the futures API. The sync API has the simplest programming model, at the cost of some overhead - each RPC is handled in its own thread. The futures API is based on tokio and can run on any tokio-compatible executor. This mean a service that implements the futures API for a tarpc service can run on a single thread, avoiding context switches and the memory overhead of having a thread per RPC.

Errors

All generated tarpc RPC methods return either tarpc::Result<T, E> or something like Future<T, E>. The error type defaults to tarpc::util::Never (a wrapper for ! which implements std::error::Error) if no error type is explicitly specified in the service! macro invocation. An error type can be specified like so:

use tarpc::util::Message;

service! {
    rpc hello(name: String) -> String | Message
}

tarpc::util::Message is just a wrapper around string that implements std::error::Error provided for service implementations that don't require complex error handling. The pipe is used as syntax for specifying the error type in a way that's agnostic of whether the service implementation is synchronous or future-based. Note that in the simpler examples in the readme, no pipe is used, and the macro automatically chooses tarpc::util::Never as the error type.

The above declaration would produce the following synchronous service trait:

trait SyncService {
    fn hello(&self, name: String) -> Result<String, Message>;
}

and the following future-based trait:

trait FutureService {
    type HelloFut: IntoFuture<String, Message>;

    fn hello(&mut self, name: String) -> Self::HelloFut;
}

Documentation

Use cargo doc as you normally would to see the documentation created for all items expanded by a service! invocation.

Additional Features

  • Concurrent requests from a single client.
  • Compatible with tokio services.
  • Run any number of clients and services on a single event loop.
  • Any type that impls serde's Serialize and Deserialize can be used in rpc signatures.
  • Attributes can be specified on rpc methods. These will be included on both the services' trait methods as well as on the clients' stub methods.

Gaps/Potential Improvements (not necessarily actively being worked on)

  • Configurable server rate limiting.
  • Automatic client retries with exponential backoff when server is busy.
  • Load balancing
  • Service discovery
  • Automatically reconnect on the client side when the connection cuts out.
  • Support generic serialization protocols.

Contributing

To contribute to tarpc, please see CONTRIBUTING.

License

tarpc is distributed under the terms of the MIT license.

See LICENSE for details.