Copyright 2015 Google Inc.
See grpc/INSTALL for installation instructions for various platforms.
This repository contains source code for gRPC libraries for multiple languages written on top of shared C core library src/core.
- C++ source code: src/cpp
- Ruby source code: src/ruby
- NodeJS source code: src/node
- Python source code: src/python
- PHP source code: src/php
- C# source code: src/csharp
- Objective-C source code: src/objective-c
Current Status of libraries
Libraries in different languages are in different state of development. We are seeking contributions for all of these libraries.
- shared C core library src/core : Beta - the surface API is stable
- C++ Library: src/cpp : Beta - the surface API is stable
- Ruby Library: src/ruby : Beta - the surface API is stable
- NodeJS Library: src/node : Beta - the surface API is stable
- Python Library: src/python : Beta - the surface API is stable
- C# Library: src/csharp : Beta - the surface API is stable
- Objective-C Library: src/objective-c: Beta - the surface API is stable
- PHP Library: src/php : Beta - the surface API is stable
Remote Procedure Calls (RPCs) provide a useful abstraction for building distributed applications and services. The libraries in this repository provide a concrete implementation of the gRPC protocol, layered over HTTP/2. These libraries enable communication between clients and servers using any combination of the supported languages.
Developers using gRPC typically start with the description of an RPC service (a collection of methods), and generate client and server side interfaces which they use on the client-side and implement on the server side.
By default, gRPC uses Protocol Buffers as the Interface Definition Language (IDL) for describing both the service interface and the structure of the payload messages. It is possible to use other alternatives if desired.
Starting from an interface definition in a .proto file, gRPC provides Protocol Compiler plugins that generate Client- and Server-side APIs. gRPC users typically call into these APIs on the Client side and implement the corresponding API on the server side.
Synchronous vs. asynchronous
Synchronous RPC calls, that block until a response arrives from the server, are the closest approximation to the abstraction of a procedure call that RPC aspires to.
On the other hand, networks are inherently asynchronous and in many scenarios, it is desirable to have the ability to start RPCs without blocking the current thread.
The gRPC programming surface in most languages comes in both synchronous and asynchronous flavors.
gRPC supports streaming semantics, where either the client or the server (or both) send a stream of messages on a single RPC call. The most general case is Bidirectional Streaming where a single gRPC call establishes a stream where both the client and the server can send a stream of messages to each other. The streamed messages are delivered in the order they were sent.
The gRPC protocol specifies the abstract requirements for communication between clients and servers. A concrete embedding over HTTP/2 completes the picture by fleshing out the details of each of the required operations.
Abstract gRPC protocol
A gRPC RPC comprises of a bidirectional stream of messages, initiated by the client. In the client-to-server direction, this stream begins with a mandatory
Call Header, followed by optional
Initial-Metadata, followed by zero or more
Payload Messages. The server-to-client direction contains an optional
Initial-Metadata, followed by zero or more
Payload Messages terminated with a mandatory
Status and optional
Implementation over HTTP/2
The abstract protocol defined above is implemented over HTTP/2. gRPC bidirectional streams are mapped to HTTP/2 streams. The contents of
Call Header and
Initial Metadata are sent as HTTP/2 headers and subject to HPACK compression.
Payload Messages are serialized into a byte stream of length prefixed gRPC frames which are then fragmented into HTTP/2 frames at the sender and reassembled at the receiver.
Trailing-Metadata are sent as HTTP/2 trailing headers (a.k.a., trailers).
gRPC inherits the flow control mechanisms in HTTP/2 and uses them to enable fine-grained control of the amount of memory used for buffering in-flight messages.