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pypm install extprot

How to install extprot

  1. Download and install ActivePython
  2. Open Command Prompt
  3. Type pypm install extprot
 Python 2.7Python 3.2Python 3.3
Windows (32-bit)
0.2.4 Available View build log
Windows (64-bit)
0.2.4 Available View build log
Mac OS X (10.5+)
0.2.4 Available View build log
Linux (32-bit)
0.2.4 Available View build log
Linux (64-bit)
0.2.4 Available View build log
Lastest release
version 0.2.4 on Jan 5th, 2011

extprot: compact, efficient, extensible binary serialization format

This is a python implementation of the 'extprot' serialization scheme, the details of which are described at:


Similar to Google's Protocol Buffers and Apache Thrift, extprot allows the definition of structured data "messages". Messages are essentially a set of typed key-value pairs that can be efficiently serialized to/from a compact binary format, and are defined in a language-neutral "protocol" file. Here's a simple example of an extprot message:

message person = { id: int; name: string; emails: [ string ] }

Here the 'person' message contains three fields: 'id' is an integer, 'name' is a string, and 'emails' is a list of strings. Such protocol descriptions are compiled into a set of Python classes that can be manipulated using standard syntax and idioms. If the above protocol is recorded in the file "person.proto", here's a simple example of how it might be used:

>>> extprot.import_protocol("person.proto",globals())
>>> p1 = person(1,"Guido")
>>> print p1.emails   # fields use a sensible default if possible
>>> p1.emails.append("guido@python.org")
>>> p1.emails.append(7)   # all fields are dynamically typechecked
Traceback (mosts recent call last):
ValueError: not a valid String: 7
>>> print repr(p1.to_string())
>>> print person.from_string(p1.to_string()).name

Extprot compares favourably to related serialization technologies:

  • powerful type system; strongly-typed tuples and lists, tagged disjoint

System Message: WARNING/2 (<string>, line 44)

Bullet list ends without a blank line; unexpected unindent.

unions, parametric polymorphism. * self-delimiting data; all serialized messages indicate their length, allowing easy streaming and skipping of messages. * self-describing data; the 'skeleton' of a message can be reconstructed without having the protocol definition. * compact binary format; comparable to protocol-buffers/thrift, but with some overhead due to self-delimiting nature.

These features combine to make extprot strongly extensible, often allowing messages to maintain backward and forward compatibility across protocol extensions that include: adding fields to a message, adding elements to a tuple, adding cases to a disjoint union, and promoting a primitive type into a tuple, list or union.

The function extprot.import_protocol() will dynamically load a protocol file and convert it into the corresponding python class structure. This is quite convenient while developing a protocol since it avoids an extra compilation step, but it does add some startup overhead and requires the pyparsing module.

To compile a protocol definition into python sourcecode for the corresponding class definitions, use the function extprot.compile_protocol() or pipe the file through extprot/compiler.py like so:

$ cat mydefs.proto | python extprot/compiler.py > mydefs.py

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Last updated Jan 5th, 2011

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