haberman / upb

a small protobuf implementation in C

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μpb - a small protobuf implementation in C

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μpb (often written 'upb') is a small protobuf implementation written in C.

upb generates a C API for creating, parsing, and serializing messages as declared in .proto files. upb is heavily arena-based: all messages always live in an arena (note: the arena can live in stack or static memory if desired). Here is a simple example:

#include "conformance/conformance.upb.h"

void foo(const char* data, size_t size) {
  upb_arena *arena;

  /* Generated message type. */
  conformance_ConformanceRequest *request;
  conformance_ConformanceResponse *response;

  arena = upb_arena_new();
  request = conformance_ConformanceRequest_parse(data, size, arena);
  response = conformance_ConformanceResponse_new(arena);

  switch (conformance_ConformanceRequest_payload_case(request)) {
    case conformance_ConformanceRequest_payload_protobuf_payload: {
      upb_strview payload = conformance_ConformanceRequest_protobuf_payload(request);
      // ...

    case conformance_ConformanceRequest_payload_NOT_SET:
      fprintf(stderr, "conformance_upb: Request didn't have payload.\n");

    default: {
      static const char msg[] = "Unsupported input format.";
          response, upb_strview_make(msg, sizeof(msg)));

  /* Frees all messages on the arena. */

API and ABI are both subject to change! Please do not distribute as a shared library for this reason (for now at least).

Using upb in your project

Currently only Bazel is supported (CMake support is partial and incomplete but full CMake support is an eventual goal).

To use upb in your Bazel project, first add upb to your WORKSPACE file, either as a git_repository() or as a new_local_repository() with a Git Submodule. (For an example, see `examples/bazel/ in this repo).

# Add this to your WORKSPACE file.
load("@bazel_tools//tools/build_defs/repo:git.bzl", "git_repository")

    name = "upb",
    remote = "https://github.com/protocolbuffers/upb.git",
    commit = "d16bf99ac4658793748cda3251226059892b3b7b",

load("@upb//bazel:workspace_deps.bzl", "upb_deps")


Then in your BUILD file you can add upb_proto_library() rules that generate code for a corresponding proto_library() rule. For example:

# Add this to your BUILD file.
load("@upb//bazel:upb_proto_library.bzl", "upb_proto_library")

    name = "foo_proto",
    srcs = ["foo.proto"],

    name = "foo_upbproto",
    deps = [":foo_proto"],

    name = "test_binary",
    srcs = ["test_binary.c"],
    deps = [":foo_upbproto"],

Then in your .c file you can #include the generated header:

#include "foo.upb.h"

/* Insert code that uses generated types. */

Lua bindings

This repo has some Lua bindings for the core library. These are experimental and very incomplete. These are currently included in order to validate that the C API is suitable for wrapping. As the project matures these Lua bindings may become publicly available.


Author: Josh Haberman (jhaberman@gmail.com, haberman@google.com)

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a small protobuf implementation in C



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