What isProtocol Buffers

Discover the power of Protocol Buffers, a Google open source protocol, which facilitates binary-encoding and parsing of XML data. With Protocol Buffers, any XML structure can be defined using an interface description language (IDL), which is then compiled into a class for C++, Java, or Python programming languages. Initially developed for Google’s internal remote procedure calls (RPCs), Protocol Buffers became open source in 2008.

Benefits of Protocol Buffers

  • More efficient than XML or JSON
  • Smaller storage size and transmission
  • Platform and language-neutral
  • Backward, forward, and cross-compatibility support
  • Facilitates easier API versioning and updates

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an IDL?

An IDL is an Interface Definition Language. It’s used to define the structure of data (in our case, Protocol Buffers) in a way that can be machine-readable and instantly understood, which is key to enabling communication between different programming languages and platforms.

Is Protocol Buffers only for Google projects?

No, definitely not. Protocol Buffers is released under an open-source license and is free for anyone to use. Google does maintain the project, but it is widely used outside of Google by a range of organizations, both large and small.

How can I get started with Protocol Buffers?

You can get started with Protocol Buffers by downloading the Protocol Buffers compiler from the official website, and you can access all the documentation you need at developers.google.com/protocol-buffers.


Protocol Buffers offer a more efficient and straightforward binary XML technique as compared to other alternatives. Its platform and language-neutral features, backward, forward, and cross-compatibility support make it an ideal choice for data storage and transfer. Try it yourself and explore its power!

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