The Go Blog

Third-party libraries: goprotobuf and beyond

Andrew Gerrand
20 April 2010

On March 24, Rob Pike announced goprotobuf, the Go bindings of Google’s data interchange format Protocol Buffers, called protobufs for short. With this announcement, Go joins C++, Java, and Python as languages providing official protobuf implementations. This marks an important milestone in enabling the interoperability between existing systems and those built in Go.

The goprotobuf project consists of two parts: a ‘protocol compiler plugin’ that generates Go source files that, once compiled, can access and manage protocol buffers; and a Go package that implements run-time support for encoding (marshaling), decoding (unmarshaling), and accessing protocol buffers.

To use goprotobuf, you first need to have both Go and protobuf installed. You can then install the ‘proto’ package with goinstall:


And then install the protobuf compiler plugin:

cd $GOROOT/src/pkg/
make install

For more detail see the project’s README file.

This is one of a growing list of third-party Go projects. Since the announcement of goprotobuf, the X Go bindings have been spun off from the standard library to the x-go-binding project, and work has begun on a Freetype port, freetype-go. Other popular third-party projects include the lightweight web framework web.go, and the Go GTK bindings gtk-go.

We wish to encourage the development of other useful packages by the open source community. If you’re working on something, don’t keep it to yourself - let us know through our mailing list golang-nuts.

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