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Teach your (micro)services speak Protocol Buffers with gRPC.

Description

When it comes to microservices, there're a lot of things worth keeping in mind. Designing such fine-grained, loosely-coupled services requires paying lots of attention to various patterns and approaches to make them future-proof. A very important thing to consider, is the way those services will communicate with each-other in production. Usually the communication is done over the network using a technology-agnostic protocol. At the next level the service should provide an API for its friend services. Then, the data should be serialized without altering its meaning and transferred to the picked endpoint.

Nowadays, exposing a REST API that operates with JSON over plain HTTP is a usual way to lay the grounds of communication for the services. It is easy to accomplish, but it has some drawbacks. First of all, JSON is a human readable format, and it’s not as other serialization approaches. Also, with JSON it’s not possible to natively enforce the schema, and evolving the API may be painful.

This talk’s purpose is to describe in deep detail the benefits of protocol buffers, that offer us for free an easy way to define the API messages in the proto format, and then reuse them inside different services, without even being locked to use the same programming language for them. Moreover, with gRPC we can define the API’s endpoints easily in the same proto format. All these offer us a robust schema enforcement, compact binary serialization, and easy backward compatibility.

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