[zeromq-dev] design communication protocols

Brian Knox briank at talksum.com
Fri Aug 17 13:57:42 CEST 2012


We heavily utilize JSON for our communications protocols.  In cases where
we are using things such as MDP, which is multi-frame (
http://rfc.zeromq.org/spec:7), we use JSON for the message body of the
multi frame message.

I see you are using Python - a really nice library for designing message
"models" that can be serialized to JSON in python is "structures":


It does type validation, which is very handy for ensuring your messages are
what you expect.

Additionally, the "ujson" json library for Python is pretty fast:


We combine this with multi frame protocols because we do not want to have
to parse the JSON frame for things like routing information.


On Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 7:29 AM, andrea crotti <andrea.crotti.0 at gmail.com>wrote:

> 2012/8/17 Andrew Hume <andrew at research.att.com>:
> > yes!
> > you have discovered that devising a distributed computation is almost
> > isomorphic
> > to designing the protocol the distributed parts use to communicate.
> >
> > this is, in general, quite hard, and i know of no useful shortcuts other
> > than
> > to try and build on existing patterns (such as in teh Guide).
> > i have used one method which, although somewhat tedious, did actually
> work.
> >
> > the protocol part of teh code was written in pseudocode with m4 macros.
> > when you "compiled" the pseudocode, it produced two outputs:
> > 1)  working C code
> > 2) working Spin code (this language used to be called Promela).
> >
> > Spin is a protocol verifier which can handle fairly large protocols.
> > the build process verified that the protocol was "correct" (taht is,
> > it had no deadlocks etc) and then built the executable.
> >
> > there were occasional missteps in ensuring the two parts were equivalent,
> > but i will say we never had a protocol botch. that is, we never
> deadlock'ed
> > or wedged because of a protocol error. these had all been caught
> > during compiling.
> >
> > obviously, none of this was specific to spin; any protocol verifier would
> > work, i think.
> >
> Uhm that's really interesting, I used spin a long time ago in
> university but I didn't even think it might be useful now, and it's
> probably a very neat idea to formally verify the protocols..
> Would you mind to share a simple example maybe?  I will use Python and
> might generate the spin code from there too, but would still be nice
> to see something running..
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