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C++ Generated Code

This page describes exactly what C++ code the protocol buffer compiler generates for any given protocol definition. Any differences between proto2 and proto3 generated code are highlighted - note that these differences are in the generated code as described in this document, not the base message classes/interfaces, which are the same in both versions. You should read the proto2 language guide and/or proto3 language guide before reading this document.

Compiler Invocation

The protocol buffer compiler produces C++ output when invoked with the --cpp_out= command-line flag. The parameter to the --cpp_out= option is the directory where you want the compiler to write your C++ output. The compiler creates a header file and an implementation file for each .proto file input. The names of the output files are computed by taking the name of the .proto file and making two changes:

  • The extension (.proto) is replaced with either .pb.h or .pb.cc for the header or implementation file, respectively.
  • The proto path (specified with the --proto_path= or -I command-line flag) is replaced with the output path (specified with the --cpp_out= flag).

So, for example, let's say you invoke the compiler as follows:

protoc --proto_path=src --cpp_out=build/gen src/foo.proto src/bar/baz.proto

The compiler will read the files src/foo.proto and src/bar/baz.proto and produce four output files: build/gen/foo.pb.h, build/gen/foo.pb.cc, build/gen/bar/baz.pb.h, build/gen/bar/baz.pb.cc. The compiler will automatically create the directory build/gen/bar if necessary, but it will not create build or build/gen; they must already exist.

Packages

If a .proto file contains a package declaration, the entire contents of the file will be placed in a corresponding C++ namespace. For example, given the package declaration:

package foo.bar;

All declarations in the file will reside in the foo::bar namespace.

Messages

Given a simple message declaration:

message Foo {}

The protocol buffer compiler generates a class called Foo, which publicly derives from google::protobuf::Message. The class is a concrete class; no pure-virtual methods are left unimplemented. Methods that are virtual in Message but not pure-virtual may or may not be overridden by Foo, depending on the optimization mode. By default, Foo implements specialized versions of all methods for maximum speed. However, if the .proto file contains the line:

option optimize_for = CODE_SIZE;

then Foo will override only the minimum set of methods necessary to function and rely on reflection-based implementations of the rest. This significantly reduces the size of the generated code, but also reduces performance. Alternatively, if the .proto file contains:

option optimize_for = LITE_RUNTIME;

then Foo will include fast implementations of all methods, but will implement the google::protobuf::MessageLite interface, which only contains a subset of the methods of Message. In particular, it does not support descriptors or reflection. However, in this mode, the generated code only needs to link against libprotobuf-lite.so (libprotobuf-lite.lib on Windows) instead of libprotobuf.so (libprotobuf.lib). The "lite" library is much smaller than the full library, and is more appropriate for resource-constrained systems such as mobile phones.

You should not create your own Foo subclasses. If you subclass this class and override a virtual method, the override may be ignored, as many generated method calls are de-virtualized to improve performance.

The Message interface defines methods that let you check, manipulate, read, or write the entire message, including parsing from and serializing to binary strings. In addition to these methods, the Foo class defines the following methods:

  • Foo(): Default constructor.
  • ~Foo(): Default destructor.
  • Foo(const Foo& other): Copy constructor.
  • Foo& operator=(const Foo& other): Assignment operator.
  • void Swap(Foo* other): Swap content with another message.
  • const UnknownFieldSet& unknown_fields() const: Returns the set of unknown fields encountered while parsing this message.
  • UnknownFieldSet* mutable_unknown_fields(): Returns a pointer to the mutable set of unknown fields encountered while parsing this message.

The class also defines the following static methods:

  • static const Descriptor& descriptor(): Returns the type's descriptor. This contains information about the type, including what fields it has and what their types are. This can be used with reflection to inspect fields programmatically.
  • static const Foo& default_instance(): Returns a const singleton instance of Foo which is identical to a newly-constructed instance of Foo (so all singular fields are unset and all repeated fields are empty). Note that the default instance of a message can be used as a factory by calling its New() method.

A message can be declared inside another message. For example: message Foo { message Bar { } }

In this case, the compiler generates two classes: Foo and Foo_Bar. In addition, the compiler generates a typedef inside Foo as follows:

typedef Foo_Bar Bar;

This means that you can use the nested type's class as if it was the nested class Foo::Bar. However, note that C++ does not allow nested types to be forward-declared. If you want to forward-declare Bar in another file and use that declaration, you must identify it as Foo_Bar.

Fields

In addition to the methods described in the previous section, the protocol buffer compiler generates a set of accessor methods for each field defined within the message in the .proto file.

As well as accessor methods, the compiler generates an integer constant for each field containing its field number. The constant name is the letter k, followed by the field name converted to camel-case, followed by FieldNumber. For example, given the field optional int32 foo_bar = 5;, the compiler will generate the constant static const int kFooBarFieldNumber = 5;.

Singular Numeric Fields (proto2)

For either of these field definitions:

optional int32 foo = 1;
required int32 foo = 1;

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • bool has_foo() const: Returns true if the field is set.
  • int32 foo() const: Returns the current value of the field. If the field is not set, returns the default value.
  • void set_foo(int32 value): Sets the value of the field. After calling this, has_foo() will return true and foo() will return value.
  • void clear_foo(): Clears the value of the field. After calling this, has_foo() will return false and foo() will return the default value.

For other numeric field types (including bool), int32 is replaced with the corresponding C++ type according to the scalar value types table.

Singular Numeric Fields (proto3)

For this field definition:

int32 foo = 1;

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • int32 foo() const: Returns the current value of the field. If the field is not set, returns 0.
  • void set_foo(int32 value): Sets the value of the field. After calling this, foo() will return value.
  • void clear_foo(): Clears the value of the field. After calling this, foo() will return 0.

For other numeric field types (including bool), int32 is replaced with the corresponding C++ type according to the scalar value types table.

Singular String Fields (proto2)

For any of these field definitions:

optional string foo = 1;
required string foo = 1;
optional bytes foo = 1;
required bytes foo = 1;

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • bool has_foo() const: Returns true if the field is set.
  • const string& foo() const: Returns the current value of the field. If the field is not set, returns the default value.
  • void set_foo(const string& value): Sets the value of the field. After calling this, has_foo() will return true and foo() will return a copy of value.
  • void set_foo(const char* value): Sets the value of the field using a C-style null-terminated string. After calling this, has_foo() will return true and foo() will return a copy of value.
  • void set_foo(const char* value, int size): Like above, but the string size is given explicitly rather than determined by looking for a null-terminator byte.
  • string* mutable_foo(): Returns a pointer to the mutable string object that stores the field's value. If the field was not set prior to the call, then the returned string will be empty (not the default value). After calling this, has_foo() will return true and foo() will return whatever value is written into the given string. The pointer is invalidated by a call to Clear() or clear_foo().
  • void clear_foo(): Clears the value of the field. After calling this, has_foo() will return false and foo() will return the default value.
  • void set_allocated_foo(string* value): Sets the string object to the field and frees the previous field value if it exists. If the string pointer is not NULL, the message takes ownership of the allocated string object and has_foo() will return true. Otherwise, if the value is NULL, the behavior is the same as calling clear_foo().
  • string* release_foo(): Releases the ownership of the field and returns the pointer of the string object. After calling this, caller takes the ownership of the allocated string object, has_foo() will return false, and foo() will return the default value.

Singular String Fields (proto3)

For any of these field definitions:

string foo = 1;
bytes foo = 1;

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • const string& foo() const: Returns the current value of the field. If the field is not set, returns the empty string/empty bytes.
  • void set_foo(const string& value): Sets the value of the field. After calling this, foo() will return a copy of value.
  • void set_foo(const char* value): Sets the value of the field using a C-style null-terminated string. After calling this, foo() will return a copy of value.
  • void set_foo(const char* value, int size): Like above, but the string size is given explicitly rather than determined by looking for a null-terminator byte.
  • string* mutable_foo(): Returns a pointer to the mutable string object that stores the field's value. If the field was not set prior to the call, then the returned string will be empty. After calling this, foo() will return whatever value is written into the given string. The pointer is invalidated by a call to Clear() or clear_foo().
  • void clear_foo(): Clears the value of the field. After calling this, foo() will return the empty string/empty bytes.
  • void set_allocated_foo(string* value): Sets the string object to the field and frees the previous field value if it exists. If the string pointer is not NULL, the message takes ownership of the allocated string object. Otherwise, if the value is NULL, the behavior is the same as calling clear_foo().
  • string* release_foo(): Releases the ownership of the field and returns the pointer of the string object. After calling this, caller takes the ownership of the allocated string object and foo() will return the empty string/empty bytes.

Singular Enum Fields (proto2)

Given the enum type:

enum Bar {
  BAR_VALUE = 0;
  OTHER_VALUE = 1;
}

For either of these field definitions:

optional Bar foo = 1;
required Bar foo = 1;

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • bool has_foo() const: Returns true if the field is set.
  • Bar foo() const: Returns the current value of the field. If the field is not set, returns the default value.
  • void set_foo(Bar value): Sets the value of the field. After calling this, has_foo() will return true and foo() will return value. In debug mode (i.e. NDEBUG is not defined), if value does not match any of the values defined for Bar, this method will abort the process.
  • void clear_foo(): Clears the value of the field. After calling this, has_foo() will return false and foo() will return the default value.

Singular Enum Fields (proto3)

Given the enum type:

enum Bar {
  BAR_VALUE = 0;
  OTHER_VALUE = 1;
}

For this field definitions:

Bar foo = 1;

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • Bar foo() const: Returns the current value of the field. If the field is not set, returns the default value (0).
  • void set_foo(Bar value): Sets the value of the field. After calling this, foo() will return value.
  • void clear_foo(): Clears the value of the field. After calling this, foo() will return the default value.

Singular Embedded Message Fields

Given the message type:

message Bar {}

For any of these field definitions:

//proto2
optional Bar foo = 1;
required Bar foo = 1;
//proto3
Bar foo = 1;

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • bool has_foo() const: Returns true if the field is set.
  • const Bar& foo() const: Returns the current value of the field. If the field is not set, returns a Bar with none of its fields set (possibly Bar::default_instance()).
  • Bar* mutable_foo(): Returns a pointer to the mutable Bar object that stores the field's value. If the field was not set prior to the call, then the returned Bar will have none of its fields set (i.e. it will be identical to a newly-allocated Bar). After calling this, has_foo() will return true and foo() will return a reference to the same instance of Bar. The pointer is invalidated by a call to Clear() or clear_foo().
  • void clear_foo(): Clears the value of the field. After calling this, has_foo() will return false and foo() will return the default value.
  • void set_allocated_foo(Bar* bar): Sets the Bar object to the field and frees the previous field value if it exists. If the Bar pointer is not NULL, the message takes ownership of the allocated Bar object and has_foo() will return true. Otherwise, if the Bar is NULL, the behavior is the same as calling clear_foo().
  • Bar* release_foo(): Releases the ownership of the field and returns the pointer of the Bar object. After calling this, caller takes the ownership of the allocated Bar object, has_foo() will return false, and foo() will return the default value.

Repeated Numeric Fields

For this field definition:

repeated int32 foo = 1;

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • int foo_size() const: Returns the number of elements currently in the field.
  • int32 foo(int index) const: Returns the element at the given zero-based index. Calling this method with index outside of [0, foo_size()) yields undefined behavior.
  • void set_foo(int index, int32 value): Sets the value of the element at the given zero-based index.
  • void add_foo(int32 value): Appends a new element to the field with the given value.
  • void clear_foo(): Removes all elements from the field. After calling this, foo_size() will return zero.
  • const RepeatedField<int32>& foo() const: Returns the underlying RepeatedField that stores the field's elements. This container class provides STL-like iterators and other methods.
  • RepeatedField<int32>* mutable_foo(): Returns a pointer to the underlying mutable RepeatedField that stores the field's elements. This container class provides STL-like iterators and other methods.

For other numeric field types (including bool), int32 is replaced with the corresponding C++ type according to the scalar value types table.

Repeated String Fields

For either of these field definitions:

repeated string foo = 1;
repeated bytes foo = 1;

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • int foo_size() const: Returns the number of elements currently in the field.
  • const string& foo(int index) const: Returns the element at the given zero-based index. Calling this method with index outside of [0, foo_size()) yields undefined behavior.
  • void set_foo(int index, const string& value): Sets the value of the element at the given zero-based index.
  • void set_foo(int index, const char* value): Sets the value of the element at the given zero-based index using a C-style null-terminated string.
  • void set_foo(int index, const char* value, int size): Like above, but the string size is given explicitly rather than determined by looking for a null-terminator byte.
  • string* mutable_foo(int index): Returns a pointer to the mutable string object that stores the value of the element at the given zero-based index. The pointer is invalidated by a call to Clear() or clear_foo(), or by manipulating the underlying RepeatedPtrField in a way that would remove this element.
  • void add_foo(const string& value): Appends a new element to the field with the given value.
  • void add_foo(const char* value): Appends a new element to the field using a C-style null-terminated string.
  • void add_foo(const char* value, int size): Like above, but the string size is given explicitly rather than determined by looking for a null-terminator byte.
  • string* add_foo(): Adds a new empty string element and returns a pointer to it. The pointer is invalidated by a call to Clear() or clear_foo(), or by manipulating the underlying RepeatedPtrField in a way that would remove this element.
  • void clear_foo(): Removes all elements from the field. After calling this, foo_size() will return zero.
  • const RepeatedPtrField<string>& foo() const: Returns the underlying RepeatedPtrField that stores the field's elements. This container class provides STL-like iterators and other methods.
  • RepeatedPtrField<string>* mutable_foo(): Returns a pointer to the underlying mutable RepeatedPtrField that stores the field's elements. This container class provides STL-like iterators and other methods.

Repeated Enum Fields

Given the enum type:

enum Bar {
  BAR_VALUE = 0;
  OTHER_VALUE = 1;
}

For this field definition:

repeated Bar foo = 1;

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • int foo_size() const: Returns the number of elements currently in the field.
  • Bar foo(int index) const: Returns the element at the given zero-based index. Calling this method with index outside of [0, foo_size()) yields undefined behavior.
  • void set_foo(int index, Bar value): Sets the value of the element at the given zero-based index. In debug mode (i.e. NDEBUG is not defined), if value does not match any of the values defined for Bar, this method will abort the process.
  • void add_foo(Bar value): Appends a new element to the field with the given value. In debug mode (i.e. NDEBUG is not defined), if value does not match any of the values defined for Bar, this method will abort the process.
  • void clear_foo(): Removes all elements from the field. After calling this, foo_size() will return zero.
  • const RepeatedField<int>& foo() const: Returns the underlying RepeatedField that stores the field's elements. This container class provides STL-like iterators and other methods.
  • RepeatedField<int>* mutable_foo(): Returns a pointer to the underlying mutable RepeatedField that stores the field's elements. This container class provides STL-like iterators and other methods.

Repeated Embedded Message Fields

Given the message type:

message Bar {}

For this field definitions:

repeated Bar foo = 1;

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • int foo_size() const: Returns the number of elements currently in the field.
  • const Bar& foo(int index) const: Returns the element at the given zero-based index. Calling this method with index outside of [0, foo_size()) yields undefined behavior.
  • Bar* mutable_foo(int index): Returns a pointer to the mutable Bar object that stores the value of the element at the given zero-based index. The pointer is invalidated by a call to Clear() or clear_foo(), or by manipulating the underlying RepeatedPtrField in a way that would remove this element.
  • Bar* add_foo(): Adds a new element and returns a pointer to it. The returned Bar will have none of its fields set (i.e. it will be identical to a newly-allocated Bar). The pointer is invalidated by a call to Clear() or clear_foo(), or by manipulating the underlying RepeatedPtrField in a way that would remove this element.
  • void clear_foo(): Removes all elements from the field. After calling this, foo_size() will return zero.
  • const RepeatedPtrField<Bar>& foo() const: Returns the underlying RepeatedPtrField that stores the field's elements. This container class provides STL-like iterators and other methods.
  • RepeatedPtrField<Bar>* mutable_foo(): Returns a pointer to the underlying mutable RepeatedPtrField that stores the field's elements. This container class provides STL-like iterators and other methods.

Oneof Numeric Fields

For this oneof field definition:

oneof oneof_name {
    int32 foo = 1;
    ...
}

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • bool has_foo() const: Returns true if oneof case is kFoo.
  • int32 foo() const: Returns the current value of the field if oneof case is kFoo. Otherwise, returns the default value.
  • void set_foo(int32 value):
    • If any other oneof field in the same oneof is set, calls clear_oneof_name().
    • Sets the value of this field and sets the oneof case to kFoo.
    • has_foo() will return true, foo() will return value, and oneof_name_case() will return kFoo.
  • void clear_foo():
    • Nothing will be changed if oneof case is not kFoo.
    • If oneof case is kFoo, clears the value of the field and oneof case. has_foo() will return false, foo() will return the default value and oneof_name_case() will return ONEOF_NAME_NOT_SET.

For other numeric field types (including bool), int32 is replaced with the corresponding C++ type according to the scalar value types table.

Oneof String Fields

For any of these oneof field definitions:

oneof oneof_name {
    string foo = 1;
    …
}
oneof onef_name {
    bytes foo = 1;
    ….
}

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • bool has_foo() const: Returns true if the oneof case is kFoo.
  • const string& foo() const: Returns the current value of the field if the oneof case is kFoo. Otherwise, returns the default value.
  • void set_foo(const string& value):
    • If any other oneof field in the same oneof is set, calls clear_oneof_name().
    • Sets the value of this field and sets the oneof case to kFoo.
    • has_foo() will return true, foo() will return a copy of value and oneof_name_case() will return kFoo.
  • void set_foo(const char* value):
    • If any other oneof field in the same oneof is set, calls clear_oneof_name().
    • Sets the value of the field using a C-style null-terminated string and set the oneof case to kFoo.
    • has_foo() will return true, foo() will return a copy of value and oneof_name_case() will return kFoo.
  • void set_foo(const char* value, int size): Like above, but the string size is given explicitly rather than determined by looking for a null-terminator byte.
  • string* mutable_foo():
    • If any other oneof field in the same oneof is set, calls clear_oneof_name().
    • Sets the oneof case to kFoo and returns a pointer to the mutable string object that stores the field's value. If the oneof case was not kFoo prior to the call, then the returned string will be empty (not the default value).
    • has_foo() will return true, foo() will return whatever value is written into the given string and oneof_name_case() will return kFoo. The pointer is invalidated by a call to Clear() or if the oneof case is changed: clear_foo(), clear_oneof_name(), or setting another oneof field in the same oneof will all change the oneof case.
  • void clear_foo():
    • If the oneof case is not kFoo, nothing will be changed .
    • If the oneof case is kFoo, frees the field and clears the oneof case . has_foo() will return false, foo() will return the default value, and oneof_name_case() will return ONEOF_NAME_NOT_SET.
  • void set_allocated_foo(string* value):
    • Calls clear_oneof_name().
    • If the string pointer is not NULL: Sets the string object to the field and sets the oneof case to kFoo. The message takes ownership of the allocated string object, has_foo() will return true and oneof_name_case() will return kFoo.
    • If the string pointer is NULL, has_foo() will return false and oneof_name_case() will return ONEOF_NAME_NOT_SET.
  • string* release_foo():
    • Returns NULL if oneof case is not kFoo.
    • Clears the oneof case, releases the ownership of the field and returns the pointer of the string object. After calling this, caller takes the ownership of the allocated string object, has_foo() will return false, foo() will return the default value, and oneof_name_case() will return ONEOF_NAME_NOT_SET.

Oneof Enum Fields

Given the enum type:

enum Bar {
  BAR_VALUE = 0;
  OTHER_VALUE = 1;
}

For the oneof field definition:

oneof oneof_name {
    Bar foo = 1;
    ...
}

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • bool has_foo() const: Returns true if oneof case is kFoo.
  • Bar foo() const: Returns the current value of the field if oneof case is kFoo. Otherwise, returns the default value.
  • void set_foo(Bar value):
    • If any other oneof field in the same oneof is set, calls clear_oneof_name().
    • Sets the value of this field and sets the oneof case to kFoo.
    • has_foo() will return true, foo() will return value and oneof_name_case() will return kFoo.
    • In debug mode (i.e. NDEBUG is not defined), if value does not match any of the values defined for Bar, this method will abort the process.
  • void clear_foo():
    • Nothing will be changed if the oneof case is not kFoo.
    • If the oneof case is kFoo, clears the value of the field and the oneof case. has_foo() will return false, foo() will return the default value and oneof_name_case() will return ONEOF_NAME_NOT_SET.

Oneof Embedded Message Fields

Given the message type:

message Bar {}

For the oneof field definition:

oneof oneof_name {
    Bar foo = 1;
    ...
}

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • bool has_foo() const: Returns true if oneof case is kFoo.
  • const Bar& foo() const: Returns the current value of the field if oneof case is kFoo. Otherwise, returns Bar::default_instance().
  • Bar* mutable_foo():
    • If any other oneof field in the same oneof is set, calls clear_oneof_name().
    • Sets the oneof case to kFoo and returns a pointer to the mutable Bar object that stores the field's value. If the oneof case was not kFoo prior to the call, then the returned Bar will have none of its fields set (i.e. it will be identical to a newly-allocated Bar).
    • After calling this, has_foo() will return true, foo() will return a reference to the same instance of Bar and oneof_name_case() will return kFoo. The pointer is invalidated by a call to Clear() or the oneof case is changed: clear_foo(), clear_oneof_name(), or setting another oneof field in the same oneof will all change the oneof case.
  • void clear_foo():
    • Nothing will be changed if the oneof case is not kFoo.
    • If the oneof case equals kFoo, frees the field and clears the oneof case. has_foo() will return false, foo() will return the default value and oneof_name_case() will return ONEOF_NAME_NOT_SET.
  • void set_allocated_foo(Bar* bar):
    • Calls clear_oneof_name().
    • If the Bar pointer is not NULL: Sets the Bar object to the field and sets the oneof case to kFoo. The message takes ownership of the allocated Bar object, has_foo() will return true and oneof_name_case() will return kFoo.
    • If the pointer is NULL, has_foo() will return false and oneof_name_case() will return ONEOF_NAME_NOT_SET. (The behavior is like calling clear_oneof_name())
  • Bar* release_foo():
    • Returns NULL if oneof case is not kFoo.
    • If the oneof case is kFoo, clears the oneof case, releases the ownership of the field and returns the pointer of the Bar object. After calling this, caller takes the ownership of the allocated Bar object, has_foo() will return false, foo() will return the default value and oneof_name_case() will return ONEOF_NAME_NOT_SET.

Map Fields

For this map field definition:

map<int32, int32> weight = 1;

The compiler will generate the following accessor methods:

  • const proto2::Map<int32, int32>& weight();: Returns an immutable Map.
  • proto2::Map<int32, int32>* mutable_weight();: Returns a mutable Map.

A proto2::Map is a special container type used in protocol buffers to store map fields. As you can see from its interface below, it uses a commonly-used subset of std::map and std::unordered_map methods.

template<typename Key, typename T> {
class Map {
  // Member types
  typedef Key key_type;
  typedef T mapped_type;
  typedef ... value_type;

  // Iterators
  iterator begin();
  const_iterator begin() const;
  const_iterator cbegin() const;
  iterator end();
  const_iterator end() const;
  const_iterator cend() const;
  // Capacity
  int size() const;
  bool empty() const;

  // Element access
  T& operator[](const Key& key);
  const T& at(const Key& key) const;
  T& at(const Key& key);

  // Lookup
  int count(const Key& key) const;
  const_iterator find(const Key& key) const;
  iterator find(const Key& key);

  // Modifiers
  pair<iterator, bool> insert(const value_type& value);
  template<class InputIt>
  void insert(InputIt first, InputIt last);
  size_type erase(const Key& Key);
  iterator erase(const_iterator pos);
  iterator erase(const_iterator first, const_iterator last);
  void clear();

  // Copy
  Map(const Map& other);
  Map& operator=(const Map& other);
}

The easiest way to add data is to use normal map syntax, for example:

auto my_enclosing_proto = util::gtl::MakeUnique<ProtoName>();
(*my_enclosing_proto->mutable_weight())[my_key] = my_value;

pair<iterator, bool> insert(const value_type& value) will implicitly cause a deep copy of the value_type instance. The most efficient way to insert a new value into a proto2::Map is as follows:

T& operator[](const Key& key): map[new_key] = new_mapped;

Using proto2::Map with standard maps

proto2::Map supports the same iterator API as std::map and std::unordered_map. If you don't want to use proto2::Map directly, you can convert a proto2::Map to a standard map by doing the following:

std::map<int32, int32> standard_map(message.weight().begin(),
                                    message.weight().end());

Note that this will make a deep copy of the entire map.

You can also construct a proto2::Map from a standard map as follows:

proto2::Map<int32, int32> weight(standard_map.begin(), standard_map.end());

Parsing unknown values

On the wire, a .proto map is equivalent to a map entry message for each key/value pair, while the map itself is a repeated field of map entries. Like ordinary message types, it's possible for a parsed map entry message to have unknown fields: for example a field of type int64 in a map defined as map<int32, string>.

If there are unknown fields in the wire format of a map entry message, they will be discarded.

If there is an unknown enum value in the wire format of a map entry message, it's handled differently in proto2 and proto3. In proto2, the whole map entry message is put into the unknown field set of the containing message. In proto3, it is put into a map field as if it is a known enum value.

Oneof

Given a oneof definition like this:
oneof oneof_name {
    int32 foo_int = 4;
    string foo_string = 9;
    ...
}

The compiler will generate the following C++ enum type:

enum OneofNameCase {
  kFooInt = 4,
  kFooString = 9,
  ONEOF_NAME_NOT_SET = 0
}

In addition, it will generate this method:

  • OneofNameCase oneof_name_case() const: Returns the enum indicating which field is set. Returns ONEOF_NAME_NOT_SET if none of them is set.

The compiler also generates the following private method, which is used in oneof field accessors:

  • void clear_oneof_name(): Frees the object if the oneof field set uses a pointer (Message or String), and sets the oneof case to ONEOF_NAME_NOT_SET.

Enumerations

Given an enum definition like:

enum Foo {
  VALUE_A = 0;
  VALUE_B = 5;
  VALUE_C = 1234;
}

The protocol buffer compiler will generate a C++ enum type called Foo with the same set of values. In addition, the compiler will generate the following functions:

  • const EnumDescriptor* Foo_descriptor(): Returns the type's descriptor, which contains information about what values this enum type defines.
  • bool Foo_IsValid(int value): Returns true if the given numeric value matches one of Foo's defined values. In the above example, it would return true if the input were 0, 5, or 1234.
  • const string& Foo_Name(int value): Returns the name for given numeric value. Returns an empty string if no such value exists. If multiple values have this number, the first one defined is returned. In the above example, Foo_Name(5) would return "VALUE_B".
  • bool Foo_Parse(const string& name, Foo* value): If name is a valid value name for this enum, assigns that value into value and returns true. Otherwise returns false. In the above example, Foo_Parse("VALUE_C", &someFoo) would return true and set someFoo to 1234.
  • const Foo Foo_MIN: the smallest valid value of the enum (VALUE_A in the example).
  • const Foo Foo_MAX: the largest valid value of the enum (VALUE_C in the example).
  • const Foo Foo_ARRAYSIZE: always defined as Foo_MAX + 1.

Be careful when casting integers to enums. If an integer is cast to an enum value, the integer must be one of the valid values for than enum, or the results may be undefined. If in doubt, use the generated Foo_IsValid() function to test if the cast is valid. Setting an enum-typed field of a protocol message to an invalid value may cause an assertion failure. If an invalid enum value is read when parsing a message, it will be treated as an unknown field.

You can define an enum inside a message type. In this case, the protocol buffer compiler generates code that makes it appear that the enum type itself was declared nested inside the message's class. The Foo_descriptor() and Foo_IsValid() functions are declared as static methods. In reality, the enum type itself and its values are declared at the global scope with mangled names, and are imported into the class's scope with a typedef and a series of constant definitions. This is done only to get around problems with declaration ordering. Do not depend on the mangled top-level names; pretend the enum really is nested in the message class.

Extensions (proto2 only)

Given a message with an extension range:

message Foo {
  extensions 100 to 199;
}

The protocol buffer compiler will generate some additional methods for Foo: HasExtension(), ExtensionSize(), ClearExtension(), GetExtension(), SetExtension(), MutableExtension(), AddExtension(), SetAllocatedExtension() and ReleaseExtension(). Each of these methods takes, as its first parameter, an extension identifier (described below), which identifies an extension field. The remaining parameters and the return value are exactly the same as those for the corresponding accessor methods that would be generated for a normal (non-extension) field of the same type as the extension identifier. (GetExtension() corresponds to the accessors with no special prefix.)

Given an extension definition:

extend Foo {
  optional int32 bar = 1;
  repeated int32 repeated_bar = 2;
}

For the singular extension field bar, the protocol buffer compiler generates an "extension identifier" called bar, which you can use with Foo's extension accessors to access this extension, like so:

Foo foo;
assert(!foo.HasExtension(bar));
foo.SetExtension(bar, 1);
assert(foo.HasExtension(bar));
assert(foo.GetExtension(bar) == 1);
foo.ClearExtension(bar);
assert(!foo.HasExtension(bar));

Similarly, for the repeated extension field repeated_bar, the compiler generates an extension identifier called repeated_bar, which you can also use with Foo's extension accessors:

Foo foo;
for (int i = 0; i < kSize; ++i) {
  foo.AddExtension(repeated_bar, i)
}
assert(foo.ExtensionSize(repeated_bar) == kSize)
for (int i = 0; i < kSize; ++i) {
  assert(foo.GetExtension(repeated_bar, i) == i)
}

(The exact implementation of extension identifiers is complicated and involves magical use of templates – however, you don't need to worry about how extension identifiers work to use them.)

Extensions can be declared nested inside of another type. For example, a common pattern is to do something like this:

message Baz {
  extend Foo {
    optional Baz foo_ext = 124;
  }
}

In this case, the extension identifier foo_ext is declared nested inside Baz. It can be used as follows:

Foo foo;
Baz* baz = foo.MutableExtension(Baz::foo_ext);
FillInMyBaz(baz);

Arena Allocation

Arena allocation is a C++-only feature that helps you optimize your memory usage and improve performance when working with protocol buffers. Enabling arena allocation in your .proto adds additional code for working with arenas to your C++ generated code. You can find out more about the arena allocation API in the Arena Allocation Guide.

Services

If the .proto file contains the following line:

option cc_generic_services = true;

Then the protocol buffer compiler will generate code based on the service definitions found in the file as described in this section. However, the generated code may be undesirable as it is not tied to any particular RPC system, and thus requires more levels of indirection that code tailored to one system. If you do NOT want this code to be generated, add this line to the file:

option cc_generic_services = false;

If neither of the above lines are given, the option defaults to false, as generic services are deprecated. (Note that prior to 2.4.0, the option defaults to true)

RPC systems based on .proto-language service definitions should provide plugins to generate code approriate for the system. These plugins are likely to require that abstract services are disabled, so that they can generate their own classes of the same names. Plugins are new in version 2.3.0 (January 2010).

The remainder of this section describes what the protocol buffer compiler generates when abstract services are enabled.

Interface

Given a service definition:

service Foo {
  rpc Bar(FooRequest) returns(FooResponse);
}

The protocol buffer compiler will generate a class Foo to represent this service. Foo will have a virtual method for each method defined in the service definition. In this case, the method Bar is defined as:

virtual void Bar(RpcController* controller, const FooRequest* request,
                 FooResponse* response, Closure* done);

The parameters are equivalent to the parameters of Service::CallMethod(), except that the method argument is implied and request and response specify their exact type.

These generated methods are virtual, but not pure-virtual. The default implementations simply call controller->SetFailed() with an error message indicating that the method is unimplemented, then invoke the done callback. When implementing your own service, you must subclass this generated service and implement its methods as appropriate.

Foo subclasses the Service interface. The protocol buffer compiler automatically generates implementations of the methods of Service as follows:

The following static method is also generated:

  • static ServiceDescriptor descriptor(): Returns the type's descriptor, which contains information about what methods this service has and what their input and output types are.

Stub

The protocol buffer compiler also generates a "stub" implementation of every service interface, which is used by clients wishing to send requests to servers implementing the service. For the Foo service (above), the stub implementation Foo_Stub will be defined. As with nested message types, a typedef is used so that Foo_Stub can also be referred to as Foo::Stub.

Foo_Stub is a subclass of Foo which also implements the following methods:

  • Foo_Stub(RpcChannel* channel): Constructs a new stub which sends requests on the given channel.
  • Foo_Stub(RpcChannel* channel, ChannelOwnership ownership): Constructs a new stub which sends requests on the given channel and possibly owns that channel. If ownership is Service::STUB_OWNS_CHANNEL then when the stub object is deleted it will delete the channel as well.
  • RpcChannel* channel(): Returns this stub's channel, as passed to the constructor.

The stub additionally implements each of the service's methods as a wrapper around the channel. Calling one of the methods simply calls channel->CallMethod().

The Protocol Buffer library does not include an RPC implementation. However, it includes all of the tools you need to hook up a generated service class to any arbitrary RPC implementation of your choice. You need only provide implementations of RpcChannel and RpcController. See the documentation for service.h for more information.

Plugin Insertion Points

Code generator plugins which want to extend the output of the C++ code generator may insert code of the following types using the given insertion point names. Each insertion point appears in both the .pb.cc file and the .pb.h file unless otherwise noted.

  • includes: Include directives.
  • namespace_scope: Declarations that belong in the file's package/namespace, but not within any particular class. Appears after all other namespace-scope code.
  • global_scope: Declarations that belong at the top level, outside of the file's namespace. Appears at the very end of the file.
  • class_scope:TYPENAME: Member declarations that belong in a message class. TYPENAME is the full proto name, e.g. package.MessageType. Appears after all other public declarations in the class. This insertion point appears only in the .pb.h file.

Do not generate code which relies on private class members declared by the standard code generator, as these implementation details may change in future versions of Protocol Buffers.