Protocol Buffers - Google's data interchange format


Protocol Buffers - Google’s data interchange format

Copyright 2008 Google Inc.

Protocol Buffers documentation


Protocol Buffers (a.k.a., protobuf) are Google’s language-neutral,
platform-neutral, extensible mechanism for serializing structured data. You
can find protobuf’s documentation on the Google Developers site.

This README file contains protobuf installation instructions. To install
protobuf, you need to install the protocol compiler (used to compile .proto
files) and the protobuf runtime for your chosen programming language.

Protocol Compiler Installation

The protocol compiler is written in C++. If you are using C++, please follow
the C++ Installation Instructions to install protoc along
with the C++ runtime.

For non-C++ users, the simplest way to install the protocol compiler is to
download a pre-built binary from our GitHub release page.

In the downloads section of each release, you can find pre-built binaries in
zip packages: protoc-$VERSION-$ It contains the protoc binary
as well as a set of standard .proto files distributed along with protobuf.

If you are looking for an old version that is not available in the release
page, check out the Maven repository.

These pre-built binaries are only provided for released versions. If you want
to use the github main version at HEAD, or you need to modify protobuf code,
or you are using C++, it’s recommended to build your own protoc binary from

If you would like to build protoc binary from source, see the C++ Installation Instructions.

Protobuf Runtime Installation

Protobuf supports several different programming languages. For each programming
language, you can find instructions in the corresponding source directory about
how to install protobuf runtime for that specific language:

Language Source
C++ (include C++ runtime and protoc) src
Java java
Python python
Objective-C objectivec
C# csharp
Ruby ruby
Go protocolbuffers/protobuf-go
PHP php
Dart dart-lang/protobuf
Javascript protocolbuffers/protobuf-javascript

Quick Start

The best way to learn how to use protobuf is to follow the tutorials in our
developer guide

If you want to learn from code examples, take a look at the examples in the
examples directory.


The complete documentation is available via the Protocol Buffers documentation.

Developer Community

To be alerted to upcoming changes in Protocol Buffers and connect with protobuf developers and users,
join the Google Group.