Advantages of Protobuf for Serialization in Python – The Real Python Podcast

Real Python Podcast Episode #110 Title Artwork

May 20, 2022 58m

Christopher Bailey
Liran Haimovitch

Would you like a way to send structured serialized data between different platforms and languages? What if the data was self-documenting, could automatically generate Python code, and would validate itself? This week on the show, Liran Haimovitch talks about protocol buffers and communicating with microservices through Remote Procedure Calls (RPC).

Protocol buffers, aka protobuf, are a language-neutral, platform-neutral system for serializing structured data. Liran talks about how they go beyond text-based protocols like JSON, providing the benefits above, along with faster transmissions and a smaller footprint.

Liran shares how his company uses protobuf to communicate between their tools. We also discuss using gRPC to communicate between microservices and scaling infrastructure in either direction.


  • 00:00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:01:59 – PyCon US 2022 Talk on protobuf
  • 00:04:46 – PyCon 2019 Talk on Understanding Python’s Debugging Internals
  • 00:05:34 – The Production-First Mindset Podcast
  • 00:07:03 – Protobuf and serialization
  • 00:11:17 – Static vs dynamic serializers
  • 00:13:58 – Text vs binary serializers and metadata
  • 00:21:08 – How long have you been using protobuf?
  • 00:21:40 – What does it look like to set up?
  • 00:24:45 – Video Course Spotlight
  • 00:26:11 – Performance challenges and trade-offs
  • 00:34:29 – Remote procedure calls
  • 00:41:13 – Using RPC for microservices
  • 00:47:21 – Scaling your infrastructure up or down
  • 00:50:35 – Working across different languages
  • 00:54:02 – What is Rookout?
  • 00:55:11 – What are you excited about in the world of Python?
  • 00:55:59 – What do you want to learn next?
  • 00:56:57 – How can people learn more about what you do?
  • 00:57:31 – Thanks and goodbye

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