Using Apache Thrift enables us to generate client libraries for our SDK (still very-WIP) targetting a variety of languages. I’m going to create a test library for Rust that makes a simple RPC call to our background service.


One of the reasons we introduced API Tool was to make it easier to work with our .thrift interface definition files:

Click Generate to process all the thrift files:

18/08/22 12:54:53  Info ApiTool --ThriftFiles="D:\ruyi\sdk\ThriftFiles" --ThriftExe="D:\ruyi\..\tools\thrift\thrift.exe" --CommonOutput="D:\ruyi\sdk\SDK.Gen.CommonAsync" --ServiceOutput="D:\ruyi\sdk\SDK.Gen.ServiceAsync" --Gen="rs" --Generate
18/08/22 12:54:53  Info -gen rs -out D:\ruyi\sdk\SDK.Gen.ServiceAsync D:\ruyi\sdk\ThriftFiles\BrainCloudService\BrainCloudServiceSDKDataTypes.thrift
18/08/22 12:54:53  Info -gen rs -out D:\ruyi\sdk\SDK.Gen.ServiceAsync D:\ruyi\sdk\ThriftFiles\BrainCloudService\BrainCloudServiceSDKServices.thrift
18/08/22 12:54:54  Info -gen rs -out D:\ruyi\sdk\SDK.Gen.CommonAsync D:\ruyi\sdk\ThriftFiles\CommonType\CommonTypeSDKDataTypes.thrift

Note the -gen rs ... output showing calls to thrift.exe.

The particulars of our platform aren’t important for this excercise. You could substitute the thrift tutorial.

Rust-y Baby Steps

As a first step I want to build a rust library containing the generated source files.

  1. Start a new “subor” library:
     cargo new --lib subor
  2. Launch Visual Studio Code and install Rust support. Open the subor/ folder cargo created.

  3. Copy all the generated .rs files into the src/ directory.

Right next to, caught my eye and seems like a good place to start. It contains:

impl LanguageChangedMsg {
  pub fn new<F1, F2>(new_language: F1, old_language: F2) -> LanguageChangedMsg where F1: Into<Option<String>>, F2: Into<Option<String>> {
    LanguageChangedMsg {
      new_language: new_language.into(),
      old_language: old_language.into(),

Which was generated from LocalizationServiceSDKDataTypes.thrift:

struct LanguageChangedMsg {
    1: string newLanguage,
    2: string oldLanguage,

To bring that file into scope, to the top of add:

mod localization_service_s_d_k_data_types;

Bring up the VS Code terminal with ^` (that’s Ctrl+Backtick- or “grave accent” if you’re fancy).

Build tests with cargo build --tests:

error[E0463]: can't find crate for `ordered_float`
 --> src/
9 | extern crate ordered_float;
  | ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ can't find crate

Check for external dependencies. To fix this and the next few errors, to add:

ordered-float = "0.5.0"
thrift = "0.0.4"
try_from = "0.2.2"


error[E0432]: unresolved import `ordered_float`
  --> src/
13 | use ordered_float::OrderedFloat;
   |     ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Did you mean `self::ordered_float`?

The crates are extern‘d in the sub-module (i.e., so you either do what it says and prepend self:: everywhere (ugh). Or, to the top of add:

extern crate ordered_float;
extern crate thrift;
extern crate try_from;

Now, try using the LanguageChangedMsg type in the test:

mod tests {
    // Bring entire contents of module into scope
    use super::localization_service_s_d_k_data_types::*;
    fn it_works() {
      let msg = LanguageChangedMsg::new("stuff".to_owned(), "this".to_owned());

Use glob operator (also see example with tests) to bring everything in that file into scope.

Inside it_works() function type let msg = L (Note: capital “L”) and “intellisense” should suggest the rest.

Finally, cargo test to run the test and it should pass.


Confident we can build things, let’s make a full-fledged client so we can do RPC.

The specification in LocalizationServiceSDKServices.thrift:

service LocalizationService {
  // ...
  string GetCurrentLanguage(),
  // ...


pub trait TLocalizationServiceSyncClient {
  // ...

  fn get_current_language(&mut self) -> thrift::Result<String>;

  // ...

impl <IP, OP> LocalizationServiceSyncClient<IP, OP> where IP: TInputProtocol, OP: TOutputProtocol {
  pub fn new(input_protocol: IP, output_protocol: OP) -> LocalizationServiceSyncClient<IP, OP> {
    LocalizationServiceSyncClient { _i_prot: input_protocol, _o_prot: output_protocol, _sequence_number: 0 }

impl <C: TThriftClient + TLocalizationServiceSyncClientMarker> TLocalizationServiceSyncClient for C {
  // ...
  fn get_current_language(&mut self) -> thrift::Result<String> {
    // ...

This will make sense if you’re familiar with thrift and rust:

  • TLocalizationServiceSyncClient defines an interface to access a “service”
  • It specifies several RPC calls including get_current_language()
  • A client instance can be created with LocalizationServiceSyncClient::new() given an input and output protocol

thrift::protocol module docs show how to get started:

use thrift::protocol::{TBinaryInputProtocol, TBinaryOutputProtocol, TMultiplexedOutputProtocol};
use thrift::transport::{TTcpChannel, TIoChannel};

use super::localization_service_s_d_k_services::*;

fn client() {
    // Create TCP transport "channel" to local server
    let mut channel = TTcpChannel::new();"").unwrap();

    // Decompose TCP channel into read/write-halves for in/out protocols
    let (readable, writable) = channel.split().unwrap();

    // These take ownership of their first argument, so using TCP channel 
    // directly would require multiple TCP connections
    let in_proto = TBinaryInputProtocol::new(readable, true);
    let out_proto = TBinaryOutputProtocol::new(writable, true);

    // Multiple clients can be multiplexed over a single transport.
    // The server side of our application is expecting "SER_xxx" to 
    // route to the correct service.
    let out_proto = TMultiplexedOutputProtocol::new("SER_L10NSERVICE", out_proto);

    let mut client = LocalizationServiceSyncClient::new(in_proto, out_proto);

    // RPC to server

Bi-directional channels like TTcpChannel implement TIoChannel::split() to create “readable” and “writable” halves. Each binary protocol can then take ownership of its own half.

Wrap output protocol with TMultiplexedOutputProtocol so we can have multiple T*SyncClients that share a single TCP connection (or other transport). The first parameter, service_name, is application-defined name given to the service- here "SER_L10NSERVICE". Although not a thrift requirement, the server side of our application is expecting it.

To do RPC, make a request via a client method. If you check the generated C# and rust source code, notice:

  • Rust methods use snake-case: get_current_language()
  • async C# methods append Async suffix: GetCurrentLanguageAsync()
  • Serialized messages specify method by name from the thrift specification: GetCurrentLanguage
  • Multiplexing adds service name: SER_L10NSERVICE:GetCurrentLanguage


For the server-side I’m testing with our latest release of layer0.

Here’s a compatible server in C# using the same thrift files:

class Program
    static async Task Main(string[] args)
        var server = new Thrift.Transports.Server.TServerSocketTransport(11290);
        // Create service processor and register with multiplexor
        var mux = new TMultiplexedProcessor();
        var processor = new LocalizationService.AsyncProcessor(new SettingHandler());
        mux.RegisterProcessor("SER_L10NSERVICE", processor);
        while (true){
            // Accept client connection, wrap with protocol, and hand to multiplexor
            var client = await server.AcceptAsync();
            await Task.Run(async () =>
                var protocol = new Thrift.Protocols.TBinaryProtocol(client);
                Console.WriteLine(await mux.ProcessAsync(protocol, protocol));

class SettingHandler : LocalizationService.IAsync

    public Task<string> GetCurrentLanguageAsync(CancellationToken cancellationToken)
        return Task.FromResult("en-US");


When a client connects and sends a request SER_L10NSERVICE:GetCurrentLanguage:

  1. TMultiplexedProcessor.ProcessAsync() extracts service name (SER_L10NSERVICE) and matches to ITAsyncProcessor added with RegisterProcessor()
  2. ProcessAsync() of matched processor is called. It extracts method name (GetCurrentLanguage) and matches to corresponding method.
  3. Arguments (if any) are deserialized and method of IAsync handler instance passed to processor is called (SettingHandler.GetCurrentLanguageAsync())

Speed Bumps

Unfortunately it seems like Rust “intellisense” in VS Code isn’t quite there yet. After typing client. I expected get_current_language() et al. to be suggested, but only the TThriftClient plumbing appeared:

If client RPC calls fail with:

ApplicationError { kind: WrongMethodName, message: "expected GetCurrentLanguage got SER_L10NSERVICE:GetCurrentLanguage" }', libcore/

Check the names registered with TMultiplexedOutputProtocol::new() (client) and RegisterProcessor() (server) match.

Overall, my experience with Rust was like my experience with F#; if it compiles, it works.