XML-RPC; Gzip
XML-RPC; Gzip

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Above is the source code for a simple* extension of ulxmlrpcpp that allows Gzip compression of XML-RPC.

The simplest* method to perform a Remote Procedure Call (RPC) from one language to another is XML-RPC.

The XML-RPC specification is dead simple; using XML, construct a procedure call, with the parameters of the call as children. Then, send this XML document using HTTP/POST to the resource server, where the request is processed and an XML response is sent back containing the procedure’s result.

The problem I’m concerned with: using a Java Server (JavaMOO), construct an XML-RPC server that can communicate with a client written in C/C++, and do so efficiently enough to run a real-time virtual world.

This hardly seems like anything to right home about; in fact, I had no problem finding Java and C++ implementations of XML-RPC, and was performing RPCs within the hour.

The drama came when I considered efficiency, and hence compression. The XML-RPC specification is unclear/denies the use of any sort of compression on the XML document, which is a shame. Gzip compression is available as a vendor extension for the Java implementation I was using (Apache’s ws-xmlrpc). I found no such capabilities in any C/C++ implementations, so I wrote one up.

*: Nothing is ever simple.


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