If I understand correctly, serializing a protocol-buffer message creates
a byte-string that describes the fields of the serialized message.  The
field descriptions include their type identifiers, field numbers, and
current values.

An instance of the type of message that was serialized can then
configure itself to be equal to the serialized message by parsing the
byte-string representation.  By telling a message instance to parse its
serialized representation, one is basically setting the instance's
"value."

It would seem reasonable that this pattern be maintained down to the
level of individual fields.  Meaning that message field instances could
serialize themselves to byte-strings and initialize themselves from
bytes-strings.

I can see multiple values to such a capability.  It would be possible,
for example, to partially initialize message instances by initializing
specific fields within the instance, which may be very useful for doing
things like streaming messages.  Also, protocol-buffer fields could be
used outside the context of protocol-buffer messages, which may or may
not be valuable.  Does this capability already exist?



Thanks, 
Shane













On Tue, 2008-12-02 at 12:21 -0800, Kenton Varda wrote:
> Cool!  Can you send this to me and Petar (cc'd) via
> codereview.appspot.com?
> 
> 
> On Tue, Dec 2, 2008 at 1:22 AM, Alek Storm <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> wrote:
>         There was already a remove() method for repeated scalars, but
>         not for composites.  I added one without any difficulty.  Did
>         I miss something?  In fact, this whole patch was pretty easy.
>         There must be some reason it hasn't been done before.
> 
> 
> It could easily be that no one had gotten around to it.  To be
> perfectly honest, the Python code doesn't get very much attention
> here.  :/
>  
>         The docs aren't on the wiki, so I can't add anything about
>         this.  Are there plans to move it to the wiki, by any chance?
> 
> 
> Unfortunately that would require a ton of work (to convert to wiki
> markup) and the resulting docs would not be as nice.  If you'd like to
> send me a change to the HTML, though, I could put it up.
> 
> > 


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