You could treat the protobuf classes as private implemnetation helpers.
 Your public interface would have methods like you describe, and internally
they'd just copy the object's state into a protocol buffer and then
serialize it.

On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 2:32 AM, Paul Runyan <>wrote:

>  Hi Kenton -
> Thanks for your help.  Obviously defining message types in proto files is
> crucial for being able to exchange messages between different languages.
> However, as a substitute for Java serialisation having to specify message
> types in separate files from the source files seems less than ideal.
> What I was thinking of was more along the lines of adding methods to each
> object to be serialised via PB that look like the methods on the classes the
> PB compiler generates --- writeTo() and parseFrom().  These would work
> analogously to the way that writeObject() and readObject() for normal
> serialisation, but by trading away the unrestricted polymorhism that this
> type of application doesn't need it allow it to write ints rather than class
> names to distinguish types and would hopefully also gain from the extra
> efficiencies of CodedInputStream and CodedOutputStream.
> Best regards,
> Paul
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