The following is a fairly naive implementation of a Finagle protocol that uses the scodec library for binary encoding and decoding. I'll assume something like the following SBT setup:

scalaVersion := "2.10.4"

resolvers += Resolver.sonatypeRepo("snapshots")

libraryDependencies ++= Seq(
  "com.twitter" %% "finagle-core" % "6.20.0",
  "org.typelevel" %% "scodec-core" % "1.3.0-SNAPSHOT"

First for an scodec import we'll need throughout:

import scodec.Codec

Next for conversions from scodec's Codec to Netty encoders and decoders:

trait CodecConversions {
  import org.jboss.netty.buffer.{ChannelBuffer, ChannelBuffers}
  import org.jboss.netty.channel.{Channel, ChannelHandlerContext}
  import org.jboss.netty.handler.codec.oneone.{OneToOneDecoder, OneToOneEncoder}
  import scodec.bits.BitVector

   * Converts an scodec codec into a Netty encoder.
  protected def encoder[A: Codec] = new OneToOneEncoder {
    override def encode(ctx: ChannelHandlerContext, channel: Channel, msg: Object) =

   * Converts an scodec codec into a Netty decoder.
  protected def decoder[A: Codec] = new OneToOneDecoder {
    override def decode(ctx: ChannelHandlerContext, channel: Channel, msg: Object) =
      msg match {
        case cb: ChannelBuffer =>
        case other => other

And then channel pipeline and codec factories:

trait Factories { this: CodecConversions =>
  import com.twitter.finagle.{Codec => FinagleCodec, CodecFactory}
  import org.jboss.netty.channel.{ChannelPipelineFactory, Channels}

   * Creates a Netty channel pipeline factory given input and output types.
  private[this] def pipeline[I: Codec, O: Codec] = new ChannelPipelineFactory {
    def getPipeline = {
      val pipeline = Channels.pipeline()
      pipeline.addLast("encoder", encoder[I])
      pipeline.addLast("decoder", decoder[O])

   * Creates a Finagle codec factory given input and output types.
  protected def codecFactory[I: Codec, O: Codec] = new CodecFactory[I, O] {
    def server = Function.const {
      new FinagleCodec[I, O] { def pipelineFactory = pipeline[O, I] }

    def client = Function.const {
      new FinagleCodec[I, O] { def pipelineFactory = pipeline[I, O] }

And then the part that actually creates our Finagle clients and servers:

object Finagler extends Factories with CodecConversions {
  import com.twitter.conversions.time._
  import com.twitter.finagle.Service
  import com.twitter.finagle.builder.{ClientBuilder, ServerBuilder}
  import com.twitter.util.{Duration, Future}
  import java.net.InetSocketAddress

   * Creates a Finagle server from a function given that we have scodec codecs
   * for both the input and output types.
  def server[I, O](port: Int)(f: I => Future[O])(implicit ic: Codec[I], oc: Codec[O]) =
      .codec(codecFactory[I, O])
      .bindTo(new InetSocketAddress(port))
      .build(new Service[I, O] { def apply(i: I) = f(i) })

   * Creates a Finagle client given input and output types with scodec codecs.
  def client[I, O](host: String, timeout: Duration = 1.second)
    (implicit ic: Codec[I], oc: Codec[O]) =
        .codec(codecFactory[I, O])

And finally usage looks like this:

import scodec._, codecs._
import com.twitter.util.Future

case class Point(x: Double, y: Double)

implicit val pointCodec = (double :: double).as[Point]
implicit val pointsCodec = list(pointCodec)

def center(points: List[Point]) = {
  val Point(x, y) = points.reduce[Point] {
    case (Point(x1, y1), Point(x2, y2)) => Point(x1 + x2, y1 + y2)

  Point(x / points.size, y / points.size)

val server = Finagler.server(9000)(center _ andThen Future.value _)

And then we can create a client:

val client = Finagler.client[List[Point], Point]("localhost:9000")

And call it:

client(List(Point(0, 1), Point(1, 1), Point(1, 0), Point(0, 0))).onSuccess(println)

Which will print what we'd expect:

scala> Point(0.5,0.5)

So it seems to work in this simple use case, but I'm not a Netty expert, and I'm curious about ways this naive approach (simply piping everything through a OneToOneEncoder, etc.) could get me into trouble.


1 Answer 1


When decoding a message (i.e. transforming received byte stream into objects), you need to keep in mind that a single socket write is not always translated into a single socket read.

For example, let's say you wrote 4 bytes in a single write attempt. On the reader's side, it can be read with 2 read attempts where each buffer contains less-than-4-byte data.

Therefore, using OneToOneDecoder will not work when your server starts to handler more load. You need to use other decoder classes such as FrameDecoder and ReplayingDecoder.

For more information, please read the 'Dealing with a Stream-based Transport' section in the user guide.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.