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Apache Dubbo vs Apache Thrift: What are the differences?

Introduction

Apache Dubbo and Apache Thrift are both widely-used open-source frameworks that are used for building distributed systems. While they have similarities in terms of their purposes, there are some key differences between the two.

  1. Serialization Protocol Support: One of the main differences between Apache Dubbo and Apache Thrift is the serialization protocol support. Apache Dubbo supports various protocols such as Hessian, JSON, and Thrift, allowing developers to choose the protocol that suits their needs. On the other hand, Apache Thrift uses its own binary protocol, which is optimized for efficiency and performance.

  2. Service Description Language: Apache Dubbo and Apache Thrift also differ in terms of service description languages. Apache Dubbo uses Java annotations to define the services and their parameters, making it easier for Java developers to work with. In contrast, Apache Thrift uses its own IDL (Interface Description Language) to define the services and their parameters, which can be used with multiple programming languages.

  3. Load Balancing: Another key difference between Apache Dubbo and Apache Thrift is the load balancing mechanism. Apache Dubbo provides built-in load balancing strategies such as random, round-robin, and consistent-hash, allowing developers to choose the most suitable strategy for their systems. However, in Apache Thrift, load balancing is not native, and developers need to implement it using external libraries or custom code.

  4. Transport Protocol Support: Apache Dubbo and Apache Thrift also differ in terms of transport protocol support. Apache Dubbo supports various protocols such as TCP, HTTP, and RMI, providing flexibility and interoperability. On the other hand, Apache Thrift uses its own transportation protocol, which is based on TCP/IP sockets.

  5. Service Discovery: Apache Dubbo and Apache Thrift also differ in their approach to service discovery. Apache Dubbo provides a built-in service registry and discovery mechanism, making it easier for developers to discover and use services. In contrast, Apache Thrift does not provide a built-in service discovery mechanism, and developers need to implement it using external libraries or custom code.

  6. Flexibility and Extensibility: Apache Dubbo and Apache Thrift differ in terms of flexibility and extensibility. Apache Dubbo is highly extensible and allows developers to add custom filters and plugins to modify the behavior of the framework. On the other hand, Apache Thrift offers limited extensibility and customization options compared to Apache Dubbo.

In summary, Apache Dubbo and Apache Thrift have differences in terms of serialization protocol support, service description language, load balancing mechanism, transport protocol support, service discovery approach, and flexibility/extensibility. These differences make them suitable for different use cases and developer preferences.

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What is Apache Dubbo?

It is a high-performance, light weight, java based RPC framework. Dubbo offers three key functionalities, which include interface based remote call, fault tolerance & load balancing, and automatic service registration & discovery.

What is Apache Thrift?

The Apache Thrift software framework, for scalable cross-language services development, combines a software stack with a code generation engine to build services that work efficiently and seamlessly between C++, Java, Python, PHP, Ruby, Erlang, Perl, Haskell, C#, Cocoa, JavaScript, Node.js, Smalltalk, OCaml and Delphi and other languages.

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