Apache Thrift

Definition of Apache Thrift

Apache Thrift is an open-source software framework that enables scalable cross-language service development. It facilitates communication and data serialization between different programming languages by providing a code generation tool and libraries. The framework was developed by Facebook and is now a part of the Apache Software Foundation.


The phonetics of the keyword “Apache Thrift” are as follows:Apache: /əˈpætʃi/Thrift: /θrɪft/

Key Takeaways

  1. Apache Thrift is a scalable and efficient software framework that allows developers to create and interoperate cross-language services containing RPC (Remote Procedure Call) components.
  2. It supports numerous programming languages such as C++, Java, Python, PHP, Ruby, and more, enabling seamless communication between these languages for large-scale distributed applications.
  3. Thrift provides a powerful Interface Description Language (IDL) to define data types and service interfaces, as well as a compiler to generate respective language bindings automatically, improving performance and readability across projects.

Importance of Apache Thrift

Apache Thrift is an important technology term as it is an open-source, efficient, and cross-language software framework designed to enable scalable and reliable communication between different programming languages.

It efficiently handles the serialization and deserialization of data structures, making it easier for developers to build robust Remote Procedure Call (RPC) systems with support for multiple programming languages like Java, C++, Python, and others.

By allowing seamless inter-communication between different languages, Apache Thrift simplifies the development of distributed systems and services, ultimately improving application performance and reducing development time.


Apache Thrift is a powerful technology that aims to bridge the gap between various programming languages through a unified communication platform for the development of efficient and scalable microservices, which are small, modular applications that individually execute a specific function and can be combined to create complex systems. The primary purpose of using Apache Thrift is to tackle the challenges that arise when diverse technology stacks including programming languages, data structures, libraries, and tools need to work together in a harmonious manner.

Through the use of an Interface Definition Language (IDL), Thrift enables developers to define data structures and services, subsequently generating code in multiple programming languages that target a wide range of platforms. Apache Thrift has been widely adopted within the technology community for applications including distributed systems and cross-platform communication.

By using this software framework, developers can seamlessly create and maintain their services, even in a rapidly evolving, heterogeneous environment. It is an invaluable tool that offers a high level of performance, reduced complexity, and convenient error handling mechanisms.

Industries such as e-commerce, gaming, financial services, and messaging systems rely on the efficiency and flexibility of Apache Thrift for defining and executing their remote procedure calls (RPC) across diverse platforms, making it a powerful tool for businesses seeking to integrate or evolve their systems to meet the ever-growing technological demands.

Examples of Apache Thrift

Apache Thrift is a software framework used for scalable cross-language services development. It is beneficial for developing and integrating services that use different programming languages. Here are three real-world examples of companies and projects leveraging Apache Thrift:

Facebook:Apache Thrift was initially developed at Facebook to address their growing need for a scalable, cross-language service platform. It is widely used within the company for large-scale services and data processing tasks. Some of the core Facebook services, like the News Feed, use Thrift to communicate between different components written in various languages, such as PHP, Java, C++, and Python.

Evernote:Evernote, a note-taking and organizing app, uses Apache Thrift for its core infrastructure. Thrift enables seamless communication between Evernote’s numerous services, such as note storage, search, and synchronization, which are implemented in different languages. By leveraging Thrift, Evernote can scale its platform effectively, serving millions of users worldwide while maintaining a consistent user experience across various devices and platforms.

Uber:Uber, the popular ride-hailing service, utilizes Apache Thrift in its backend infrastructure. With multiple microservices written in different programming languages, Thrift helps facilitate efficient communication between these services. This cross-language communication is critical for Uber to manage its real-time operations, such as coordinating rides, processing payments, and handling surge pricing, across a vast geographic scale.

Apache Thrift FAQ

What is Apache Thrift?

Apache Thrift is a software library and a framework for scalable cross-language services development. It enables efficient communication between different programming languages allowing you to build applications using multiple programming languages.

What are the main components of Apache Thrift?

Apache Thrift has two main components: a code generator and a runtime library. The code generator is used for generating codes in multiple programming languages based on the given input data definition. The runtime library is responsible for creating and processing messages and has support for different transport and protocol options.

Which languages does Apache Thrift support?

Apache Thrift supports a wide range of programming languages, including C++, Java, Python, PHP, Ruby, JavaScript, and many more. This provides the flexibility to choose and integrate various languages in your application development.

What are the benefits of using Apache Thrift?

By using Apache Thrift, you can build services that work efficiently across multiple languages. This enables teams to build applications in the languages they are most comfortable with, without worrying about communication between different language components. The language flexibility also allows for easier integration with existing systems.

Is Apache Thrift suitable for high-performance applications?

Yes, Apache Thrift is designed for high-performance applications. It provides an efficient serialization and deserialization process, as well as support for different transport and protocol options. Apache Thrift is often used in large-scale, high-performance applications such as distributed systems and microservices architecture.

Related Technology Terms

  • RPC (Remote Procedure Call) Framework
  • IDL (Interface Definition Language)
  • Cross-Language Services
  • Thrift Compiler
  • Serialization and Deserialization

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