Code Quality Rank: L1
Programming language: C++
Tags: Serialization    
Latest version: v3.2.1

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msgpack for C/C++

Version 3.2.1 Build Status Build status codecov

It's like JSON but smaller and faster.


MessagePack is an efficient binary serialization format, which lets you exchange data among multiple languages like JSON, except that it's faster and smaller. Small integers are encoded into a single byte and short strings require only one extra byte in addition to the strings themselves.


In C:

#include <msgpack.h>
#include <stdio.h>

int main(void)
    /* msgpack::sbuffer is a simple buffer implementation. */
    msgpack_sbuffer sbuf;

    /* serialize values into the buffer using msgpack_sbuffer_write callback function. */
    msgpack_packer pk;
    msgpack_packer_init(&pk, &sbuf, msgpack_sbuffer_write);

    msgpack_pack_array(&pk, 3);
    msgpack_pack_int(&pk, 1);
    msgpack_pack_str(&pk, 7);
    msgpack_pack_str_body(&pk, "example", 7);

    /* deserialize the buffer into msgpack_object instance. */
    /* deserialized object is valid during the msgpack_zone instance alive. */
    msgpack_zone mempool;
    msgpack_zone_init(&mempool, 2048);

    msgpack_object deserialized;
    msgpack_unpack(sbuf.data, sbuf.size, NULL, &mempool, &deserialized);

    /* print the deserialized object. */
    msgpack_object_print(stdout, deserialized);


    return 0;

See [QUICKSTART-C.md](./QUICKSTART-C.md) for more details.

In C++:

#include <msgpack.hpp>
#include <string>
#include <iostream>
#include <sstream>

int main()
    msgpack::type::tuple<int, bool, std::string> src(1, true, "example");

    // serialize the object into the buffer.
    // any classes that implements write(const char*,size_t) can be a buffer.
    std::stringstream buffer;
    msgpack::pack(buffer, src);

    // send the buffer ...

    // deserialize the buffer into msgpack::object instance.
    std::string str(buffer.str());

    msgpack::object_handle oh =
        msgpack::unpack(str.data(), str.size());

    // deserialized object is valid during the msgpack::object_handle instance is alive.
    msgpack::object deserialized = oh.get();

    // msgpack::object supports ostream.
    std::cout << deserialized << std::endl;

    // convert msgpack::object instance into the original type.
    // if the type is mismatched, it throws msgpack::type_error exception.
    msgpack::type::tuple<int, bool, std::string> dst;

    // or create the new instance
    msgpack::type::tuple<int, bool, std::string> dst2 =
        deserialized.as<msgpack::type::tuple<int, bool, std::string> >();

    return 0;

See [QUICKSTART-CPP.md](./QUICKSTART-CPP.md) for more details.


C++ Header Only Library

When you use msgpack on C++, you can just add msgpack-c/include to your include path:

g++ -I msgpack-c/include your_source_file.cpp

If you want to use C version of msgpack, you need to build it. You can also install the C and C++ versions of msgpack.

Building and Installing

Install from git repository

Using the Terminal (CLI)

You will need:

  • gcc >= 4.1.0
  • cmake >= 2.8.0

C and C++03:

$ git clone https://github.com/msgpack/msgpack-c.git
$ cd msgpack-c
$ cmake .
$ make
$ sudo make install

If you want to setup C++11 or C++17 version of msgpack instead, execute the following commands:

$ git clone https://github.com/msgpack/msgpack-c.git
$ cd msgpack-c
$ cmake -DMSGPACK_CXX[11|17]=ON .
$ sudo make install

MSGPACK_CXX[11|17] flags are not affected to installing files. Just switching test cases. All files are installed in every settings.

When you use the C part of msgpack-c, you need to build and link the library. By default, both static/shared libraries are built. If you want to build only static library, set BUILD_SHARED_LIBS=OFF to cmake. If you want to build only shared library, set BUILD_SHARED_LIBS=ON.

GUI on Windows

Clone msgpack-c git repository.

$ git clone https://github.com/msgpack/msgpack-c.git

or using GUI git client.

e.g.) tortoise git https://code.google.com/p/tortoisegit/

  1. Launch cmake GUI client.

  2. Set 'Where is the source code:' text box and 'Where to build the binaries:' text box.

  3. Click 'Configure' button.

  4. Choose your Visual Studio version.

  5. Click 'Generate' button.

  6. Open the created msgpack.sln on Visual Studio.

  7. Build all.


You can get additional information including the tutorial on the wiki.


msgpack-c is developed on GitHub at msgpack/msgpack-c. To report an issue or send a pull request, use the issue tracker.

Here's the list of great contributors.


msgpack-c is licensed under the Boost Software License, Version 1.0. See the [LICENSE_1_0.txt](./LICENSE_1_0.txt) file for details.

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the MessagePack README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.