Previous posts have talked about choosing an interconnection system for the multiple parts of a Basil viewer session. I’ve started with Thrift and I am learning of the bumps in the road.

First of all, Thrift is not well documented. Since it is a low level transport that was built for larger projects, it makes some sense that the writers of Thrift really care more about the larger project, but, for us people trying to use Thrift in a new project, a bunch more documentation would be a help. Others have started to fill the gap (like Diwaker’s Thrift: The Missing Guide) but there is still a big barrier to getting started.

I started of trying to use Thrift in JavaScript (the Pesto server) and Python (the test routine for same). Both of these languages are not, shall I say, first class languages in the implementation. It seems most of the work on Thrift is for Java and the examples for the other languages show one simple example and leave the reader wondering about installation, configuration, and the exact syntax for including the generated code.

Thrift is perfectly happy with hyphens in names, Python is not. Make sure all your service names use camel case or similar rather than hyphens or underscores.

As of today (August 3, 2016) the latest Thrift sources require TwistedTrial to be installed to build the Python libraries. The documentation does not mention this and it is frustrating in that no error is generated – Python is just not built even with the --with-python configuration parameter. Since TwistedTrial is only needed to run the test suite, I edited to remove that requirement. And viola, Python libraries built and installed.

The change is:

builder@sys:~/thrift-git$ git diff
diff --git a/ b/
index c72dd43..bcdaec3 100755
--- a/
+++ b/
@@ -281,8 +281,9 @@ AM_PATH_PYTHON(2.6,, :)
 AX_THRIFT_LIB(python, [Python], yes)
 if test "$with_python" = "yes";  then
   AC_PATH_PROG([PIP], [pip])
-  AC_PATH_PROG([TRIAL], [trial])
-  if test -n "$TRIAL" && test "x$PYTHON" != "x" && test "x$PYTHON" != "x:" ; then
+  if test "x$PYTHON" != "x" && test "x$PYTHON" != "x:" ; then

More notes are most likely on the way as I write Python code to use Thrift.