The Bond logo: a stylized glue gun

Bond is an open source framework which addresses similar scenarios to Protocol Buffers, Thrift and Avro. In this document we try to address similarities and differences between Bond and other solutions. We try to keep it objective and uncolored by opinions but inevitably our perspective is surely informed by specific use cases we most care about and the depth of knowledge we have of the various frameworks. If you find factual inaccuracies, or if you have written your own informed comparison and would like to include a link to it in this document, please send a pull request.

Meta schema

Bond has a very rich type system. It is probably most similar to Thrift in this respect. Some notable additions in Bond are inheritance, type aliases and generics. One type system feature not present in Bond that Avro, and recently Protocol Buffers, have are unions. Bond uses schemas with optional fields to represent unions.

Programming model

In terms of mapping to target languages, Bond again is much more similar to Thrift than Protocol Buffers. Like Thrift, Bond generates native types to represent schemas in the target language and uses native collections. Bond however doesn’t hard-code type mappings. For example in C++ the defaults are STL containers like std::vector however user can easily map custom types (e.g. use boost::multi_index_container in a generated C++ struct or map a uint64 schema field to a System.DateTime field in a generated C# class). Bond generated C++ structs can also use custom allocators. See custom type mappings for more details.


Bond support three kinds of protocols. Tagged binary protocols are very similar to Thrift protocols and Protocol Buffers wire format. We use those in RPC scenarios because they don’t require any schema pre-negotiation. Bond untagged protocols are like Avro wire format. The payload is compact because it doesn’t contain any schema information, only data, but you need to provide schema of the payload at runtime in order to support schema versioning. We use these protocols in data storage scenarios, when many records using the same schema are stored in a file/stream. Finally Bond has first class support for text protocol like JSON and Xml.

In Bond, like in Thrift, protocols are pluggable. Where possible, Bond implements protocols through generics so that there is no performance overhead: neither C++ or C# implementation incurs virtual dispatch cost when calling protocol implementation.


One unique feature of Bond is that serialization and deserialization are not fundamental operations hard-coded in the generated code. In fact there is no code generated that is specific to serialization and deserialization. Instead Bond programming model exposes parsers and transforms which are composable by the user using meta-programming techniques. Some examples how this is used internally should give a taste of the flexibility of the architecture: