rpcgen - an RPC protocol compiler
rpcgen [-a] [-A] [-b] [-C] [ -D name [ = value]] [-i size] [
-I [-K seconds]] [-L] [-M] [-N] [- T] [-v] [-Y pathname]
rpcgen [-c | -h | -l | -m | -t | -Sc | -Ss | -Sm] [-
o outfile] [infile]
rpcgen [-s nettype] [-o outfile] [infile]
rpcgen [-n netid] [-o outfile] [infile]
The rpcgen utility is a tool that generates C code to imple-
ment an RPC protocol. The input to rpcgen is a language
similar to C known as RPC Language (Remote Procedure Call
The rpcgen utility is normally used as in the first synopsis
where it takes an input file and generates three output
files. If the infile is named proto.x, then rpcgen generates
a header in proto.h, XDR routines in proto_xdr.c, server-
side stubs in proto_svc.c, and client-side stubs in
proto_clnt.c. With the -T option, it also generates the RPC
dispatch table in proto_tbl.i.
rpcgen can also generate sample client and server files that
can be customized to suit a particular application. The -Sc,
-Ss, and -Sm options generate sample client, server and
makefile, respectively. The -a option generates all files,
including sample files. If the infile is proto.x, then the
client side sample file is written to proto_client.c, the
server side sample file to proto_server.c and the sample
makefile to makefile.proto.
The server created can be started both by the port monitors
(for example, inetd or listen) or by itself. When it is
started by a port monitor, it creates servers only for the
transport for which the file descriptor 0 was passed. The
name of the transport must be specified by setting up the
environment variable PM_TRANSPORT. When the server generated
by rpcgen is executed, it creates server handles for all the
transports specified in the NETPATH environment variable, or
if it is unset, it creates server handles for all the visi-
ble transports from the /etc/netconfig file. Note: the tran-
sports are chosen at run time and not at compile time. When
the server is self-started, it backgrounds itself by
default. A special define symbol RPC_SVC_FG can be used to
run the server process in foreground.
The second synopsis provides special features which allow
for the creation of more sophisticated RPC servers. These
features include support for user-provided #defines and RPC
dispatch tables. The entries in the RPC dispatch table con-
o pointers to the service routine corresponding to that
o a pointer to the input and output arguments
o the size of these routines
A server can use the dispatch table to check authorization
and then to execute the service routine. A client library
may use the dispatch table to deal with the details of
storage management and XDR data conversion.
The other three synopses shown above are used when one does
not want to generate all the output files, but only a par-
ticular one. See the EXAMPLES section below for examples of
rpcgen usage. When rpcgen is executed with the -s option, it
creates servers for that particular class of transports.
When executed with the -n option, it creates a server for
the transport specified by netid. If infile is not speci-
fied, rpcgen accepts the standard input.
All the options mentioned in the second synopsis can be used
with the other three synopses, but the changes will be made
only to the specified output file.
The C preprocessor cc -E is run on the input file before it
is actually interpreted by rpcgen. For each type of output
file, rpcgen defines a special preprocessor symbol for use
by the rpcgen programmer:
defined when compiling into headers
defined when compiling into XDR routines
defined when compiling into server-side stubs
defined when compiling into client-side stubs
defined when compiling into RPC dispatch tables
Any line beginning with ``%'' is passed directly into the
output file, uninterpreted by rpcgen, except that the lead-
ing ``%" is stripped off. To specify the path name of the C
preprocessor, use the -Y flag.
For every data type referred to in infile, rpcgen assumes
that there exists a routine with the string xdr_ prepended
to the name of the data type. If this routine does not exist
in the RPC/XDR library, it must be provided. Providing an
undefined data type allows customization of XDR routines.
The following options are supported:
-a Generates all files, including sample files.
-A Enables the Automatic MT mode in the server main pro-
gram. In this mode, the RPC library automatically
creates threads to service client requests. This
option generates multithread-safe stubs by implicitly
turning on the -M option. Server multithreading modes
and parameters can be set using the rpc_control(3NSL)
call. rpcgen generated code does not change the
default values for the Automatic MT mode.
-b Backward compatibility mode. Generates transport-
specific RPC code for older versions of the operating
-c Compiles into XDR routines.
-C Generates header and stub files which can be used with
ANSI C compilers. Headers generated with this flag can
also be used with C++ programs.
Defines a symbol name. Equivalent to the #define
directive in the source. If no value is given, value
is defined as 1. This option may be specified more
-h Compiles into C data-definitions (a header). The -T
option can be used in conjunction to produce a header
which supports RPC dispatch tables.
Size at which to start generating inline code. This
option is useful for optimization. The default size is
-I Compiles support for inetd(1M) in the server side
stubs. Such servers can be self-started or can be
started by inetd. When the server is self-started, it
backgrounds itself by default. A special define symbol
RPC_SVC_FG can be used to run the server process in
foreground, or the user may simply compile without
the -I option.
If there are no pending client requests, the inetd
servers exit after 120 seconds (default). The default
can be changed with the -K option. All of the error
messages for inetd servers are always logged with
Note: This option is supported for backward compati-
bility only. It should always be used in conjunction
with the -b option which generates backward compati-
bility code. By default (that is, when -b is not
specified), rpcgen generates servers that can be
invoked through portmonitors.
By default, services created using rpcgen and invoked
through port monitors wait 120 seconds after servicing
a request before exiting. That interval can be changed
using the -K flag. To create a server that exits
immediately upon servicing a request, use -K 0. To
create a server that never exits, the appropriate
argument is -K -1.
When monitoring for a server, some portmonitors, like
listen(1M), always spawn a new process in response to
a service request. If it is known that a server will
be used with such a monitor, the server should exit
immediately on completion. For such servers, rpcgen
should be used with -K 0.
-l Compiles into client-side stubs.
-L When the servers are started in foreground, uses
syslog(3C) to log the server errors instead of print-
ing them on the standard error.
-m Compiles into server-side stubs, but do not generate a
"main" routine. This option is useful for doing
callback-routines and for users who need to write
their own "main" routine to do initialization.
-M Generates multithread-safe stubs for passing arguments
and results between rpcgen-generated code and user
written code. This option is useful for users who
want to use threads in their code.
-N This option allows procedures to have multiple argu-
ments. It also uses the style of parameter passing
that closely resembles C. So, when passing an argument
to a remote procedure, you do not have to pass a
pointer to the argument, but can pass the argument
itself. This behavior is different from the old style
of rpcgen-generated code. To maintain backward compa-
tibility, this option is not the default.
Compiles into server-side stubs for the transport
specified by netid. There should be an entry for netid
in the netconfig database. This option may be speci-
fied more than once, so as to compile a server that
serves multiple transports.
Specifies the name of the output file. If none is
specified, standard output is used (-c, -h, -l, -m,
-n, -s, -Sc, -Sm, -Ss, and -t modes only).
Compiles into server-side stubs for all the tran-
sports belonging to the class nettype. The supported
classes are netpath, visible, circuit_n, circuit_v,
datagram_n, datagram_v, tcp, and udp (see rpc(3NSL)
for the meanings associated with these classes). This
option may be specified more than once. Note: The
transports are chosen at run time and not at compile
-Sc Generates sample client code that uses remote pro-
-Sm Generates a sample Makefile which can be used for com-
piling the application.
-Ss Generates sample server code that uses remote pro-
-t Compiles into RPC dispatch table.
-T Generates the code to support RPC dispatch tables.
The options -c, -h, -l, -m, -s, -Sc, -Sm, -Ss, and -t
are used exclusively to generate a particular type of
file, while the options -D and -T are global and can
be used with the other options.
-v Displays the version number.
Gives the name of the directory where rpcgen will
start looking for the C preprocessor.
The following operand is supported:
Example 1: Generating the output files and dispatch table
The following entry
example% rpcgen -T prot.x
generates all the five files: prot.h, prot_clnt.c,
prot_svc.c, prot_xdr.c, and prot_tbl.i.
Example 2: Sending headers to standard output
The following example sends the C data-definitions (header)
to the standard output:
example% rpcgen -h prot.x
Example 3: Sending a test version
To send the test version of the -DTEST, server side stubs
for all the transport belonging to the class datagram_n to
standard output, use:
example% rpcgen -s datagram_n -DTEST prot.x
Example 4: Creating server side stubs
To create the server side stubs for the transport indicated
by netid tcp, use:
example% rpcgen -n tcp -o prot_svc.c prot.x
0 Successful operation.
>0 An error occurred.
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attri-
| ATTRIBUTE TYPE | ATTRIBUTE VALUE |
| Availability | SUNWbtool |
cc(1B), inetd(1M), listen(1M), rpc(3NSL), rpc_control(3NSL),
rpc_svc_calls(3NSL), syslog(3C), netconfig(4), attributes(5)
The rpcgen chapter in the ONC+ Developer's Guide manual.
Man(1) output converted with