GopherJS Client and gRPC Server - Part 1

A guide to implementing a GopherJS frontend to a gRPC backend exposed over HTTP via the gRPC-gateway

Create the protobuf interface

We’ll start by creating a folder for the package we want to create. Lets call it server. Next we type up a .proto file to define the interface between the server and the client. We’ll have to include some extra proto annotations in order to have the gRPC-gateway generate the translations methods we need. Lets define a simple service with a single HTTP GET endpoint:

service MyServer {
    rpc Simple(google.protobuf.Empty) returns (MyMessage) {
        option (google.api.http) = {
            get: "/api/v1/simple"

message MyMessage {
    string msg = 1;
    uint32 num = 2;

This creates a new endpoint, Simple, with takes a google.protobuf.Empty type as input (that is, no input), and returns a MyMessage type. From this, the gRPC-gateway will generate an endpoint that translates a HTTP GET on /api/v1/simple to a gRPC call to the Simple function, translating the returned data (or error) back to HTTP. If you’re interested in how gRPC errors are translated to HTTP Status codes, you can take a look at the grpc-gateway source.

Lets make things a bit more interesting and throw in a couple of streaming endpoints as well:

service MyServer {
    rpc Unary(google.protobuf.Empty) returns (stream MyMessage) {
        option (google.api.http) = {
            get: "/api/v1/unary"
    rpc Bidi(stream MyMessage) returns (stream MyMessage) {
        option (google.api.http) = {
            get: "/api/v1/bidi"

The streaming endpoints are a bit more complicated, as they don’t readily translate to the simple HTTP methods. Unary streaming functions are supported by the gRPC-gateway, as we’ll see when we implement the client. Bi-directional streaming is not (currently!) supported natively by the gRPC-gateway, but it can be remedied by wrapping the gRPC-gateway mux in the grpc-websocket-proxy. This allows us to use websockets from the client in order to consume bidi endpoints.

The complete protobuf file (with imports and options) can be viewed on github. Now that we’ve got the protobuf interface defined we’ll just need to generate the files that we’ll interface with in the Go code. We’ll whip out our trusty protoc compiler and run it with the Go and gRPC-gateway plugins:

$ protoc protos/server/server.proto \
    # Generate Go gRPC stubs.
    # Output is relative to the go_package option,
    # hence the reference to $GOPATH/src.
    --go_out=plugins=grpc:$GOPATH/src \
    # Generate Go gRPC-gateway proxy.
    # Output is relative to file path.
    --grpc-gateway_out=logtostderr=true:./ \
    # Add include paths (in order of importance)
    -I./ \
    # For google/api/annotations.proto
    -I./vendor/ \

We’ll end up with the files protos/server/server.pb.go and protos/server/ Now we’re ready to implement the server.

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