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Porting Sun RPC to JRPC Direct translation of
SUN ONC RPC to Java(tm) technology

To maintain full compatibility between Sun RPC and JRPC, it is important to port the original C code for Sun RPC directly to Java(tm) without major alterations. Java(tm) is an OO language, it always speaks about classes. C does not have classes, it has only structs and functions. Fortunately, the Sun RPC is actually written in an Object-oriented fashion, only in C. In porting Sun RPC to Java(tm), we were able to identify the object classes used and their methods in the original C code and perform straightforward mappings to Java(tm). Once the classes and methods are identified, we can perform a simple translation of C code to Java(tm), thus maintain maximum compatibility.

Since C does not have classes, to represent an object with associated method, one has to use a C struct which contains function pointers, this C struct serves as an abstract base class, concrete object is created by assigning specific function pointers to the fields of the struct.

Let's look at the following core classes in Sun RPC, namely, XDR and CLIENT

XDR classes

This portion of the original paper is not available online, but can be requested by customers who licensed JRPC.

The RPC Client Classes

typedef struct _onc_client_t {

           AUTH	*cl_auth;			/* authenticator */

           struct clnt_ops {

               enum clnt_stat	(*cl_call)(struct _onc_client_t*, u_long, 

                                         xdrproc_t, void*, xdrproc_t, void*, struct timeval);	

                                         /* call remote procedure */

               void		(*cl_geterr)();	/* get specific error code */
           } *cl_ops;


//Some fields are ommitted for clarity

Similarly, an RPC client is represented by the structure named CLIENT, which has method cl_call() for making an RPC, it also has an important member named AUTH for authentication purposes.

Just like the case with XDR, a CLIENT is abstract, it can't be directly used, only the non-abstract CLIENT created for specific protocols can be used to call RPC. clnttcp_create() creates a CLIENT handle for the TCP protocol, which contains a cl_call function pointer (=clnttcp_call) specific to TCP, in OO language, clnttcp_create() is the constructor for a TCP client. Similarly, clntudp_create() is the constructor for a UDP client, and clntudp_call() is the overridden cl_call method.

The following table shows the direct mapping of the C code to JRPC classes

C Java(tm)
CLIENT abstract class RPCClient {

abstract call();


class ClientTCP extends RPCClient {

/* Implements the call() method

specific to TCP


clnttcp_create() Constructor of ClientTCP class
clnttcp_call() function call() method in ClientTCP

class ClientUDP extends RPCClient{

//implement the call() method specific to UDP

clntudp_create() Constructor of ClientUDP class
clntudp_call() function call() method in ClientUDP

The Sun RPC has another function to create a CLIENT, namely, clnt_create(). This function is a convenience function to create either a TCP or a UDP client based on the protocol string passed, associated with this there is a macro CLNT_CALL() which makes RPC on a generic CLIENT.

The C code for clnt_create() looks like this

CLIENT *clnt_create( char *hostname, unsigned prog, unsigned vers, char *proto){

IF proto is "tcp" use clnttcp_create() to create a TCP client

ELSE use clntudp_create() to create a UDP client


The above logic is straightforwardly mapped to the constructor of the ClientGeneric class in Java(tm) RPC (extended to add HTTP protocol)


C Java(tm)
Clnt_Generic.C ClientGeneric.Java(tm), class name ClientGeneric
clnt_create() Constructor of ClientGeneric class, which creates an RPCClient based on whether protocol is TCP, UDP or HTTP. The created client handle is saved in a member variable cl.
CLNT_CALL() call() method of the ClientGeneric class, which simply delegates to

The client stub function generated by Sun's rpcgen have prototype as the following

return_type func ( ARG, CLIENT );

One easily identifies this as a method func() of a class derived from CLIENT.

The Server and other classes

The same mapping rules apply to the server side, we are not going to repeat the discussion but merely list the mappings in the following table.

C Java(tm)
struct AUTH Auth class
Authunix.c AuthUnix class
struct rpc_err, rpc_err exception class
Svc.C file
Svc_tcp.C file,
svc_udp.C file,
svc_run.c svc_run() method in Svc class
pmap_cln.c Pmap class
pmap_rmt.c rmt_call() in Pmap class

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