An open source project by FPL.
Flatbuffers Intermediate Representation

We use reflection.fbs as our intermediate representation. flatc parses .fbs files, checks them for errors and stores the resulting data in this IR, outputting .bfbs files. Since this IR is a Flatbuffer, you can load and use it at runtime for runtime reflection purposes.

There are some quirks:

  • Tables and Structs are serialized as Objects.
  • Unions and Enums are serialized as Enums.
  • It is the responsibility of the code generator to check the advanced_features field of Schema. These mark the presence of new, backwards incompatible, schema features. Code generators must error if generating a schema with unrecognized advanced features.
  • Filenames are relative to a "project root" denoted by "//" in the path. This may be specified in flatc with --bfbs-filenames=$PROJECT_ROOT, or it will be inferred to be the directory containing the first provided schema file.


You can invoke it like so

flatc -b --schema ${your_fbs_files}

This generates .bfbs (binary flatbuffer schema) files.

Some information is not included by default. See the --bfbs-filenames and --bfbs-comments flags. These may be necessary for code-generators, so they can add documentation and maybe name generated files (depending on the generator).

TODO(cneo): Flags to output bfbs as flexbuffers or json.

TODO(cneo): Tutorial for building a flatc plugin.