Communication Protocol


The different components of the Skill Bridge

The block diagram shows two important communication interfaces. namely, the TCP/Unix socket interface between the client library and the python server and the IPC interface between the skill script and the python server.

The IPC protocol

The skill script communicated via stdin and stdout with the python server. All messages are initiated by the python server (called question) which is followed by exactly one answer from the skill. All questions and answers are terminated by a newline character \n.

The Question

A question consists a single line containing executable skill code. See the following examples:

"1 + 2\n"


"__py_cell = geGetEditCellView()\n"

The Answer

An answer consists of the execution status, either "failure" or "success", and the result itself. The result is exactly the string representation given by skill.


"success 1\n"

"success (1 2 3)\n"

"success db:0x1234\n"

"failure error ...\n"

Sequence diagram for the question and answer protocol


The skill script waits for questions. When it receives one it executes the code. In case of an error it sends an answer beginning with "failure" followed by the error message. Otherwise it sends an answer beginning with "success" followed by the string representation of the result.

The python server waits one minute after it sent a question. It it does not receive an answer in that time it automatically assumes the following answer: "failure <timeout>".

Test Mode

There is one exception to the protocol above. If the server is started with the -notify option it will send a single message containing “runningn” via stdout. This message must not be executed as skill code. Its sole purpose is to notify the parent process that the server is running.

The Socket Protocol

This protocol is similar to the IPC protocol. The difference is the way single messages are grouped together. As TCP has no concept of messages, the length of the message is sent first, followed by the message itself. As the length of the length can also vary, it is fixed to exactly 10 digits. Smaller lengths must be padded with either zeros or spaces.

See the following examples:

>>> encode("1 + 2")
b'00000000051 + 2'
>>> encode("__py_cell = geGetEditCellView()")
b'0000000031__py_cell = geGetEditCellView()'

Sequence diagram for the socket protocol

A Full Roundtrip


A full roundtrip of a single python expression