MessagePack extensions | Tarantool
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Reference Internals MessagePack extensions

MessagePack extensions

Tarantool uses predefined MessagePack extension types to represent some of the special values. Extension types include MP_DECIMAL, MP_UUID and MP_ERROR. These types require special attention from the connector developers, as they must be treated separately from the default MessagePack types, and correctly mapped to programming language types.

The MessagePack EXT type MP_EXT together with the extension type MP_DECIMAL is a header for values of the DECIMAL type.


MessagePack spec defines two kinds of types:

  • fixext 1/2/4/8/16 types have fixed length so the length is not encoded explicitly;
  • ext 8/16/32 types require the data length to be encoded.

MP_EXP + optional length imply using one of these types.

The decimal MessagePack representation looks like this:

| MP_EXT | length (optional) | MP_DECIMAL | PackedDecimal |

Here length is the length of PackedDecimal field, and it is of type MP_UINT, when encoded explicitly (i.e. when the type is ext 8/16/32).

PackedDecimal has the following structure:

 <--- length bytes -->
| scale |     BCD     |

Here scale is either MP_INT or MP_UINT.
scale = number of digits after the decimal point

BCD is a sequence of bytes representing decimal digits of the encoded number (each byte has two decimal digits each encoded using 4-bit nibbles), so byte >> 4 is the first digit and byte & 0x0f is the second digit. The leftmost digit in the array is the most significant. The rightmost digit in the array is the least significant.

The first byte of the BCD array contains the first digit of the number, represented as follows:

|  4 bits           |  4 bits           |
   = 0x                = the 1st digit

(The first nibble contains 0 if the decimal number has an even number of digits.) The last byte of the BCD array contains the last digit of the number and the final nibble, represented as follows:

|  4 bits           |  4 bits           |
   = the last digit    = nibble

The final nibble represents the number’s sign:

  • 0x0a, 0x0c, 0x0e, 0x0f stand for plus,
  • 0x0b and 0x0d stand for minus.


The decimal -12.34 will be encoded as 0xd6,0x01,0x02,0x01,0x23,0x4d:

|MP_EXT (fixext 4) | MP_DECIMAL | scale |  1   |  2,3 |  4 (minus) |
|       0xd6       |    0x01    | 0x02  | 0x01 | 0x23 | 0x4d       |

The decimal 0.000000000000000000000000000000000010 will be encoded as 0xc7,0x03,0x01,0x24,0x01,0x0c:

| MP_EXT (ext 8) | length | MP_DECIMAL | scale |  1   | 0 (plus) |
|      0xc7      |  0x03  |    0x01    | 0x24  | 0x01 | 0x0c     |

The MessagePack EXT type MP_EXT together with the extension type MP_UUID for values of the UUID type. Since version 2.4.1.

MP_UUID is 2.

The MessagePack spec defines d8 to mean fixext with size 16, and a uuid’s size is always 16. So the uuid MessagePack representation looks like this:

| MP_EXT | MP_UUID    | UuidValue       |
| = d8   | = 2        | = 16-byte value |

The 16-byte value has 2 digits per byte. Typically it consists of 11 fields, which are encoded as big endian unsigned integers in the following order: time_low (4 bytes), time_mid (2 bytes), time_hi_and_version (2 bytes), clock_seq_hi_and_reserved (1 byte), clock_seq_low (1 byte), node[0], …, node[5] (1 byte each).

Some of the functions in Module uuid can produce values which are compatible with the UUID data type. For example, after

uuid = require('uuid')'t')'i', {parts={1,'uuid'}}){uuid.fromstr('f6423bdf-b49e-4913-b361-0740c9702e4b')}

a peek at the server response packet will show that it contains

d8 02 f6 42 3b df b4 9e 49 13 b3 61 07 40 c9 70 2e 4b

Since version 2.4.1, responses for errors have extra information following what was described in Box protocol – responses for errors. This is a “compatible” enhancement, because clients that expect old-style server responses should ignore map components that they do not recognize. Notice, however, that there has been a renaming of a constant: formerly IPROTO_ERROR in ./box/iproto_constants.h was 0x31, now IPROTO_ERROR is 0x52 and IPROTO_ERROR_24 is 0x31.

||                         |                            |
||   0x31: IPROTO_ERROR_24 |   0x52: IPROTO_ERROR       |
|| MP_INT: MP_STRING       | MP_MAP: extra information  |
||                         |                            |

The extra information, most of which is also in error object fields, is:

MP_ERROR_TYPE (0x00) (MP_STR) Type that implies source, as in error_object.base_type, for example “ClientError”.

MP_ERROR_FILE (0x01) (MP_STR) Source code file where error was caught, as in error_object.trace.

MP_ERROR_LINE (0x02) (MP_UINT) Line number in source code file, as in error_object.trace.

MP_ERROR_MESSAGE (0x03) (MP_STR) Text of reason, as in error_object.message. The value here will be the same as in the IPROTO_ERROR_24 value.

MP_ERROR_ERRNO (0x04) (MP_UINT) Ordinal number of the error, as in error_object.errno. Not to be confused with MP_ERROR_ERRCODE.

MP_ERROR_ERRCODE (0x05) (MP_UINT) Number of the error as defined in errcode.h, as in error_object.code, which can also be retrieved with the C function box_error_code(). The value here will be the same as the lower part of the Response-Code-Indicator value.

MP_ERROR_FIELDS (0x06) (MP_MAPs) Additional fields depending on error type. For example, if MP_ERROR_TYPE is “AccessDeniedError”, then MP_ERROR_FIELDS will include “object_type”, “object_name”, “access_type”. This field will be omitted from the response body if there are no additional fields available.

Client and connector programmers should ensure that unknown map keys are ignored, and should check for addition of new keys in the Tarantool source code file where error object creation is defined. In version 2.4.1 the name of this source code file is

For example, in version 2.4.1 or later, if we try to create a duplicate space with
the server response will look like this:

ce 00 00 00 88                  MP_UINT = HEADER + BODY SIZE
83                              MP_MAP, size 3 (i.e. 3 items in header)
  00                              Response-Code-Indicator
  ce 00 00 80 0a                  MP_UINT = hexadecimal 800a
  01                              IPROTO_SYNC
  cf 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 05      MP_UINT = sync value
  05                              IPROTO_SCHEMA_VERSION
  ce 00 00 00 4e                  MP_UINT = schema version value
82                              MP_MAP, size 2
  31                              IPROTO_ERROR_24
  bd 53 70 61 63 etc.             MP_STR = "Space '_space' already exists"
  52                              IPROTO_ERROR
  81                              MP_MAP, size 1
    00                              MP_ERROR_STACK
    91                              MP_ARRAY, size 1
      86                              MP_MAP, size 6
        00                              MP_ERROR_TYPE
        ab 43 6c 69 65 6e 74 etc.       MP_STR = "ClientError"
        02                              MP_ERROR_LINE
        cd                              MP_UINT = line number
        01                              MP_ERROR_FILE
        aa 01 b6 62 75 69 6c etc.       MP_STR "builtin/box/schema.lua"
        03                              MP_ERROR_MESSAGE
        bd 53 70 61 63 65 20 etc.       MP_STR = Space.'_space'.already.exists"
        04                              MP_ERROR_ERRNO
        00                              MP_UINT = error number
        05                              MP_ERROR_ERRCODE
        0a                              MP_UINT = eror code ER_SPACE_EXISTS