Historical note: This page was originally written in summer of 2009 and published internally at Google, after one too many people asked Kenton questions like "Who else from protobuf-team should I invite to this meeting?" or "When will protobuf-team implement my feature request?" At the time, Kenton was officially assigned to search infrastructure, though he had been working on Protobufs basically full-time for a year or two, including doing most of the work for the July 2008 open source release. In fall of 2009, Kenton became officially full-time on Protobufs, although he remained the only person working on it full-time. In spring of 2010, with encouragement from management, Kenton transferred to a new project, leaving no one on the Protobuf team. In fall of 2010, a new team of four people was formed to work on Protobufs, and that team remains mostly intact today. Meanwhile, Kenton left Google in early 2013 and is now co-founder and lead developer of Sandstorm.io, where he is much happier.

The Protocol Buffers Team

Tech Lead

Batman's complete knowledge of the entire Protocol Buffers code base allows him to quickly design and implement improvements to the system as well as quickly identify problems when they come up. Batman tries to maintain a high standard in design "cleanliness" so that the code base can easily adapt to unforseen requirements -- such as being able to run effectively on resource-constrained mobile phones despite being originally designed for high-end servers. Batman also frequently reviews changes submitted by users, which is generally a lot of work since engineers who are not intimately familiar with the code base don't always understand all the ways Protocol Buffers are used and how to make sure their code covers everything. (However, it should be noted that Jason Hsueh contributes many high-quality changes that Batman finds incredibly easy to review.)

Product Manager

Elmo spends his time communicating with other teams to determine their needs and identify pain points which currently exist in using Protocol Buffers. He then triages the issues to determine which issues need to be addressed immediately, which should be put on the back burner for now, and which requests should be refused because they would add too much complication (aka "bloat") to the system. The balance is delicate; Elmo understands that one of Protocol Buffers' strengths is its simplicity, and he must carefully consider the oft-ignored costs of adding new features.

Sir Clappington
Testing Engineer

Sir Clappington's motto is "Get Tested". He has worked to make sure that proto2's unit tests have more than 90% coverage and yet take under 60 seconds to build and run from scratch. His philosophy is that if the tests are thorough and there is no excuse to skip them, then Protocol Buffers should practically never be broken at head, which is critical with Google's development environment where diverse teams are cutting releases at all hours of the day.

Sgt. Stone
Release Engineer

Sgt. Stone's logistical expertise comes in handy when managing public Protocol Buffers releases. The public and internal versions of the code are not identical, so care must be taken to keep them in sync, which he has done diligently since the first release over a year ago. The full package involves three different programming languages and five first-tier platforms, every combination of which must be tested before a major release.

Mr. Woof
Tech Writer

Mr. Woof works with real-life tech writer Lisa Carey to write documentation that many people have cited as their primary reason for choosing Protocol Buffers over rivals like Facebook's Thrift.

User Support

At a mere six microns in height, Tiny cannot be seen by the naked eye. Nevertheless, in a way he is the most visible member of protobuf-team. Protocol Buffers' thousands of users, internal and external, generate quite a few questions -- sometimes dozens a day. Tiny tries to make sure all these questions are answered in a timely manner, because a quick answer to a question could save an engineer several hours of trying to figure things out on their own. Tiny is so well known for giving timely answers to questions that most people just fire off an e-mail directly to him the moment they encounter any Protocol-Buffers-related issue.

Kenton Varda
20% Contributor

Contrary to popular belief, Kenton Varda is not a member of protobuf-team. However, since protobuf-team is entirely imaginary, Kenton ends up doing the majority of their work, including everything described above.

Note: This is satire. Kenton has not gone crazy. Yet.