A long-lived project that still receives updates
The Internet Communications Engine (Ice) provides a robust, proven platform for developing mission-critical networked applications with minimal effort. Let Ice handle all of the low-level details such as network connections, serialization, and concurrency so that you can focus on your application logic. This package includes the Ice extension for Ruby, the standard Slice definition files, and the Slice-to-Ruby compiler. You will need to install a full Ice distribution if you want to use other Ice language mappings, or Ice services such as IceGrid, IceStorm and Glacier2. We provide extensive online documentation for Ice, the Ruby extension, and the other Ice language mappings and services. Join us on our user forums if you have questions about Ice.
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The Ice framework

Ice helps you build networked applications with minimal effort. By taking care of all interactions with low-level network programming interfaces, Ice allows you to focus your efforts on your application logic. You don't need to worry about details such as opening network connections, encoding and decoding data for network transmission, or retrying failed connection attempts (to name just a few of dozens of such low-level details).

Downloads | Examples | Documentation

RPCs with Ice

Remote procedure calls (RPCs) are at the heart of the Ice framework.

You create RPCs with an easy 2-step process:

  1. Define the contract between your client and your server with the Slice language—Ice's IDL.
  2. Run the Slice compiler on these Slice definitions to generate stubs in the programming language(s) of your choice.

For example:

// The contract specified using Slice.
interface Hello
    // The caller says "hello".
    void sayHello();
# Compile the Slice contract with the Slice compiler for C++ (slice2cpp)
// C++ client

// Call operation sayHello on a remote object that implements
// interface Hello using the generated proxy class (HelloPrx).
// C++ server

// Implements the Hello interface by deriving from the generated
// Hello abstract base class.
class Printer final : public Hello

    string sayHello(const Ice::Current&) final
        cout << "Hello World!" << endl;

You can use any supported programming language for your client and server. For example, a Python client could call a C++ server; neither side knows the programming language used by the other side.

Complete solution with a uniform API

The Ice framework provides everything you need to build networked applications:

The Ice API is defined almost entirely using Slice; as a result, it is essentially the same in all programming languages.

Building Ice from source

C++ | C# | Java | JavaScript/TypeScript | MATLAB | PHP | Python | Ruby | Swift

Copyright and license

Ice is a single-copyright project: all the source code in this ice repository is Copyright © ZeroC, Inc., with very few exceptions.

As copyright owner, ZeroC can license Ice under different license terms, and offers the following licenses for Ice:

  • GPLv2, a popular open-source license with strong copyleft conditions (the default license)
  • Commercial or closed-source licenses

If you license Ice under GPLv2, there is no license fee or signed license agreement: you just need to comply with the GPLv2 terms and conditions. ZeroC also grants a few exceptions to the GPLv2 terms and conditions.

If you purchase a commercial or closed-source license for Ice, you must comply with the terms and conditions listed in the associated license agreement; the GPLv2 terms and conditions do not apply.

The Ice software itself remains the same: the only difference between an open-source Ice and a commercial Ice are the license terms.