Service address

Understand the service address concept and syntax.

A service address is a URI that specifies the address of a service. It can be absolute or relative.

The scheme of an absolute service address is either ice or icerpc. A relative service address corresponds to an absolute path: the URI has no scheme, no query parameter and no fragment.

The URI scheme of an absolute service address identifies the protocol to use to reach the target service.

The path of a service address allows the server to route requests to the desired service.

An absolute service address may include one or more server addresses. These server addresses are used to establish or locate a connection to a server that hosts the service. The protocol of a server address is always the same as the protocol of the enclosing service address.

An absolute service address without a server address can have query parameters.

Finally, an ice service address can have a fragment; this fragment corresponds to an Ice facet.

In C#, record class ServiceAddress is a parsed and validated representation of a service address URI: it holds exactly the same information.

Service addresses can be divided in 4 categories:

A service address with a single server address is very common:


The protocol (ice or icerpc), host, port and the query parameters specify the server address of the service address. The path and the optional fragment are properties of the service address itself.

For example:


Such a service address is typically used when making invocations with a connection cache. The connection cache uses the server address to establish or reuse a connection to the target server and send requests on this connection.

A service address can specify additional server addresses with the alt-server query parameter. The value of this parameter is a server address without the ice:// ori icerpc:// prefix. For example:


alt-server means the application can find the service in the first server or in any of these alternate servers. It's typically used for fault tolerance.

Each alt-server address can have its own query parameters. For example:


If an alt-server address has multiple query parameters, it must use '$' instead of '&' to separate these parameters. For example:


An absolute service address with no host does not specify a server address. Its syntax is:


Here, the query parameters are properties of the service address itself. For example:


A server address-less service address is often used with a ClientConnection. Since a client connection is bound to a single server address, there is no need to repeat the server address when making an invocation with such a connection.

For example:

// connects to icerpc://
await using var clientConnection = new ClientConnection(new Uri("icerpc://"));
// no server address in service address
using var request = new OutgoingRequest(new ServiceAddress(new Uri("icerpc:/greeter")));
// ClientConnection accepts requests that don't specify a server address
IncomingResponse response = await connection.InvokeAsync(request);

A relative service address consists of an absolute path. IceRPC does not consume relative service addresses; in particular, it's an error to create an outgoing request with a relative service address.

Relative service addresses underpin relative proxies in Slice.

Was this page helpful?