grpc-gatway is a protoc plugin that reads protobuf service definitions and generates a reverse-proxy server which translates a RESTful HTTP API into gRPC.

Each field in a proto message would normally match to a JSON field:

message Request {
    id int32 = 1;
    first_name string = 2;
    last_name string = 3;
    "id": 123456,
    "first_name": "Roger",
    "last_name": "Chapman"

However, for a webhook (or other arbitrary data) being POSTed you may just want to pass the raw JSON body to your gRPC handler.

We’ll use the example of a Stripe Webhook sending us data for an event.

Protocol Buffer definition

service WebhookService {
  rpc StripeWebhook(WebhookRequest) returns (google.protobuf.Empty) {
    option (google.api.http) = {
      post: "/webhook:Stripe"
      body: "raw"  // this mapping is key for this to work

message WebhookRequest {
  bytes raw = 1;

REST options you may have set previously would map the whole request message as the body via body: *; but the magic in our example, is that we are mapping the POST body directly to the raw field.

Custom marshalling

The default marshalling will expect the incoming request body to be base64 encoded as this is the default for bytes. See the JSON mapping table in the proto3 language guide for more details.

grpc-gateway allows you to create custom marshaller for a given MIME type, so we’ll use this hook to create our own custom marshaller for our raw JSON body:

var (
  typeOfBytes = reflect.TypeOf([]byte(nil))
  rawJSONMIME = "application/raw-json" // made-up MIME type for our webhook

type rawJSONPb struct {

func (*rawJSONPb) ContentType() string {
  return rawJSONMIME

func (*rawJSONPb) NewDecoder(r io.Reader) runtime.Decoder {
  return runtime.DecoderFunc(func(v interface{}) error {
    raw, err := ioutil.ReadAll(r)
    if err != nil {
      return err
    rv := reflect.ValueOf(v)

    if rv.Kind() != reflect.Ptr {
      return fmt.Errorf("%T is not a pointer", v)

    rv = rv.Elem()
    if rv.Type() != typeOfBytes {
      return fmt.Errorf("Type must be []byte but got %T", v)

    return nil

Now we can use our new custom marshaller for requests with this new MIME type:

func newRESTServer() *runtime.ServeMux {
  jsonpb := &gateway.JSONPb{
    EmitDefaults: true,
    Indent:       "  ",
    OrigName:     true,

  mux = runtime.NewServeMux(
    runtime.WithMarshalerOption(rawJSONMIME, &rawJSONPb{jsonpb}), // if content-type == "application/raw-json"
    runtime.WithMarshalerOption(runtime.MIMEWildcard, jsonpb),    // all other content-types
  return mux

With this custom marshaller, our JSON body ([]byte) will now be correctly mapped to the raw field of our request message; but only for request where the Content-Type header is set to “application/raw-json”.

Content-Type middleware

If you control the application that is sending the webhook, you can just make sure that you set the correct Content-Type for the endpoint to marshal the data correctly. For the Stripe webhook we can’t change the Content-Type header so we add a simple middleware to catch the route and update the Content-Type:

func customMIME(h http.Handler) http.Handler {
  return http.HandlerFunc(func(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
    if strings.Contains(r.URL.Path, "webhook") {
      r.Header.Set("Content-Type", rawJSONMIME)
    h.ServeHTTP(w, r)

func NewServer() {
  // ...
  restHandler = http.NewServeMux()
  restHandler.Handle("/", customMIME(restServer))
  // ...

Process webhook data

Now we can process the request just like any other RPC method; but we get the benifit of using the Stripe-Go library to do all the heavy lifting for us to unmarshal the JSON payload.

func (a *app) StripeWebhook(ctx context.Context, req *api.WebhookRequest) (*protobuf.Empty, error) {
    md _ := metadata.FromIncomingContext(ctx)

    endpointSecret := "whsec_...";
    event, _ := webhook.ConstructEvent(req.GetRaw(), md.Get("Stripe-Signature")[0], endpointSecret)

    switch event.Type {
    case "payment_intent.succeeded":
    // ...
    case "payment_method.attached":
    // ...
    // etc

    return &protobuf.Empty{}, nil
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