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A simple implementation of WebSockets for use with node.js 'http'-style web server or client. Deals only with RFC6455, ignoring any Browser-specific peculiarities, curiosities, and fallback mechanisms.



The core of this library is a Factory-style class Watershed. It has several static methods:

Watershed.accept(http.ServerRequest, net.Socket, Buffer[, Boolean[, String[] ]])

Responds to a client's request to Upgrade an HTTP connection to a WebSocket and returns a WatershedConnection, which is also an EventEmitter.

The arguments to this method should ideally come from the 'upgrade' event on a node.js http.Server. For example:

var shed = new Watershed();
var srv = http.createServer();
srv.on('upgrade', function(req, socket, head) {
        var wsc;
        try {
                wsc = shed.accept(req, socket, head);
        } catch (ex) {
                console.error('error: ' + ex.message);
                return socket.end();
        wsc.on('text', function(text) {
                console.log('received text: ' + text);
        wsc.on('end', function() {
        /* ... etc ... */

The additional penultimate boolean argument may be used when implementing a websocket-to-websocket proxy. If set to true, then accept() returns the raw underlying Socket of the connection and does not construct a WatershedConnection instance. No event handlers will be placed on the socket, meaning you are free to continue using it directly (e.g. calling pipe() on it to join it to a backend socket).

The final list-of-strings argument can be optionally provided to allow for the use of WebSocket subprotocol negotiation. It is a list of case-sensitive string names of supported subprotocols. If given, and protocol negotiation takes place, the chosen subprotocol can be found with the getProtocol() method.


Returns a random, Base64-encoded 16-byte value suitable for use as the Sec-WebSocket-Key header on an Upgrade request. See Example usage in connect().

Watershed.connect(http.ClientResponse, net.Socket, Buffer, String)

Attaches a new client-side WatershedConnection to this presently Upgraded socket.

The arguments to this method should ideally come from the 'upgrade' event on a node.js http.Client. For example:

var shed = new Watershed();
var wskey = shed.generateKey();
var options = {
    port: 8082,
    hostname: '',
    headers: {
        'connection': 'upgrade',
        'upgrade': 'websocket',
        'Sec-WebSocket-Key': wskey,
        'Sec-WebSocket-Version': '13'
var req = http.request(options);
req.on('upgrade', function(res, socket, head) {
        var wsc = shed.connect(res, socket, head, wskey);
        wsc.send('Hi there!');
        wsc.on('end', function() {
        /* ... etc ... */


Event: 'error'

Emitted once when an error occurs during processing. The socket will be closed and an 'end' event will follow. The only argument will be an instance of Error.

Event: 'connectionReset'

Emitted when the remote peer closes the connection without sending us a CLOSE frame. An 'end' event will follow.

Event: 'end' (code, reason)

Emitted once when the socket is closing. If we received a graceful CLOSE frame from the remote server, we will attempt to process it and pass code and reason -- both of type String.

Event: 'text'

Emitted for each inbound TEXT frame. The only argument will be a String containing the UTF-8 string payload.

Event: 'binary'

Emitted for each inbound BINARY frame. The only argument will be a Buffer containing the binary payload.

Event: 'ping'

Emitted for each inbound PING frame. The only argument will be a Buffer containing the nonce in the ping request. Note that the library presently responds with a PONG frame for each inbound PING frame.

Event: 'pong'

Emitted for each inbound PONG frame. The only argument will be a Buffer containing the nonce in the pong response.


Returns the negotiated subprotocol, if any, for this connection, as a String. If no subprotocol negotiation took place, this method returns null.


Sends a frame through the socket. The single argument data may be a Buffer, in which case a BINARY frame is sent; or a String, in which case a TEXT frame is sent.


Closes the connection. The RFC allows a reason for closing the connection to be send in the CLOSE frame, though this is optional. If passed, reason should be a String.


Immediately destroy the underlying socket, without sending a CLOSE frame. You generally want end(), rather than this, in order to perform RFC-compliant connection shutdowns.