Bidirectional RPC over WebSocket, Worker, WebRTC and HTTP with extensive plugin support.
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README.MD

Bidirectional JSON-RPC

Version npm FOSSA Status

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A main goal of this project is to have the JSON-RPC server and client support bidirectional JSON-RPC requests over a single WebSocket connection. In short, it makes it possible to have a JSONRPC Server on the client side, or on both sides at once.

This library is tested in browsers (>= IE10) and in Node.js (>=7.8).

Very simple usage allows for very easy application development:

  • export methods in an endpoint (which extends JSONRPC.EndpointBase), and call those method remotely through a client (which extends JSONRPC.Client);
  • on bidirectional transports, there may be endpoints at both ends of a connection, or reversed roles (TCP client is a JSONRPC server, while TCP server is JSONRPC client).
  • all remote invocations are asynchronous (multiple responses on the same connection are matched to the right waiting promises)

Transports

These transports are already implemented, and they all offer promise-based asynchronous method invocations:

Transport Type Browser Node.js Serialization
HTTP one-way, new connection per call fetch node-fetch JSON
WebSocket bidirectional, single connection WebSocket ws JSON
Worker bidirectional, IPC, single connection Worker Worker Structured cloning
ProcessStdIO one-way, new child process per call Process JSON
WebRTC bidirectional, RTCDataChannel, single connection RTCDataChannel JSON
ElectronIPC bidirectional, IPC, single connection ipcRenderer ipcMain JSON (internally in IPC)

WebSocket

Any WebSocket implementation may be used, as handling of the HTTP server and WebSocket is external to these JSONRPC classes.

For WebSocket client support in Node.js and browsers, JSONRPC.Plugins.Client.WebSocketTransport accepts connected W3C compatible WebSocket class instances (out of the box browser WebSocket and Node.js websockets/ws WebSocket).

On the Node.js side, this library is tested to work with websockets/ws. Other WebSocketServer implementations are supported if API compatible with websockets/ws (constructor and events), or made compatible through an adapter.

There is a wrapper for uWebSockets in JSONRPC.WebSocketAdapters.uws.WebSocketWrapper. All obtained uws.WebSocket instances (from the connection event, or instantiated directly) must be wrapped (and thus replaced) with an instance of this class. According to localhost benchmarks of this library, ws performs better than uws. Warning: uws is buggy when calling .close() on the server (segmentation fault or infinite hang) and it also immediately closes connections with an empty reason string if very large payloads are sent. See tests/uws_bug*.

HTTP

JSONRPC.Client has embeded support for HTTP requests, through fetch (polyfills for older browsers exist, and work just fine). JSONRPC.Server has the attachToHTTPServer method.

Worker

For Worker client support in Node.js and browsers, JSONRPC.Plugins.Client.WorkerTransport and JSONRPC.BidirectionalWorkerRouter accept Node.js cluster.Worker or standard browser Worker class instances.

See tests/Tests/AllTests.runClusterTests() and tests/Browser/index.html for an example of how to setup servers and clients for master-worker asynchronous communication.

WebRTC

Browser to browser asynchronous RPC.

The JSONRPC.Plugins.Client.WebRTCTransport and JSONRPC.BidirectionalWebRTCRouter classes accept standard browser connected RTCConnection class instances.

See tests/Tests/BrowserWebRTC/* for a browser side example. See tests/Tests/TestEndpoint for the server side mediator.

WebRTC is experimental technology with very little vendor support, and constantly changing. The WebRTC code in this library is tested to work in Chrome.

Other

It is easy to support other transports, see JSONRPC.Plugins.Client.WebSocketTransport for an example.

Events and plugins

Plugins are allowed to replace the JSON-RPC protocol altogether, extend the protocol or wrap it.

Plugins for the server or the client may also be custom middle layers, for example: authentication, authorization, validation, routing, backward compatibility translation, advanced error logging, automatic retries, caching, etc.

See JSONRPC.ClientPluginBase and JSONRPC.ServerPluginBase. Plugins may be added on JSONRPC.Server and JSONRPC.Client instances using the .addPlugin() method.

Events may be used instead of plugins. Method names in JSONRPC.ClientPluginBase and JSONRPC.ServerPluginBase are also event names (event handlers have the same params) while JSONRPC.Server and JSONRPC.Client emit these events.

Events may be more efficient than plugins, if very small performance gains matter. Plugins on the other hand help write readable and maintainable code (and are asynchronous).

Define an endpoint

JSONRPC.Server exports methods of registered JSONRPC.EndpointBase subclass instances.

The JSONRPC.Server supports multiple endpoints at the same time.

On an incoming request, endpoints are identified by the URL path of the HTTP request, or of the WebSocket connection.

For example, both these URLs point to the same endpoint: ws://localhost/api, http://localhost/api, as both have /api as path.

⚠️ When in bidirectional mode, the endpoints at both ends of a connection must be initialized with the same path value (even if exporting different functions). The reverse calls client will connect to the same endpoint path as the one indicated by the current WebSocket connection URL.

const JSONRPC = require("jsonrpc-bidirectional");

module.exports =
class TestEndpoint extends JSONRPC.EndpointBase 
{
	constructor()
	{
		super(
			/*strName*/ "Test", 
			/*strPath*/ "/api", 
			/*objReflection*/ {}, // Reserved for future use.
			/*classReverseCallsClient*/ JSONRPC.Client // This may be left undefined
		);

		// The class reference classReverseCallsClient must be specified to enable bidirectional JSON-RPC over a single WebSocket connection.
		// If may be left undefined for one-way interrogation.
		// It must contain a reference to a subclass of JSONRPC.Client or a reference to the JSONRPC.Client class itself.
	}

	async ping(incomingRequest, strReturn, bThrow)
	{
		if(bThrow)
		{
			throw new JSONRPC.Exception("You asked me to throw.");
		}

		// If using bidirectional JSON-RPC over a single WebSocket connection, a JSONRPC.Client subclass instance is available.
		// It is an instance of the class specified in the constructor of this EndpointBase subclass, `classReverseCallsClient`.
		// Also, it is attached to the same WebSocket connection of the current request.
		await incomingRequest.reverseCallsClient.rpc("methodOnTheOtherSide", ["paramValue", true, false]);

		return strReturn;
	}

	async divide(incomingRequest, nLeft, nRight)
	{
		return nLeft / nRight;
	}
};

Extending the client

Extending the JSONRPC.Client base class makes the code more readable.

This client's function names and params correspond to what TestEndpoint exports (defined above).

const JSONRPC = require("jsonrpc-bidirectional");

module.exports =
class TestClient extends JSONRPC.Client
{
	/**
	 * @param {JSONRPC.IncomingRequest} incomingRequest
	 * @param {string} strReturn
	 * @param {boolean} bThrow
	 * 
	 * @returns {string}
	 */
	async ping(strReturn, bThrow)
	{
		return this.rpc("ping", [...arguments]);
	}


	/**
	 * JSONRPC 2.0 notification. 
	 * The server may keep processing "after" this function returns, as the server will never send a response.
	 * 
	 * @param {JSONRPC.IncomingRequest} incomingRequest
	 * 
	 * @returns null
	 */
	async pingFireAndForget()
	{
		return this.rpc("ping", [...arguments], /*bNotification*/ true);
	}


	/**
	 * @param {number} nLeft
	 * @param {number} nRight
	 *
	 * @returns {number}
	 */
	async divide(nLeft, nRight)
	{
		return this.rpc("divide", [...arguments]);
	}

Simple JSONRPC.Server over HTTP

const JSONRPC = require("jsonrpc-bidirectional");

const httpServer = http.createServer();
const jsonrpcServer = new JSONRPC.Server();

jsonrpcServer.registerEndpoint(new TestEndpoint());

jsonrpcServer.attachToHTTPServer(httpServer, "/api/");

// By default, JSONRPC.Server rejects all requests as not authenticated and not authorized.
jsonrpcServer.addPlugin(new JSONRPC.Plugins.Server.AuthenticationSkip());
jsonrpcServer.addPlugin(new JSONRPC.Plugins.Server.AuthorizeAll());

httpServer.listen(80);

Simple JSONRPC.Client over HTTP

const JSONRPC = require("jsonrpc-bidirectional");


const testClient = new TestClient("http://localhost/api");

const fDivisionResult = await testClient.divide(2, 1);

Simple JSONRPC.Client over WebSocket

Non-bidirectional JSONRPC.Client over a WebSocket client connection.

const JSONRPC = require("jsonrpc-bidirectional");
const WebSocket = require("ws");


// The WebSocketTransport plugin requires that the WebSocket connection instance supports the `close`, `error` and `message` events of the https://github.com/websockets/ws API.
// If not using `websockets/ws`, the WebSocketTransport plugin may be extended to override WebSocketTransport._setupWebSocket().


const ws = new WebSocket("ws://localhost/api");
await new Promise((fnResolve, fnReject) => {
	ws.on("open", fnResolve);
	ws.on("error", fnReject);
});


const testClient = new TestClient("ws://localhost/api");


const webSocketTransport = new JSONRPC.Plugins.Client.WebSocketTransport(ws);
testClient.addPlugin(webSocketTransport);


const fDivisionResult = await testClient.divide(2, 1);

Bidirectional JSON-RPC over WebSocket

This JSONRPC server and client can be bidirectional over a single WebSocket connection.

In other words, there may be a JSONRPC.Server instance and a JSONRPC.Client instance at one end, and another pair (or more) at the other end.

At the WebSocket or TCP/HTTP server connection end, the JSONRPC.Server will automatically instantiate a JSONRPC.Client subclass per connection (of the class specified by the serving endpoint).

Common:

// BidirectionalWebsocketRouter and the WebSocketTransport plugin both require that the WebSocket connection instance supports the `close`, `error` and `message` events of the https://github.com/websockets/ws API.
// If not using `websockets/ws`, a wrapping adapter which emits the above events must be provided (if the WebSocket implementation is not already compatible with `websockets/ws`).

// BidirectionalWebsocketRouter also uses properties on WebSocket instances to get the URL path (needed to determine the endpoint), like this: `webSocket.url ? webSocket.url : webSocket.upgradeReq.url`.

const JSONRPC = require("jsonrpc-bidirectional");
const WebSocket = require("ws");
const WebSocketServer = WebSocket.Server;

Site A. WebSocket server (accepts incoming TCP connections), JSONRPC server & client:

const jsonrpcServer = new JSONRPC.Server();
jsonrpcServer.registerEndpoint(new TestEndpoint()); // See "Define an endpoint" section above.

// By default, JSONRPC.Server rejects all requests as not authenticated and not authorized.
jsonrpcServer.addPlugin(new JSONRPC.Plugins.Server.AuthenticationSkip());
jsonrpcServer.addPlugin(new JSONRPC.Plugins.Server.AuthorizeAll());

const wsJSONRPCRouter = new JSONRPC.BidirectionalWebsocketRouter(jsonrpcServer);

// Optional.
wsJSONRPCRouter.on("madeReverseCallsClient", (clientReverseCalls) => { /*add plugins or just setup the client even further*/ });

// Alternatively reuse existing web server: 
// const webSocketServer = new WebSocketServer({server: httpServerInstance});
const webSocketServer = new WebSocketServer({port: 8080});
webSocketServer.on("error", (error) => {console.error(error); process.exit(1);});

webSocketServer.on(
	"connection", 
	async (webSocket, upgradeRequest) => 
	{
		const nWebSocketConnectionID = wsJSONRPCRouter.addWebSocketSync(webSocket, upgradeRequest);
		// Do something with nWebSocketConnectionID and webSocket here, like register them as a pair with an authorization plugin.

		// const clientForThisConnection = wsJSONRPCRouter.connectionIDToSingletonClient(nWebSocketConnectionID, JSONRPC.Client);
	}
);

Site B. WebSocket client (connects to the above WebSocket TCP server), JSONRPC server & client:

const jsonrpcServer = new JSONRPC.Server();
jsonrpcServer.registerEndpoint(new TestEndpoint()); // See "Define an endpoint" section above.

// By default, JSONRPC.Server rejects all requests as not authenticated and not authorized.
jsonrpcServer.addPlugin(new JSONRPC.Plugins.Server.AuthenticationSkip());
jsonrpcServer.addPlugin(new JSONRPC.Plugins.Server.AuthorizeAll());


const webSocket = new WebSocket("ws://localhost:8080/api");
await new Promise((fnResolve, fnReject) => {
	webSocket.addEventListener("open", fnResolve);
	webSocket.addEventListener("error", fnReject);
});


const wsJSONRPCRouter = new JSONRPC.BidirectionalWebsocketRouter(jsonrpcServer);


const nWebSocketConnectionID = wsJSONRPCRouter.addWebSocketSync(webSocket);


// Obtain single client. See above section "Extending the client" for the TestClient class (subclass of JSONRPC.Client).
const theOnlyClient = wsJSONRPCRouter.connectionIDToSingletonClient(nWebSocketConnectionID, TestClient);

await theOnlyClient.divide(3, 2);

Site B (ES5 browser). WebSocket client (connects to the above WebSocket TCP server), JSONRPC server & client:

<!doctype html>
<html>
	<head>
		<title>Tests</title>

		<!-- These are external to jsonrpc.min.js intentionally, to reduce file size and reuse them for other libraries. -->
		<script type="text/javascript" src="/node_modules/babel-polyfill/dist/polyfill.min.js"></script>
		<script type="text/javascript" src="/node_modules/whatwg-fetch/fetch.js"></script>
		<script type="text/javascript" src="/node_modules/es6-promise/dist/es6-promise.auto.min.js"></script>

		<!-- Already covered by babel-polyfill: script type="text/javascript" src="/node_modules/regenerator-runtime/runtime.js"></script-->
		<script type="text/javascript" src="/builds/browser/es5/jsonrpc.min.js"></script>

		<script>
			function TestEndpoint()
			{
				JSONRPC.EndpointBase.prototype.constructor.apply(
					this,
					[
						/*strName*/ "Test", 
						/*strPath*/ location.protocol + "//" + location.host + "/api", 
						/*objReflection*/ {},
						/*classReverseCallsClient*/ JSONRPC.Client
					]
				);
			}

			TestEndpoint.prototype = new JSONRPC.EndpointBase("TestEndpoint", "/api", {});
			TestEndpoint.prototype.constructor = JSONRPC.EndpointBase;

			TestEndpoint.prototype.ping = function(incomingRequest, strReturn){
				return new Promise(function(fnResolve, fnReject){
					fnResolve(strReturn);
				});
			};


			var client;
			var clientWS;
			var clientOfBidirectionalWS;


			function testSimpleClient()
			{
				client = new JSONRPC.Client("http://" + location.host + "/api");
				client.rpc("ping", ["Calling from html es5 client, http transport."]).then(genericTestsPromiseCatch).catch(genericTestsPromiseCatch);
				
				

				clientWS = new JSONRPC.Client("http://" + location.host + "/api");

				var ws = new WebSocket("ws://" + location.host +  "/api"); 
				clientWS.addPlugin(new JSONRPC.Plugins.Client.WebSocketTransport(ws, /*bBidirectionalWebSocketMode*/ false));
				
				ws.addEventListener("open", function(event){
					client.rpc("ping", ["Calling from html es5 client, websocket transport."])
						.then(console.log)
						.catch(console.log)
					;
				});
			}


			function testBidirectionalRPC()
			{
				var jsonrpcServer = new JSONRPC.Server();
				jsonrpcServer.registerEndpoint(new TestEndpoint());

				// By default, JSONRPC.Server rejects all requests as not authenticated and not authorized.
				jsonrpcServer.addPlugin(new JSONRPC.Plugins.Server.AuthenticationSkip());
				jsonrpcServer.addPlugin(new JSONRPC.Plugins.Server.AuthorizeAll());

				var ws = new WebSocket("ws://" + location.host +  "/api"); 

				ws.addEventListener("open", function(event){
					var wsJSONRPCRouter = new JSONRPC.BidirectionalWebsocketRouter(jsonrpcServer);

					var nWebSocketConnectionID = wsJSONRPCRouter.addWebSocketSync(ws);

					clientOfBidirectionalWS = wsJSONRPCRouter.connectionIDToSingletonClient(nWebSocketConnectionID, JSONRPC.Client);

					clientOfBidirectionalWS.rpc("ping", ["Calling from html es5 client, websocket transport with bidirectional JSONRPC."])
						.then(console.log)
						.catch(console.log)
					;
				});
			}
		

			window.addEventListener(
				"load",
				function(event){
					testSimpleClient();
					testBidirectionalRPC();
				}
			);
		</script>
	</head>
	<body>
		Open the developer tools console (F12 for most browsers, CTRL+SHIFT+I in Electron) to see errors or manually make calls.
	</body>
</html>

MIT license

[FOSSA Status]