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Turn NGiNX into an adept HTTP push server.

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README
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config
protocol.txt

README

NGiNX HTTP push module - Turn NGiNX into an adept HTTP Push (Comet) server.

THIS IS A FORK OF THE ORIGINAL PUSH MODULE BY LEO P. TO ADD SECURITY KEYS.

This module takes care of all the connection juggling, and exposes a simple
interface to broadcast messages to clients via plain old HTTP requests.
This makes it possible to write live-updating applications without having to
wait on idle connections via upstream proxies or making your code all
asynchronous and concurrent.

This fork adds security to ease the creation of private and protected channels.
It also adds per-request callback name wrapping primitive for JSONP support.

----------------------- Configuration Directives -------------------------------
Directives:

==Publisher/Subscriber==

push_channel_id
  default: (none)
  context: location
  A token uniquely identifying a communication channel. Must be present in the
  context of the push_subscriber and push_publisher directives.
  Example:
    Set as a variable argument from the request:
      push_channel_id $arg_channel;
    to specify the channel id comes from the url query string parameter
    "channel": (?channel=channel_id_string)

push_publisher
  default: none
  context: server, location
  Defines a server or location as a message publisher. Requests to a publisher
  location are treated as messages to be sent to subscribers. See the protocol 
  documentation for a detailed description. 

push_subscriber [ long-poll | interval-poll ]
  default: long-poll
  context: server, location
  Defines a server or location as a subscriber. This location represents a 
  subscriber's interface to a channel's message queue. The queue is traversed
  automatically via caching information request headers (If-Modified-Since and
  If-None-Match), beginning with the oldest available message. Requests for 
  upcoming messages are handled in accordance with the setting provided. 
  See the protocol documentation for a detailed description. 

push_subscriber_concurrency [ last | first | broadcast ]
  default: broadcast
  context: http, server, location
  Controls how multiple subscriber requests to a channel (identified by
  some common ID) are handled.
  The values work as follows:
   - broadcast: any number of concurrent subscriber requests may be held.
   - last: only the most recent subscriber request is kept, all others get 
     a 409 Conflict response.
   - first: only the oldest subscriber request is kept, all others get a 
     409 Conflict response.

push_subscriber_timeout [ time ]
  default: 0 (no timeout)
  context: http, server, location
  The per-subscriber timeout before disconnecting. 
  If you do not want subsribers to expire, set this to 0.

push_max_channel_subscribers [ number ]
  default: 0 (unlimited)
  context: main, server, location
  Maximum concurrent subscribers. Pretty self-explanatory.

push_channel_jsonp_callback
  default: (none)
  context: location
  If defined, it allows for jsonp wrapping.
  Example:
    Get the json callback wrapping name from a variable argument in the request:
      push_channel_jsonp_callback $arg_callback;
    to specify the callback name (if defined) comes from the url query string
    parameter "callback": (?callback=jsonp_function_name)
  
== Message storage ==

push_max_reserved_memory [ size ]
  default: 32M
  context: http
  The size of the memory chunk this module will use for all message queuing
  and buffering. 

push_store_messages [ on | off ]
  default: on
  context: http, server, location
  Whether or not message queuing is enabled. "Off" is equivalent to the setting
  push_message_buffer_length 0;

push_message_buffer_length [ number ]
  default: none
  context: http, server, location
  The exact number of messages to store per channel. Sets both
  push_max_message_buffer_length and push_min_message_buffer_length to this 
  value.

push_min_message_buffer_length [ number ]
  default: 1
  context: http, server, location
  The minimum number of messages to store per channel. A channel's message
  buffer will retain at least this many most recent messages.

push_max_message_buffer_length [ number ]
  default: 10
  context: http, server, location
  The maximum number of messages to store per channel. A channel's message
  buffer will retain at most this many most recent messages.

push_delete_oldest_received_message [ on | off ]
  default: off
  context: http, server, location
  When enabled, as soon as the oldest message in a channel's message queue has
  been received by a subscriber, it is deleted -- provided there are more than
  push_min_message_buffer_length messages in the channel's message buffer.
  Recommend avoiding this directive as it violates subscribers' assumptions of 
  GET request idempotence.

push_message_timeout [ time ]
  default: 1h
  context: http, server, location
  The length of time a message may be queued before it is considered expired. 
  If you do not want messages to expire, set this to 0. Applicable only if a 
  push_publisher is present in this or a child context. 

push_subscriber_timeout [ time ]
  default: 0
  context: http, server, location
  The length of time a subscriber's long-polling connection can last before
  it's timed out. If you don't want subscriber's connection to timeout, set
  this to 0. Applicable only if a push_subscriber is present in this or a 
  child context.

push_channel_timeout [ time ]
  default: 0
  context: http, server, location
  The length of time a channel will be removed after it has no subscriber and
  no queued messages. If you want to remove a channel as soon as possible, 
  set this to 0. Applicable only if a push_publisher or push_subscriber is 
  present in this or a child context and push_subscriber_timeout is greater
  than 0. This value should be greater than push_subscriber_timeout to make
  sense.

== Security ==

push_authorized_channels_only [ on | off ]
  default: off
  context: http, server, location
  Whether or not a subscriber may create a channel by making a request to a 
  push_subscriber location. If set to on, a publisher must send a POST or PUT
  request before a subscriber can request messages on the channel. Otherwise, 
  all subscriber requests to nonexistent channels will get a 403 Forbidden 
  response.

push_channel_group [ string ]
  default: (none)
  context: server, location
  Because settings are bound to locations and not individual channels,
  it is useful to be able to have channels that can be reached only from some
  locations and never others. That's where this setting comes in. Think of it
  as a prefix string for the channel id.

push_max_channel_id_length [ number ]
  default: 512
  context: main, server, location
  Maximum permissible channel id length (number of characters). 
  Longer ids will be truncated.

push_ignore_queue_on_no_cache [ on | off ]
  default: off
  context: main, server, location
  Ignore the queue if caching tags are not specified by the client.
  Allows only clients sending If-Modified-Since and If-None-Match caching
  information request headers to see the queue.

push_channel_secret 
  default: (none)
  context: location
  A unique secret key to calculate the key.

push_channel_key
  default: (none)
  context: location
  Requests with invalid keys to protected locations are denied with 403.
  A key calculated using the url, the value of secret and the expiration time.
  It uses the calculated MD5 hash concatenated with the hex version of the
  expiration time as epoch timestamp:
    md5(url + secret key + hex timestamp) + hex timestamp
  (32 bytes of the md5 hash + 8 bytes of hex epoch timestamp):
    e.g. aabbccddeeffaabbccddeeffaabbccdd00112233.
  Example:
    Set as a variable argument from the request:
      push_channel_key $arg_key;
    to specify the key comes from the url query string parameter "key":
    (?key=aabbccddeeffaabbccddeeffaabbccdd00112233)

--------------------------- Example Config -----------------------------------
http {
  #maximum amount of memory the push module is allowed to use 
  #for buffering and stuff
  push_max_reserved_memory	12M; #default is 3M

  # internal publish endpoint (keep it private / protected)
  location /publish/ {
    push_publisher;
    push_channel_id $arg_channel;      #/?channel=channel_name or some-such

    push_message_timeout 2h;           # expire buffered messages after 2 hours
    push_max_message_buffer_length 10; # store absolutely at most 10 messages
    push_min_message_recipients 0;     # minimum recipients before purge

    # non-push-module-specific settings:
    access_log off;                    # disable logging

    allow 127.0.0.1;                   # allow publishing from the internal
    deny all;                          # network only.
  }
 
  # public long-polling endpoint
  location /activity/ {
    push_subscriber;
    push_channel_id $arg_channel;      #/?channel=channel_name or some-such
  
    push_channel_secret "secret string here:$remote_addr:$arg_channel";
    push_channel_key $arg_key;         #/?key=key
 
    # how multiple subscriber requests to the same channel id are handled
    # - last: only the most recent subscriber request is kept, 409 for others.
    # - first: only the oldest subscriber request is kept, 409 for others.
    # - broadcast: any number of subscriber requests may be long-polling.
    push_subscriber_concurrency broadcast;

    # non-push-module-specific settings:
    access_log off;                    # disable logging
  }
}

---------------------------- Operation ---------------------------------------
The following describes what is likely to be the most commonly desired setup,
assuming the example config given above:

Clients will connect to http://example.com/activity/?channel=... and have the 
response delayed until a message is POSTed or PUT to
http://example.com/publish/?channel=... Messages can be sent to clients that have
not yet connected, i.e. they are queued.

Clients subscribing to the channel via the /activity/ location must provide a
key, created my concatenating the MD5 hash hex string of the uri ("/activity/"),
concatenated with the push_channel_secret string (which includes a secret key,
the client's IP address and the channel ID) and the hex string of the expiration
time as epoch timestamp; concatenated again with the expiration time (40 bytes)
Example:
   MD5 hash is:
     md5 -s "/activity/secret string here:127.0.0.1:channel_name5cbb0142"
   The full key is MD5 hash concatenated with the expiration time ("5cbb0142"):
     e4654d42c236cb0c80b51d0ea949566e5cbb0142

Upon sending a request to a push_publisher location, the message, contained in
the publisher request body, will be sent to the channel identified by 
the variable set by the push_channel_id directive and to all presently connected
channel subscribers. If there are no subscribers waiting for a message at the
time, the publisher will be sent to with a with a 202 Accepted response.
Otherwise, a 201 Created response is sent. Additionally, the body of the
publisher response will contain information about the channel (number of current
subscribers, message queue length, etc).
 
If you intend to have the publisher be a server-side application, it's a damn 
good idea to make sure the push_publisher location is not publicly accessible.

Traversal through a channel's message buffer by a subscriber requires proper 
HTTP caching support from the subscriber client. Make sure it correctly sends 
Last-Modified and Etag headers. (All modern web browsers do this.)

----------------------- Protocol Spec --------------------------------------
This module is unconditionally (fully) compliant with the Basic HTTP Push 
Relay Protocol, Rev. 2.21, found in the file protocol.txt.
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