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Connecting everyone on Earth in < 0.25s !

PubNub is a cross-platform client-to-client (1:1 and 1:many) push service in the cloud, capable of broadcasting real-time messages to millions of web and mobile clients simultaneously, in less than a quarter second!

Optimized for both web and mobile, our scalable, global network of redundant data centers provides lightning-fast, reliable message delivery. We're up to 100 messages/second faster than possible with WebSockets alone, and cross-platform compatibility across all phones, tablets, browsers, programming languages, and APIs is always guaranteed!

Current Version

The current version number for communication with PubNub Cloud is 3.3.

Supported Languages and Frameworks

The current list of supported languages and frameworks can be found on our github page.

Contact Us

Contact information for support, sales, and general purpose inquiries can found at http://www.pubnub.com/contact-us.

Demo and Webcast Links

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/pubnub
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?p=PLF0BA2B6DAAF4FBBF
Showcase: http://www.pubnub.com/blog
Interview: http://techzinglive.com/?p=227

Using Encryption with PubNub

For higher security applications, PubNub provides SSL and AES-based encryption features to help safeguard your data. Additional information and higher-level overviews of Cross-Platform AES Symmetric Key Encryption in general can be found in our blog post. A lower level diagram which details the PubNub encryption-communication flow can be found here.

HTTPS (SSL) 2048-bit Encryption

HTTPS is recommended for the highest level of security for REST requests to PubNub. Using REST over HTTPS is not required – however, for secure communication, you should make sure the client or REST toolkit you're using is configured to use SSL. The PubNub Cloud service will continue to support both HTTP and HTTPS.

AES Encryption

To enable AES encryption, instantiate a PubNub instance with the presence of the optional cipher_key attribute. The instance will use the value of the cipher_key attribute as the cipher key.

Message Signing with HMAC/SHA256

If the client is publishing, you must also include the secret_key attribute when instantiating the PubNub instance. If the client will only be subscribing, you do not need to include the secret_key attribute. The instance will use the value of the secret_key as the key to sign the message.

Secure Key Exchange

The exchange of the cipher key (and if the client is publishing, the secret key) must occur using a secure communication system, external to PubNub, in order to maintain secrecy of the keys.

For an example of using encryption with the PubNub JavaScript API, check out the PubNub Javascript Cryptography Demo page. The demo shows usage of the Cipher Key + SSL at the same time. There is not exchange however with a central authority server, which is a recommended step for distributing security keys. This example diagram with illustrate the recommended Central Authority Server model for proper Security Key Exchange.

REST API Considerations

In addition to platform-specific APIs, PubNub also supports a REST API.

Mandatory Headers

When using the REST API, it is mandatory to pass the following HTTP headers to the PubNub server for each request:

V: Version-Number
User-Agent: NAME-OF-THE-CLIENT-INTERFACE
Accept: */*

Example Headers

V: 3.1
User-Agent: PHP
Accept: */*

Selecting a User-agent

Use one of the following User-Agents, based on your client platform, when making a REST-based request: PHP, JavaScript, Node.JS, Ruby, Ruby-Rhomobile, Python, Python-Twisted, Python-Tornado, C-LibEV, C-LibEvent, C-Qt, VB, C#, Java, Java-Android, Erlang, Titanium, Corona, C-Arduino, C-Unity, C#-Mono, Lua, Obj-C-iOS, C#-WP7, Cocoa, Perl5, Perl6, Go-Google, Bash, Haskell

HTTP Request Example

GET /time/0 HTTP/1.1
Host: pubsub.pubnub.com
V: 3.1
User-Agent: Java-Android
Accept: */*

NOTE: Only the V, User-agent, and Accept headers are recognized by the REST server. It is not recommended to send any other headers -- they will be ignored, and only serve to add latency to the request.

API Reference

The following section details usage of native client and RESTful API calls. Native client examples are demonstrated in JavaScript.

#init(options)

Create a new PubNub Entity for Publishing/Subscribing. This entity associates itself with account-level credentials and a selected origin. Also Security Options are Specified. options is a hash (or similar object, based on platform) which contains initialization parameters, such as your publisher key, encryption options, and channel information.

available in version 1+, cipher_key option available in version 3.1+

Usage Example: Native Client

var pubnub = PUBNUB.init({
    publish_key   : "CUSTOMER_PUBLISH_KEY",
    subscribe_key : "CUSTOMER_SUBSCRIBE_KEY",
    secret_key    : "CUSTOMER_SECRET_KEY", // Required only when client publishes.
    ssl           : true,
    origin        : "pubsub.pubnub.com",
    cipher_key    : "AES-Crypto-Cipher-Key" // Optional. Use to enable encryption.
})

Usage Example: RESTful

NOTE: This class method is only available when using the platform-specific API libraries – it is not available via the REST API.


.time()


This function is a utility only and has not functional value other than a PING to the PubNub Cloud.

available in version 1+

Usage Example: Native Client

PUBNUB.time(function(time){
    log(time)
})

Usage Example: RESTful

URL Params

/time/JSONP_CALLBACK

JSONP_CALLBACK is the name of the JSONP callback function. Use the JSONP callback's function name, or 0 if you are not using JSONP.

Request Example

GET /time/0 HTTP/1.1

Response

[7529152783414]


.uuid()


Utility function for generating a UUID. This is a utility function that is useful for creating random, unique channel IDs on the fly.

available in version 1+

Usage Example: Native Client

PUBNUB.uuid(function(uuid){
    log(uuid)
})

Usage Example: RESTful

NOTE: This instance method is only available when using the platform-specific API libraries – it is not available via the REST API.


.publish(options)


Broadcast a message on a specific channel. options contains channel name, message, and callback values. The message may be any valid JSON type including objects, arrays, strings, and numbers.

available in version 1+

Usage Example: Native Client

PUBNUB.publish({
    channel  : "hello_world",
    message  : "Hi.",
    callback : function(response) { log(response) }
})

Usage Example: RESTful

When this request is made, the server will hold the connection until the message is successfully published.

URL Params

/publish/PUBLISH_KEY/SUBSCRIBE_KEY/SECRET_KEY/CHANNEL/JSONP_CALLBACK/JSON_MESSAGE

JSONP_CALLBACK is the name of the JSONP callback function. Use the JSONP callback's function name, or 0 if you are not using JSONP.

SECRET_KEY is your secret key, available from your portal page. If you wish disable message signing, use 0.

Request Example

GET /publish/demo/demo/e0991b12871de57b333fd0c992f7d3112577cf62/my-channel/0/{"msg":"hi"} HTTP/1.1

Response Codes

The first element of the response array is a status code of type Boolean. 1 represents successful transmission, and 0 represents failed transmission.

In the case of a failed transmission, an explanation of the failure is provided in the second element of the response array.

In the case of a successful transmission, the second element will contain Sent, and the third element will contain a timetoken reference for the message.

Successful Response

[1, "Sent", "1338832423234"]

Failed Response

[0,"Reason for Failure Shown Here"]

Possible Failure Reasons

  • "Disconnected" - The network has gone away.
  • "Message Too Big" - Max message size exceeded.
  • "Invalid Publish Key" - Wrong Publish Key was Used.
  • "Invalid Message Signature" - The message was SHA256 Signed incorrectly.


.subscribe(options)


Listen for messages on a specified channel. options contains channel information, and callbacks for receiving messages, connecting, disconnecting, and reconnecting after an unintended disconnect.

available in version 1+

Native Client Usage Example

PUBNUB.subscribe({
    channel    : "my-channel",
    callback   : function(message) { log(message) },
    connect    : function() { log("Connected") },
    disconnect : function() { log("Disconnected") },
    reconnect  : function() { log("Reconnected") },
    error      : function() { log("Network Error") },
    restore    : true // JavaScript only
})

Connect, disconnect, reconnect callback lifecycles

Each time the PubNub client subscribes to a channel, a “subscription-based connection” is established to the PubNub cloud. During the lifecycle of this “subscription-based connection”:

  1. the callback event will fire each time a message is received.
  2. the disconnect event will fire only once, if and when the connection is lost.
  3. the reconnect event will fire only once, if and when the connection is re-established after a disconnect event.

RESTful Usage Example

Subscribe Process Lifecycle

In the REST paradigm, subscribe serves two purposes. First, it indicates the client's intention of subscribing to a channel. Second, it brings back all new messages since the last subscribe request was made.

In order for the server to know which messages should be considered new (and therefore sent to the client), a timetoken must be passed in each subsequent subscribe request. This timetoken acts as a “last sent” pointer in the channel's message stream.

The following is an example of the RESTful subscribe lifecycle:

1. The initial subscribe request is made.

URL Params

/subscribe/SUBSCRIBE_KEY/CHANNEL/JSONP_CALLBACK/TIMETOKEN

Addition of UUID on subscribe (3.2+)

For unique clients to be tracked, a UUID should be included with each /subscribe request. The UUID may, in fact, be any string value such as a user name or user ID, but the default string generated by PubNub's client libraries follow the uuid4 spec resembling c05cca54-45ab-49d3-861b-d50fe2be9304. It is recommended the client cache the UUID so that it is consistently used on reconnection. Clients that do not include a UUID will not be counted in presence stats. Do not share this UUID between clients or presence will have inconsistent behavior.

example:

http://pubsub.pubnub.com/subscribe/<sub-key>/<channel>/<callback>/<timetoken>?uuid=<uuid>
http://pubsub.pubnub.com/subscribe/demo/my_channel/0/123456789?uuid=c05cca54-45ab-49d3-861b-d50fe2be9304

JSONP_CALLBACK is the name of the JSONP callback function. Use the JSONP callback's function name, or 0 if you are not using JSONP.

If you do not yet have a value for TIMETOKEN (i.e., this is your first request), use the value 0.

First Request

GET /subscribe/subscribe_key/my-channel/0/0 HTTP/1.1

First Response

[[], "7529152783414"]

2. Extract the second element in the array, and store it in a variable called timetoken. The subsequent request is made with the newly acquired timetoken.

Subsequent Request

GET /subscribe/subscribe_key/my-channel/0/7529152783414 HTTP/1.1

The connection to the server will remain established for up to 300 seconds while it waits for new messages. If after 300 seconds no new messages have been received, the server will return an empty message element with a new timetoken.

Subsequent Response when there are no new messages since last request

[[],"75291527861853"]

If new message(s) are received within this 300 second window, the server will respond with the new message(s) and a new timetoken.

Subsequent Response when there are new messages since last request

[[MSG,MSG,MSG],"75291527861853"]

3. Handle new messages (if present) from the first element of the response array. 4. Update the value of timetoken with the new value in the second element of the array. 5. Repeat from Step 3 to retrieve subsequent message updates.


.presence(options)


Listen for 'Presence' messages on a specified channel, such as 'join' and 'leave' events. For any given channel CHANNEL, CHANNEL-pnpres is the 'Presence' channel for CHANNEL.

available in version 3.2+

Native Client Usage Example

PUBNUB.presence({
    channel    : "my-channel",
    callback   : function(message) { log(message) }
})

Connect, disconnect, reconnect callback lifecycles

presence() is exactly the same as subscribe(), except the string '-pnpres' is appended to the channel name. See above documentation on subscribe() for more information.

RESTful Usage Example

presence() is exactly the same as subscribe(), except the string '-pnpres' is appended to the channel name. See above documentation on subscribe() for more information.

Response

An example event message is similar in form to:

{
    action: ‘join',
    uuid: ‘2891723ad908f30d90e’,
    timestamp: 1232342342,
    occupancy: 12
}


.unsubscribe(options)


Listen for messages on a specified channel. options contains the channel name.

available in version 1+

Native ClientUsage Example

PUBNUB.unsubscribe({
    channel : "my-channel"
})

RESTful Usage Example

NOTE: This instance method is only available when using the platform-specific API libraries – it is not available via the REST API.


.here_now(options)


Query the current occupancy status of the channel. The response will include the current subscriber count and a list of uuid’s. options contains channel and callback.

available in version 3.2+

Native Client Usage Example

PUBNUB.here_now({
    channel  : "my-channel",
    callback : (messages) { log(messages) }
})

RESTful Usage Example

URL Format

/v2/presence/sub-key/SUBSCRIBE_KEY/channel/CHANNEL

Request Example

GET /v2/presence/sub-key/demo/channel/hello_world HTTP/1.1

?callback=FOO can optionally be appended to the request to wrap your response around a callback called FOO for a JSONP-type response.

Response

{"uuids":["E33894F6-D0F1-4762-87D9-9D1D25BC656B"],"occupancy":14}


.history(options)


Retrieve the last n messages published to this channel. options contains channel information, history limit, and callback. Currently you can only fetch the last 100 messages. However, upcoming features will include forever-history fetching.

available in version 1+

Native Client Usage Example

PUBNUB.history({
    channel  : "my-channel",
    limit    : 100,
    callback : (messages) { log(messages) }
})

RESTful Usage Example

URL Format

/history/SUBSCRIBE_KEY/CHANNEL/JSONP_CALLBACK/LIMIT

JSONP_CALLBACK is the name of the JSONP callback function. Use the JSONP callback's function name, or 0 if you are not using JSONP.

LIMIT is the maximum number of messages to return.

Request Example

GET /history/demo/my-channel/0/3 HTTP/1.1

Response

[MSG,MSG,MSG]

Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.