A WebSocket Implementation for Node.JS (Draft -08 through the final RFC 6455)
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README.md

WebSocket Client & Server Implementation for Node

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Overview

This is a (mostly) pure JavaScript implementation of the WebSocket protocol versions 8 and 13 for Node. There are some example client and server applications that implement various interoperability testing protocols in the "test/scripts" folder.

For a WebSocket client written in ActionScript 3, see my AS3WebScocket project.

Documentation

You can read the full API documentation in the docs folder.

Changelog

Current Version: 1.0.26 — Released 2018-04-27

  • No longer using the deprecated noAssert parameter for functions reading and writing binary numeric data. (Thanks, @BridgeAR)

View the full changelog

Browser Support

All current browsers are fully supported.

  • Firefox 7-9 (Old) (Protocol Version 8)
  • Firefox 10+ (Protocol Version 13)
  • Chrome 14,15 (Old) (Protocol Version 8)
  • Chrome 16+ (Protocol Version 13)
  • Internet Explorer 10+ (Protocol Version 13)
  • Safari 6+ (Protocol Version 13)

Safari older than 6.0 is not supported since it uses a very old draft of WebSockets

If you need to simultaneously support legacy browser versions that had implemented draft-75/draft-76/draft-00, take a look here: https://gist.github.com/1428579

Benchmarks

There are some basic benchmarking sections in the Autobahn test suite. I've put up a benchmark page that shows the results from the Autobahn tests run against AutobahnServer 0.4.10, WebSocket-Node 1.0.2, WebSocket-Node 1.0.4, and ws 0.3.4.

Autobahn Tests

The very complete Autobahn Test Suite is used by most WebSocket implementations to test spec compliance and interoperability.

Installation

A few users have reported difficulties building the native extensions without first manually installing node-gyp. If you have trouble building the native extensions, make sure you've got a C++ compiler, and have done npm install -g node-gyp first.

Native extensions are optional, however, and WebSocket-Node will work even if the extensions cannot be compiled.

In your project root:

$ npm install websocket

Then in your code:

var WebSocketServer = require('websocket').server;
var WebSocketClient = require('websocket').client;
var WebSocketFrame  = require('websocket').frame;
var WebSocketRouter = require('websocket').router;
var W3CWebSocket = require('websocket').w3cwebsocket;

Note for Windows Users

Because there is a small C++ component used for validating UTF-8 data, you will need to install a few other software packages in addition to Node to be able to build this module:

Current Features:

  • Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0
  • Protocol version "8" and "13" (Draft-08 through the final RFC) framing and handshake
  • Can handle/aggregate received fragmented messages
  • Can fragment outgoing messages
  • Router to mount multiple applications to various path and protocol combinations
  • TLS supported for outbound connections via WebSocketClient
  • TLS supported for server connections (use https.createServer instead of http.createServer)
    • Thanks to pors for confirming this!
  • Cookie setting and parsing
  • Tunable settings
    • Max Receivable Frame Size
    • Max Aggregate ReceivedMessage Size
    • Whether to fragment outgoing messages
    • Fragmentation chunk size for outgoing messages
    • Whether to automatically send ping frames for the purposes of keepalive
    • Keep-alive ping interval
    • Whether or not to automatically assemble received fragments (allows application to handle individual fragments directly)
    • How long to wait after sending a close frame for acknowledgment before closing the socket.
  • W3C WebSocket API for applications running on both Node and browsers (via the W3CWebSocket class).

Known Issues/Missing Features:

  • No API for user-provided protocol extensions.

Usage Examples

Server Example

Here's a short example showing a server that echos back anything sent to it, whether utf-8 or binary.

#!/usr/bin/env node
var WebSocketServer = require('websocket').server;
var http = require('http');

var server = http.createServer(function(request, response) {
    console.log((new Date()) + ' Received request for ' + request.url);
    response.writeHead(404);
    response.end();
});
server.listen(8080, function() {
    console.log((new Date()) + ' Server is listening on port 8080');
});

wsServer = new WebSocketServer({
    httpServer: server,
    // You should not use autoAcceptConnections for production
    // applications, as it defeats all standard cross-origin protection
    // facilities built into the protocol and the browser.  You should
    // *always* verify the connection's origin and decide whether or not
    // to accept it.
    autoAcceptConnections: false
});

function originIsAllowed(origin) {
  // put logic here to detect whether the specified origin is allowed.
  return true;
}

wsServer.on('request', function(request) {
    if (!originIsAllowed(request.origin)) {
      // Make sure we only accept requests from an allowed origin
      request.reject();
      console.log((new Date()) + ' Connection from origin ' + request.origin + ' rejected.');
      return;
    }
    
    var connection = request.accept('echo-protocol', request.origin);
    console.log((new Date()) + ' Connection accepted.');
    connection.on('message', function(message) {
        if (message.type === 'utf8') {
            console.log('Received Message: ' + message.utf8Data);
            connection.sendUTF(message.utf8Data);
        }
        else if (message.type === 'binary') {
            console.log('Received Binary Message of ' + message.binaryData.length + ' bytes');
            connection.sendBytes(message.binaryData);
        }
    });
    connection.on('close', function(reasonCode, description) {
        console.log((new Date()) + ' Peer ' + connection.remoteAddress + ' disconnected.');
    });
});

Client Example

This is a simple example client that will print out any utf-8 messages it receives on the console, and periodically sends a random number.

This code demonstrates a client in Node.js, not in the browser

#!/usr/bin/env node
var WebSocketClient = require('websocket').client;

var client = new WebSocketClient();

client.on('connectFailed', function(error) {
    console.log('Connect Error: ' + error.toString());
});

client.on('connect', function(connection) {
    console.log('WebSocket Client Connected');
    connection.on('error', function(error) {
        console.log("Connection Error: " + error.toString());
    });
    connection.on('close', function() {
        console.log('echo-protocol Connection Closed');
    });
    connection.on('message', function(message) {
        if (message.type === 'utf8') {
            console.log("Received: '" + message.utf8Data + "'");
        }
    });
    
    function sendNumber() {
        if (connection.connected) {
            var number = Math.round(Math.random() * 0xFFFFFF);
            connection.sendUTF(number.toString());
            setTimeout(sendNumber, 1000);
        }
    }
    sendNumber();
});

client.connect('ws://localhost:8080/', 'echo-protocol');

Client Example using the W3C WebSocket API

Same example as above but using the W3C WebSocket API.

var W3CWebSocket = require('websocket').w3cwebsocket;

var client = new W3CWebSocket('ws://localhost:8080/', 'echo-protocol');

client.onerror = function() {
    console.log('Connection Error');
};

client.onopen = function() {
    console.log('WebSocket Client Connected');

    function sendNumber() {
        if (client.readyState === client.OPEN) {
            var number = Math.round(Math.random() * 0xFFFFFF);
            client.send(number.toString());
            setTimeout(sendNumber, 1000);
        }
    }
    sendNumber();
};

client.onclose = function() {
    console.log('echo-protocol Client Closed');
};

client.onmessage = function(e) {
    if (typeof e.data === 'string') {
        console.log("Received: '" + e.data + "'");
    }
};

Request Router Example

For an example of using the request router, see libwebsockets-test-server.js in the test folder.

Resources

A presentation on the state of the WebSockets protocol that I gave on July 23, 2011 at the LA Hacker News meetup. WebSockets: The Real-Time Web, Delivered