Resumable, asynchronous file uploads using WebSockets in HTML 5 compliant browsers
It is becoming an increasingly common need to provide website users the ability to upload large or very large files. These uploads can take anywhere from minutes to hours. The standard form-based upload provided by HTML is not a suitable solution to meet this demand because the browser blocks during form submission, no information is provided to the user as to the progress or estimated time to completion, and the upload cannot be resumed after interruption.
Alternative solutions involve embedding hidden iframes in the page and submitting a form-based upload from the hidden iframe or using asynchronous XMLHttpRequests (XHR). The primary advantage of these approaches is that the web page does not block, allowing users to enter metadata or perform other activities during upload. Progress and estimated time to completion can also be provided to the user via repeated polling of the server via XHR. Aside from being inelegant solutions, these approached still do not allow uploads to be temporarily paused or resumed after interruption. A plugin-based approach using either Java or Flash can meet all these needs but can be problematic because of the lack of cross-platform support, stability, and/or security concerns.
File uploads that
- support very large files.
- do not block the web page during upload.
- can be paused and resumed at will, even from a later session or machine.
- are delivered via the WebSocket protocol.
- do not use Flash, Java, iframes, or XHR.
On the client:
- HTML 5 compliant browser
- Jquery >= 1.4.3 (via Google CDN)
- Jquery-ui >= 1.8.4 (via Google CDN)
On the server:
- HTTP server (e.g. Sinatra)
- WebSocket server (e.g. em-websockets)
Copy the css and js directories to the public directory of your server.
Add the following to your header:
Add the following block to the body of your web page:
<div class="file_uploader"> <h2>File Upload</h2> <div class="file_progress_bar"> <span class="file_information" name="file_information"></span> <input class="file_browse_button" type="button" value="Browse"> <input class="file_upload_button" type="button" value="Upload"> <input class="file_reupload_button" type="button" value="Reupload"> <input class="file_pause_button" type="button" value="Pause"> <input class="file_resume_button" type="button" value="Resume"> <input class="file_cancel_button" type="button" value="Cancel"> <span class="file_progress" name="file_progress"></span> <input class="file_name_input" name="file_name_input" type="file"> </div> </div>
An example HTTP Server (utilizing Sinatra) and an example WebSocket Server (utilizing em-websockets are provided in this project. You can use these as templates or replace them with any other server of your choice.
Do this (or some variant)
sudo apt-get install ruby rubygems gem install bundler git clone git://github.com/thirtysixthspan/waterunderice cd waterunderice bundle install ruby server.rb
Then visit your server on port 8000 (http://yourserver:8000).
- HTML 5 support is required of the browser.
- WebSockets currently only provides for ASCII transfers. Thus, files must be Base64 encoded prior to upload. This increases the total bytes transferred by one third and can load the CPU.
- Chrome 4
- Firefox 4
Copyright (c) 2010 Derrick Parkhurst (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:
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