Handling Web Socket requests in Web Connection (Receive and Send)

Server side Web Sockets are handled in Web Connection using a custom OnWebSocket() method override in a Web Connection wwProcess class. Although Web Sockets are handled inside of the .NET Module or .NET Core Middleware, the raw socket data is intercepted in the module/middleware and resent as a local HTTP request to the Web Connection server using a well-known url __WebSocket.ext.


Before we can use the Web Sockets on the server we have to turn on Web Socket process and specify a Web Connection script to which socket requests are routed.

You'll need the following settings:


Setting the Scriptmap for Web Sockets

Web Socket requests are forwarded to a single Web Connection process class and you need to specify the script map extension in the configuration. For example, in the wwDemo app the script map extension is wwd which is configured in web.config or webconnection-settings.xml.


Note that only one handler can receive requests so if you have multiple process classes in a single Web Connection server application, only one of them can handle Web Socket requests.

Setting up the OnWebSocket Handler

Once you have a script map routed to your process class and enabled Web Sockets, any incoming Web socket requests are now routed into Web Connection at __WebSocket.wwd. An internal handler picks up the Web Socket request, deserializes the JSON message and passes it to the OnWebSocket() handler.

Here's what the OnWebSocket() handler looks like for the Chat example:

*  OnWebSocket
***  Function: Fired when a Web Socket request comes in.
***    Assume: loMsg.Message, loMsg.UserId, loMsg.GroupId
***      Pass: loMsg             - Incoming (loMsg.Message) from Socket
***            loSocketBroadcast - Use to broadcast message to others
***    Return: nothing
LPARAMETERS loSocket as wwWebSocketMessage
LOCAL lcMarkdown, loSocketMsg, loMsg

*** This is the Socket payload
loMsg = loSocket.oMessage

*** Use Action to route to different operations

CASE loMsg.action == "broadcastchatmessage"	
	*** Let's modify the incoming message and use it
	*** to broadcast. Inbound and outbound Socket Messages
	*** are identical so it's easiest to just modify original.
	*** Change: action to "broadcast" and message to new/updated value
	* loMsg.action = "broadcastchatmessage"   && we're sending to same action, but you can change it
	*** Parse incoming message as Markdown
	lcMarkdown = Markdown(loMsg.message)
	lcMarkdown = ALLTRIM(lcMarkdown) && RTRIM(LTRIM(lcMarkdown,0,"<p>"),"</p>")	
	loMsg.message = lcMarkdown
	*** Broadcast the message
	loSocket.BroadcastMessage(loMsg)   && lomsg
	*** Alternately create a new message from scratch and send
	* loSend = loSocket.CreateMessageObject()
	* loSend.Action = "broadcastchatmessage"
	* loSend.Message = "<p>New <b>Message</b></p>"
	* loSend.GroupIp = loMsg.Groupid
	* loSend.UserId = loMsg.UserId
	* loSend.AddRecipient("MyGroup","group")
	* loSocket.BroadcastMessage(loSend)   && lomsg

*   OnWebSocket

The OnWebSocket(loSocket) method gets passed an instance of wwWebSocketMessage which provides access to various helpers to manipulate the socket. More importantly this object contains an oMessage instance that is a deserialized instance of the Web Socket message shown in previous topics. The message is always the same and includes action, message, groupId, userId properties.

In this example the logic is very, very simple. The message to broadcast comes in and all we really need to do is turn the text the user sent - loMsg.message - parse the text from Markdown to HTML, and then broadcast the message to all users using loSocket.BroadcastMessage().

The call to loSocket.BroadcastMessage(loMsg) sends the message through a Web Socket to all connected clients.

Broadcasting to a Web Socket from FoxPro?

So how does this work? Your Web Connection code has no access to the socket, so how does the message get sent?

Web Connection uses a hack to allow interaction with the Web Socket via an HTTP request to __broadcastWebSocket.wc and passing a standard Web Socket message object. A special handler in the .NET Module/Middleware picks up this request and feeds it to the connected Web sockets that are maintained in memory.

Voila: You can broadcast Web Socket messages from FoxPro code. This works in Web Connection but also works from a standalone application that can load the wwWebSocketMessage.prg class.

Calling a Web Socket outside of Web Connection

You can also use this same exact broadcasting code outside of Web Connection. Since __broadcastwebsocket.wc is an HTTP URL you can directly communicate with it using either the wwWebSocketMessage.prg class or even using plain wwHttp requests.

You can run the following from the FoxPro Command Window or a test program:

DO wwWebSocketMessage
loSocket = CREATEOBJECT("wwWebSocketMessage")
loSocket.cBaseUrl = "http://localhost:5200/"

loMsg = loSocket.GetMessageObject()
loMsg.action = "broadcastchatmessage"  
loMsg.userId = "RickFox"
loMsg.groupId = "Web Connection Chat 03-10-2021"
loMsg.Message = "Hello from FoxPro " + TIME()


This fires the same exact code and has the same behavior as the code we were running inside of Web Connection.

Note that you have to specify a base server URL for the Web Connection application for this to work, but otherwise - identical to the server code.

Cool right?

wwWebSocketMessage is not a Generic Web Socket Library

The wwWebSocketMessage class is not a generic Web Socket client library. It's very specific to Web Connection's hybrid Web Socket/HTTP implementation that depends on specific URLs on the server and a very specific message format.

See also

Setting up Web Sockets in the Web Browser | How Web Sockets work | Web Sockets in Web Connection

© West Wind Technologies, 1996-2022 • Updated: 04/14/21
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