Websockets

In addition to using RPC-style interfaces, KVision support two-way type-safe connections via websockets, based on Kotlin coroutines channels.

Note: Since channels API in Kotlin is still marked as experimental, you should treat websockets support in KVision as experimental feature, too.

Common code

The way the websocket connections are defined is in many ways similar to defining remote methods (see previous chapters). You start by declaring an interface method in the common code, which will be used in the frontend and backend parts. This method needs to have a specific signature:

suspend (ReceiveChannel<M>, SendChannel<N>) -> Unit

When you establish the websocket connection, you will be able to send objects of type M from the client to the server and send objects of type N from the server to the client. Both types M and N need to fulfill the criteria described in this chapter. Of course type M can be the same as N.

The declared interface method has to be passed to the call of a bind method of the KVServiceManager object.

interface IWsService {
suspend fun wservice(input: ReceiveChannel<Int>, output: SendChannel<String>) {}
}
expect class WsService : IWsService
object WsServiceManager : KVServiceManager<WsService>(WsService::class) {
init {
GlobalScope.launch(start = CoroutineStart.UNDISPATCHED) {
bind(IWsService::wservice)
}
}
}

Frontend code

On the frontend side you implement the actual class, using webSocket methods from the KVRemoteAgent class. Note that, unlike the implementation of remote methods, you do not implement the interface wservice method inside the actual class (it wont be used directly and it can have the empty implementation {} already added inside the interface declaration). Instead, you create a method, which takes a specific handler function as a parameter. The handler's signature is:

suspend (SendChannel<M>, ReceiveChannel<N>) -> Unit

The types are reversed (!), because on the frontend side we will send M and receive N objects. Our implementation could look like this:

actual class WsService : IWsService, KVRemoteAgent<WsService>(WsServiceManager) {
suspend fun wservice(handler: suspend (SendChannel<Int>, ReceiveChannel<String>) -> Unit) =
webSocket(IWsService::wservice, handler)
}

Now you are ready to use this method and actually create a websocket connection. The idea is simple - when the method is called, the connection is established and it lasts as long as the method is running. The connection is terminated when the method is finished. It's a suspending method, so you can easily use loops (even while(true) ) and structured concurrency with coroutineScope builders.

val ws = WsService()
GlobalScone.launch {
ws.wsservice { output /*: SendChannel<Int>*/, input /*: ReceiveChannel<String>*/ ->
coroutineScope {
launch {
while(true) {
val i = Random.nextInt()
output.send(i)
delay(1000)
}
}
launch {
for (str in input) {
println(str)
}
}
}
}
}

Backend code

The backend code is probably the most simple. You just have to implement the interface method. It will be automatically called when a new client is connected, and it should run as long as the connection is active.

actual class WsService : IWsService {
override suspend fun wservice(input: ReceiveChannel<Int>, output: SendChannel<String>) {
for (i in input) {
output.send("I'v got: $i")
}
}
}

Of course the server can send data to the output channel at any time. So you can even ignore the input at all.

actual class WsService : IWsService {
override suspend fun wservice(input: ReceiveChannel<Int>, output: SendChannel<String>) {
while(true) {
val i = Random.nextInt()
output.send("Have a random: $i")
delay(500)
}
}
}

If you want to have more control over the client connection and more information about it, you can inject WebSocketServerSession when using Ktor module. This object gives you access to, among others, the ApplicationCall object.

actual class WsService : IWsService {
@Inject
lateinit var wsSession: WebSocketServerSession
override suspend fun wservice(input: ReceiveChannel<Int>, output: SendChannel<String>) {
// wsSession.call.request
}
}

When using Spring Boot module, you can use WithWebSocketSession interface.

@Service
@Scope(value = ConfigurableBeanFactory.SCOPE_PROTOTYPE)
actual class WsService : IWsService, WithWebSocketSession {
lateinit var webSocketSession: WebSocketSession
override suspend fun wservice(input: ReceiveChannel<Int>, output: SendChannel<String>) {
//
}
}

Disconnection

When the user leaves or closes the browser page the websocket connection is closed. On the backend side you will find both input and output channels closed and then you should return from the backend method.

On the other hand, when the server is stopped the connection is closed as well. But on the frontend side you have the possibility to re-establish the connection when the server is online again. Just run your frontend method again after a few seconds.

val ws = WsService()
GlobalScope.launch {
while (true) {
ws.wsservice { output, input ->
coroutineScope {
// ...
}
}
delay(5000)
}
}