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    async-socket.io

    0.2.1 • Public • Published

    async-socket.io

    This is a framework and methodology for using socket.io without writing any socket code yourself, and came about from a need to write quite a lot of communication between clients and server, which gets really verbose, really fast, if you need to express all your calls as socket.on and socket.emit() instructions, with pass-through handlers if you want your code to stay relatively clean.

    So instead, this framework lets you express the functions that your clients support, and the functions your server supports, as a single namespaced API object such as:

    const API = {
        // the administrative namespace, for admin things.
        admin: {
            client: ['register', 'getStateDigest'],
            server: []
        },
     
        // the user namespace, for user related actions.
        user: {
            client: ['userJoined', 'userLeft'],
            server: ['setName', 'getUserList']
        }
    };

    Which you then run through the async-socket.io framework to auto-generate a set of proxy objects that both take care of all the socket.io code, as well as hide the fact that sockets are even used at all, allowing code to be written as if clients and the server have direct references to each other:

    class Client {
        [...]
     
        async register(clientId) {
            this.id = clientId;
            this.users = await this.server.user.getUserList();
            return { status: `registered` };
        }
     
        [...]
    }

    You'll notice that async keyword, which is critically important: in order to allow not just automatic socket handling, but also automatic data routing, all the functions you promised would exist in the API must be declared as async functions, because this lets the framework treat socket communication as promises, with automatica regitration and deregistration of response events.

    That's a technical detail, though; the important part is that using this framework, you don't have to think about the fact that you're using sockets in any way, outside of making sure to pass socket.io's io and socket values into the right functions.

    1. Creating an API collection

    As mentioned above, an API collection is created by defining a namespaced API object, and then running that through the generateClientServer transformer:

    const generateClientServer = require('async-socket.io');
     
    const API = {
        user: {
            client: [ 'register', ...],
            server: [ 'setName', ... ]
        }
    };
     
    const ClientServer = generateClientServer(API);

    2. Creating a Server

    With the above code in place, you can create a Server class for actual API call handling, including an implementation for the mandatory addClient(client) function, and then create a websocket server with a single call:

    ...
     
    class ServerClass {
        constructor() {
            this.clients = [];
        }
     
        addClient(client) {
            this.clients.push(client);
            let clientId = this.clients.length;
            client.admin.register(clientId);
        }
     
        async setName(from, name) {
            let client = this.clients.find(c => c === from);
            client.name = name;
        }
    }

    And then we use that ServerClass to implement our server:

    ...
     
    const server = ClientServer.createServer(ServerClass)
    server.listen(0, () =>
        console.log(`started server on port ${server.address().port})
    );

    Note that all API handling functions in a server class are passed a reference to the client that made the API call as the from argument, universally passed as the first argument to any API call handling function.

    If the client calls server.doThing(data), the server should have a handling function with signature async doThing(from, data) { ... }.

    3. Creating a Client

    Creating a client is similar to creating a server:

    ...
     
    class ClientClass {
        constructor() {
            this.id = -1;
        }
     
        async register(clientId) {
            this.id = clientId;
            let name = this.name = generateRandomName();
            this.server.user.setName(name);
        }
    }

    And then we make one (or more) Client(s) once the server is up:

    ...
     
    server.listen(0, () => {
        const serverURL = `http://*:${server.address().port}`;
        ClientServer.createClient(serverURL, ClientClass);
    });

    API call handling functions for clients are not passed a from, as clients are connected to a single server. The origin of the call is always known, and the server proxy can always be referenced as this.server inside any API handling function.

    4. Start talking to each other

    Have a look at the demo directory, to see an example of a simple client/server setup with code in place that starts a server and three clients, has the server inform each client what their id is when they connect, adding them to a list of known users, and where each client invents a random name for themselves upon registration, informeds the server of that name and then asks the server for the user list that the server's maintaining, automatically getting notified of individual join/leave actions when they occur.

    You can run this demo using npm test in the async-socket.io directory.

    This test can also be run using independent processes for the clients and server, by using npm test:distributed, but this will spawn genuinely independent processes, and mostly exists to show "things work" rather than offering you an easy way to examine what actually happens.

    Install

    npm i async-socket.io

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    Version

    0.2.1

    License

    MIT

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    22

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