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A proof of concept WebSocket JavaScript client for TinkerPop3 Gremlin Server.

Tested with Node.js v0.10.29 and v0.11.13. Tested with Chrome 35, Firefox 28, Safari 7.


Gremlin Client is an AMD/CommonJS module that works in both Node.js and WebSocket enabled browsers.

npm install gremlin-client --save

In the browser, you can require the module with browserify or directly insert a <script> tag, which will expose a global gremlin variable:

<script type="text/javascript" src="gremlin.js"></script>


Creating a new client

// Assuming Node.js or Browser environment with browserify: 
var gremlin = require('gremlin-client');
// Will open a WebSocket to ws://localhost:8182 by default 
var client = gremlin.createClient();

This is a shorthand for:

var client = gremlin.createClient(8182, 'localhost');

If you want to use Gremlin Server sessions, you can set the session argument as true in the options object:

var client = gremlin.createClient(8182, 'localhost', { session: true });

The options object currently allows you to set the following options:

  • session: whether to use sessions or not (default: false)
  • language: the script engine to use on the server, see your gremlin-server.yaml file (default: "gremlin-groovy")
  • op (advanced usage): The name of the "operation" to execute based on the available OpProcessor (default: "eval")
  • processor (advanced usage): The name of the OpProcessor to utilize (default: "")
  • accept (advanced usage): mime type of returned responses, depending on the serializer (default: "application/json")

Sending scripts to Gremlin Server for execution

The client supports three modes:

  • streaming results
  • callback mode (with internal buffer)
  • streaming protocol messages (for advanced usages)

Stream mode:, bindings, message)

Return a Node.js ReadableStream set in Object mode. The stream emits a data event for each result returned by Gremlin Server.

For each low level protocol message with potentially one or more results attached (depending on the value of resultIterationBatchSize in your .yaml file), the stream will always reemit one data event per result.

The order in which results are returned should be guaranteed, allowing you to effectively use order steps and the like in your Gremlin traversal.

The stream emits an end event when the client receives the last statusCode: 299 message returned by Gremlin Server.

var query ='g.V()');
// If playing with classic TinkerPop graph, will emit 6 data events 
query.on('data', function(result) {
  // Handle first vertex 
query.on('end', function() {
  console.log("All results fetched");

This allows you to effectively .pipe() the stream to any other Node.js ReadableStream.

Callback mode: client.execute(script, bindings, message, callback)

Will execute the provided callback when all results are actually returned from the server.

var client = gremlin.createClient();
client.execute('g.V()', function(err, results) {
  if (!err) {
    console.log(results) // Handle an array of results 

The client will internally concatenate all partial results returned over different messages (depending on the total number of results and the value of resultIterationBatchSize set in your .yaml file).

When the client receives the final statusCode: 299 message, the callback will be executed.

Message stream mode: client.messageStream(script, bindings, message)

A lower level method that returns a ReadableStream which emits the raw protocol messages returned by Gremlin Server as distinct data events.

Although a public method, this is recommended for advanced usages only.

var client = gremlin.createClient();
var query = client.messageStream('g.V()');
// Will emit 3 events with a resultIterationBatchSize set to 2 and classic graph 
query.on('data', function(message) {
  console.log(message.result); // Array of 2 vertices 

Adding bound parameters to your scripts

For better performance and security concerns, you may wish to send bound parameters with your scripts.

var client = gremlin.createClient();
client.execute('g.v(id)', { id: 1 }, function(err, results) {
  console.log(results[0]) // notice how results is always an array 

Also work with and client.messageStream() for they share the same signature, without the callback as last parameter.

Overriding low level settings on a per request basis

For advanced usage, for example if you wish to set the op or processor values for a given request only, you may wish to override the client level settings in the raw message sent to Gremlin Server:

client.execute('g.v(1)', null, { args: { language: 'nashorn' }}, function(err, results) {
  // Handle result 

Basically, all you have to do is provide an Object as third parameter to any, client.execute() or client.streamMessage() methods.

Because we're not sending any bound parameters in this example, notice how the second argument must be set to null so the low level message object is not mistaken with bound arguments.

If you wish to also send bound parameters while overriding the low level message, you can do the following:

client.execute('g.v(id)', { id: 1 }, { args: { language: 'nashorn' }}, function(err, results) {
  // Handle result 

Or in stream mode:

var s ='g.v(id)', { id: 1 }, { args: { language: 'nashorn' }});

Using Gremlin-JavaScript syntax with Nashorn

Providing your configured nashorn script engine in your gremlin-server.yaml file, you can send and execute Gremlin-JavaScript formatted queries (see example in this repository in /config):

scriptEngines: {
  gremlin-groovy: {
    imports: [java.lang.Math],
    staticImports: [java.lang.Math.PI],
    scripts: [scripts/generate-classic.groovy]},
  nashorn: {
      imports: [java.lang.Math],
      staticImports: [java.lang.Math.PI]}}

Then, in your Node.js/Browser environment:

var client = gremlin.createClient({ language: 'nashorn' });
// Wrap a script definition in a JavaScript function 
var script = function() {
  // Retrieve all vertices ordered by name 
  g.V().order(function(a, b) {
    return a.get().value('name').localeCompare(b.get().value('name')); // JavaScript replacement for <=> spaceship operator 
// Send that script function body to Gremlin Server for execution in Nashorn engine 
client.execute(script, function(err, results) {
  // Handle result 

The client internally gets a string representation of the function passed to or client.execute() by calling the .toString() method.

Passing bound parameters and/or low level message will also work when using nashorn script engine.

You may also simply pass a raw string as first parameter, rather than a function. The Function.toString() trick is just a convenient way to expose the full Groovy/Java API in your local JS environment. You can also use loop or try..catch that will be executed in the context of Gremlin Server.

Running the Examples

This section assumes that loaded the default TinkerPop graph with scripts: [scripts/generate-classic.groovy] in your .yaml config file.

To run the command line example:

cd examples
node node-example

To run the browser example:

cd examples
node server

then open http://localhost:3000/examples/gremlin.html for a demonstration on how a list of 6 vertices is being populated as the vertices are being streamed down from Gremlin Server.

To do list

  • better error handling
  • emit more client events
  • reconnect WebSocket if connection is lost?
  • support .execute() with promise?
  • add option for secure WebSocket
  • more tests
  • performance optimization