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This module makes it easy to process and respond to JSON-RPC (v1.0) messages.

JSON-RPC is an extremely simple format to communicate between the client (for example browser) and the host (server). It's an easy way to run functions server side by providing the server the function name that needs to be executed and the params alongside with it. Server runs this function and returns the results for it.

Illustrating pseudocode

--> RUN FUNCTION "add_comment" WITH "user", "this is cool!"
<-- RETURN add_comment("user", "this is cool")

You can find the full JSON-RPC specification here.


You can install this package through npm

npm install jsonrpc

After this you can require the RPCHandler with

var rpc = require("jsonrpc").RPCHandler;

Server side node.JS

Main handler for the RPC request is jsonrpc.RPCHandler - this is a constructor function that handles the RPC request all the way to the final output. You don't have to call response.end() for example, this is done by the handler object.

var RPCHandler = require("jsonrpc").RPCHandler;
new RPCHandler(request, response, RPCMethods, debug=false);

RPChandler construtor takes the following parameters

  • request: http.ServerRequest object
  • rsponse: http.ServerResponse object
  • RPCMethods: object that holds all the available methods RPCMethods: { method_name: function(rpc){ rpc.response("hello world!"); } } NB! method names that start with an underscore are private!
  • debug (optional) boolean value indicating if real error messages should be used in case of runtime errors

Example script

Server accepts method calls for "check" - this method checks if the two used parameters are equal or not.

var http = require("http"),
    RPCHandler = require("jsonrpc").RPCHandler;

// start server
http.createServer(function (request, response) {
    if(request.method == "POST"){
        // if POST request, handle RPC
        new RPCHandler(request, response, RPCMethods, true);
        // if GET request response with greeting
        response.end("Hello world!");

// Available RPC methods
RPCMethods = {
    // NB! private method names are preceeded with an underscore
    check: function(rpc, param1, param2){
            rpc.error("Params doesn't match!");
            rpc.response("Params are OK!");
    _private: function(){
        // this method can't be accessed from the public interface

Cliend side JavaScript

To send a RPC call to the server, the message needs to be sent as the request body. This can't be done with forms (as form data is urlencoded etc.) but can be done with AJAX calls.

Request message formatting:

    "method": "method name to run",
    "params": ["array", "of", "params"],
    "id":     "id value (optional)"

If id value is not set, then server takes this as a notification and return nothing (output is empty). Parameter values are given to the RPC method as regular variables in the same order they are set in the array:

"params": ["val1", "val2", "val3"]

Will be used as

method = function(rpc, param1, param2, param3){
    console.log(param1); //val1
    console.log(param2); //val2
    console.log(param3); //val3

The first parameter passed to the method is the RPCHandler object. It has two public methods - response and error.

rpc.response("This is the normal response output");
rpc.error("This is the output in case of error");

After you send the response (be it either response or error the http.ServerResponse connection is closed so you can't do much after it.

Server response

    "result": "some kind of output, or null id error occured",
    "error" : "null or an error message",
    "id"    : "the same id value that was used wit the request"

result can be any type (string, number, boolean, object, array).

For example if we need to run a RPC method named "check" with params "value" and "other" then we can do it like this (using Prototype library):

new Ajax.Request("/path/to/rpc",{
    method: "post",
    postBody: Object.toJSON(
            method: "check",
            params: ["value","other"],
            id:     1
    onComplete: function(response){
        var r = response.responseText.evalJSON();
            alert("ERROR: "+r.error);
            alert("OK: "+r.result);

Sample message traffic

--> {method:"check", params: ["value", "other"], id: 1}
<-- {result:null, error:"Params doesn't match!", id: 1}

--> {method:"check", params: ["value", "value"], id: 2}
<-- {result:"Params are OK!", error:null, id: 2}