TypeScript icon, indicating that this package has built-in type declarations

0.9.0 • Public • Published

simples-ws 0.9.0

simples-ws is a simplified WebSocket API client for browsers, it is a thin abstraction over the native WebSocket API and work with the same concepts, it is designed to work in pair with simples server, but can work with any backend that implements the standard WebSocket protocol.


  • Support for relative connection url, automatic WS protocol selection
  • Send delayed messages while connection is still opening
  • Auto-reconnection when sending data and the connection is closed
  • Possibility to change url and configuration when reopening connection
  • Designed to work with simples advanced WebSocket mode
  • No dependencies
  • ES module and UMD builds available (see dist/ folder)


npm i simples-ws

Or install the package together with simples:

npm i simples simples-ws


simples-ws is supported by any browser that has native support for WebSocket, URL and Map, it will also work in CommonJS and AMD environments, see dist/ folder for build files.

Supported browsers:

  • Chrome 38+
  • Firefox 19+
  • Edge any version
  • Opera 25+
  • Safari 8+

Note: Internet Explorer is not supported without polyfills.


ES6+ syntax

import ws from 'simples-ws';

CommonJS Environment

const ws = require('simples-ws').default;

Browser Script; // It is available as a global "ws" reference

Socket Creation

const socket = ws('ws://');
// Or use relative url
const socket = ws('/ws'); // The url will be filled with the missing parts
// Or use current window location
const socket = ws(); // The url will be created from "window.location.href"

The ws() function accepts 2 arguments, the first one is the url of the connection, the second one are the options of the connection, it will return an instance of a WS connection, which is a light abstraction over the native WebSocket class.

The url argument must be a string representing a relative or an absolute url to the remote server, if omitted the window.location.href value is used by default for connection creation.

The options argument must be an object with advanced property to enable simples advanced mode behavior and protocols property which is the same as the second argument used in native WebSocket constructor.

Example with full configuration:

const socket = ws('ws://', {
    advanced: true,                         // simples advanced mode enabled
    protocols: [                            // WebSocket subprotocols

WS instances have a .data property which is available to store used defined data, main purpose is to contain connection meta data.

WS connection management is done by the following methods:

  • .open([url, options]) - reopen WS connection, optionally url and options can be modified, this method is automatically called on WS connection creation, no need to call it explicitly. This method returns a reference to this so calls can be chained.
  • .close([code [, reason]]) - close WS connection, optionally the code and the reason of the closing can be provided, same used in native .close method . This method returns a reference to this so calls can be chained.

Advanced Mode

The advanced mode is a special behavior of the WS connections, it involves a JSON data communication via events, messages transferred using this mode have the following structure:

    "event": "event-name",
    "data": { }

Obviously, only data that can be passed to JSON.stringify() can be sent using this mode. simples-ws ensures that the messages transmitted using this mode will be automatically stringified on sending and parsed on receiving. The same behavior has to be enabled on the server side to have a proper communication between the server and the client, as it was designed for simples, see its documentation on how to enable advanced mode on the server.

Events Handling

Every WS instance implements a simplified Event Emitter API which contains the following methods:

  • .on(event, listener) - method to attach event listeners, receives 2 arguments, event name and event listener, returns a reference to this so calls can be chained.
  • .once(event, listener) - method to attach one-time event listeners, receives 2 arguments, event name and event listener, returns a reference to this so calls can be chained.
  • .off([event [, listener]]) - method to remove event listeners, receives 2 arguments, event name and event listener, both arguments are optional, based on the provided arguments one event listener, all event listeners with the same event name or all the event listeners will be removed, returns a reference to this so calls can be chained.
  • .emit(event [,]) - method to call event listeners, receives multiple arguments, the first one is the event name, the next arguments are event data, returns a boolean value representing if any event listener was called. Note: this method does not send any data through the WebSocket connection, its purpose is to call event listeners locally.

Default Events

There are some default events which are during the life cycle of the WS connection:

  • open - event called when the WS connection is opened or reopened.
  • message - event called when the WS connection receives a message in simple mode or it was received in advanced mode but the JSON data could not be parsed, in this case an error should be called before this event. The received message is a MessageEvent.
  • close - event called when the WS connection is closed.
  • error - event called when the WS connection throws an error, in case it is triggered by the underlying WebSocket connection it will also close the connection. It is recommended to always have an event listener for error events to handle any undesired behavior.

Sending Data

To send data through the WS connection .send() method is used, in simple and advanced modes it behaves differently:

  • .send(data) - in simple mode this method receives only one argument and behaves almost the same as the method .send() of native WebSocket, string, ArrayBuffer and ArrayBufferView values will be sent as they are, any other value will be passed to JSON.stringify().
  • .send(event, data [, callback]) - in advanced mode this method can receive two or three arguments, event argument must be a string which represents the event name, data argument is any data that can be passed to JSON.stringify(), no binary data will be sent in this mode, callback argument is optional and it is used as a one-time listener for the provided event to handle the response from the server.

.send() method can be used while the connection is still opening, the messages will be delayed until the connection is ready to accept them. If the connection is down calling .send() method will try to reopen it and send the provided when it is open. This method will throw errors in case of circular references or invalid JSON values, it returns a reference to this so calls can be chained.

Example for sending data in advanced mode:

socket.send('event', 'data', (response) => {
// This is equivalent to the following expression
socket.send('event', 'data').once('event', (response) => {


Simple Mode

import ws from 'simples-ws';
const socket = ws('ws://');
socket.on('message', (message) => {

Advanced Mode

import ws from 'simples-ws';
const socket = ws('ws://', {
    advanced: true
socket.on('some-event', (data) => {
socket.send('some-event', 'data');

Package Sidebar


npm i simples-ws

Weekly Downloads






Unpacked Size

47 kB

Total Files


Last publish


  • micnic