Important: This is the documentation for a previous version of Feathers.
For the latest documentation please visit docs.feathersjs.com.

Socket.io

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$ npm install feathers-socketio --save

The feathers-socketio module allows to call service methods and receive real-time events via Socket.io, a NodeJS library which enables real-time bi-directional, event-based communication.

Service method Method event name Real-time event
.find() messages::find -
.get() messages::get -
.create() messages::create messages created
.update() messages::update messages updated
.patch() messages::patch messages patched
.remove() messages::removed messages removed

Important: Socket.io is also used to call service methods. Using sockets for both, calling methods and receiving real-time events is generally faster than using REST and there is usually no need to use both, REST and Socket.io in the same client application at the same time.

Server

app.configure(socketio())

Sets up the Socket.io transport with the default configuration using either the server provided by app.listen or passed in app.setup(server).

const feathers = require('feathers');
const socketio = require('feathers-socketio');

const app = feathers();

app.configure(socketio());

app.listen(3030);

Pro tip: Once the server has been started with app.listen() or app.setup(server) the Socket.io object is available as app.io.

app.configure(socketio(callback))

Sets up the Socket.io transport with the default configuration and call callback with the Socket.io server object. This is a good place to listen to custom events or add authorization:

const feathers = require('feathers');
const socketio = require('feathers-socketio');

const app = feathers();

app.configure(socketio(function(io) {
  io.on('connection', function(socket) {
    socket.emit('news', { text: 'A client connected!' });
    socket.on('my other event', function (data) {
      console.log(data);
    });
  });

  // Registering Socket.io middleware
  io.use(function (socket, next) {
    // Exposing a request property to services and hooks
    socket.feathers.referrer = socket.request.referrer;
    next();
  });
}));

app.listen(3030);

app.configure(socketio(options [, callback]))

Sets up the Socket.io transport with the given Socket.io options object and optionally calls the callback described above.

This can be used to e.g. configure the path where Socket.io is initialize (socket.io/ by default). The following changes the path to ws/:

const feathers = require('feathers');
const socketio = require('feathers-socketio');

const app = feathers()
  .configure(socketio({
    path: '/ws/'
  }, function(io) {
    // Do something here
    // This function is optional
  }));

app.listen(3030);

app.configure(socketio(port, [options], [callback]))

Creates a new Socket.io server on a separate port. Options and a callback are optional and work as described above.

const feathers = require('feathers');
const socketio = require('feathers-socketio');

const app = feathers()
  .configure(socketio(3031));

app.listen(3030);

params.provider

For any service method call made through Socket.io params.provider will be set to socketio. In a hook this can for example be used to prevent external users from making a service method call:

app.service('users').hooks({
  before: {
    remove(hook) {
      // check for if(hook.params.provider) to prevent any external call
      if(hook.params.provider === 'socketio') {
        throw new Error('You can not delete a user via Socket.io');
      }
    }
  }
});

params.query

params.query will contain the query parameters sent from the client.

Important: Only params.query is passed between the server and the client, other parts of params are not. This is for security reasons so that a client can't set things like params.user or the database options. You can always map from params.query to params in a before hook.

uWebSocket

The options can also be used to initialize uWebSocket which is a WebSocket server implementation that provides better performace and reduced latency.

$ npm install uws --save
const feathers = require('feathers');
const socketio = require('feathers-socketio');

const app = feathers();

app.configure(socketio({
  wsEngine: 'uws'
}));

app.listen(3030);

Middleware and service parameters

Socket.io middleware can modify the feathers property on the socket which will then be used as the service parameters:

app.configure(socketio(function(io) {
  io.use(function (socket, next) {
    socket.feathers.user = { name: 'David' };
    next();
  });
}));

app.use('messages', {
  create(data, params, callback) {
    // When called via SocketIO:
    params.provider // -> socketio
    params.user // -> { name: 'David' }
  }
});

Client

The client module in feathers-socketio (require('feathers-socketio/client')) allows to connect to services exposed through the Socket.io server via a Socket.io socket.

Very important: The examples below assume you are using Feathers either in Node or in the browser with a module loader like Webpack or Browserify. For using Feathers with a <script> tag, AMD modules or with React Native see the client chapter.

Note: A client application can only use a single transport (either REST, Socket.io or Primus). Using two transports in the same client application is normally not necessary.

socketio(socket)

Initialize the Socket.io client using a given socket and the default options.

const feathers = require('feathers/client');
const socketio = require('feathers-socketio/client');
const io = require('socket.io-client');

const socket = io('http://api.feathersjs.com');
const app = feathers();

// Set up Socket.io client with the socket
app.configure(socketio(socket));

// Receive real-time events through Socket.io
app.service('messages')
  .on('created', message => console.log('New message created', message));

// Call the `messages` service
app.service('messages').create({
  text: 'A message from a REST client'
});

socketio(socket, options)

Initialize the Socket.io client using a given socket and the given options.

Options can be:

  • timeout (default: 5000ms) - The time after which a method call fails and times out. This usually happens when calling a service or service method that does not exist.
const feathers = require('feathers/client');
const socketio = require('feathers-socketio/client');
const io = require('socket.io-client');

const socket = io('http://api.feathersjs.com');
const app = feathers();

// Set up Socket.io client with the socket
// And a timeout of 2 seconds
app.configure(socketio(socket, {
  timeout: 2000
}));

Changing the socket client timeout

Currently, the only way for clients to determine if a service or service method exists is through a timeout. You can set the timeout either through the option above or on a per-service level by setting the timeout property:

app.service('messages').timeout = 3000;

Direct connection

Feathers sets up a normal Socket.io server that you can connect to with any Socket.io compatible client, usually the Socket.io client either by loading the socket.io-client module or /socket.io/socket.io.js from the server. Unlike HTTP calls, websockets do not have an inherent cross-origin restriction in the browser so it is possible to connect to any Feathers server.

ProTip: The socket connection URL has to point to the server root which is where Feathers will set up Socket.io.

<!-- Connecting to the same URL -->
<script src="/socket.io/socket.io.js">
<script>
  var socket = io();
</script>

<!-- Connecting to a different server -->
<script src="http://localhost:3030/socket.io/socket.io.js">
<script>
  var socket = io('http://localhost:3030/');
</script>

Calling service methods

Service methods can be called by emitting a <servicepath>::<methodname> event with the method parameters. servicepath is the name the service has been registered with (in app.use) without leading or trailing slashes. An optional callback following the function(error, data) Node convention will be called with the result of the method call or any errors that might have occurred.

params will be set as params.query in the service method call. Other service parameters can be set through a Socket.io middleware.

find

Retrieves a list of all matching resources from the service

socket.emit('messages::find', { status: 'read', user: 10 }, (error, data) => {
  console.log('Found all messages', data);
});

Will call messages.find({ query: { status: 'read', user: 10 } }) on the server.

get

Retrieve a single resource from the service.

socket.emit('messages::get', 1, (error, message) => {
  console.log('Found message', message);
});

Will call messages.get(1, {}) on the server.

socket.emit('messages::get', 1, { fetch: 'all' }, (error, message) => {
  console.log('Found message', message);
});

Will call messages.get(1, { query: { fetch: 'all' } }) on the server.

create

Create a new resource with data which may also be an array.

socket.emit('messages::create', {
  "text": "I really have to iron"
}, (error, message) => {
  console.log('Todo created', message);
});

Will call messages.create({ "text": "I really have to iron" }, {}) on the server.

socket.emit('messages::create', [
  { "text": "I really have to iron" },
  { "text": "Do laundry" }
]);

Will call messages.create with the array.

update

Completely replace a single or multiple resources.

socket.emit('messages::update', 2, {
  "text": "I really have to do laundry"
}, (error, message) => {
  console.log('Todo updated', message);
});

Will call messages.update(2, { "text": "I really have to do laundry" }, {}) on the server. The id can also be null to update multiple resources:

socket.emit('messages::update', null, {
  complete: true
}, { complete: false });

Will call messages.update(null, { "complete": true }, { query: { complete: 'false' } }) on the server.

ProTip: update is normally expected to replace an entire resource which is why the database adapters only support patch for multiple records.

patch

Merge the existing data of a single or multiple resources with the new data.

socket.emit('messages::patch', 2, {
  read: true
}, (error, message) => {
  console.log('Patched message', message);
});

Will call messages.patch(2, { "read": true }, {}) on the server. The id can also be null to update multiple resources:

socket.emit('messages::patch', null, {
  complete: true
}, {
  complete: false
}, (error, message) => {
  console.log('Patched message', message);
});

Will call messages.patch(null, { complete: true }, { query: { complete: false } }) on the server to change the status for all read messages.

This is supported out of the box by the Feathers database adapters

remove

Remove a single or multiple resources:

socket.emit('messages::remove', 2, { cascade: true }, (error, message) => {
  console.log('Removed a message', message);
});

Will call messages.remove(2, { query: { cascade: true } }) on the server. The id can also be null to remove multiple resources:

socket.emit('messages::remove', null, { read: true });

Will call messages.remove(null, { query: { read: 'true' } }) on the server to delete all read messages.

Listening to events

Listening to service events allows real-time behaviour in an application. Service events are sent to the socket in the form of servicepath eventname.

created

The created event will be published with the callback data when a service create returns successfully.

var socket = io('http://localhost:3030/');

socket.on('messages created', function(message) {
  console.log('Got a new Todo!', message);
});

updated, patched

The updated and patched events will be published with the callback data when a service update or patch method calls back successfully.

var socket = io('http://localhost:3030/');

socket.on('my/messages updated', function(message) {
  console.log('Got an updated Todo!', message);
});

socket.emit('my/messages::update', 1, {
  text: 'Updated text'
}, {}, function(error, callback) {
 // Do something here
});

removed

The removed event will be published with the callback data when a service remove calls back successfully.

var socket = io('http://localhost:3030/');

socket.on('messages removed', function(message) {
  // Remove element showing the Todo from the page
  $('#message-' + message.id).remove();
});

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