Socket.io: Real-Time two-Way Communication for JavaScript

The HTTP protocol was conceived from its origins to offer one-way communications, from the server to the client. However, today’s web applications demand more than that in order to offer a richer user experience, they need information flow in both directions at the same moment that events occur.

socket.io

To mitigate that need, several strategies have emerged, including long polling and Websocket. In long polling, the client keeps asking questions to the server about a certain event, while with Websocket we have at our disposal a new protocol that allows interaction between the client and the server, facilitating the transmission of data in real-time in both directions. This is where Socket.io comes in.

WHAT IS SOCKET.IO?

Socket.io is a JavaScript library for Node.js that enables real-time, two-way communication between client and server. For this, it is mainly based on Websocket but you can also use other alternatives such as adobe Flash sockets, JSONP polling or long polling in AJAX, selecting the best alternative for the client right at runtime.

Installing it is as simple as executing an npm command

And to understand how it works you can review the tutorial on how to build a real-time chat that they have on their official page, it is simple and requires almost no knowledge of Node.js so anyone with intermediate JavaScript skills can follow it.

It is important to note that the applications made in Socket.io have a disadvantage and that is that they do not support interactions with other clients that use standard Websocket. This is because Socket.io is not an implementation of the WebSocket protocol but a real-time web communication library that uses various protocols. However, that does not mean that it is very powerful and easy to use, ideal for any project in which both the client and the server can use the same library.

For more detailed information you can see the official documentation and for being an Open Source project you can delve into its source code on Github. You can also stay up to date by subscribing to their mailing list or following them on Twitter.

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