Socket.IO

Socket.IO is a node/Javascript package that enables real-time, bidirectional and event-based communication between the client and the server.

Getting Started

Create a new node project and install Socket.IO using npm or yarn (the package name is socket.io), and install express for your server.

We're going to make the simplest possible implementation, that will allow a user to send a message via console to all other users who are on the same site.

To run and test this, install the above dependencies and create these three files. Once they are created and populated, you can run nodemon server.js and open multiple tabs/windows at http://locathost:3000 on your machine. With the console open, you should see messages coming in from the other tabs when sending messages on any of them.

index.html

<html>
  <body>
    <form id="chat-form">
      <input id="msg" type="text" required/>
      <button>Send</button>
    </form>
    <script src="/socket.io/socket.io.js"></script>
    <script src="index.js"></script>
  </body>
</html>

index.js

const form = document.getElementById('chat-form');

// Connect to the server socket
const socket = io();

// When a `message` event is received
socket.on('message', (id, message) => {
  console.log(`${id}: ${message}`);
});

form.addEventListener('submit', (e) => {
  e.preventDefault();

  // Emit a `message` event to the server
  socket.emit('message', socket.id, e.target.children.msg.value);
});

server.js

const express = require('express');
const http = require('http');
const path = require('path');
const socketio = require('socket.io');

// Set up Express
const app = express();
const port = 3000;
app.use(express.static(path.join(__dirname, '/')));

// Set up Socket.IO
const server = http.createServer(app);
const io = socketio(server);

// When user connects, run the callback
io.on('connection', (socket) => {
  // When a `message` event is received
  socket.on('message', (id, message) => {
    console.log(`${id}: ${message}`);

    // Emit a `message` event to everyone
    io.emit('message', id, message);
  });
});

server.listen(port, () => {
  console.log('Listening at http://localhost:3000');
});

Syntax

Emitters

Each of these takes an eventName followed by an arbitrary number of args to send along with the emission.

Client

socket.emit(eventName, [...args]) will emit a message to the server.

Server

Assuming these emits are wrapped in an io.on('connection', ... event listener. This will give the server access to the current user.

Command Effect
socket.emit(eventName, [...args]) Emits a message to the current user.
socket.broadcast.emit(eventName, [...args]) Emits to every user BUT the current user.
io.emit(eventName, [...args]) Emits to ALL users.

Listeners

Callback takes in an eventName and [...args]

Command Args Effect
socket.on(eventName, callback) Runs the listener on event.
socket.once(eventName, callback) Runs the listener only once on event.
socket.off(eventName, callback) Same callback as was instantiated in socket.on Removes a listener by function.
socket.onAny(callback) Fires on any event.
socket.offAny([callback]) Same callback as was instantiated in onAny Removes a listener by function. If no callback, removes all listeners.
socket.removeAllListeners([eventName]) Removes all listeners for a given event name. If no eventName given, removes ALL listeners.

Rooms

A user joins a room using socket.join('some room'). A user leaves a room using socket.leave('some room').

Using .to('some room') prior to .emit(...) will emit the events to only those who are in that room.

Troubleshooting

Express

When using Socket.IO with Express, you will still need to use the Node http package to work with both your Express server and your Socket.IO server[6]. If you try and wrap Socket.IO directly with Express, it will not work. For example:

server.js

const express = require('express');
const http = require('http');
const socketio = require('socket.io');

const app = express();                 // Instantiate the Express app
const server = http.createServer(app); // Connect Express to the http server
const io = socketio(http);             // Connect Socket.IO to the http server

app.use(express.static(__dirname));

io.on('connection', () => {
  console.log('a user connected');
});

server.listen(3000, () => {
  const { port } = server.address();
  console.log(`Listening on port ${port}`);
});

References

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD7FnbI76Hg
  2. https://socket.io/docs/v4/
  3. https://socket.io/docs/v4/listening-to-events/
  4. https://socket.io/docs/v4/client-initialization/
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cS6Zzj8BSHM
  6. https://scribe.rip/geekculture/chat-app-with-socket-io-and-express-using-node-js-2293b87f47c3

Last modified: 202111220737