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Last pushed: 2 years ago
Short Description
meetup demo
Full Description

Chat Example

This application shows how to use use the
websocket package and
jQuery to implement a simple web chat application.

Running the example

The example requires a working Go development environment. The Getting
page describes how to install the
development environment.

Once you have Go up and running, you can download, build and run the example
using the following commands.

$ go get
$ cd `go list -f '{{.Dir}}'`
$ go run *.go

To use the chat example, open http://localhost:8080/ in your browser.


The server application is implemented with Go's http and the Gorilla websocket package.

The application defines two types, Conn and Hub. The server creates an instance of the Conn type for each webscocket connection. A Conn acts as an intermediary between the websocket and a single instance of the Hub type. The Hub maintains a set of registered connections and broadcasts messages to the connections.

The application runs one goroutine for the Hub and two goroutines for each Conn. The goroutines communicate with each other using channels. The Hub has channels for registering connections, unregistering connections and broadcasting messages. A Conn has a buffered channel of outbound messages. One of the connection's goroutines reads messages from this channel and writes the messages to the webscoket. The other connection goroutine reads messages from the websocket and sends them to the hub.


The code for the Hub type is in hub.go.

The application's main function starts the hub's run method as a goroutine. Connections send requests to the hub using the register, unregister and broadcast channels.

The hub registers connections by adding the connection pointer as a key in the connections map. The map value is always true.

The unregister code is a little more complicated. In addition to deleting the connection pointer from the connections map, the hub closes the connection's send channel to signal the connection that no more messages will be sent to the connection.

The hub handles messages by looping over the registered connections and sending the message to the connection's send channel. If the connection's send buffer is full, then the hub assumes that the client is dead or stuck. In this case, the hub unregisters the connection and closes the websocket.


The code for the Conn type is in conn.go.

An instance of the wsHandler type is registered by the application's main function as an HTTP handler. The handler upgrades the HTTP connection to the WebSocket protocol, creates a connection object, registers the connection with the hub and schedules the connection to be unregistered using a defer statement.

Next, the HTTP handler starts the connection's writePump method as a goroutine. This method transfers messages from the connection's send channel to the websocket. The writer method exits when the channel is closed by the hub or there's an error writing to the websocket.

Finally, the HTTP handler calls the connection's readPump method. This method transfers inbound messages from the websocket to the hub.


The code for the client is in home.html.

The client uses jQuery to manipulate objects in the browser.

On document load, the script checks for websocket functionality in the browser. If websocket functionality is available, then the script opens a connection to the server and registers a callback to handle messages from the server. The callback appends the message to the chat log using the appendLog function.

To allow the user to manually scroll through the chat log without interruption from new messages, the appendLog function checks the scroll position before adding new content. If the chat log is scrolled to the bottom, then the function scrolls new content into view after adding the content. Otherwise, the scroll position is not changed.

The form handler writes the user input to the websocket and clears the input field.

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