What is WebSocket? - Definition and Operation

What is WebSocket?

WebSocket is a TCP-based communication protocol used to establish and maintain a continuous, bidirectional connection between a client and a server over the internet. Unlike the traditional HTTP protocol, WebSocket allows real-time and continuous data exchange without the need to establish a new connection for each transmission.

Some key features of WebSocket

  1. Persistent Connection: Once a WebSocket connection is established, it remains open continuously between the client and the server. There's no need to initiate a new connection for each data exchange.

  2. Bidirectional Data: WebSocket enables data transmission from both the client and the server over the same connection. This is suitable for applications requiring real-time communication, such as online games, chat applications, weather data updates, etc.

  3. Good Performance: WebSocket reduces latency in data exchange by maintaining an open connection instead of establishing new connections for each request.

  4. Scalability: Due to the absence of constant connection establishment, WebSocket can handle multiple concurrent requests without creating many new server resources.

  5. Frame-Based Protocol: Data is transmitted in independent frames, making it easier to manage and ensure data integrity.

To use WebSocket, both the client and the server need to support this protocol. On the client side, you can use JavaScript to establish and manage WebSocket connections. On the server side, programming languages like Node.js, Python, Java, Ruby, and many others provide WebSocket libraries to help you build real-time applications.

In summary, WebSocket is a technology that enables continuous and real-time bidirectional communication between a client and a server through a persistent connection. This is extremely useful for building applications that require rapid interaction and updates.