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Web-Socket Messaging User specific? Who's played with this?

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  • Web-Socket Messaging User specific? Who's played with this?

    The new Web-Socket messaging looks like it's just the ticket for what I was trying to accomplish with a setinterval query (that uses a lot of resources). However, I think it's missing something, or I'm missing something. What about "private" messaging? I need to be able to send a message from an application to a specific user. Is there something built in to the new functionality to do that or does someone have a good idea of how to do it with code? I'm just looking for the best way to do this.

    Ultimately what I'm after is a way for my application to notify users to view their notifications (that will be kept in a table). This will be used as part of a workflow process instead of emailing as some users don't have email. So, for example, I have an application that assigns a user to a task. This application would update it's bound table and then update a notification table. I want the application then to send a message using Web-Socket to that specific user so if they are online, they'll get a real-time message to check their notifications.

    What I was working on before was having everyone's client check the notifications table at a set interval to see if there was anything new for that user. As it says in Alpha's description for using web-sockets, it's not scalable and takes too many resources.

  • #2
    Re: Web-Socket Messaging User specific? Who's played with this?

    Oooooooh.....this is pretty awesome. I've got some of this working and so far so good. I think I like it.

    I added a from and to, to the message object (this is what I wasn't sure would work).
    var obj = {type: 'notification', from: _from, to: _to, messageText: _message, command: 'post'}
    That allows check against usernames. This should also allow for private messaging/chatting if I decide to implement that in the future.

    Then I made my listening component check for all message types and then put in a check that if the message type is 'notification' and the 'to' is equal to the current logged in user it will alert that user with the message but won't alert anyone else.
    if(typeof e.message != 'undefined') { 
    	//e.message is an object containing the JSON.parse() version of the message that was received
    	var p = e.message;
    	var messageType = p.type;
    	var to =;
    	var from = p.from;
    	var cuser = {grid.Object}.getSessionVariable('CURRENTUSER');
    	if(typeof messageType == 'undefined') { 
    		alert('Received a message, but the type was not specfied.');
    	} else {
    		messageType = messageType.toLowerCase();
    		if(messageType == 'notification' && cuser == to) { 
    		} else if(messageType == 'simple') { 
    			alert('Received a simple message: ' + e.message.messageText);
    		} else { 
    			//alert('Received a message: ' + e.message.messageText + ' but there is no special handler for messages of type: ' + messageType);
    I can also use this to broadcast application wide admin messages to make sure users save their work when I'm messing with stuff...etc.

    Like I said, so far so good. This seems to be extremely useful!


    • #3
      Re: Web-Socket Messaging User specific? Who's played with this?

      Dan Hooley did a lot of work with this and it is cool. But we ran into a roadblock because nobody could figure out how to make it work if you used a load balancer. I know Alpha's added some features more recently and there's specific reference to in the release notes about this. We're waiting just a bit to upgrade our site and be able to test this, but if you or anyone else gets experience, a note posted here would be very welcome.
      Last edited by Steve Workings; 04-14-2016, 05:25 PM.


      • #4
        Re: Web-Socket Messaging User specific? Who's played with this?

        Well, we're three months down the road from this last thread activity, and still can't get the web-socket to work with a load balancer. Has anyone succeeded?

        Zebrahost has been most generous in their help to get this to work, including lots of time with us, lots of time with Alpha, even implementing a new load balancer they'd never used before in hopes of providing a more appropriate set of features.

        Alpha says they've delivered the web-socket with functionality as promised. I understand Alpha's position, which includes:
        "web sockets are complicated and as a result we have made a decision that for individual customers who can't get their particular setup to function we can only provide paid consulting help"

        But the consulting cost is quite high and doesn't imply any guarantee or cost cap -- too much for us to try in hopes of success.

        We've spent months and too much money trying to make this work -- I sure would like to hear from anyone who has figured this out. Any knowledge we can gain here would, I think, benefit many people in the future.



        • #5
          Re: Web-Socket Messaging User specific? Who's played with this?

          So if you are saying you have done as advertised and it does not work - namely 'just allow the incoming traffic to pass through to the Node.js server' then you should ask for clarification, we invested in AA to do a redis set up and it was well worth it.

          Using the Web-Sockets Server when Alpha Anywhere is Using a Load Balancer
          A load balancer is commonly used to distribute incoming requests to one of several Alpha Anywhere Application Server instances running on a single Windows computer. Alpha Anywhere uses a Node.js server running on a different port in order to provide WebSockets functionality, so the load balancer will need additional configuration if you will be using WebSockets with your application. The URL used for your application points to the load balancer so it must know about all incoming traffic that is to be expected and passed along.

          Configuring the load balancer to work with the WebSockets server is simpler than configuring it to work with the Alpha Anywhere Application Server instances because only one Node.js server is used. There is no balancing to be done, just allow the incoming traffic to pass through to the Node.js server. The load balancer should be configured to accept traffic on the port that has been specified in the web project properties and send that traffic to the same machine as the Alpha Anywhere Application Servers, but on the port specified. The exact configuration steps vary from load balancer to load balancer, but it is essentially the same as creating the alpha Anywhere Application Server load balancing that was already done but with just a single target.

          Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
          Albert Einstein, (attributed)
          US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)


          • #6
            Re: Web-Socket Messaging User specific? Who's played with this?

            How many physical boxes are you using here Pete? We're doing exactly as you quote here, and can get it working just fine with one physical server, but go to two or more and nobody knows how to make it work.


            • #7
              Re: Web-Socket Messaging User specific? Who's played with this?

              Apologies for a semi-hijack but has an example of capturing the socket messages from a UX/grid to a db table been made available? As in what is the sequence/code/code location (send_message/insert_record vs insert_record/send_message)? Seems like any business-related messaging system would want an archive of communications.


              • #8
                Re: Web-Socket Messaging User specific? Who's played with this?

                I'd like to bump this back to the top in case someone who has a solution didn't see it before. Is nobody running websocket with a load balancer across more than one physical machine? Or, maybe others have tried it and had the same results we did - can't make it work.


                • #9
                  Re: Web-Socket Messaging User specific? Who's played with this?

                  Originally posted by menehune View Post
                  Apologies for a semi-hijack but has an example of capturing the socket messages from a UX/grid to a db table been made available? As in what is the sequence/code/code location (send_message/insert_record vs insert_record/send_message)? Seems like any business-related messaging system would want an archive of communications.
                  Once you've captured the message with JavaScript, it's quite simple to use an Ajax Callback to some server-side Xbasic to CRUD on a db. The reverse is also true, just return JavaScript from the Xbasic function to send a message.. In my application, I'm saving the messages to a notification table and then a notification history table once a user takes an action on them.