Creating a “Hello World” WebSocket example

I don't understand why I cannot make the following code work. I want to connect with JavaScript to my server console application. And then send data to the server.

Here is the server code:

    static void Main(string[] args)
    {            
        TcpListener server = new TcpListener(IPAddress.Parse("127.0.0.1"), 9998);
        server.Start();
        var client = server.AcceptTcpClient();
        var stream = client.GetStream();

        while (true)
        {
            var buffer = new byte[1024]; 
            // wait for data to be received
            var bytesRead = stream.Read(buffer, 0, buffer.Length);                
            var r = System.Text.Encoding.UTF8.GetString(buffer);
            // write received data to the console
            Console.WriteLine(r.Substring(0, bytesRead));
        }
    }

and here is the JavaScript:

        var ws = new WebSocket("ws://localhost:9998/service");
        ws.onopen = function () {
            ws.send("Hello World"); // I WANT TO SEND THIS MESSAGE TO THE SERVER!!!!!!!!
        };

        ws.onmessage = function (evt) {
            var received_msg = evt.data;
            alert("Message is received...");
        };
        ws.onclose = function () {
            // websocket is closed.
            alert("Connection is closed...");
        };

When I run that code this is what happens:

Note that when I run the JavaScript the server accepts and successfully establishes a connection. JavaScript is not able to send data though. Whenever I place the send method it will not send even though a connection is established. How can I make this work?

Answers:

Answer

WebSockets is protocol that relies on TCP streamed connection. Although WebSockets is Message based protocol.

If you want to implement your own protocol then I recommend to use latest and stable specification (for 18/04/12) RFC 6455. This specification contains all necessary information regarding handshake and framing. As well most of description on scenarios of behaving from browser side as well as from server side. It is highly recommended to follow what recommendations tells regarding server side during implementing of your code.

In few words, I would describe working with WebSockets like this:

  1. Create server Socket (System.Net.Sockets) bind it to specific port, and keep listening with asynchronous accepting of connections. Something like that:

    Socket serverSocket = new Socket(AddressFamily.InterNetwork, SocketType.Stream, ProtocolType.IP);
    serverSocket.Bind(new IPEndPoint(IPAddress.Any, 8080));
    serverSocket.Listen(128);
    serverSocket.BeginAccept(null, 0, OnAccept, null);
  2. You should have accepting function "OnAccept" that will implement handshake. In future it has to be in another thread if system is meant to handle huge amount of connections per second.

    private void OnAccept(IAsyncResult result) {
    try {
        Socket client = null;
        if (serverSocket != null && serverSocket.IsBound) {
            client = serverSocket.EndAccept(result);
        }
        if (client != null) {
            /* Handshaking and managing ClientSocket */
        }
    } catch(SocketException exception) {
    
    } finally {
        if (serverSocket != null && serverSocket.IsBound) {
            serverSocket.BeginAccept(null, 0, OnAccept, null);
        }
    }
    }
  3. After connection established, you have to do handshake. Based on specification 1.3 Opening Handshake, after connection established you will receive basic HTTP request with some information. Example:

    GET /chat HTTP/1.1
    Host: server.example.com
    Upgrade: websocket
    Connection: Upgrade
    Sec-WebSocket-Key: dGhlIHNhbXBsZSBub25jZQ==
    Origin: http://example.com
    Sec-WebSocket-Protocol: chat, superchat
    Sec-WebSocket-Version: 13

    This example is based on version of protocol 13. Bear in mind that older versions have some differences but mostly latest versions are cross-compatible. Different browsers may send you some additional data. For example Browser and OS details, cache and others.

    Based on provided handshake details, you have to generate answer lines, they are mostly same, but will contain Accpet-Key, that is based on provided Sec-WebSocket-Key. In specification 1.3 it is described clearly how to generate response key. Here is my function I've been using for V13:

    static private string guid = "258EAFA5-E914-47DA-95CA-C5AB0DC85B11";
    private string AcceptKey(ref string key) {
        string longKey = key + guid;
        SHA1 sha1 = SHA1CryptoServiceProvider.Create();
        byte[] hashBytes = sha1.ComputeHash(System.Text.Encoding.ASCII.GetBytes(longKey));
        return Convert.ToBase64String(hashBytes);
    }
    

    Handshake answer looks like that:

    HTTP/1.1 101 Switching Protocols
    Upgrade: websocket
    Connection: Upgrade
    Sec-WebSocket-Accept: s3pPLMBiTxaQ9kYGzzhZRbK+xOo=

    But accept key have to be the generated one based on provided key from client and method AcceptKey I provided before. As well, make sure after last character of accept key you put two new lines "\r\n\r\n".

  4. After handshake answer is sent from server, client should trigger "onopen" function, that means you can send messages after.
  5. Messages are not sent in raw format, but they have Data Framing. And from client to server as well implement masking for data based on provided 4 bytes in message header. Although from server to client you don't need to apply masking over data. Read section 5. Data Framing in specification. Here is copy-paste from my own implementation. It is not ready-to-use code, and have to be modified, I am posting it just to give an idea and overall logic of read/write with WebSocket framing. Go to this link.
  6. After framing is implemented, make sure that you receive data right way using sockets. For example to prevent that some messages get merged into one, because TCP is still stream based protocol. That means you have to read ONLY specific amount of bytes. Length of message is always based on header and provided data length details in header it self. So when you receiving data from Socket, first receive 2 bytes, get details from header based on Framing specification, then if mask provided another 4 bytes, and then length that might be 1, 4 or 8 bytes based on length of data. And after data it self. After you read it, apply demasking and your message data is ready to use.
  7. You might want to use some Data Protocol, I recommend to use JSON due traffic economy and easy to use on client side in JavaScript. For server side you might want to check some of parsers. There is lots of them, google can be really helpful.

Implementing own WebSockets protocol definitely have some benefits and great experience you get as well as control over protocol it self. But you have to spend some time doing it, and make sure that implementation is highly reliable.

In same time you might have a look in ready to use solutions that google (again) have enough.

Answer

(Posted answer on behalf of the OP).

I am able to send data now. This is my new version of the program thanks to your answers and the code of @Maksims Mihejevs.

Server

using System;
using System.Net.Sockets;
using System.Net;
using System.Security.Cryptography;
using System.Threading;

namespace ConsoleApplication1
{
    class Program
    {
        static Socket serverSocket = new Socket(AddressFamily.InterNetwork, 
        SocketType.Stream, ProtocolType.IP);
        static private string guid = "258EAFA5-E914-47DA-95CA-C5AB0DC85B11";

        static void Main(string[] args)
        {            
            serverSocket.Bind(new IPEndPoint(IPAddress.Any, 8080));
            serverSocket.Listen(128);
            serverSocket.BeginAccept(null, 0, OnAccept, null);            
            Console.Read();
        }

        private static void OnAccept(IAsyncResult result)
        {
            byte[] buffer = new byte[1024];
            try
            {
                Socket client = null;
                string headerResponse = "";
                if (serverSocket != null && serverSocket.IsBound)
                {
                    client = serverSocket.EndAccept(result);
                    var i = client.Receive(buffer);
                    headerResponse = (System.Text.Encoding.UTF8.GetString(buffer)).Substring(0,i);
                    // write received data to the console
                    Console.WriteLine(headerResponse);

                }
                if (client != null)
                {
                    /* Handshaking and managing ClientSocket */

                    var key = headerResponse.Replace("ey:", "`")
                              .Split('`')[1]                     // dGhlIHNhbXBsZSBub25jZQ== \r\n .......
                              .Replace("\r", "").Split('\n')[0]  // dGhlIHNhbXBsZSBub25jZQ==
                              .Trim();

                    // key should now equal dGhlIHNhbXBsZSBub25jZQ==
                    var test1 = AcceptKey(ref key);

                    var newLine = "\r\n";

                    var response = "HTTP/1.1 101 Switching Protocols" + newLine
                         + "Upgrade: websocket" + newLine
                         + "Connection: Upgrade" + newLine
                         + "Sec-WebSocket-Accept: " + test1 + newLine + newLine
                         //+ "Sec-WebSocket-Protocol: chat, superchat" + newLine
                         //+ "Sec-WebSocket-Version: 13" + newLine
                         ;

                    // which one should I use? none of them fires the onopen method
                    client.Send(System.Text.Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(response));

                    var i = client.Receive(buffer); // wait for client to send a message

                    // once the message is received decode it in different formats
                    Console.WriteLine(Convert.ToBase64String(buffer).Substring(0, i));                    

                    Console.WriteLine("\n\nPress enter to send data to client");
                    Console.Read();

                    var subA = SubArray<byte>(buffer, 0, i);
                    client.Send(subA);
                    Thread.Sleep(10000);//wait for message to be send


                }
            }
            catch (SocketException exception)
            {
                throw exception;
            }
            finally
            {
                if (serverSocket != null && serverSocket.IsBound)
                {
                    serverSocket.BeginAccept(null, 0, OnAccept, null);
                }
            }
        }

        public static T[] SubArray<T>(T[] data, int index, int length)
        {
            T[] result = new T[length];
            Array.Copy(data, index, result, 0, length);
            return result;
        }

        private static string AcceptKey(ref string key)
        {
            string longKey = key + guid;
            byte[] hashBytes = ComputeHash(longKey);
            return Convert.ToBase64String(hashBytes);
        }

        static SHA1 sha1 = SHA1CryptoServiceProvider.Create();
        private static byte[] ComputeHash(string str)
        {
            return sha1.ComputeHash(System.Text.Encoding.ASCII.GetBytes(str));
        }
    }
}

JavaScript:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" 
    "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
    <script type="text/javascript">
        function connect() {
            var ws = new WebSocket("ws://localhost:8080/service");
            ws.onopen = function () {
                alert("About to send data");
                ws.send("Hello World"); // I WANT TO SEND THIS MESSAGE TO THE SERVER!!!!!!!!
                alert("Message sent!");
            };

            ws.onmessage = function (evt) {
                alert("About to receive data");
                var received_msg = evt.data;
                alert("Message received = "+received_msg);
            };
            ws.onclose = function () {
                // websocket is closed.
                alert("Connection is closed...");
            };
        };


    </script>
</head>
<body style="font-size:xx-large" >
    <div>
    <a href="#" onclick="connect()">Click here to start</a></div>
</body>
</html>

When I run that code I am able to send and receive data from both the client and the server. The only problem is that the messages are encrypted when they arrive to the server. Here are the steps of how the program runs:

enter image description here

Note how the message from the client is encrypted.

Answer

WebSockets are implemented with a protocol that involves handshake between client and server. I don't imagine they work very much like normal sockets. Read up on the protocol, and get your application to talk it. Alternatively, use an existing WebSocket library, or .Net4.5beta which has a WebSocket API.

Answer

You may try these simple examples...

Answer

I couldnt find a simple working example anywhere (as of Jan 19), so here is an updated version. I have chrome version 71.0.3578.98.

C# Websocket server :

using System;
using System.Text;
using System.Net;
using System.Net.Sockets;
using System.Security.Cryptography;

namespace WebSocketServer
{
    class Program
    {
    static Socket serverSocket = new Socket(AddressFamily.InterNetwork, SocketType.Stream, ProtocolType.IP);
    static private string guid = "258EAFA5-E914-47DA-95CA-C5AB0DC85B11";

    static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        serverSocket.Bind(new IPEndPoint(IPAddress.Any, 8080));
        serverSocket.Listen(1); //just one socket
        serverSocket.BeginAccept(null, 0, OnAccept, null);
        Console.Read();
    }

    private static void OnAccept(IAsyncResult result)
    {
        byte[] buffer = new byte[1024];
        try
        {
            Socket client = null;
            string headerResponse = "";
            if (serverSocket != null && serverSocket.IsBound)
            {
                client = serverSocket.EndAccept(result);
                var i = client.Receive(buffer);
                headerResponse = (System.Text.Encoding.UTF8.GetString(buffer)).Substring(0, i);
                // write received data to the console
                Console.WriteLine(headerResponse);
                Console.WriteLine("=====================");
            }
            if (client != null)
            {
                /* Handshaking and managing ClientSocket */
                var key = headerResponse.Replace("ey:", "`")
                          .Split('`')[1]                     // dGhlIHNhbXBsZSBub25jZQ== \r\n .......
                          .Replace("\r", "").Split('\n')[0]  // dGhlIHNhbXBsZSBub25jZQ==
                          .Trim();

                // key should now equal dGhlIHNhbXBsZSBub25jZQ==
                var test1 = AcceptKey(ref key);

                var newLine = "\r\n";

                var response = "HTTP/1.1 101 Switching Protocols" + newLine
                     + "Upgrade: websocket" + newLine
                     + "Connection: Upgrade" + newLine
                     + "Sec-WebSocket-Accept: " + test1 + newLine + newLine
                     //+ "Sec-WebSocket-Protocol: chat, superchat" + newLine
                     //+ "Sec-WebSocket-Version: 13" + newLine
                     ;

                client.Send(System.Text.Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(response));
                var i = client.Receive(buffer); // wait for client to send a message
                string browserSent = GetDecodedData(buffer, i);
                Console.WriteLine("BrowserSent: " + browserSent);

                Console.WriteLine("=====================");
                //now send message to client
                client.Send(GetFrameFromString("This is message from server to client."));
                System.Threading.Thread.Sleep(10000);//wait for message to be sent
            }
        }
        catch (SocketException exception)
        {
            throw exception;
        }
        finally
        {
            if (serverSocket != null && serverSocket.IsBound)
            {
                serverSocket.BeginAccept(null, 0, OnAccept, null);
            }
        }
    }

    public static T[] SubArray<T>(T[] data, int index, int length)
    {
        T[] result = new T[length];
        Array.Copy(data, index, result, 0, length);
        return result;
    }

    private static string AcceptKey(ref string key)
    {
        string longKey = key + guid;
        byte[] hashBytes = ComputeHash(longKey);
        return Convert.ToBase64String(hashBytes);
    }

    static SHA1 sha1 = SHA1CryptoServiceProvider.Create();
    private static byte[] ComputeHash(string str)
    {
        return sha1.ComputeHash(System.Text.Encoding.ASCII.GetBytes(str));
    }

    //Needed to decode frame
    public static string GetDecodedData(byte[] buffer, int length)
    {
        byte b = buffer[1];
        int dataLength = 0;
        int totalLength = 0;
        int keyIndex = 0;

        if (b - 128 <= 125)
        {
            dataLength = b - 128;
            keyIndex = 2;
            totalLength = dataLength + 6;
        }

        if (b - 128 == 126)
        {
            dataLength = BitConverter.ToInt16(new byte[] { buffer[3], buffer[2] }, 0);
            keyIndex = 4;
            totalLength = dataLength + 8;
        }

        if (b - 128 == 127)
        {
            dataLength = (int)BitConverter.ToInt64(new byte[] { buffer[9], buffer[8], buffer[7], buffer[6], buffer[5], buffer[4], buffer[3], buffer[2] }, 0);
            keyIndex = 10;
            totalLength = dataLength + 14;
        }

        if (totalLength > length)
            throw new Exception("The buffer length is small than the data length");

        byte[] key = new byte[] { buffer[keyIndex], buffer[keyIndex + 1], buffer[keyIndex + 2], buffer[keyIndex + 3] };

        int dataIndex = keyIndex + 4;
        int count = 0;
        for (int i = dataIndex; i < totalLength; i++)
        {
            buffer[i] = (byte)(buffer[i] ^ key[count % 4]);
            count++;
        }

        return Encoding.ASCII.GetString(buffer, dataIndex, dataLength);
    }

    //function to create  frames to send to client 
    /// <summary>
    /// Enum for opcode types
    /// </summary>
    public enum EOpcodeType
    {
        /* Denotes a continuation code */
        Fragment = 0,

        /* Denotes a text code */
        Text = 1,

        /* Denotes a binary code */
        Binary = 2,

        /* Denotes a closed connection */
        ClosedConnection = 8,

        /* Denotes a ping*/
        Ping = 9,

        /* Denotes a pong */
        Pong = 10
    }

    /// <summary>Gets an encoded websocket frame to send to a client from a string</summary>
    /// <param name="Message">The message to encode into the frame</param>
    /// <param name="Opcode">The opcode of the frame</param>
    /// <returns>Byte array in form of a websocket frame</returns>
    public static byte[] GetFrameFromString(string Message, EOpcodeType Opcode = EOpcodeType.Text)
    {
        byte[] response;
        byte[] bytesRaw = Encoding.Default.GetBytes(Message);
        byte[] frame = new byte[10];

        int indexStartRawData = -1;
        int length = bytesRaw.Length;

        frame[0] = (byte)(128 + (int)Opcode);
        if (length <= 125)
        {
            frame[1] = (byte)length;
            indexStartRawData = 2;
        }
        else if (length >= 126 && length <= 65535)
        {
            frame[1] = (byte)126;
            frame[2] = (byte)((length >> 8) & 255);
            frame[3] = (byte)(length & 255);
            indexStartRawData = 4;
        }
        else
        {
            frame[1] = (byte)127;
            frame[2] = (byte)((length >> 56) & 255);
            frame[3] = (byte)((length >> 48) & 255);
            frame[4] = (byte)((length >> 40) & 255);
            frame[5] = (byte)((length >> 32) & 255);
            frame[6] = (byte)((length >> 24) & 255);
            frame[7] = (byte)((length >> 16) & 255);
            frame[8] = (byte)((length >> 8) & 255);
            frame[9] = (byte)(length & 255);

            indexStartRawData = 10;
        }

        response = new byte[indexStartRawData + length];

        int i, reponseIdx = 0;

        //Add the frame bytes to the reponse
        for (i = 0; i < indexStartRawData; i++)
        {
            response[reponseIdx] = frame[i];
            reponseIdx++;
        }

        //Add the data bytes to the response
        for (i = 0; i < length; i++)
        {
            response[reponseIdx] = bytesRaw[i];
            reponseIdx++;
        }

        return response;
    }
}
}

Client html and javascript:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
    "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
    <script type="text/javascript">
        var socket = new WebSocket('ws://localhost:8080/websession');
        socket.onopen = function() {
           // alert('handshake successfully established. May send data now...');
		   socket.send("Hi there from browser.");
        };
		socket.onmessage = function (evt) {
                //alert("About to receive data");
                var received_msg = evt.data;
                alert("Message received = "+received_msg);
            };
        socket.onclose = function() {
            alert('connection closed');
        };
    </script>
</head>
<body>
</body>
</html>

Answer

Issue

Since you are using WebSocket, spender is correct. After recieving the initial data from the WebSocket, you need to send the handshake message from the C# server before any further information can flow.

HTTP/1.1 101 Web Socket Protocol Handshake
Upgrade: websocket
Connection: Upgrade
WebSocket-Origin: example
WebSocket-Location: something.here
WebSocket-Protocol: 13

Something along those lines.

You can do some more research into how WebSocket works on w3 or google.

Links and Resources

Here is a protocol specifcation: http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-hixie-thewebsocketprotocol-76#section-1.3

List of working examples:

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