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# Web Sockets

The WebSockets module provides an implementation of the WebSockets protocol for WebSockets clients and servers. It mirrors the Qt CPP module. It allows sending a string and binary messages using a full duplex communication channel. A WebSocket is normally established by making an HTTP connection to the server and the server then “upgrades” the connection to a WebSocket connection.

In Qt/QML you can also simply use the WebSocket and WebSocketServer objects to creates direct WebSocket connection. The WebSocket protocol uses the “ws” URL schema or “wss” for a secure connection.

You can use the web socket qml module by importing it first.

import QtWebSockets

WebSocket {
    id: socket
}

# WS Server

You can easily create your own WS server using the C++ part of the Qt WebSocket or use a different WS implementation, which I find very interesting. It is interesting because it allows connecting the amazing rendering quality of QML with the great expanding web application servers. In this example, we will use a Node JS based web socket server using the ws (opens new window) module. For this, you first need to install node js (opens new window). Then, create a ws_server folder and install the ws package using the node package manager (npm).

The code shall create a simple echo server in NodeJS to echo our messages back to our QML client.

image

cd ws_server
npm install ws

The npm tool downloads and installs the ws package and dependencies into your local folder.

A server.js file will be our server implementation. The server code will create a web socket server on port 3000 and listens to an incoming connection. On an incoming connection, it will send out a greeting and waits for client messages. Each message a client sends on a socket will be sent back to the client.

const WebSocketServer = require('ws').Server

const server = new WebSocketServer({ port : 3000 })

server.on('connection', function(socket) {
	console.log('client connected')
	socket.on('message', function(msg) {
		console.log('Message: %s', msg)
		socket.send(msg.toString())
	});
	socket.send('Welcome to Awesome Chat')
});

console.log('listening on port ' + server.options.port)

You need to get used to the notation of JavaScript and the function callbacks.

# WS Client

On the client side, we need a list view to display the messages and a TextInput for the user to enter a new chat message.

We will use a label with white color in the example.

// Label.qml
import QtQuick

Text {
    color: '#fff'
    horizontalAlignment: Text.AlignLeft
    verticalAlignment: Text.AlignVCenter
}

Our chat view is a list view, where the text is appended to a list model. Each entry is displayed using a row of prefix and message label. We use a cell width cw factor to split the with into 24 columns.

// ChatView.qml
import QtQuick

ListView {
    id: root
    width: 100
    height: 62

    model: ListModel {}

    function append(prefix, message) {
        model.append({prefix: prefix, message: message})
    }

    delegate: Row {
        id: delegate

        required property var model
        property real cw: width / 24

        width: root.width
        height: 18

        Label {
            width: delegate.cw * 1
            height: parent.height
            text: delegate.model.prefix
        }

        Label {
            width: delegate.cw * 23
            height: parent.height
            text: delegate.model.message
        }
    }
}

The chat input is just a simple text input wrapped with a colored border.

// ChatInput.qml
import QtQuick

FocusScope {
    id: root

    property alias text: input.text
    signal accepted(string text)

    width: 240
    height: 32

    Rectangle {
        anchors.fill: parent
        color: '#000'
        border.color: '#fff'
        border.width: 2
    }

    TextInput {
        id: input
        anchors.left: parent.left
        anchors.right: parent.right
        anchors.verticalCenter: parent.verticalCenter
        anchors.leftMargin: 4
        anchors.rightMargin: 4
        color: '#fff'
        focus: true
        onAccepted: function () {
            root.accepted(text)
        }
    }
}

When the web socket receives a message it appends the message to the chat view. Same applies for a status change. Also when the user enters a chat message a copy is appended to the chat view on the client side and the message is sent to the server.

// ws_client.qml
import QtQuick
import QtWebSockets

Rectangle {
    width: 360
    height: 360
    color: '#000'

    ChatView {
        id: box
        anchors.left: parent.left
        anchors.right: parent.right
        anchors.top: parent.top
        anchors.bottom: input.top
    }

    ChatInput {
        id: input
        anchors.left: parent.left
        anchors.right: parent.right
        anchors.bottom: parent.bottom
        focus: true

        onAccepted: function(text) {
            print('send message: ' + text)
            socket.sendTextMessage(text)
            box.append('>', text)
            text = ''
        }
    }

    WebSocket {
        id: socket

        url: "ws://localhost:3000"
        active: true

        onTextMessageReceived: function (message) {
            box.append('<', message)
        }

        onStatusChanged: {
            if (socket.status == WebSocket.Error) {
                box.append('#', 'socket error ' + socket.errorString)
            } else if (socket.status == WebSocket.Open) {
                box.append('#', 'socket open')
            } else if (socket.status == WebSocket.Closed) {
                box.append('#', 'socket closed')
            }
        }
    }
}

You need first run the server and then the client. There is no retry connection mechanism in our simple client.

Running the server

cd ws_server
node server.js

Running the client

cd ws_client
qml ws_client.qml

When entering text and pressing enter you should see something like this.

image