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Romulo Gatto
Romulo Gatto

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Introduction to WebSocket Programming with Node.js

Introduction to WebSocket Programming with Node.js

WebSocket is a popular communication protocol that provides full-duplex communication between a client and a server, allowing real-time data exchange. In this guide, we will explore the basics of WebSocket programming using Node.js and learn how to build a simple chat application.

What is WebSocket?

Before we dive into the details, let's take a moment to understand what WebSocket is. Unlike traditional HTTP requests which are stateless, WebSockets enable bidirectional communication between clients and servers through a single open connection. This allows for real-time updates and push notifications without having to constantly poll the server.


To follow along with this tutorial, make sure you have Node.js installed on your machine. You can download it from the official website: Node.js

Setting up a Project

To create our chat application using WebSockets in Node.js, we need to set up a new project first.

  1. Open your terminal or command prompt.
  2. Create an empty directory for your project by running mkdir websocket-chat.
  3. Navigate into the newly created directory by running cd websocket-chat.
  4. Initialize your project by running npm init and filling in the required information.
  5. Install the necessary dependencies by executing npm install express ws.

Building the Server

Now that we have our project set up, let's start building our server.

  1. Create a new file called server.js in your project directory.
  2. Import Express and WebSocket libraries at the top of your file:
const express = require('express');
const { Server } = require('ws');
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  1. Initialize Express app:
const app = express();
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  1. Create an HTTP server using Express:
const server = app.listen(3000);
console.log('Server running on port 3000');
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  1. Next, create a WebSocket server instance:
const wss = new Server({ server });
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Establishing WebSocket Connection

To establish a WebSocket connection, we need to handle the client's handshake request and upgrade the HTTP connection to WebSocket.

  1. Add a listener for incoming connections:
wss.on('connection', (ws) => {
  console.log('New client connected');

  // Handle message reception from the client
  ws.on('message', (message) => {
    console.log(`Received message: ${message}`);

    // Broadcast received message to all connected clients
    ws.clients.forEach((client) => {
      if (client !== ws && client.readyState === WebSocket.OPEN) {

  // Send a welcome message to the newly connected client
  ws.send('Welcome to our chat!');
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By following these steps, you have successfully set up your Node.js application with WebSockets. You can now proceed with implementing the front end of your chat application using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

WebSocket programming opens up endless possibilities for real-time communication between clients and servers. Whether it's building chat applications or live-updating dashboards, utilizing WebSockets allows us to create responsive and interactive web experiences.

Feel free to explore more about WebSockets in Node.js by referring to the official Node.js documentation. Happy coding!

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