What are WebSockets

WebSockets are a set of technologies designed to enable fully bidirectional communication between an application running inside a web browser (via the HTML 5 WebSocket API) and a web server (supporting the WebSockets protocol). 

In modern web applications a need often arises to receive frequent updates from the web server.  Because HTTP is a request/response protocol, it requires that the browser send a request to the server before the server can send any response to the client.  Traditionally, to obtain frequent updates from the server, the web application must issue equally frequent requests, many of which may be wasteful, if the server has no new data to send.  To work around this limitation, a handful of techniques have been developed, which generally fall into two categories.  The long poll (or Comet) technique relies on the browser issuing a long hanging request to which the server responds only when it has data to send, while the BOSH approach is to open two HTTP connections to form a single bidirectional channel.  Both solutions suffer from inefficiencies in throughput, latency and bandwidth usage.

The WebSocket protocol aims to overcome the shortcomings of existing solutions by allowing full duplex communication over a single TCP connection on any port (including 80 or 443) with minimal framing overhead.  The protocol is gaining popularity and adoption.  The WebSocket API is being standardized by the W3C and the WebSocket protocol is on the IETF standardization track.  A number of web browsers support the current draft of the protocol.

WCF Support for WebSockets

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What is WCF WebSockets Support

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Architecture overview

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Last edited Oct 22, 2010 at 11:18 PM by jmiadowicz, version 12

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