|Creating an XPages Websockets chat client using Bluemix
In this article I will demonstrate how I was able to take an example Bluemix, node.js based, websocket chat program and re-purpose it to be used in XPages.
Earlier this year I was very excited to find the Websockets in XPages project on OpenNTF published by Mark Ambler. The concept behind that project is to be able to create a notes document in a queue which is processed and then send out to all users. As much as I promised to help out and use the project, life and a business need to learn and use Angular.js got in the way. My abject apologies to Mark for not following through on my promise to help move the project along.
Creating a Websockets chat example in Bluemix
I found this article on Create an HTML5 chat app on Bluemix with Node.js, Redis, and Socket.io and following it through I was able to get my own chat program up and running within an hour or so.
It is not an especially difficult example to follow but I did find that it helped to understand a little about Bluemix and how a node.js application is put together. You should be able to figure it out though just following through the example.
The code for the original example can be found here https://hub.jazz.net/project/joelennon/bluemixchat/overview?welcome= if you want to take a look at it.
Porting the “client” to an XPage
Within the original example, the interface makes a connection to a Redis database to store the last 99 entries of the chat. Within the XPages example I could do that but I am not going to at this time. So the XPages interface will lose chat history when you refresh the page. I am not really concerned about that in the big picture.
Because I had all the files locally I was able to create a new IBM Domino database and drag the files into the WebContent directory. Within node.js the “Public” directory is assigned to the root of the server, but in this case I removed the public folder as it is unnecessary.
The original example uses the jade templating engine to create the web page. But in this case I felt lazy and just viewed the source of the example once it was working and then extracted all the HTML I needed.
Moving socket.io to the HEAD
The HTML of the XPage is relatively simple. As you can see below we a using the xp:resources tag to insert the same HTML references to the local files as they were in the original example.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="//cdn.jsdelivr.net/normalize/3.0.1/normalize.min.css"/>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="stylesheets/style.css"/>
<xp:parameter name="src" value="//cdn.jsdelivr.net/jquery/2.1.1/jquery.min.js" />
<xp:parameter name="src" value="socket.io/socket.io.js" />
<h1>XPages Websocket Chat using Bluemix</h1>
<input id="msg" autocomplete="off" autofocus="autofocus"/>
The critical difference – the server connection
Within the original example the socket code was on the same server as the client creating the messages. In this case they are not as my XPages server is wholly independent of Bluemix.
So I had to change the initial connection to the websocket server. Within the client.js file I changed the first line from
var socket = io(), nickname, msgList = $('#messages');
to the following
var socket = io.connect('http://xominosocket.mybluemix.net') //connect to the Bluemix server
var nickname, msgList = $('#messages');
With these changes and a couple of stupid spelling mistake corrections I was able to bring my application up within my xSocket XPage.
You can see from the Firebug console that the copper.xomino.com application is talking to the xominosocket.bluemix.net application
Yes you have to be connected to the website (rather than OS Push notification) but websockets works on iOS7+ and Android 4.4+
There is a lot more detail which we can go into as to how this example works but in the mean time if you want to play with it.
Here is an XPage: http://demo.xomino.com/xomino/WSinX.nsf/xSocket.xsp
Here is the Bluemix Page: http://xominosocket.mybluemix.net/
You can find my Bluemix code on Jazz Hub – https://hub.jazz.net/project/mdroden/xominosocket/overview.
Nov 09, 2014
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