Socket.IO vs uWebSockets: What are the differences?
Developers describe Socket.IO as "Realtime application framework (Node.JS server)". It enables real-time bidirectional event-based communication. It works on every platform, browser or device, focusing equally on reliability and speed. On the other hand, uWebSockets is detailed as "Simple, secure & standards compliant web I/O for the most demanding of applications". It is a simple to use yet thoroughly optimized implementation of HTTP and WebSockets. It comes with built-in pub/sub support, HTTP routing, TLS 1.3, IPv6, permessage-deflate and is battle tested as one of the most popular implementations, reaching many end-users daily.
Socket.IO and uWebSockets can be primarily classified as "Realtime Backend / API" tools.
Some of the features offered by Socket.IO are:
- Real-time analytics - Push data to clients that gets represented as real-time counters, charts or logs.
- Binary streaming - Starting in 1.0, it's possible to send any blob back and forth: image, audio, video.
- Instant messaging and chat - Socket.IO's "Hello world" is a chat app in just a few lines of code.
On the other hand, uWebSockets provides the following key features:
- HTTP and Websockets
- Built-in pub/sub support
- HTTP routing
Socket.IO and uWebSockets are both open source tools. Socket.IO with 47.7K GitHub stars and 8.68K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than uWebSockets with 10.9K GitHub stars and 1.07K GitHub forks.
What is Socket.IO?
What is uWebSockets?
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I use Socket.IO because using HTTP requests for a real-time multiplayer game just blows! Even with websockets, I had to scrunch the data being transmitted down to a bare minimum, and do some cheap compression tricks so that I can send data in JSON format. Otherwise, I would have to resort to sending binary data. I may end up doing that anyway when the time comes that I need to scale.
How do I use it? Each client opens a socket connection at startup. The server keeps track of these connections, and sends each client the visible portion of the Playfield repeatedly. The clients render this information, while sending requests and commands to the server (join,turn,fire,thrust,bomb,viewport change,etc.) in response to the player's actions. The server uses that to make adjustments to the player's ship on the Playfield.
Where we have browser support (recent Chrome, Firefox, and Safari), we make a WebSocket connection so that the server can push changes made by other people down to browsers listening on the appropriate channels. We use a modified version* of the Socket.io client and server libraries that allows us to keep many thousands of open WebSockets on each of our servers at very little cost in terms of CPU or memory usage. So when anything happens to a board you’re watching, that action is published to our server processes and propagated to your watching browser with very minimal latency, usually well under a second.
Socket.IO has a decent community footprint, including integrations with popular JS frameworks, and has fallbacks to maintain an app's services if websockets are not available for some reason. Websockets are an important factor in most of the web-facing apps I build, to provide asynchronous two-way communication between the app and whatever server or data source it is connected to.
Another one that we're not using, yet. But have realtime data updates within our applications and the central API will be a great bit of functionality that gives our clients more control and keep them informed of changes and updates in their stores, in real time.