Chat Example

This application shows how to use the
websocket package to implement a simple
web chat application.

Running the example

The example requires a working Go development environment. The Getting
page describes how to install the
development environment.

Once you have Go up and running, you can download, build and run the example
using the following commands.

$ go get
$ cd `go list -f '{{.Dir}}'`
$ go run *.go

To use the chat example, open http://localhost:8080/ in your browser.


The server application defines two types, Client and Hub. The server
creates an instance of the Client type for each websocket connection. A
Client acts as an intermediary between the websocket connection and a single
instance of the Hub type. The Hub maintains a set of registered clients and
broadcasts messages to the clients.

The application runs one goroutine for the Hub and two goroutines for each
Client. The goroutines communicate with each other using channels. The Hub
has channels for registering clients, unregistering clients and broadcasting
messages. A Client has a buffered channel of outbound messages. One of the
client’s goroutines reads messages from this channel and writes the messages to
the websocket. The other client goroutine reads messages from the websocket and
sends them to the hub.


The code for the Hub type is in
The application’s main function starts the hub’s run method as a goroutine.
Clients send requests to the hub using the register, unregister and
broadcast channels.

The hub registers clients by adding the client pointer as a key in the
clients map. The map value is always true.

The unregister code is a little more complicated. In addition to deleting the
client pointer from the clients map, the hub closes the clients’s send
channel to signal the client that no more messages will be sent to the client.

The hub handles messages by looping over the registered clients and sending the
message to the client’s send channel. If the client’s send buffer is full,
then the hub assumes that the client is dead or stuck. In this case, the hub
unregisters the client and closes the websocket.


The code for the Client type is in client.go.

The serveWs function is registered by the application’s main function as
an HTTP handler. The handler upgrades the HTTP connection to the WebSocket
protocol, creates a client, registers the client with the hub and schedules the
client to be unregistered using a defer statement.

Next, the HTTP handler starts the client’s writePump method as a goroutine.
This method transfers messages from the client’s send channel to the websocket
connection. The writer method exits when the channel is closed by the hub or
there’s an error writing to the websocket connection.

Finally, the HTTP handler calls the client’s readPump method. This method
transfers inbound messages from the websocket to the hub.

WebSocket connections support one concurrent reader and one concurrent
. The
application ensures that these concurrency requirements are met by executing
all reads from the readPump goroutine and all writes from the writePump

To improve efficiency under high load, the writePump function coalesces
pending chat messages in the send channel to a single WebSocket message. This
reduces the number of system calls and the amount of data sent over the


The frontend code is in home.html.

On document load, the script checks for websocket functionality in the browser.
If websocket functionality is available, then the script opens a connection to
the server and registers a callback to handle messages from the server. The
callback appends the message to the chat log using the appendLog function.

To allow the user to manually scroll through the chat log without interruption
from new messages, the appendLog function checks the scroll position before
adding new content. If the chat log is scrolled to the bottom, then the
function scrolls new content into view after adding the content. Otherwise, the
scroll position is not changed.

The form handler writes the user input to the websocket and clears the input


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