Step By Step Guide To Use WebSockets in Golang
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Tutorial To Build Real-time Apps Using WebSockets In Golang

Akhil Kumar By Akhil Kumar | June 23, 2021

Hello, budding ‘Gophers’ ( a term used for Golang developers)! Turning into an impassioned Golang programmer could never be an easy-going phase for any aspirant like you. But you should believe the fact that learning this one of the top programming languages would be a real fun indeed. 

The apps written in Golang codes embrace real-time functionality when combined with a WebSocket server, a tool that imparts immediate responses without the users having to refresh the page or take other actions to interact. And that’s why we are back again with this latest tech tutorial that will highlight some major steps to build WebSockets in Golang. Sounds interesting, right? Let’s proceed further to the topic now. 

Today, the wide community of developers gathers a crowd of smart Golang lovers. Those who are fond of Go or Golang share countless reasons to use this best programming language for web development.

The trend of presenting the most exceptional, engaging, and reactive web app experiences with every single interaction is apt to delight visitors with instant actions & faster navigation across the entire app screen. Considering the surging popularity of real-time apps, experts are gearing up to integrate new technologies & tools to meet the ever-changing requirements of their latest web app development project. 

Also read:  Tips & guidelines to design progressive web apps 

A Quick Intro To Go Programming Language

Golang is a progressive and open-source programming language with a stack of must-use features. The credit for the innovation of Go or Golang goes to three tech enthusiasts at Google named Robert Griesemer, Ken Thompson & Rob Pike who developed this avant-garde technology back in 2007 & launched its full version in 2 009.  

The creators of Golang were determined to innovate a language with the potential to run multiple ongoing tasks by creating subroutines from the no. of cores defined in the processor.  

Now the question comes: why use Go language for the next project? On one hand, conventional programming languages like C. C++ and Java are powered by a single-core processor to progress multi-threading processing. Golang is famed to be among top-ranked statically typed languages with a distinctive library meant to deliver outstanding speed & performance capabilities to the end product. 

All programs defined in Golang are combined together in packages to let developers manage dependencies with high efficiency. Alike using other dynamic languages in the list, Golang users enjoy error-free coding practices around various environments adopting patterns.  

Google-created Golang is best known as the most reliable general-purpose programming language with the largest community of users. It is a popular choice of web app development service providers to create highly scalable & fast-loading web apps with an optimal set of value-added features & functionalities. The language is equipped with some exemplary integrations that are purposefully designed to ensure speed, security, performance & efficiency with a list of WebSocket libraries for crafting real-time chat apps.

Take a look at these interesting stats to know why Google’s Go is the most wanted language in the present scenario:

  • 32% of experienced programmers desire to learn Go as a priority while only 24% of independent developers at any Python development company are fond of using this language.
  • HackerRank’s survey states an exceptional rise in the fastest growing community of Go developers. 
  • From Google to Netflix, American Express, IBM, Target, Twitter, & numerous top-notch tech firms are early adopters of Golang in their software products. 
  • Golang is comparatively younger than other top desired programming languages but the maximum number of experts rely on Google-powered Go for web development, network programming, database development, system programming, and practices focused on the latest DevOps trends
  • Go developers are most likely to work with Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code as a code editor tool. 
  • Go secured 14th position in the list of most popular programming languages from a survey report by RedMonk.

If you aim to go for Golang then you won’t regret your decision at any point. In fact, the language is a perfect choice to create scalable web app solutions with worthwhile features for real-time chatting, tracking, online gaming & other event-driven functionalities accessed on the browser.   

What Are Websockets & How Do They Work?

The more you learn about Golang, the more you would be keen to know how to create a WebSocket app in Go. The term WebSocket is equally enticing like the name of Go that stands as a dominant programming language among the top technology trends 2021.  

The craze for real-time apps is getting bigger day by day. Almost every app owner aims to leverage event-driven functionalities to their existing web apps or software solution. With more and more businesses emerging with real-time web apps, it is getting tougher for Gophers to meet surging demands for apps that can survive in the competitive marketplace. 

A WebSocket protocol comes as a savior for Go developers these days. ITEF marked all the standards for the integration & implementation of this protocol under the name of RFC 6455. This license answers how you implement WebSockets in Golang. 

Now let us see how WebSockets work.

Web apps with basic features are usually driven when one or more requests are made to an HTTP server. The client’s software or web browser initiates a request and receives a response from the server’s end. When it comes to event-driven performance & quick on-screen response, the idea of getting real-time apps strikes in everyone’s mind. And to create such web apps, developers seek WebSockets as a solution to define their path for Golang development.  

Read more about Cloud apps Vs web apps & consider the best one for your project.  

A WebSocket could be a substitute for AJAP and HTTP. It serves options to run seamless interactions b/w a server and web browser that results in transmission of immediate responses. Serving to poll is not required to receive a reply. There is a long list of WebSockets for web app development in Go but most developers choose to know how to use Gorilla WebSocket and honor WebSocket first. 

Why Are WebSockets Important?

WebSockets are used as the portal real-time protocol for web app development. It runs over a single TCP connection to establish full-speed communication. Developers rely on WebSockets to come up with chatbot framework and messaging platforms, location-based apps for retail, travel, delivery, etc, financial & stock market updates & other use cases. 

One can also consider alternative options in case the existing WebSockets are not suitable as per the project requirements. Although the WebSocket bandwagon provides numerous options for programmers, one must ensure that the selected option fits the proposed use case.  

For instance, you can try MQTT. It is a similar go-to protocol that creates bidirectional communication between IoT devices. Modern IoT app development solutions can bring more efficiency in energy saving but can be improved with more backup support. MQTT is a great option to create IoT apps & deal with instability and latency issues among connected devices.

Similarly, Server-Sent Events is another protocol for seamless implementation & connections. It could be a preferred choice of developers who are currently interested to know the steps to build WebSockets in Golang. This superlative technology is used to run browser-based mechanisms that demand one-directional communications. 

Interestingly, both SSE & MQTT are TCP-enabled protocols like WebSockets. They all are designated to introduce a prominent transport layer protocol that enables order guarantees & message transmission. They eventually serve the purpose of imparting real-time experiences to the app users. 

How To Build A WebSocket App In Golang?

Phew!! Let us get back to the point as our step-by-step tutorial to build real-time apps using WebSocket in Go is ready to help you at this crucial stage. Check out these steps to create a DevOps echo server as per the selected net/HTTP library:

Step 1# Start with a Handshake Setup

code for websocket endpoint for creating an http handler

Run that WebSocket structure in the next step. Once a server authenticates or verifies a WebSocket request, it uses a handshake command to revert a response. Mind that this response cannot be written in a format of HTTP.ResponseWriter. Using it will break the defined TCP connection if you generate a response request to the server.

Therefore, you are supposed to perform HTTP Hijacking to keep both the basic TCP connection handles and bufio-Writer organized side by side. This will introduce ample routes to read and write data without restricting the TCP connection. 

achieve tcp handler in websockets golang

A server must pick relevant headers to respond and achieve ‘handshake’ alongside. 

a server must pick relevant headers to respond and achieve handshake alongside

As you can see, “Sec-WebSocket-key” is created randomly and encoded with Base64.  

Once a server accepts a request, it must integrate this key to a specific string. 

Step 2# Migrating Data Frames

This next step to build WebSockets in Go comes only after completing the handshake setup. Now your web app can simultaneously receive and send responses to and from the client’s side. WebSocket’s specification reflects particulars of the frame format used between a client and server. 

Write these codes to decode the payload of the client. 

migrating data frames by writing codes to decode the payload of the client
how to migrate data frames to decode the payload of the client

Step 3# Creating a Close Frame for a Handshake

To close a handshake, one has to send a close frame from the client’s side to achieve a close status simultaneously. 

how to create a close frame for a handshake

Similarly, a party that shares a close frame can also pass a close purpose in the payload. Once a server receives a closing request from the client’s end, it shares a  close frame message in return.

Lastly, we can say that we’ve covered all the important steps to build WebSockets in Golang. 

List Of Popular WebSocket Libraries

The process of building real-time apps involves a WebSocket library to render excellent scalability and responsiveness across the app’s interface. Before you get the answer to what data types Golang use, you must know about these 3 third-party libraries to reduce your development efforts. This will also help in the productive customization of WebSocket apps in Go.

1. Gorilla

A compact WebSocket library to develop web apps in Go. It appears to be a useful tool kit with interesting features for backend development & package API. 

Utilize our essential backend development tutorial to get better outcomes.

The Gorilla web toolkit is highly user-friendly and perfectly documented. Users can also check its documentation on its website. You don’t stress yourself while wondering how to use Gorilla WebSocket. 

2. GOWebsockets

This Golang tool offers a wide array of simple features. It allows users to add request headers, compress data, and control concurrency spontaneously. It also extends support to proxies and subprotocols for the transmission and exchange of binary data and text.

Moreover, developers can also enable or disable SSL verification from their end. The documentation & guidelines for implementing GO-Websockets is available on its official website.

3. STDLIB

This toolkit is classified as a standard class of WebSocket library. It combines a server and client for setting up the WebSocket protocol. It is well documented & there is no need to install it. 

This WebSocket library lags behind other popular libraries as it lacks some must-have features to build web application architecture in Go. Developers reportedly face issues to reuse I/O buffers in b/w the connections while working with the Golang WebSocket application in the STDLIB package. 

4. GOBWAS

This exclusive Websocket library is packed with multifarious features to create real-time web apps with ultimate ease. It comes with a custom low-level API that allows app creators to build logic for both packet handling as well as zero-copy up-gradation. 

GO-BWAS comes with a WsUtil package that brings top-grade helpers and wrappers around its API. This facilitates users to inspect the internal integrations of the protocol. Even though the developers are free to integrate APIs with enhanced flexibility.

No intermediate allocations are required while carrying out I/O. All the documentation or tutorials are available on the GoDoc website. The only major drawback of this WebSocket library for Go development is uncertainty and use. 

Expert Statements & Suggestions

Technologies keep on evolving with every new innovation. It gives you a big reason to stay updated on the latest developments arriving in the wide sphere of web and mobile apps. There is still a long way to discuss what are the benefits of using Go compared to other languages as debates on Nodejs vs Go and Go vs Rust are still going on in the minds of the global leading tech experts.

After learning all the noteworthy steps to build WebSockets in Golang, you must consider these couple of more things that every Go developer keeps at priority. Here are some key pointers to keep in your mind if you are determined to avoid all hurdles or complexities in Go app development:

#1 – Keepalive

The responsive socket of many web browsers closes automatically if the page is inactive for a certain timeframe or minute. A server-side heartbeat message pops up as a timer for inactivity. Go’s timer is used with the Goroutine option to run this functionality on the screen.

#2 – Typing

The message written in a particular format for example {type: string, data: string} is very sophisticated. It was found that it’s much better to use a switch on the type and later forward data to the designated function based on type. The style of the entire data is dependent on its complexity and usually coded in a form of plain string or JSON. 

#3 – Reconnecting

One has to declare an on-close in JS to reconnect the interrupted socket connection. Be clear about this point as there is no ‘reconnect’ option in fact. So, you are required to create a new socket connection and re-establish the event handler.  

Join Hands With Appventurez To Hire Dedicated Go Developers

All the insights shared in the article are gathered from the collective experience and suggestions of skilled Go developers at Appventurez using WebSockets to craft real-time web apps for a wide array of businesses. The skyrocketing demand for apps driven with real-time functionalities excites developers to learn more about WebSockets libraries and leverage the best Golang framework for web app development.

Being an industry-leading web and mobile app development company, our team of inquisitive tech minds take a lead to brainstorm new ideas and techniques to deliver user-centric web app solutions based on Go. Our WebSocket-based apps for the Go language not only survive in the tech world but also build your brand value in no time. 

At Appventurez, we aim to cater to enterprise-ready solutions structured with error-free codes and interactive UI-UX design. We’ve been serving worldwide clients needing to get a real-time app based on selective project requirements and business backgrounds.

Our global market presence and rock-solid reputation reflect our expertness & peerless ability to create unique apps with sharp features & critical real-time accessibility. We truly intend to help our clients’ business grow with our inventive web & mobile apps designed to stretch out their customer reach & multiply their profits exponentially. 

Let your business reach the heights of success with our world-class web app solutions based on Go. Regardless of being an entrepreneur or a techie, a tutorial mentioning key steps to use WebSockets in Golang is all you need to read and implement our expert suggestions in your project strategy. If you want to enquire more about WebSockets and our value-added services then feel free to get in touch with our experts now. We will be back again with another informative post to meet your interests!


Akhil Kumar
Akhil Kumar

Co-Founder & Managing Director of AppVenturez Mobitech. An entrepreneur who is tech-savvy and aims to build the largest software business through technological innovation, keen business strategist and a passionate technocrat. He firmly believes in learning and earning by planning and performing.

⚡️ by Appventurez

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