Flowdock
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Importance_3
Ruby on Rails latest stable (v5.2.3) - 0 notes - Superclass: Object

The channel provides the basic structure of grouping behavior into logical units when communicating over the WebSocket connection. You can think of a channel like a form of controller, but one that’s capable of pushing content to the subscriber in addition to simply responding to the subscriber’s direct requests.

Channel instances are long-lived. A channel object will be instantiated when the cable consumer becomes a subscriber, and then lives until the consumer disconnects. This may be seconds, minutes, hours, or even days. That means you have to take special care not to do anything silly in a channel that would balloon its memory footprint or whatever. The references are forever, so they won’t be released as is normally the case with a controller instance that gets thrown away after every request.

Long-lived channels (and connections) also mean you’re responsible for ensuring that the data is fresh. If you hold a reference to a user record, but the name is changed while that reference is held, you may be sending stale data if you don’t take precautions to avoid it.

The upside of long-lived channel instances is that you can use instance variables to keep reference to objects that future subscriber requests can interact with. Here’s a quick example:

class ChatChannel < ApplicationCable::Channel
  def subscribed
    @room = Chat::Room[params[:room_number]]
  end

  def speak(data)
    @room.speak data, user: current_user
  end
end

The #speak action simply uses the Chat::Room object that was created when the channel was first subscribed to by the consumer when that subscriber wants to say something in the room.

Action processing

Unlike subclasses of ActionController::Base, channels do not follow a RESTful constraint form for their actions. Instead, Action Cable operates through a remote-procedure call model. You can declare any public method on the channel (optionally taking a data argument), and this method is automatically exposed as callable to the client.

Example:

class AppearanceChannel < ApplicationCable::Channel
  def subscribed
    @connection_token = generate_connection_token
  end

  def unsubscribed
    current_user.disappear @connection_token
  end

  def appear(data)
    current_user.appear @connection_token, on: data['appearing_on']
  end

  def away
    current_user.away @connection_token
  end

  private
    def generate_connection_token
      SecureRandom.hex(36)
    end
end

In this example, the subscribed and unsubscribed methods are not callable methods, as they were already declared in ActionCable::Channel::Base, but #appear and #away are. #generate_connection_token is also not callable, since it’s a private method. You’ll see that appear accepts a data parameter, which it then uses as part of its model call. #away does not, since it’s simply a trigger action.

Also note that in this example, current_user is available because it was marked as an identifying attribute on the connection. All such identifiers will automatically create a delegation method of the same name on the channel instance.

Rejecting subscription requests

A channel can reject a subscription request in the #subscribed callback by invoking the #reject method:

class ChatChannel < ApplicationCable::Channel
  def subscribed
    @room = Chat::Room[params[:room_number]]
    reject unless current_user.can_access?(@room)
  end
end

In this example, the subscription will be rejected if the current_user does not have access to the chat room. On the client-side, the Channel#rejected callback will get invoked when the server rejects the subscription request.

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