Ruby on Rails Q & A


How to integrate WebSockets in Rails?

To integrate WebSockets with a Rails application, Rails offers an in-built framework called Action Cable. This provides the necessary infrastructure for managing WebSocket connections and enabling real-time functionalities.


  1. Setup:

When you create a new Rails application (version 5 onwards), Action Cable is set up by default. However, if you’re adding it to an existing application, ensure that you have the `actioncable` gem in your `Gemfile`.


  1. Channels:

At the heart of Action Cable are channels. Think of a channel as a form of controller, but specifically for real-time features. To generate a new channel, use the Rails generator: `rails generate channel <channel_name>`. This command creates both the client-side and server-side channel files.


  1. Mounting the Server:

In your `routes.rb` file, you’ll need to mount the Action Cable server. Typically, this is done using `mount ActionCable.server => ‘/cable’`.


  1. Client-Side:

On the client side, Rails will use `app/assets/javascripts/cable.js` to initiate the WebSocket connection. Ensure you have a line in this file that looks like `App.cable = ActionCable.createConsumer();` to establish the connection.


  1. Usage: 

After setting up the channels, you can use them for real-time features. For instance, to broadcast a message to all subscribers of a specific channel, you’d use `ActionCable.server.broadcast(‘channel_name’, message: ‘Hello, World!’)`.


  1. Deployment:

While deploying, ensure that your server supports WebSocket protocol. For instance, if you’re deploying to Heroku, you’d need to use their `redistogo` add-on and configure it accordingly. Also, make sure that your production environment has identified the Action Cable server URL.


Integrating WebSockets into Rails using Action Cable is straightforward, thanks to Rails’ emphasis on convention over configuration. Once set up, you can easily implement real-time features like chat rooms, notifications, and live updates, enhancing the interactivity and responsiveness of your Rails application.

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Senior Software Engineer with a focus on remote work. Proficient in Ruby on Rails. Expertise spans y6ears in Ruby on Rails development, contributing to B2C financial solutions and data engineering.