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WebSocket frame parser and builder

This is a parser and builder for WebSocket messages (see RFC6455) written in C.

Table of Contents

Features

  • Fast parsing and building of websocket messages
  • No dependencies
  • No internal buffering
  • No need to buffer the whole frame — works with chunks of a data
  • No syscalls
  • No allocations
  • It can be interrupted at anytime

Tested as part of PHP-ION extension.

Inspired by http-parser by Ryan Dahl and multipart-parser by Igor Afonov.

Status

Production ready.

Usage

Use http-parser for parsing headers. This library parse only websocket frames.

This parser library works with several callbacks, which the user may set up at application initialization time.

websocket_parser_settings settings;

websocket_parser_settings_init(&settings);

settings.on_frame_header = websocket_frame_header;
settings.on_frame_body = websocket_frame_body;
settings.on_frame_end = websocket_frame_end;

These functions must match the signatures defined in the websocket-parser header file.

Returning a value other than 0 from the callbacks will abort message processing.

One websocket_parser object is used per TCP connection. Initialize websocket_parser struct using websocket_parser_init() and set callbacks:

websocket_parser_settings settings;

websocket_parser_settings_init(&settings);

settings.on_frame_header = websocket_frame_header;
settings.on_frame_body   = websocket_frame_body;
settings.on_frame_end    = websocket_frame_end;

parser = malloc(sizeof(websocket_parser));
websocket_parser_init(parser);
// Attention! Sets your <data> after websocket_parser_init
parser->data = my_frame_struct;

Basically, callback looks like that:

int websocket_frame_header(websocket_parser * parser) {
    parser->data->opcode = parser->flags & WS_OP_MASK; // gets opcode
    parser->data->is_final = parser->flags & WS_FIN;   // checks is final frame
    if(parser->length) {
        parser->data->body = malloc(parser->length);   // allocate memory for frame body, if body exists
    }
    return 0;
}

int ion_websocket_frame_body(websocket_parser * parser, const char *at, size_t size) {
    if(parser->flags & WS_HAS_MASK) {
        // if frame has mask, we have to copy and decode data via websocket_parser_copy_masked function
        websocket_parser_decode(&parser->data->body[parser->offset], at, length, parser);
    } else {
        memcpy(&parser->data->body[parser->offset], at, length);
    }
    return 0;
}

int websocket_frame_end(websocket_parser * parser) {
    my_app_push_frame(parser->data); // use parsed frame
}

When data is received execute the parser and check for errors.

size_t nread;
// .. init settitngs and parser ... 

nread = websocket_parser_execute(parser, &settings, data, data_len);
if(nread != data_len) {
    // some callback return a value other than 0
}

// ...
free(parser);

Frame builder

To calculate how many bytes to allocate for a frame, use the websocket_calc_frame_size function:

size_t frame_len = websocket_calc_frame_size(WS_OP_TEXT | WS_FINAL_FRAME | WS_HAS_MASK, data_len);
char * frame = malloc(sizeof(char) * frame_len);

After that you can build a frame

websocket_build_frame(frame, WS_OP_TEXT | WS_FINAL_FRAME | WS_HAS_MASK, mask, data, data_len);

and send binary string to the socket

write(sock, frame, frame_len);

UUID

Macros WEBSOCKET_UUID contains unique ID for handshake

#define WEBSOCKET_UUID   "258EAFA5-E914-47DA-95CA-C5AB0DC85B11"

Frame example

There is binary websocket frame example:

  • Raw frame: \x81\x8Amask\x0B\x13\x12\x06\x08\x41\x17\x0A\x19\x00
  • Has mask: yes
  • Mask: mask
  • Payload: frame data
  • Fin: yes
  • Opcode: WS_OP_TEXT
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