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Realtime Client

Listens to changes in a PostgreSQL Database and via websockets.

This is for usage with Supabase Realtime server.


Creating a Socket connection

You can set up one connection to be used across the whole app.

import { RealtimeClient } from '@supabase/realtime-js'

var client = new RealtimeClient(process.env.REALTIME_URL)

REALTIME_URL is 'ws://localhost:4000/socket' when developing locally and 'wss://<project_ref>' when connecting to your Supabase project.

You can pass in your JWT If you have enabled JWT authorization in Supabase Realtime server.

import { RealtimeClient } from '@supabase/realtime-js'

var client = new RealtimeClient(process.env.REALTIME_URL, { params: { apikey: 'token123' }})

See Realtime: Channels Authorization for more information.

Socket Hooks

client.onOpen(() => console.log('Socket opened.'))
client.onClose(() => console.log('Socket closed.'))
client.onError((e) => console.log('Socket error', e.message))

Subscribing to events

You can listen to INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, or all * events.

You can subscribe to events on the whole database, schema, table, or individual columns using channel(). Channels are multiplexed over the Socket connection.

To join a channel, you must provide the topic, where a topic is either:

  • realtime - entire database
  • realtime:{schema} - where {schema} is the Postgres Schema
  • realtime:{schema}:{table} - where {table} is the Postgres table name
  • realtime:{schema}:{table}:{col}=eq.{val} - where {col} is the column name, and {val} is the value which you want to match


// Listen to events on the entire database.
var databaseChanges ='realtime:*')
databaseChanges.on('*', (e) => console.log(e))
databaseChanges.on('INSERT', (e) => console.log(e))
databaseChanges.on('UPDATE', (e) => console.log(e))
databaseChanges.on('DELETE', (e) => console.log(e))

// Listen to events on a schema, using the format `realtime:{SCHEMA}`
var publicSchema ='realtime:public')
publicSchema.on('*', (e) => console.log(e))
publicSchema.on('INSERT', (e) => console.log(e))
publicSchema.on('UPDATE', (e) => console.log(e))
publicSchema.on('DELETE', (e) => console.log(e))

// Listen to events on a table, using the format `realtime:{SCHEMA}:{TABLE}`
var usersTable ='realtime:public:users')
usersTable.on('*', (e) => console.log(e))
usersTable.on('INSERT', (e) => console.log(e))
usersTable.on('UPDATE', (e) => console.log(e))
usersTable.on('DELETE', (e) => console.log(e))

// Listen to events on a row, using the format `realtime:{SCHEMA}:{TABLE}:{COL}=eq.{VAL}`
var rowChanges ='realtime:public:users:id=eq.1')
rowChanges.on('*', (e) => console.log(e))
rowChanges.on('INSERT', (e) => console.log(e))
rowChanges.on('UPDATE', (e) => console.log(e))
rowChanges.on('DELETE', (e) => console.log(e))

Removing a subscription

You can unsubscribe from a topic using channel.unsubscribe().

Disconnect the socket

Call disconnect() on the socket:

let { error, data } = await client.disconnect() 

Duplicate Join Subscriptions

While the client may join any number of topics on any number of channels, the client may only hold a single subscription for each unique topic at any given time. When attempting to create a duplicate subscription, the server will close the existing channel, log a warning, and spawn a new channel for the topic. The client will have their channel.onClose callbacks fired for the existing channel, and the new channel join will have its receive hooks processed as normal.

Channel Hooks

channel.onError( () => console.log("there was an error!") )
channel.onClose( () => console.log("the channel has gone away gracefully") )
  • onError hooks are invoked if the socket connection drops, or the channel crashes on the server. In either case, a channel rejoin is attempted automatically in an exponential backoff manner.
  • onClose hooks are invoked only in two cases. 1) the channel explicitly closed on the server, or 2). The client explicitly closed, by calling channel.unsubscribe()

Subscription Hooks

  .receive('ok', () => console.log('Connected.'))
  .receive('error', () => console.log('Failed.'))
  .receive('timeout', () => console.log('Timed out, retrying.'))

Event Responses

Events are returned in the following format.

type Response = {
  // the change timestampe. eg: "2020-10-13T10:09:22Z".
  commit_timestamp: string 

  // the database schema. eg: "public".
  schema: string 
  // the database table. eg: "users".
  table: string 
  // the event type.
  // all the columns for this table. See "column" type below.
  columns: column[] 
  // the new values. eg: { "id": "9", "age": "12" }.
  record: object 

  // the previous values. eg: { "id": "9", "age": "11" }. Only works if the table has `REPLICATION FULL`.
  old_record: object 

type column = {
  // any special flags for the column. eg: ["key"]
  flags: string[] 
  // the column name. eg: "user_id"
  name: string 
  // the column type. eg: "uuid"
  type: string 
  // the type modifier. eg: 4294967295
  type_modifier: number 


  • Original Node.js client was made by Mario Campa of phoenix-channels.
  • API was made by authors of the Phoenix Framework. See their website for complete list of authors.


MIT. License is the same as phoenix-channels and Phoenix Framework.

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