Spring WebSocket simplifies the development of real-time, bidirectional communication between web browsers and servers. By leveraging WebSocket technology, you can build interactive applications like chat apps, real-time dashboards, or collaborative tools.

Setting up your Project


implementation 'org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-websocket'



WebSocket Configuration

public class WebSocketConfig implements WebSocketMessageBrokerConfigurer {

    public void configureMessageBroker(MessageBrokerRegistry config) {
        // Enable a simple memory-based message broker to carry messages back to the client on destinations prefixed with "/topic".
        // Designate the "/app" prefix to filter destinations targeting application annotated methods.

    public void registerStompEndpoints(StompEndpointRegistry registry) {
        // Registers the "/gs-guide-websocket" endpoint, enabling SockJS fallback options so that alternate transports may be used if WebSocket is not available.

Simple Example with Data Flow Explanation


public class GreetingController {

    @MessageMapping("/hello")  // 1. Client sends message to "/app/hello"
    @SendTo("/topic/greetings") // 3. Server sends greeting to "/topic/greetings"
    public String greet(String message) throws Exception {
        Thread.sleep(1000); // Simulate processing time
        return "Hello, " + message + "!"; // 2. Server processes the message

Client-Side (JavaScript):

var stompClient = null;

function connect() {
    var socket = new SockJS('/gs-guide-websocket'); // Connect to the WebSocket endpoint
    stompClient = Stomp.over(socket);
    stompClient.connect({}, function (frame) {
        console.log('Connected: ' + frame);
        stompClient.subscribe('/topic/greetings', function (greeting) { // 4. Client listens on "/topic/greetings"

function sendName() {
    stompClient.send("/app/hello", {}, JSON.stringify({'name': $("#name").val()})); 

function showGreeting(message) {
    $("#greetings").append("<tr><td>" + message + "</td></tr>");

Data Flow:

  1. Client to Server: The client sends a message to the server through the WebSocket connection, targeting the destination /app/hello.
  2. Server Processing: The @MessageMapping annotation on the greet() method in the GreetingController handles this message. It processes the message (e.g., adding "Hello, " to the message).
  3. Server to Client (Broadcast): The @SendTo annotation designates the destination /topic/greetings where the processed message (“Hello, [message]!”) should be sent. All subscribed clients receive this greeting.
  4. Client Receives: The client, which has subscribed to /topic/greetings, receives the message from the server and displays it on the web page.

Key Points

  • @EnableWebSocketMessageBroker: Enables WebSocket message handling and configures a message broker.
  • @MessageMapping: Maps a message to a controller method.
  • @SendTo: Specifies the destination where the response message should be sent.
  • configureMessageBroker: Configures the message broker to handle messages with the “/topic” prefix and directs application messages to methods annotated with @MessageMapping.
  • registerStompEndpoints: Registers a WebSocket endpoint at “/gs-guide-websocket” and enables SockJS as a fallback option.

By understanding these concepts and building upon the provided examples, you can create powerful real-time web applications with Spring WebSocket.

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By Jeffery Miller

I am known for being able to quickly decipher difficult problems to assist development teams in producing a solution. I have been called upon to be the Team Lead for multiple large-scale projects. I have a keen interest in learning new technologies, always ready for a new challenge.