Server API

In this guide we jump into the functional aspect of Channels, Authentication and exchanging real time messages.

Registering channels

The channels are registered inside start/socket.js file. You are free to register as many channels as you want and there is no linear overhead with the number of channels.

const Ws = use('Ws')'news', ({ socket }) => {
  console.log('a new subscription for news topic')

The channel handler, very much like the Route handler receives a context. By default the context will have socket and request properties and more will be added by middleware like Auth and Session.

Once a subscription is made, you can use the socket instance to exchange messages.

socket.on('message', (data) => {

// emit events
socket.emit('message', 'Hello world')
socket.emit('typing', true)

Dynamic topics

You can also define channels, which can accept subscriptions for dynamic topics. Let’s see the following example.'chat:*', ({ socket }) => {

The * indicates that channel can accept any words after the static keyword. Continuing with the chat example, you can create a multiroom chat just using one channel.


const watercooler = ws.subscribe('chat:watercooler')
const intro = ws.subscribe('chat:intro')
const news = ws.subscribe('chat:news')

Now we have made three subscriptions with different topics, but all pointing to the same channel. When we will emit events, they will be delivered to specific topics only.

Registering middleware

The middleware are registered inside start/wsKernel.js file. The same HTTP pattern is followed to register global and named middleware.

const globalMiddleware = [

const namedMiddleware = {
  auth: 'Adonis/Middleware/Auth'

And then use the named middleware on any channel.

  .channel('chat', 'ChatController')

Creating middleware

When creating your own middleware, you need to define wsHandle method on it. Which also means, that you can re-use the same class for Http and Websocket middleware.

class CustomMiddleware {
  // for http
  async handle (ctx, next) {

  // for ws
  async wsHandle (ctx, next) {

Broadcast from anywhere

Websocket communication is not always within the socket lifecycle. Quite often, you want to emit events during the HTTP lifecycle.

This is quite simple, since you can access pre-registered channels anywhere inside your code.

const Ws = use('Ws')

class UserController {
  async register () {

You start by selecting a channel using getChannel(name) method. Now inside that channel, you can broadcast messages to any topic using topic(name) method.

After calling .topic you get an object which has following methods.

const chat = Ws.getChannel('chat:*')
const { broadcast, emitTo } = chat.topic('chat:watercooler')

// broadcast: send to everyone
// emitTo: send to selected socket ids

Socket API


The following events are reserved and must not be used.


Invoked when an error is received

socket.on('error', () => {


Invoked when subscription is closed.

socket.on('close', () => {


Below is the list of methods you can call on the socket instance.

emit(event, data, [ackCallback])

Emit event to the connected client. This method will only send message to your own connection.


emitTo(event, data, socketIds[])

Emit messages to an array of socket ids

socket.emitTo('greeting', 'hello', [someIds])

broadcast(event, data)

Emit event to everyone except yourself

socket.broadcast('message', 'hello everyone!')

broadcastToAll(event, data)

Emit event to everyone including yourself

socket.broadcastToAll('message', 'hello everyone!')


Forcefully close subscription from server



Following are the read only properties you can access on the socket instance.


Socket unique id


The topic under which the subscription socket was created



Reference to TCP connection, this connection is shared across multiple sockets for a single client for multiplexing.