Rails Anycable

Rails Anycable

Apr 8, 2022 8:13 AM
Ruby on Rails

What is Action Cable

  • Action Cable seamlessly integrates WebSockets with your Rails application. It allows for real-time features to be written in Ruby and the rest of your Rails application, while still being performant and scalable.
  • A single Action Cable server can handle multiple connection instances. It has one connection instance per WebSocket connection. A single user may have multiple WebSockets open to your application if they use multiple browser tabs or devices. The client of a WebSocket connection is called the consumer.
  • Each consumer can in turn subscribe to multiple cable channels. Each channel encapsulates a logical unit of work, similar to what a controller does in a regular MVC setup. For example, you could have a ChatChannel and an AppearancesChannel, and a consumer could be subscribed to either or to both of these channels. At the very least, a consumer should be subscribed to one channel.
  • When the consumer is subscribed to a channel, they act as a subscriber. The connection between the subscriber and the channel is, surprise-surprise, called a subscription. A consumer can act as a subscriber to a given channel any number of times. For example, a consumer could subscribe to multiple chat rooms at the same time. (And remember that a physical user may have multiple consumers, one per tab/device open to your connection).
  • Each channel can then again be streaming zero or more broadcastings. A broadcasting is a pubsub link where anything transmitted by the broadcaster is sent directly to the channel subscribers who are streaming that named broadcasting.

Why AnyCable instead ActionCable

  • Reduce infrastructure costs
    • Scale more efficiently with AnyCable, with its much lower RAM usage and better CPU utilization.
    • When handling 20k connections Action Cable uses 3.5GB RAM usage but AnyCable uses only 798MB RAM.
  • Better real-time experience
    • Real-time user experience is the battleground today. With AnyCable you win continuously as your app scales.
    • If wait times are more than a second or two, you can no longer call your application “real-time”. With AnyCable, this is no longer a problem.
    • AnyCable optimizes messaging broadcasting to provide very low latency: users no longer have to wait seconds to learn that something has happened.
    • AnyCable will give a 10 times faster response than ActionCable.

AnyCable Installation

  • Requirements
    • Ruby >= 2.5
    • Rails >= 5.0
    • Redis (when using Redis broadcast adapter)
  • Installation Add anycable-rails gem to your Gemfile:
  • gem "anycable-rails", "~> 1.0"

    when using Redis broadcast adapter

    gem "redis", ">= 4.0"

    (and don’t forget to run bundle install).

    bundle exec rails g anycable:setup

  • Web Socket Server Configuration # For development it’s likely the localhost # config/environments/development.rb
  • config.action_cable.url = "ws://localhost:3334/cable"
    config.action_cable.mount_path = nil
    config.action_cable.allowed_request_origins = [/http:\/\/*/, /https:\/\/*/]`

    For production it’s likely to have a sub-domain and secure connection

    # config/environments/production.rb

    config.action_cable.mount_path = nil
    config.action_cable.url = "wss://#{ENV['API_HOST']}:3334/cable"
    config.action_cable.allowed_request_origins = [/http:\/\/*/, /https:\/\/*/]
  • AnyCable Go Installation
    • The easiest way to install AnyCable-Go is to download(https://github.com/anycable/anycable-go/releases) a pre-compiled binary.
    • macOS users could install it with Homebrew
    • brew install anycable-go –HEAD
      brew install anycable-go # or use –HEAD option for edge versions
  • AnyCable Go Usage
    • Change the directory to the path where anycable go installed $ anycable-go

Sample Web Socket Working Module

  • Create a file called connection.rb inside app/channels/application_cable/ to autheticate user
  • If your application uses api then the code below works
  • module ApplicationCable
      class Connection < ActionCable::Connection::Base
        identified_by :current_user
    		def connect
          self.current_user = find_current_user
          logger.add_tags "ActionCable", "User #{current_user.id}"
    	    def find_current_user
    	      token = request.params['token']
    	      api_key = token.present? ? ApiKey.find_by(access_token: token) : ''
    	      if api_key.present? && !api_key.expired?
    	        return api_key.user
  • Else if you are not using API you can directly call current user method to authenticate.
  • Create a file called test_broadcast_channel.rb inside app/channels/
    • Then place the following code inside that file
    • class TestBroadcastChannel < ApplicationCable::Channel 
      	def subscribed 
      		user = current_user stream_from "broadcast_test_messages:#{user.id}"
      	def unsubscribed 
      		# Any cleanup needed when channel is unsubscribed stop_all_streams
  • create a file called test_streams.js inside app/assets/javascripts/channels and place the code below,
    1. App.notifications = App.cable.subscriptions.create("TestBroadcastChannel", {
        connected: function() {},
        disconnected: function() {},
        received: function(data) {
          return console.log(data);
    2. This code will help us to inspect what data was passed when we broadcast.

Testing in the development environment

  • run an anycable server using the command bundle exec anycable
  • run an anycable go server using the command $ anycable-go --host=localhost --port=3334
  • Before testing, we need to create a file called cable.js inside app/assets/javascripts/ and place the code below
  • // Action Cable provides the framework to deal with WebSockets in Rails.
    // You can generate new channels where WebSocket features live using the `rails generate channel` command.
    //= require action_cable
    //= require_self
    //= require_tree ./channels
    (function() {
      this.App || (this.App = {});
      App.cable = ActionCable.createConsumer("ws://localhost:3334/anycable?token=<token_here>");
  • Now you should start the rails server and you can go to any page and browser console by inspecting
  • Then you should hit the code below to create web-socket connection
  • App.cable = ActionCable.createConsumer("ws://localhost:3334/anycable?token=<token_here>")`
  • After the connection, we should subscribe to the channel from where we need the messages to be broadcasted
  • App.cable.subscriptions.create("TestBroadcastChannel:<user_id>");
  • Now you should log in to the rails console to broadcast the message
  • From the console, we can broadcast anything by using the command called
  • ActionCable.server.broadcast "broadcast_test_messages:#{any_user_id}", { message: "This is the begining message of the broadcast."}
  • Afetr hitting this command in the Rails Console you should see the data which we passed here in the browser console. If you see the message then the web socket is working perfectly.

Procfile to run anycable server in a production environment

  • In the production environment to make our anycable servers work securely, we must create the ssl certification keys using the environment variables $SSL_CERT and $SSL_KEY
  • Then the Procfile should have the following command to start anycable and anycable go server.
  • rpc: RAILS_ENV=$RAILS_ENV bundle exec anycable
    ws: sh -c 'cd ~ && exec /var/anycable-go --port 3334 -ssl_cert=/etc/ssl/localcerts/$SSL_CERT -ssl_key=/etc/ssl/localcerts/$SSL_KEY'

Remove Firewall Restrictions for WebSocket URL

  • When the firewall is blocking the WebSocket won’t get connected
  • So in this case we need to whitelist our URL from the blockage
  • In Cloud66, go to Network Settings in your application
    • Inside the networking setting click the Firewall tab then click the Your rules tab
    • There change application Firewall rules to From: anywhere