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2015, Monday April 6

Asynchronous Service - WebSockets, Callbacks and Publish-Subscribe

When publishing SOA services, most of them are defined as stateless, in a typical query/answer pattern - see Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).
This fits exactly with the RESTful approach of Client-Server services via interfaces, as proposed by the framework.

But it may happen that a client application (or service) needs to know the state of a given service. In a pure stateless implementation, it will have to query the server for any state change, i.e. for any pending notification - this is called polling.

Polling may take place for instance:

  • When a time consuming work is to be processed on the server side. In this case, the client could not wait for it to be finished, without raising a timeout on the HTTP connection: as a workaround, the client may start the work, then ask for its progress status regularly using a timer and a dedicated method call;
  • When an unpredictable event is to be notified from the server side. In this case, the client should ask regularly (using a timer, e.g. every second), for any pending event, then react on purpose.

It may therefore sounds preferred, and in some case necessary, to have the ability to let the server notify one or several clients without any prior query, nor having the requirement of a client-side timer:

  • Polling may be pretty resource consuming on both client and server sides, and add some unwanted latency;
  • If immediate notification is needed, some kind of "long polling" algorithm may take place, i.e. the server will wait for a long time before returning the notification state if no event did happen: in this case, a dedicated connection is required, in addition to the REST one;
  • In an event-driven systems, a lot of messages are sent to the clients: a proper publish/subscribe mechanism is preferred, otherwise the complexity of polling methods may increase and become inefficient and unmaintainable;
  • Explicit push notifications may be necessary, e.g. when a lot of potential events, associated with a complex set of parameters, are likely to be sent by the client.

Our mORMot framework is therefore able to easily implement asynchronous callbacks over WebSockets, defining the callbacks as interface parameters in service method definitions - see Available types for methods parameters.

Continue reading...

Real-Time ORM Master/Slave Replication via WebSockets

In a previous article, we presented how Master/Slave replication may be easily implemented in mORMot's RESTful ORM.
Do not forget to visit the corresponding paragraphs of our online documentation, which has been updated, and is more accurate!

Sometimes, the on-demand synchronization is not enough.
So we have just introduced real-time replication via WebSockets.
For instance, you may need to:

  • Synchronize a short list of always evolving items which should be reflected as soon as possible;
  • Involve some kind of ACID-like behavior (e.g. handle money!) in your replicated data;
  • Replicate not from a GUI application, but from a service, so use of a TTimer is not an option;
  • Combine REST requests (for ORM or services) and master/slave ORM replication on the same wire, e.g. in a multi-threaded application.

In this case, the framework is able to use WebSockets and asynchronous callbacks to let the master/slave replication - see Asynchronous callbacks - take place without the need to ask explicitly for pending data.
You would need to use TSQLRestServer.RecordVersionSynchronizeMasterStart, TSQLRestServer.RecordVersionSynchronizeSlaveStart and TSQLRestServer.RecordVersionSynchronizeSlaveStop methods over the proper kind of bidirectional connection.

Continue reading...

2014, Saturday September 13

Some thoughts about "modern" pascal, generics, code and data structures

In a comment of a Google+ announcement about new C# features, Stephan did react about my naive enthusiasm about SmartPascal.

Apart from the fact that he did miss the numerous ways of creating Windows executable in this dialect (I quoted at least 5 diverse ways), he was chocked by the fact that the SmartPascal syntax, in its actual idiom, does not support generics.

But are generics mandatory?
I'm not speaking about any drug identified by its chemical name rather than its brand name (Wikipedia).
I would neither comment on the current Delphi implementation of generics (which may appear not so polished, nor very widely used, even in the Delphi RTL/FMX, but for TList<T> TDictionary<>).
Just share some thoughts about what is, to my opinion - which may be wrong and biased! - the most important part of today's programming.

Continue reading...

2014, Friday September 12

Legacy code, mORMot, and database sharing

It is pretty much possible that you would have to maintain and evolve a legacy project, based on an existing database, with a lot of already written SQL statements - see Legacy code and existing projects.

For instance, you would like to use mORMot for new features, and/or add mobile or HTML clients - see Cross-Platform clients.
In this case, the ORM advanced features - like ORM Cache or BATCH process, see BATCH sequences for adding/updating/deleting records - may conflict with the legacy code, for the tables which may have to be shared.
Here are some guidelines when working on such a project.

To be exhaustive about your question, we need to consider each ORM CRUD operation.
We may have to divide them in three kinds: read queries, insertions, and modifications of existing data.

Continue reading...

2014, Saturday August 16

Will WebSocket replace HTTP? Does it scale?

You certainly noticed that WebSocket is the current trendy flavor for any modern web framework.
But does it scale? Would it replace HTTP/REST?
There is a feature request ticket about them for mORMot, so here are some thoughts - matter of debate, of course!
I started all this by answering a StackOverflow question, in which the actual answers were not accurate enough, to my opinion.

From my point of view, Websocket - as a protocol - is some kind of monster.

You start a HTTP stateless connection, then switch to WebSocket mode which releases the TCP/IP dual-direction layer, then you may switch later on back to HTTP...
It reminds me some kind of monstrosity, just like encapsulating everything over HTTP, using XML messages... Just to bypass the security barriers... Just breaking the OSI layered model...
It reminds me the fact that our mobile phone data providers do not use broadcasting for streaming audio and video, but regular Internet HTTP servers, so the mobile phone data bandwidth is just wasted when a sport event occurs: every single smart phone has its own connection to the server, and the same video is transmitted in parallel, saturating the single communication channel... Smart phones are not so smart, aren't they?

WebSocket sounds like a clever way to circumvent a limitation...
But why not use a dedicated layer?
I hope HTTP 2.0 would allow pushing information from the server, as part of the standard... and in one decade, we probably will see WebSocket as a deprecated technology.
You have been warned. Do not invest too much in WebSockets..

OK. Back to our existential questions...
First of all, does the WebSocket protocol scale?
Today, any modern single server is able to server millions of clients at once.
Its HTTP server software has just to be is Event-Driven (IOCP) oriented (we are not in the old Apache's one connection = one thread/process equation any more).
Even the HTTP server built in Windows (http.sys - which is used in mORMot) is IOCP oriented and very efficient (running in kernel mode).
From this point of view, there won't be a lot of difference at scaling between WebSocket and a regular HTTP connection. One TCP/IP connection uses a little resource (much less than a thread), and modern OS are optimized for handling a lot of concurrent connections: WebSocket and HTTP are just OSI 7 application layer protocols, inheriting from this TCP/IP specifications.

But, from experiment, I've seen two main problems with WebSocket:

  1. It does not support CDN;
  2. It has potential security issues.

Continue reading...

2014, Monday August 11

Cross-Platform mORMot Clients - Smart Mobile Studio

Current version of the main framework units target only Win32 and Win64 systems.

It allows to make easy self-hosting of mORMot servers for local business applications in any corporation, or pay cheap hosting in the Cloud, since mORMot CPU and RAM expectations are much lower than a regular IIS-WCF-MSSQL-.Net stack.
But in a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), you would probably need to create clients for platforms outside the Windows world, especially mobile devices.

A set of cross-platform client units is therefore available in the CrossPlatform sub-folder of the source code repository. It allows writing any client in modern object pascal language, for:

  • Any version of Delphi, on any platform (Mac OSX, or any mobile supported devices);
  • FreePascal Compiler 2.7.1;
  • Smart Mobile Studio 2.1, to create AJAX or mobile applications (via PhoneGap, if needed).

This series of articles will introduce you to mORMot's Cross-Platform abilities:

Any feedback is welcome in our forum, as usual!

Continue reading...

Cross-Platform mORMot Clients - Delphi / FreePascal

Current version of the main framework units target only Win32 and Win64 systems.

It allows to make easy self-hosting of mORMot servers for local business applications in any corporation, or pay cheap hosting in the Cloud, since mORMot CPU and RAM expectations are much lower than a regular IIS-WCF-MSSQL-.Net stack.
But in a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), you would probably need to create clients for platforms outside the Windows world, especially mobile devices.

A set of cross-platform client units is therefore available in the CrossPlatform sub-folder of the source code repository. It allows writing any client in modern object pascal language, for:

  • Any version of Delphi, on any platform (Mac OSX, or any mobile supported devices);
  • FreePascal Compiler 2.7.1;
  • Smart Mobile Studio 2.1, to create AJAX or mobile applications (via PhoneGap, if needed).

This series of articles will introduce you to mORMot's Cross-Platform abilities:

Any feedback is welcome in our forum, as usual!

Continue reading...

Cross-Platform mORMot Clients - Generating Code Wrappers

Current version of the main framework units target only Win32 and Win64 systems.

It allows to make easy self-hosting of mORMot servers for local business applications in any corporation, or pay cheap hosting in the Cloud, since mORMot CPU and RAM expectations are much lower than a regular IIS-WCF-MSSQL-.Net stack.
But in a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), you would probably need to create clients for platforms outside the Windows world, especially mobile devices.

A set of cross-platform client units is therefore available in the CrossPlatform sub-folder of the source code repository. It allows writing any client in modern object pascal language, for:

  • Any version of Delphi, on any platform (Mac OSX, or any mobile supported devices);
  • FreePascal Compiler 2.7.1;
  • Smart Mobile Studio 2.1, to create AJAX or mobile applications (via PhoneGap, if needed).

This series of articles will introduce you to mORMot's Cross-Platform abilities:

Any feedback is welcome in our forum, as usual!

Continue reading...

Cross-Platform mORMot Clients - Units and Platforms

Current version of the main framework units target only Win32 and Win64 systems.

It allows to make easy self-hosting of mORMot servers for local business applications in any corporation, or pay cheap hosting in the Cloud, since mORMot CPU and RAM expectations are much lower than a regular IIS-WCF-MSSQL-.Net stack.
But in a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), you would probably need to create clients for platforms outside the Windows world, especially mobile devices.

A set of cross-platform client units is therefore available in the CrossPlatform sub-folder of the source code repository. It allows writing any client in modern object pascal language, for:

  • Any version of Delphi, on any platform (Mac OSX, or any mobile supported devices);
  • FreePascal Compiler 2.7.1;
  • Smart Mobile Studio 2.1, to create AJAX or mobile applications (via PhoneGap, if needed).

This series of articles will introduce you to mORMot's Cross-Platform abilities:

Any feedback is welcome in our forum, as usual!

Continue reading...

2014, Tuesday August 5

Returning content as XML

By default, interface-based services of a mORMot server will always return a JSON array (or a JSON object, if TServiceFactoryServer.ResultAsJSONObject is true).
With some kind of clients (e.g. if they are made by a third party), it could be useful to return XML content instead.

Your mORMot server is able to let its interface-based services return XML context instead, or in addition to the default JSON format.

Continue reading...

2014, Wednesday May 7

MongoDB + mORMot benchmark

Here are some benchmark charts about MongoDB integration in mORMot's ORM.

MongoDB appears as a serious competitor to SQL databases, with the potential benefit of horizontal scaling and installation/administration ease - performance is very high, and its document-based storage fits perfectly with mORMot's advanced ORM features like Shared nothing architecture (or sharding).

Continue reading...

MongoDB + mORMot ORM = ODM

MongoDB (from "humongous") is a cross-platform document-oriented database system, and certainly the best known NoSQL database.
According to http://db-engines.com in April 2014, MongoDB is in 5th place of the most popular types of database management systems, and first place for NoSQL database management systems.
Our mORMot gives premium access to this database, featuring full NoSQL and Object-Document Mapping (ODM) abilities to the framework.

Integration is made at two levels:

  • Direct low-level access to the MongoDB server, in the SynMongoDB.pas unit;
  • Close integration with our ORM (which becomes defacto an ODM), in the mORMotMongoDB.pas unit.

MongoDB eschews the traditional table-based relational database structure in favor of JSON-like documents with dynamic schemas (MongoDB calls the format BSON), which matches perfectly mORMot's RESTful approach.

This second article will focus on integration of MongoDB with our ORM.

Continue reading...

Direct MongoDB database access

MongoDB (from "humongous") is a cross-platform document-oriented database system, and certainly the best known NoSQL database.
According to http://db-engines.com in April 2014, MongoDB is in 5th place of the most popular types of database management systems, and first place for NoSQL database management systems.
Our mORMot framework gives premium access to this database, featuring full NoSQL and Object-Document Mapping (ODM) abilities to the framework.

Integration is made at two levels:

  • Direct low-level access to the MongoDB server, in the SynMongoDB.pas unit;
  • Close integration with our ORM (which becomes defacto an ODM), in the mORMotMongoDB.pas unit.

MongoDB eschews the traditional table-based relational database structure in favor of JSON-like documents with dynamic schemas (MongoDB calls the format BSON), which matches perfectly mORMot's RESTful approach.

In this first article, we will detail direct low-level access to the MongoDB server, via the SynMongoDB.pas unit.

Continue reading...

2014, Monday April 7

JavaScript support in mORMot via SpiderMonkey

As we already stated, we finished the first step of integration of the SpiderMonkey engine to our mORMot framework.
Version 1.8.5 of the library is already integrated, and latest official revision will be soon merged, thanks to mpv's great contribution.
It can be seen as stable, since it is already used on production site to serve more than 1,000,000 requests per day.

You can now easily uses JavaScript on both client and server side.
On server side, mORMot's implementation offers an unique concept, i.e. true multi-threading, which is IMHO a huge enhancement when compared to the regular node.js mono-threaded implementation, and its callback hell.
In fact, node.js official marketing states its non-blocking scheme is a plus. It allows to define a HTTP server in a few lines, but huge server applications need JavaScript experts not to sink into a state a disgrace.

Continue reading...

2014, Tuesday February 25

TDocVariant custom variant type

With revision 1.18 of the framework, we just introduced two new custom types of variants:

  • TDocVariant kind of variant;
  • TBSONVariant kind of variant.

The second custom type (which handles MongoDB-specific extensions - like ObjectID or other specific types like dates or binary) will be presented later, when dealing with MongoDB support in mORMot, together with the BSON kind of content. BSON / MongoDB support is implemented in the SynMongoDB.pas unit.

We will now focus on TDocVariant itself, which is a generic container of JSON-like objects or arrays.
This custom variant type is implemented in SynCommons.pas unit, so is ready to be used everywhere in your code, even without any link to the mORMot ORM kernel, or MongoDB.

TDocVariant documents

TDocVariant implements a custom variant type which can be used to store any JSON/BSON document-based content, i.e. either:

  • Name/value pairs, for object-oriented documents;
  • An array of values (including nested documents), for array-oriented documents;
  • Any combination of the two, by nesting TDocVariant instances.

Here are the main features of this custom variant type:

  • DOM approach of any object or array documents;
  • Perfect storage for dynamic value-objects content, with a schema-less approach (as you may be used to in scripting languages like Python or JavaScript);
  • Allow nested documents, with no depth limitation but the available memory;
  • Assignment can be either per-value (default, safest but slower when containing a lot of nested data), or per-reference (immediate reference-counted assignment);
  • Very fast JSON serialization / un-serialization with support of MongoDB-like extended syntax;
  • Access to properties in code, via late-binding (including almost no speed penalty due to our VCL hack as already detailed);
  • Direct access to the internal variant names and values arrays from code, by trans-typing into a TDocVariantData record;
  • Instance life-time is managed by the compiler (like any other variant type), without the need to use interfaces or explicit try..finally blocks;
  • Optimized to use as little memory and CPU resource as possible (in contrast to most other libraries, it does not allocate one class instance per node, but rely on pre-allocated arrays);
  • Opened to extension of any content storage - for instance, it will perfectly integrate with BSON serialization and custom MongoDB types (ObjectID, RegEx...), to be used in conjunction with MongoDB servers;
  • Perfectly integrated with our Dynamic array wrapper and its JSON serialization as with the record serialization;
  • Designed to work with our mORMot ORM: any TSQLRecord instance containing such variant custom types as published properties will be recognized by the ORM core, and work as expected with any database back-end (storing the content as JSON in a TEXT column);
  • Designed to work with our mORMot SOA: any interface-based service is able to consume or publish such kind of content, as variant kind of parameters;
  • Fully integrated with the Delphi IDE: any variant instance will be displayed as JSON in the IDE debugger, making it very convenient to work with.

To create instances of such variant, you can use some easy-to-remember functions:

  • _Obj() _ObjFast() global functions to create a variant object document;
  • _Arr() _ArrFast() global functions to create a variant array document;
  • _Json() _JsonFast() _JsonFmt() _JsonFastFmt() global functions to create any variant object or array document from JSON, supplied either with standard or MongoDB-extended syntax.

Continue reading...

2013, Tuesday December 10

JSON record serialization

In Delphi, the record has some nice advantages:

  • record are value objects, i.e. accessed by value, not by reference - this can be very convenient, e.g. when defining a Domain-Driven Design
  • record can contain any other record or dynamic array, so are very convenient to work with (no need to define sub-classes or lists); 
  • record variables can be allocated on stack, so won't solicit the global heap; 
  • record instances automatically freed by the compiler when they come out of scope, so you won't need to write any try..finally Free; end block.

Serialization of record values are therefore a must-have for a framework like mORMot.

In recent commits, this JSON serialization of record has been enhanced.
In particular, we introduced JSON serialization via a new text-based record definition.

Continue reading...

2013, Monday September 2

Summer videos of mORMot

During this summer, warleyalex did meet some mORMots in the mountains of REST, Java, AJAX and JSON.

(picture may differ from actual user:) )

He did some videos of his experiment with our little rodent.
At this time, there are 11 videos available!

Latest one is a Java client application, communicating with a mORMot server and a SQLite3 database.

Please go to this forum post to find all URIs, and put your feedback.

Thanks a lot for sharing!

2013, Saturday May 11

Delphi XE4 NextGen compiler: using byte instead of ansichar?

When I first read the technical white paper covering all of the language changes in XE4 for mobile development (tied to the new ARM LLVM-based Delphi compiler), I have to confess I was pretty much confused.

Two great mORMot users just asked for XE4/iOS support of mORMot.

Win32/Win64 support for XE4 will be done as soon as we got a copy of it.
I suspect the code already works, since it was working as expected with XE3, and we rely on our own set of low-level functions for most internal work.

But iOS-targetting is more complex, due to the NextGen compiler, mainly.

Continue reading...

2013, Wednesday April 24

mORMots know how to swim like fishes

Another great video by warleyalex.

This time, a full FishFacts demo in AJAX, using mORMot and its SQLite3 ORM as server.

See it on YouTube!

Feedback is welcome on our forum.

Update:

I've just uploaded the corresponding source code to our repository.
See sample 19 - AJAX ExtJS FishFacts.
You need to download the corresponding DB file to run the sample.
Enjoy!

2013, Tuesday April 2

Two videos about EXTjs client of mORMot server

Two nice videos, posted by a framework user.

The first one presents a remote RESTful access of a SQLite3 database, hosted by a mORMot server:

After one post in the forum, warleyalex was able to easily add remote filtering of the request:

In addition to the previous video about security (by which the mORMot authentication model seems much more secure than DataSnap's), this is a very nice demo!
Thanks a lot, warleyalex for the feedback and information!

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