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Creating a Custom Protocol

Implementing a TelnetServerConnectionFactory
Implementing the TelnetServerConnection
Parsing the Bytes Received
Designing an API to Process Bytes

You can create custom protocols with Jetty. This page provides an example of how to do so, with Telnet as the protocol.

To create a custom Telnet protocol, complete the following tasks:

Implementing a TelnetServerConnectionFactory

Begin with an org.eclipse.jetty.server.ServerConnector, which you can use as is. ServerConnector takes a o.e.j.server.ConnectionFactory, which creates o.e.j.io.Connection objects that interpret the bytes the connector receives. You must implement ConnectionFactory with a TelnetServerConnectionFactory, where you return a Connection implementation (for example, TelnetServerConnection).

Implementing the TelnetServerConnection

For the Connection implementation you need to extend from o.e.j.io.AbstractConnection because it provides many facilities that you would otherwise need to re-implement from scratch.

For each Connection instance there is associated an o.e.j.io.EndPoint instance. Think of EndPoint as a specialized version of JDK’s SocketChannel. You use the EndPoint to read, write, and close. You don’t need to implement EndPoint, because Jetty provides concrete classes for you to use.

The Connection is the passive side (that is, Jetty calls it when there is data to read), while the EndPoint is the active part (that is, applications call it to write data to the other end). When there is data to read, Jetty calls AbstractConnection.onFillable(), which you must implement in your TelnetServerConnection.

A typical implementation reads bytes from the EndPoint by calling EndPoint.fill(ByteBuffer). For examples, look at both the simpler SPDYConnection (in the SPDY client package, but server also uses it), and the slightly more complex HttpConnection.

Parsing the Bytes Received

After you read the bytes, you need to parse them. For the Telnet protocol there is not much to parse, but perhaps you have your own commands that you want to interpret and execute. Therefore typically every connection has an associated parser instance. In turn, a parser usually emits parse events that a parser listener interprets, as the following examples illustrate:

  • In HTTP, the Jetty HTTP parser parses the request line (and emits a parser event), then parses the headers (and emits a parser event for each) until it recognizes the end of the headers (and emits another parser event). At that point, the interpreter or parser listener (which for HTTP is o.e.j.server.HttpChannel) has all the information necessary to build a HttpServletRequest object and can call the user code (the web application, that is, servlets/filters).

  • In SPDY, the Jetty SPDY parser parses a SPDY frame (and emits a parser event), and the parser listener (an instance of o.e.j.spdy.StandardSession) interprets the parser events and calls user code (application-provided listeners).

With ConnectionFactory, Connection, parser, and parser listeners in place, you have configured the read side.

Designing an API to Process Bytes

At this point, server applications typically write data back to the client.

The Servlet API (for HTTP) or application-provided listeners (for SPDY) expose an interface to web applications so that they can write data back to the client. The implementation of those interfaces must link back to the EndPoint instance associated with the Connection instance so that it can write data via EndPoint.write(Callback, ByteBuffer...). This is an asynchronous call, and it notifies the callback when all the buffers have been fully written.

For example, in the Servlet API, applications use a ServletOutputStream to write the response content. ServletOutputStream is an abstract class that Jetty implements, enabling Jetty to handle the writes from the web application; the writes eventually end up in an EndPoint.write(...) call.

Tips for Designing an API

If you want to write a completely asynchronous implementation, your API to write data to the client must have a callback/promise concept: “Call me back when you are done, and (possibly) give me the result of the computation."

SPDY’s Stream class is a typical example. Notice how the methods there exist in two versions, a synchronous (blocking) one, and an asynchronous one that takes as last parameter a Callback (if no result is needed), or a Promise (if a result is needed). It is trivial to write the synchronous version in terms of the asynchronous version.

You can use EndPoint.write(Callback, ByteBuffer...) in a blocking way as follows:

With the snippet above your API can be synchronous or asynchronous (your choice), but implemented synchronously.

See an error or something missing? Contribute to this documentation at Github!(Generated: 2014-12-21T01:00:36-08:00)