Real-Time Rails: Implementing WebSockets in Rails 5 with Action Cable

It's been one year since Action Cable debuted at RailsConf 2015, and Sophie DeBenedetto is here to answer the question in the minds of many developers: what is it really like to implement "the highlight of Rails 5"? Sophie is a web developer and an instructor at the Flatiron School. Her first love is Ruby on Rails, although she has developed projects with and written about Rails, Ember and Phoenix.


Recent years have seen the rise of "the real-time web." Web apps we use every day rely on real-time features—the sort of features that let you see new posts magically appearing at the top of your feeds without having to lift a finger.

While we may take those features for granted, they represent a significant departure from the HTTP protocol's strict request-response pattern. Real-time web, by contrast, loosely describes a system in which users receive new information from the server as soon as it is available—no request required.

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WebSockets now Generally Available

WebSocket support was introduced as a Labs feature last year, and we went through extensive testing and a number of technical iterations to improve performance and to provide a predictable compliance target. Thanks to great interaction with the community and early feature users, we now have a fast and robust solution available in production.

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