Quietly jumping into real-time adventure

posted by Jeff | Saturday, February 23, 2013, 11:33 PM | comments: 0

The other night I pushed a half-baked update to POP Forums into CoasterBuzz. The bulk of the changes (and there are some bugs) have to do with updating stuff in real time. So for example, you get infinite scroll topics, where posts just keep loading as you go, new posts appear at the end like magic, the recent topics list actually updates without a refresh, the topic lists and forum lists update, times update. It's all real-timey!

To anyone who uses Facebook, which is pretty much everyone, this is wholly unremarkable. There just hasn't been a really good off-the-shelf way to do all of this real-time stuff efficiently until recently. I did it, sort of, in the last version, where it would let you know as you were writing a reply if there was something new posted, but it did so by asking the server over and over again, "Is there something new? Is there something new? Is there something new?" Lame.

Then SignalR came along, and it was finally released for v1 this week. It keeps a connection open between the server and the browser, and figures out how to do it even if your browser doesn't support it. It's pretty sweet. You could build a chat server in a few dozen lines of code. That is awesome.

Forums are way behind the neat-o ways things like Facebook work, but at least my forum won't be that way much longer. Hooray for new tools!


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