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How to Get Started with ASP.NET and WebSocket on GE Predix

Eugene Lahansky

how-to-get-started-with-aspnet-and-websockets-on-ge-predix

Here, we continue to explore how to use Predix, GE’s platform for the Internet of Things, for creating .NET apps. Our previous article focused on deploying a simple ASP.NET app to Predix. From this post, learn about deploying an ASP.NET Core 1.0 application that employs the WebSocket protocol.

 

Prerequisites

To follow the steps of this tutorial, you need:

 

Preparing the application for Predix

The initial plan was to create an ASP.NET application with SignalR and then deploy it to Predix. Unfortunately, SignalR is not included in the ASP.NET Core 1.0.0 version, so we used the native WebSocket support instead—Microsoft.AspNetCore.WebSockets.Server.

To implement your ASP.NET application and make it ready for deployment to Predix:

  1. Go to Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 and create a new project using a standard ASP.NET 5 template.
  2. Compile and start the application to check if it works locally.
  3. Prepare the back-end part using the Startup.cs file:
public void Configure(IApplicationBuilder app)
{
    app.UseDeveloperExceptionPage();
    app.UseDefaultFiles();
    app.UseStaticFiles();
    app.UseWebSockets();
    app.Use(async (http, next) =>
    {
        if (http.WebSockets.IsWebSocketRequest)
        {
            var webSocket = await http.WebSockets.AcceptWebSocketAsync();
        while (webSocket.State == WebSocketState.Open)
            {
                var token = CancellationToken.None;
                var buffer = new ArraySegment<byte>(new byte[4096]);
                var received = await webSocket.ReceiveAsync(buffer, token);
                switch (received.MessageType)
                {
                    case WebSocketMessageType.Text:
                        var request = Encoding.UTF8.GetString(buffer.Array, buffer.Offset, buffer.Count);
                        var type = WebSocketMessageType.Text;
                        var data = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(string.Format("Server: {0}", request));
                        buffer = new ArraySegment<byte>(data);
                        await webSocket.SendAsync(buffer, type, true, token);
                        break;
                }
            }
        }
        else
        {
            await next();
        }
    });
}
  1. Add MVC support:
public void Configure(IApplicationBuilder app)
{
    ...
    app.UseMvc(routes =>
    {
        routes.MapRoute(
          name: "default",
          template: "{controller=Home}/{action=Index}/{id?}");
        });
    }
}
public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
{
    services.AddMvc();
}
  1. Additionally, create a simple controller:
public class HomeController : Controller
{
    public IActionResult Index()
    {
        return new EmptyResult();
    }
}
  1. Prepare the front-end part:
<script type="text/javascript">
    var webSocket;
    $(document).ready(function () {
        webSocket = new WebSocket('wss://<predix URL>/Home/Index');
        webSocket.onopen = function () {
            $('#status').text('connected');
        };
        webSocket.onmessage = function (evt) {
            $('#messages').append('<li>' + evt.data + '</li>');
        };
        webSocket.onerror = function (evt) {
            alert(evt.message);
        };
        webSocket.onclose = function () {
            $('#status').text('disconnected');
        };
        $('#btnSend').click(function () {
            if (webSocket.readyState == WebSocket.OPEN) {
                webSocket.send($('#textInput').val());
            }
            else {
                $('#status').text('Connection is closed');
            }
        });
    });
</script>

Here is how the form looks like:

aspnet-app-on-ge-predix

  1. Before deploying the application in Predix, modify the project.json file:
  • Include the Microsoft.AspNet.Server.Kestrel dependency and the kestrel command.
  • Make sure your application targets the dnxcode50 framework.

These changes help Predix to select the correct buildpack for the application. Here is how the project.json file should look like:

"dependencies": {
    "Microsoft.NETCore.App": {
            "version": "1.0.0",
            "type": "platform"
    },
    ...
},
"frameworks": {
    "netcoreapp1.0": {
        "imports": [
            "dotnet5.6",
                "portable-net45+win8"
        ]
    }
},
...

 

Deploying the application to Predix

After finishing the necessary preparations, you can deploy the application to Predix.

With the Cloud Foundry command line interface installed, go through these steps:

  1. Open cmd.exe and change to your ASP.NET directory:

    cd <folder where project.json is located>
  2. Log in to your Predix account:

    cf login -a <API endpoint> -u <your predix email> -o <your predix organization> -s <your predix space>
  3. After logging in, push the application:

    cf push testaspnetcore -b https://github.com/cloudfoundry-community/dotnet-core-buildpack

deploying-aspnet-app-on-ge-predix

Now, you can see the result in the browser.

aspnet-websocket-on-ge-predix

The source code for the tutorial is available on GitHub.

 

Conclusion

At the moment, SignalR is not yet supported in .NET Core 1.0. The good news is that the native WebSocket implementation—Microsoft.AspNetCore.WebSockets.Server—works perfectly on .NET Core 1.0, and no additional steps are required for running applications that use the WebSocket protocol on Predix.

 

Related tutorials:


About the author: Eugene Lahansky is a Solutions Architect at Altoros. With his extensive experience in .NET programming, he designs and develops web-based software for Windows platforms. Eugene also works with the UNIX stack of technologies, including NGINX, Docker, and Node.js.


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