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Chapter 16. Server-Sent Events (SSE) Support

16.1. What are Server-Sent Events

In a standard HTTP request-response scenario a client opens a connection, sends a HTTP request to the server (for example a HTTP GET request), then receives a HTTP response back and the server closes the connection once the response is fully sent/received. The initiative always comes from a client when the client requests all the data. In contrast, Server-Sent Events (SSE) is a mechanism that allows server to asynchronously push the data from the server to the client once the client-server connection is established by the client. Once the connection is established by the client, it is the server who provides the data and decides to send it to the client whenever new "chunk" of data is available. When a new data event occurs on the server, the data event is sent by the server to the client. Thus the name Server-Sent Events. Note that at high level there are more technologies working on this principle, a short overview of the technologies supporting server-to-client communication is in this list:

Polling

With polling a client repeatedly sends new requests to a server. If the server has no new data, then it send appropriate indication and closes the connection. The client then waits a bit and sends another request after some time (after one second, for example).

Long-polling

With long-polling a client sends a request to a server. If the server has no new data, it just holds the connection open and waits until data is available. Once the server has data (message) for the client, it uses the connection and sends it back to the client. Then the connection is closed.

Server-Sent events

SSE is similar to the long-polling mechanism, except it does not send only one message per connection. The client sends a request and server holds a connection until a new message is ready, then it sends the message back to the client while still keeping the connection open so that it can be used for another message once it becomes available. Once a new message is ready, it is sent back to the client on the same initial connection. Client processes the messages sent back from the server individually without closing the connection after processing each message. So, SSE typically reuses one connection for more messages (called events). SSE also defines a dedicated media type that describes a simple format of individual events sent from the server to the client. SSE also offers standard javascript client API implemented most modern browsers. For more information about SSE, see the SSE API specification.

WebSocket

WebSocket technology is different from previous technologies as it provides a real full duplex connection. The initiator is again a client which sends a request to a server with a special HTTP header that informs the server that the HTTP connection may be "upgraded" to a full duplex TCP/IP WebSocket connection. If server supports WebSocket, it may choose to do so. Once a WebSocket connection is established, it can be used for bi-directional communication between the client and the server. Both client and server can then send data to the other party at will whenever it is needed. The communication on the new WebSocket connection is no longer based on HTTP protocol and can be used for example for for online gaming or any other applications that require fast exchange of small chunks of data in flowing in both directions.

16.2. When to use Server-Sent Events

As explained above, SSE is a technology that allows clients to subscribe to event notifications that originate on a server. Server generates new events and sends these events back to the clients subscribed to receive the notifications. In other words, SSE offers a solution for a one-way publish-subscribe model.

A good example of the use case where SSE can be used is a simple message exchange RESTful service. Clients POST new messages to the service and subscribe to receive messages from other clients. Let's call the resource messages. While POSTing a new message to this resource involves a typical HTTP request-response communication between a client and the messages resource, subscribing to receive all new message notifications would be hard and impractical to model with a sequence of standard request-response message exchanges. Using Server-sent events provides a much more practical approach here. You can use SSE to let clients subscribe to the messages resource via standard GET request (use a SSE client API, for example javascript API or Jersey Client SSE API) and let the server broadcast new messages to all connected clients in the form of individual events (in our case using Jersey Server SSE API). Note that with Jersey a SSE support is implemented as an usual JAX-RS resource method. There's no need to do anything special to provide a SSE support in your Jersey/JAX-RS applications, your SSE-enabled resources are a standard part of your RESTful Web application that defines the REST API of your application. The following chapters describes SSE support in Jersey in more details.

16.3. Server-Sent Events API

In previous JAX-RS versions, no standard API for server-sent events was defined. The SSE support bundled with Jersey was Jersey-specific. With JAX-RS 2.1, situation changed and SSE API is well defined in the javax.ws.rs.sse package.

Following chapters will describe the new SSE API. For backwards compatibility reasons, the original Jersey-specific API remains valid and will be described in Section 16.6, “Jersey-specific Server-Sent Events API”

Jersey contains support for SSE for both - server and client. SSE in Jersey is implemented as an extension supporting a new media type using existing "chunked" messages support. However, in contrast to the original API, the instances of SSE related classes are not to be obtained manually by invoking constructors, nor to be directly returned from the resource methods. Actually, the implementing classes in the jersey.media.sse.internal package should never be needed to be imported. The only API to be used is directly in the JAX-RS package (javax.ws.rs.sse). Only builders in the API along with dependency injection should be used and provides access to the entire functionality.

In order to take advantage of the SSE support, the jersey-media-sse module has to be on classpath. In maven, this can be achieved by adding the dependency to the SSE media type module:

Example 16.1. Adding the SSE dependency

<dependency>
    <groupId>org.glassfish.jersey.media</groupId>
    <artifactId>jersey-media-sse</artifactId>
</dependency>


The Feature defined in the module is (forced) auto-discoverable, which means having the module on classpath is sufficient, no need to further register it in the code.

16.4. Implementing SSE support in a JAX-RS resource (with JAX-RS SSE API)

16.4.1. Simple SSE resource method

Example 16.2. Simple SSE resource method

As mentioned above, the SSE related are not instantiated directly. In this case, Jersey takes care of the dependencies and injects the SseEventSink (represents the output) and Sse (provides factory methods for other SSE related types, in this case it is used to retrieve the event builder).
...
import javax.ws.rs.sse.Sse;
import javax.ws.rs.sse.SseEventSink;
import javax.ws.rs.sse.OutboundSseEvent;
...

@Path("events")
public static class SseResource {

    @GET
    @Produces(MediaType.SERVER_SENT_EVENTS)
    public void getServerSentEvents(@Context SseEventSink eventSink, @Context Sse sse) {
        new Thread(() -> {
            for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
                // ... code that waits 1 second
                final OutboundSseEvent event = sse.newEventBuilder()
                    .name("message-to-client")
                    .data(String.class, "Hello world " + i + "!")
                    .build();
                eventSink.send(event);
            }
        }).start();
    }
}
                

The code above defines the resource deployed on URI "/events". This resource has a single @GET resource method which returns void. This is an imported difference against the original API. It is Jersey's responsibility to bind the injected SseEventSink to the output chain.

After the SseEventInput is "returned" from the method, the Jersey runtime recognizes that this is a ChunkedOutput extension and does not close the client connection immediately. Instead, it writes the HTTP headers to the response stream and waits for more chunks (SSE events) to be sent. At this point the client can read headers and starts listening for individual events.

In theExample 16.2, “Simple SSE resource method”, the resource method creates a new thread that sends a sequence of 10 events. There is a 1 second delay between two subsequent events as indicated in a comment. Each event is represented by javax.ws.rs.sse.OutboundSseEvent type and is built with a help of a provided Builder. The Builder is obtain via the injected instance (actually, it is a singleton) of javax.ws.rs.sse.Sse (the newEventBuilder() method. The OutboundSseEvent implementation reflects the standardized format of SSE messages and contains properties that represent name (for named events), comment, data or id. The code also sets the event data media type using the mediaType(MediaType) method on the eventBuilder. The media type, together with the data type set by the data(Class, Object> method (in our case String.class), is used for serialization of the event data. Note that the event data media type will not be written to any headers as the response Content-type header is already defined by the @Produces and set to "text/event-stream" using constant from the MediaType. The event media type is used for serialization of event data. Event data media type and Java type are used to select the proper MessageBodyWriter<T> for event data serialization and are passed to the selected writer that serializes the event data content. In our case the string "Hello world " + i + "!" is serialized as "text/plain". In event data you can send any Java entity and associate it with any media type that you would be able to serialize with an available MessageBodyWriter<T>. Typically, you may want to send e.g. JSON data, so you would fill the data with a JAXB annotated bean instance and define media type to JSON.

Note

If the event media type is not set explicitly, the "text/plain" media type is used by default.

Once an outbound event is ready, it can be written to the EventSink. At that point the event is serialized by internal OutboundEventWriter which uses an appropriate MessageBodyWriter<T> to serialize the "Hello world " + i + "!" string. You can send as many messages as you like. At the end of the thread execution the response is closed which also closes the connection to the client. After that, no more messages can be sent to the client on this connection. If the client would like to receive more messages, it would have to send a new request to the server to initiate a new SSE streaming connection.

A client connecting to our SSE-enabled resource will receive the following data from the entity stream:

event: message-to-client
data: Hello world 0!

event: message-to-client
data: Hello world 1!

event: message-to-client
data: Hello world 2!

event: message-to-client
data: Hello world 3!

event: message-to-client
data: Hello world 4!

event: message-to-client
data: Hello world 5!

event: message-to-client
data: Hello world 6!

event: message-to-client
data: Hello world 7!

event: message-to-client
data: Hello world 8!

event: message-to-client
data: Hello world 9!
                

Each message is received with a delay of one second.

Note

If you have worked with streams in JAX-RS, you may wonder what is the difference between ChunkedOutput and StreamingOutput.

ChunkedOutput is Jersey-specific API. It lets you send "chunks" of data without closing the client connection using series of convenient calls to ChunkedOutput.write methods that take POJO + chunk media type as an input and then use the configured JAX-RS MessageBodyWriter<T> providers to figure out the proper way of serializing each chunk POJO to bytes. Additionally, ChunkedOutput writes can be invoked multiple times on the same outbound response connection, i.e. individual chunks are written in each write, not the full response entity.

StreamingOutput is, on the other hand, a low level JAX-RS API that works with bytes directly. You have to implement StreamingOutput interface yourself. Also, its write(OutputStream) method will be invoked by JAX-RS runtime only once per response and the call to this method is blocking, i.e. the method is expected to write the entire entity body before returning.

16.4.2. Broadcasting with Jersey SSE

JAX-RS SSE API defines SseBroadcaster which allows to broadcast individual events to multiple clients. A simple broadcasting implementation is shown in the following example:

Example 16.3. Broadcasting SSE messages (with JAX-RS 2.1 API)

...
import javax.ws.rs.sse.Sse;
import javax.ws.rs.sse.SseEventSink;
import javax.ws.rs.sse.SseBroadcaster;
...

@Singleton
@Path("broadcast")
public static class BroadcasterResource {
    private Sse sse;
    private SseBroadcaster broadcaster;

    public BroadcasterResource(@Context final Sse sse) {
        this.sse = sse;
        this.broadcaster = sse.newBroadcaster();
    }

    @POST
    @Produces(MediaType.TEXT_PLAIN)
    @Consumes(MediaType.TEXT_PLAIN)
    public String broadcastMessage(String message) {
        final OutboundSseEvent event = sse.newEventBuilder()
            .name("message")
            .mediaType(MediaType.TEXT_PLAIN_TYPE)
            .data(String.class, message)
            .build();

        broadcaster.broadcast(event);

        return "Message '" + message + "' has been broadcast.";
    }

    @GET
    @Produces(MediaType.SERVER_SENT_EVENTS)
    public void listenToBroadcast(@Context SseEventSink eventSink) {
        this.broadcaster.subscribe(eventSink);
    }
}
                    


Let's explore the example together. The BroadcasterResource resource class is annotated with @Singleton annotation which tells Jersey runtime that only a single instance of the resource class should be used to serve all the incoming requests to /broadcast path. This is needed as we want to keep an application-wide single reference to the private broadcaster field so that we can use the same instance for all requests. Clients that want to listen to SSE events first send a GET request to the BroadcasterResource, that is handled by the listenToBroadcast() resource method. The method is injected with a new SseEventSink representing the connection to the requesting client and registers this eventSink instance with the singleton broadcaster by calling its subscribe() method. The method then, as already explained returns void and Jersey runtime is responsible for binding the injected EventSink instance so as it would have been returned from the resource method (note that really returning the EventSink from the resource method will cause failure) and to bind the eventSink instance with the requesting client and send the response HTTP headers to the client. The client connection remains open and the client is now waiting ready to receive new SSE events. All the events are written to the eventSink by broadcaster later on. This way developers can conveniently handle sending new events to all the clients that subscribe to them.

When a client wants to broadcast new message to all the clients listening on their SSE connections, it sends a POST request to BroadcasterResource resource with the message content. The method broadcastMessage(String) is invoked on BroadcasterResource resource with the message content as an input parameter. A new SSE outbound event is built in the standard way and passed to the broadcaster. The broadcaster internally invokes write(OutboundEvent) on all registered EventSinks. After that the method just returns a standard text response to the POSTing client to inform the client that the message was successfully broadcast. As you can see, the broadcastMessage(String) resource method is just a simple JAX-RS resource method.

In order to implement such a scenario, you may have noticed, that the SseBroadcaster is not mandatory to complete the use case. Individual EventSinks can be just stored in a collection and iterated over in the broadcastMessage method. However, the SseBroadcaster internally identifies and handles also client disconnects. When a client closes the connection, the broadcaster detects this and removes the stale connection from the internal collection of the registered EventSinks as well as it frees all the server-side resources associated with the stale connection. Additionally, the SseBroadcaster is implemented to be thread-safe, so that clients can connect and disconnect in any time and SseBroadcaster will always broadcast messages to the most recent collection of registered and active set of clients.

16.5. Consuming SSE events within Jersey clients

On the client side, push programming model is used (event consumer / client) gets asynchronously notified about incoming events by subscribing custom listener to javax.ws.rs.sse.SseEventSource. This happens by invoking one of its subscribe() methods.

The usage of SseEventSource is shown in the following example.

Example 16.4. Consuming SSE events with SseEventSource

import javax.ws.rs.sse.SseEventSource;
...
Client client = ClientBuilder.newBuilder().build();
WebTarget target = client.target("http://example.com/events");
SseEventSource sseEventSource = SseEventSource.target(target).build();
sseEventSource.register(event -> System.out.println(event.getName() + "; "
    + event.readData(String.class)));
sseEventSource.open();

// do other stuff, block here and continue when done

sseEventSource.close();
                


In this example, the client code connects to the server where the SseResource from the Example 16.2, “Simple SSE resource method” is deployed. The Client instance is created (and initialized with SseFeature automatically). Then the WebTarget is built. In this case a request to the web target is not made directly in the code, instead, the web target instance is used to initialize a new SseEventSource.Builder instance that is used to build a new SseEventSource. The choice of build() method is important, as it tells the SseEventSource.Builder to create a new SseEventSource that is not automatically connected to the target. The connection is established only later by manually invoking the sseEventSource.open() method. A custom java.util.function.Consumer<InboundSseEvent> implementation is used to listen to and process incoming SSE events. The method readData(Class) says that the event data should be de-serialized from a received InboundSseEvent instance into a String Java type. This method call internally executes MessageBodyReader<T> which de-serializes the event data. This is similar to reading an entity from the Response by readEntity(Class). The method readData can throw a ProcessingException.

After a connection to the server is opened by calling the open() method on the event source, the eventSource starts listening to events. When an event comes, the listener will be executed by the event source. Once the client is done with processing and does not want to receive events the connection by calling the close() method on the event source.

The listener from the example above will print the following output:

message-to-client; Hello world 0!
message-to-client; Hello world 1!
message-to-client; Hello world 2!
message-to-client; Hello world 3!
message-to-client; Hello world 4!
message-to-client; Hello world 5!
message-to-client; Hello world 6!
message-to-client; Hello world 7!
message-to-client; Hello world 8!
message-to-client; Hello world 9!
            

There are other events than the incoming data that also may occur. The SseEventSource for instance always signals, that it has finished processing events, or there might also be an error while processing the messages. SseEventSource. There are total of four overloaded subscribe() methods defined in the API.

Example 16.5. SseEventSource subscribe() methods

// 1. basic one - the one we used in the example
void subscribe(Consumer<InboundSseEvent> onEvent);

// 2. with an error callback
void subscribe(Consumer<InboundSseEvent> onEvent, Consumer<Throwable> onError);

// 3. with an error callback and completion callback
void subscribe(Consumer<InboundSseEvent> onEvent, Consumer<Throwable> onError, Runnable onComplete)

// 4. complete one - with error callback, completion callback an onSubscribe callback
void subscribe(Consumer<SseSubscription> onSubscribe, Consumer<InboundSseEvent> onEvent, Consumer<Throwable>
onError,
Runnable
onComplete);
                


Few notes to the subscribe() methods:

  • All the overloaded methods have the onEvent handler. As shown in the example, this parameter is used to consume the SSE events with data.

  • Except the basic one-arg method, all the others contain an onError handler. In case of error, the SseEventSource invokes the onError method of all its subscribers, that registered the handler. This makes it possible to react to the error conditions in a custom manner.

  • Another possible argument is the onComplete handler. If registered (used an appropriate subscribe() method, that has the onComplete argument), it is invoked (for all the subscribers) every time when the SseEventSource terminates normally. Either onComplete or onError should be called every time.

  • The complete subscribe() method adds the onSubscribe() callback. This gives the subscriber a tool to manage the load and do a back-pressure by incrementaly requesting only certain amount of items. When SseEventSource registers a new subscriber, it calls its onSubscribe handler and hands over the javax.ws.rs.sse.SseSubscription instance. This class only has two methods - request(long) for asking for a certain amount of events (often used as request(Long.MAX_VALUE) when no back-pressure is needed) and cancel() to stop receiving further events.

  • When using the full-arg version of subscribe(), it is the caller's responsibility to manage the amount of data it can handle. The sseSubscription.request() method MUST be called, otherwise the subscriber will not receive ANY data. Furthermore, in the current SseEventSource implementation, such a subscriber will block a threadm and will occasionally lead to overflow of an internal buffer in SseEventSource. As mentioned, calling subscription.request(Long.MAX_VALUE), e.g. in the registered onSubscribe handler is sufficient (and is also a default behaviour for all the other overloaded methods).

16.5.1.  SseEventSource reconnect support

The SseEventSource implementation supports automated recuperation from a connection loss, including negotiation of delivery of any missed events based on the last received SSE event id field value, provided this field is set by the server and the negotiation facility is supported by the server. In case of a connection loss, the last received SSE event id field value is sent in the Last-Event-ID HTTP request header as part of a new connection request sent to the SSE endpoint. Upon a receipt of such reconnect request, the SSE endpoint that supports this negotiation facility is expected to replay all missed events.

Note

Note, that SSE lost event negotiation facility is a best-effort mechanism which does not provide any guarantee that all events would be delivered without a loss. You should therefore not rely on receiving every single event and design your client application code accordingly.

By default, when a connection the the SSE endpoint is lost, the event source will use a default delay before attempting to reconnect to the SSE endpoint. The SSE endpoint can however control the client-side retry delay by including a special retry field value in any event sent to the client. Jersey SseEventSource implementation automatically tracks any received SSE event retry field values set by the endpoint and adjusts the reconnect delay accordingly, using the last received retry field value as the new reconnect delay.

In addition to handling the standard connection losses, Jersey SseEventSource automatically deals with any HTTP 503 Service Unavailable responses received from the SSE endpoint, that include a Retry-After HTTP header with a valid value. The HTTP 503 + Retry-After technique is often used by HTTP endpoints as a means of connection and traffic throttling. In case a HTTP 503 + Retry-After response is received in return to a connection request from SSE endpoint, Jersey SseEventSource will automatically schedule a reconnect attempt and use the received Retry-After HTTP header value as a one-time override of the reconnect delay.

16.6. Jersey-specific Server-Sent Events API

Important

Prior to JAX-RS 2.1, server-sent events was not standardized and was optional and implementation-specific. Jersey provided its own, specific version of SSE implementation, that remains valid and functional to achieve backwards compatibility. This implementation is a Jersey-specific extension of JAX-RS (2.0) standard. It works with common JAX-RS resources the same way as the JAX-RS 2.1 based implementation does.

Both implementations are compatible, which means client based on Jersey-specific SSE implementation can "talk" to server resource implemetned using JAX-RS 2.1 based implementation and vice versa.

This chapter briefly describes the Jersey-specific support for SSE, focusing on the differences against the new SSE implementation described in ???

The API contains support SSE support for both - server and client. To use the Jersey-specific SSE API, you need to add the dependency to the

In order to add support for this SSE implementation, you also need to include the dependency to the SSE media type module the same way as for the JAX-RS SSE implementation.

Example 16.6. Add jersey-media-sse dependency.

<dependency>
    <groupId>org.glassfish.jersey.media</groupId>
    <artifactId>jersey-media-sse</artifactId>
</dependency>


Note

Prior to Jersey 2.8, you had to manually register SseFeature in your application. (The SseFeature is a feature that can be registered for both, the client and the server.) Since Jersey 2.8, the feature gets automatically discovered and registered when Jersey SSE module is put on the application's classpath. The automatic discovery and registration of SSE feature can be suppressed by setting DISABLE_SSE property to true. The behavior can also be selectively suppressed in either client or server runtime by setting DISABLE_SSE_CLIENT or DISABLE_SSE_SERVER property respectively.

16.6.1. Implementing SSE support in a JAX-RS resource

16.6.1.1. Simple SSE resource method

Example 16.7. Simple SSE resource method

...
import org.glassfish.jersey.media.sse.EventOutput;
import org.glassfish.jersey.media.sse.OutboundEvent;
import org.glassfish.jersey.media.sse.SseFeature;
...

@Path("events")
public static class SseResource {

    @GET
    @Produces(SseFeature.SERVER_SENT_EVENTS)
    public EventOutput getServerSentEvents() {
        final EventOutput eventOutput = new EventOutput();
        new Thread(new Runnable() {
            @Override
            public void run() {
                try {
                    for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
                        // ... code that waits 1 second
                        final OutboundEvent.Builder eventBuilder = new OutboundEvent.Builder();
                        eventBuilder.name("message-to-client");
                        eventBuilder.data(String.class, "Hello world " + i + "!");
                        final OutboundEvent event = eventBuilder.build();
                        eventOutput.write(event);
                    }
                } catch (IOException e) {
                    throw new RuntimeException("Error when writing the event.", e);
                } finally {
                    try {
                        eventOutput.close();
                    } catch (IOException ioClose) {
                        throw new RuntimeException("Error when closing the event output.", ioClose);
                    }
                }
            }
        }).start();
        return eventOutput;
    }
}
                        


The code above defines the resource deployed on URI "/events". This resource has a single @GET resource method which returns as an entity EventOutput - an extension of generic Jersey ChunkedOutput API for output chunked message processing.

In theExample 16.7, “Simple SSE resource method”, the resource method creates a new thread that sends a sequence of 10 events. There is a 1 second delay between two subsequent events as indicated in a comment. Each event is represented by OutboundEvent type and is built with a help of an outbound event Builder. The OutboundEvent reflects the standardized format of SSE messages and contains properties that represent name (for named events), comment, data or id. The code also sets the event data media type using the mediaType(MediaType) method on the eventBuilder. The media type, together with the data type set by the data(Class, Object> method (in our case String.class), is used for serialization of the event data. Note that the event data media type will not be written to any headers as the response Content-type header is already defined by the @Produces and set to "text/event-stream" using constant from the SseFeature. The event media type is used for serialization of event data. Event data media type and Java type are used to select the proper MessageBodyWriter<T> for event data serialization and are passed to the selected writer that serializes the event data content. In our case the string "Hello world " + i + "!" is serialized as "text/plain". In event data you can send any Java entity and associate it with any media type that you would be able to serialize with an available MessageBodyWriter<T>. Typically, you may want to send e.g. JSON data, so you would fill the data with a JAXB annotated bean instance and define media type to JSON.

Note

If the event media type is not set explicitly, the "text/plain" media type is used by default.

Once an outbound event is ready, it can be written to the eventOutput. At that point the event is serialized by internal OutboundEventWriter which uses an appropriate MessageBodyWriter<T> to serialize the "Hello world " + i + "!" string. You can send as many messages as you like. At the end of the thread execution the response is closed which also closes the connection to the client. After that, no more messages can be sent to the client on this connection. If the client would like to receive more messages, it would have to send a new request to the server to initiate a new SSE streaming connection.

A client connecting to our SSE-enabled resource will receive the exact same output as in the corresponding example in the JAX-RS implementation example.

event: message-to-client
data: Hello world 0!

event: message-to-client
data: Hello world 1!

...
                    

16.6.1.2. Broadcasting

Jersey SSE server API defines SseBroadcaster which allows to broadcast individual events to multiple clients. A simple broadcasting implementation is shown in the following example:

Example 16.8. Broadcasting SSE messages

...
import org.glassfish.jersey.media.sse.SseBroadcaster;
...

@Singleton
@Path("broadcast")
public static class BroadcasterResource {

    private SseBroadcaster broadcaster = new SseBroadcaster();

    @POST
    @Produces(MediaType.TEXT_PLAIN)
    @Consumes(MediaType.TEXT_PLAIN)
    public String broadcastMessage(String message) {
        OutboundEvent.Builder eventBuilder = new OutboundEvent.Builder();
        OutboundEvent event = eventBuilder.name("message")
            .mediaType(MediaType.TEXT_PLAIN_TYPE)
            .data(String.class, message)
            .build();

        broadcaster.broadcast(event);
        return "Message '" + message + "' has been broadcast.";
    }

    @GET
    @Produces(SseFeature.SERVER_SENT_EVENTS)
    public EventOutput listenToBroadcast() {
        final EventOutput eventOutput = new EventOutput();
        this.broadcaster.add(eventOutput);
        return eventOutput;
    }
}
                        


The example is similar to its relevant JAX-RS counterpart. The listenToBroadcast() resource method creates a new EventOutput representing the connection to the requesting client and registers this eventOutput instance with the singleton broadcaster, using its add(EventOutput) method. The method then returns the eventOutput which causes Jersey to bind the eventOutput instance with the requesting client and send the response HTTP headers to the client. The client connection remains open and the client is now waiting ready to receive new SSE events. All the events are written to the eventOutput by broadcaster later on.

When a client wants to broadcast new message to all the clients listening on their SSE connections, it sends a POST request to BroadcasterResource resource with the message content. The method broadcastMessage(String) is invoked on BroadcasterResource resource with the message content as an input parameter. A new SSE outbound event is built in the standard way and passed to the broadcaster. The broadcaster internally invokes write(OutboundEvent) on all registered EventOutputs. After that the method just return a standard text response to the POSTing client to inform the client that the message was successfully broadcast.

16.6.2. Consuming SSE events with Jersey clients

On the client side, Jersey exposes APIs that support receiving and processing SSE events using two programming models:

Pull model - pulling events from a EventInput, or
Push model - listening for asynchronous notifications of EventSource

The push model is similar to what is implemented in the JAX-RS SSE API. The pull model does not have a direct counterpart in the JAX-RS API and has to be implemented by the developer, if required.

16.6.2.1. Reading SSE events with EventInput

The events can be read on the client side from a EventInput. See the following code:

Client client = ClientBuilder.newBuilder()
        .register(SseFeature.class).build();
WebTarget target = client.target("http://localhost:9998/events");

EventInput eventInput = target.request().get(EventInput.class);
while (!eventInput.isClosed()) {
    final InboundEvent inboundEvent = eventInput.read();
    if (inboundEvent == null) {
        // connection has been closed
        break;
    }
    System.out.println(inboundEvent.getName() + "; " + inboundEvent.readData(String.class));
}
                    

In this example, a client connects to the server where the SseResource from the Example 16.7, “Simple SSE resource method” is deployed. At first, a new JAX-RS/Jersey client instance is created with a SseFeature registered. Then a WebTarget instance is retrieved from the client and is used to invoke a HTTP request. The returned response entity is directly read as a EventInput Java type, which is an extension of Jersey ChunkedInput that provides generic support for consuming chunked message payloads. The code in the example then process starts a loop to process the inbound SSE events read from the eventInput response stream. Each chunk read from the input is a InboundEvent. The method InboundEvent.readData(Class) provides a way for the client to indicate what Java type should be used for the event data de-serialization. In our example, individual events are de-serialized as String Java type instances. This method internally finds and executes a proper MessageBodyReader<T> which is the used to do the actual de-serialization. This is similar to reading an entity from the Response by readEntity(Class). The method readData can also throw a ProcessingException.

The null check on inboundEvent is necessary to make sure that the chunk was properly read and connection has not been closed by the server. Once the connection is closed, the loop terminates and the program completes execution. The client code produces the following console output:

message-to-client; Hello world 0!
message-to-client; Hello world 1!
message-to-client; Hello world 2!
message-to-client; Hello world 3!
message-to-client; Hello world 4!
message-to-client; Hello world 5!
message-to-client; Hello world 6!
message-to-client; Hello world 7!
message-to-client; Hello world 8!
message-to-client; Hello world 9!
                    

16.6.2.2. Asynchronous SSE processing with EventSource

The main Jersey-specific SSE client API component used to read SSE events asynchronously is EventSource. The usage of the EventSource is shown on the following example.

Example 16.9. Registering EventListener with EventSource

Client client = ClientBuilder.newBuilder()
        .register(SseFeature.class).build();
WebTarget target = client.target("http://example.com/events");
EventSource eventSource = EventSource.target(target).build();
EventListener listener = new EventListener() {
    @Override
    public void onEvent(InboundEvent inboundEvent) {
        System.out.println(inboundEvent.getName() + "; " + inboundEvent.readData(String.class));
    }
};
eventSource.register(listener, "message-to-client");
eventSource.open();
...
eventSource.close();
                        


In this example, the client code again connects to the server where the SseResource from the Example 16.7, “Simple SSE resource method” is deployed. The Client instance is again created and initialized with SseFeature. Then the WebTarget is built. In this case a request to the web target is not made directly in the code, instead, the web target instance is used to initialize a new EventSource.Builder instance that is used to build a new EventSource. The choice of build() method is important, as it tells the EventSource.Builder to create a new EventSource that is not automatically connected to the target. The connection is established only later by manually invoking the eventSource.open() method. A custom EventListener implementation is used to listen to and process incoming SSE events. The method readData(Class) says that the event data should be de-serialized from a received InboundEvent instance into a String Java type. This method call internally executes MessageBodyReader<T> which de-serializes the event data. This is similar to reading an entity from the Response by readEntity(Class). The method readData can throw a ProcessingException.

The custom event source listener is registered in the event source via EventSource.register(EventListener, String) method. The next method arguments define the names of the events to receive and can be omitted. If names are defined, the listener will be associated with the named events and will only invoked for events with a name from the set of defined event names. It will not be invoked for events with any other name or for events without a name.

Important

It is a common mistake to think that unnamed events will be processed by listeners that are registered to process events from a particular name set. That is NOT the case! Unnamed events are only processed by listeners that are not name-bound. The same limitation applied to HTML5 Javascript SSE Client API supported by modern browsers.

After a connection to the server is opened by calling the open() method on the event source, the eventSource starts listening to events. When an event named "message-to-client" comes, the listener will be executed by the event source. If any other event comes (with a name different from "message-to-client"), the registered listener is not invoked. Once the client is done with processing and does not want to receive events anymore, it closes the connection by calling the close() method on the event source.

The listener from the example above will print the following output:

message-to-client; Hello world 0!
message-to-client; Hello world 1!
message-to-client; Hello world 2!
message-to-client; Hello world 3!
message-to-client; Hello world 4!
message-to-client; Hello world 5!
message-to-client; Hello world 6!
message-to-client; Hello world 7!
message-to-client; Hello world 8!
message-to-client; Hello world 9!
                    

When browsing through the Jersey SSE API documentation, you may have noticed that the EventSource implements EventListener and provides an empty implementation for the onEvent(InboundEvent inboundEvent) listener method. This adds more flexibility to the Jersey client-side SSE API. Instead of defining and registering a separate event listener, in simple scenarios you can also choose to derive directly from the EventSource and override the empty listener method to handle the incoming events. This programming model is shown in the following example:

Example 16.10. Overriding EventSource.onEvent(InboundEvent) method

Client client = ClientBuilder.newBuilder()
        .register(SseFeature.class).build();
WebTarget target = client.target("http://example.com/events");
EventSource eventSource = new EventSource(target) {
    @Override
    public void onEvent(InboundEvent inboundEvent) {
        if ("message-to-client".equals(inboundEvent.getName())) {
            System.out.println(inboundEvent.getName() + "; " + inboundEvent.readData(String.class));
        }
    }
};
...
eventSource.close();
                        


The code above is very similar to the code inExample 16.9, “Registering EventListener with EventSource. In this example however, the EventSource is constructed directly using a single-parameter constructor. This way, the connection to the SSE endpoint is by default automatically opened at the event source creation. The implementation of the EventListener has been moved into the overridden EventSource.onEvent(...) method. However, this time, the listener method will be executed for all events - unnamed as well as with any name. Therefore the code checks the name whether it is an event with the name "message-to-client" that we want to handle. Note that you can still register additional EventListeners later on. The overridden method on the event source allows you to handle messages even when no additional listeners are registered yet.

16.6.2.2.1. EventSource reconnect support

Reconnect support in Jersey-specific EventSource works the same way as in the implementation of the JAX-RS SseEventSource.