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Version: ZIO 2.x


Websocket support can be added to your Http application using the same Http domain, something like this —

import zio.http._
import zio.socket._

val socket = Http.collectZIO[WebSocketChannelEvent] {
case ChannelEvent(ch, ChannelRead(WebSocketFrame.Text("foo"))) =>

val http = Http.collectZIO[Request] {
case Method.GET -> !! / "subscriptions" => socket.toSocketApp.toResponse

The WebSocket API leverages the already powerful Http domain to write web socket apps. The difference is that instead of collecting Request we collect ChannelEvent or more specifically WebSocketChannelEvent. And, instead of returning a Response we return Unit, because we use the channel (which is available in the event) to write content directly.


Essentially, whenever there is a connection created between a server and client a channel is created on both sides. The channel is a low level api that allows us to send and receive arbitrary messages.

When we upgrade a Http connection to WebSocket, we create a specialized channel that only allows websocket frames to be sent and received. The access to channel is available through the ChannelEvent api.


A ChannelEvent is an immutable, type-safe representation of an event that's happened on a channel, and it looks like this:

case class ChannelEvent[A, B](channel: Channel[A], event: Event[B])

It contains two elements — The Channel on which the event was triggered, and the actual Event that was triggered. The type param A on the Channel represents the kind of message one can write using the channel, and the type param B represents the kind of messages that can be received on the channel.

The type WebSocketChannelEvent is a type alias to ChannelEvent[WebsocketFrame, WebSocketFrame]. Meaning a channel that only accepts and produces WebSocketFrame typed messages.

Using Http

We can use Http.collect to select the events that we care about for our use case, like in the above example we are only interested in the ChannelRead event. There are other life cycle events such as ChannelRegistered and ChannelUnregistered that one might want to hook onto for some other use cases.

The main benefit of using Http is that one can write custom middlewares that can process incoming and outgoing messages, for example:

val userAction = Http.collect[ChannelEvent[Action, Command]] {
case CreateAccount(name, password) => ???
case DeleteAccount(id) => ???

val codec: Middleware[Any, Nothing, ChannelEvent[Action, Command], Unit, WebSocketChannelEvent, Unit]

val socket = userAction @@ codec


The Http that accepts WebSocketChannelEvent isn't enough to create a websocket connection. There are some other settings that one might need to configure in a websocket connection, things such as handshakeTimeout or subProtocol etc. For those purposes a Http of the type Http[R, E, WebSocketChannelEvent, Unit] needs to converted into a SocketApp using the toSocketApp method first, before it can be sent as a response. Consider the following example where we set a few additional properties for the websocket connection.

.withEncoder(SocketProtocol.subProtocol("json") ++ SocketProtocol.handshakeTimeout(5 seconds))