#StackBounty: #php #sockets #websocket PHP websocket using socket_recv() – will I ever receive a partial frame?

Bounty: 100

I am writing a websocket server in PHP (using the sockets extension) and I need a bit of help understanding to what extent I need to deal with fragmented messages.

My understanding of how websocket information is passed is as follows:

  1. Client application sends a MESSAGE (of arbitrary length) to the client-side API.
  2. Client-side API splits the MESSAGE into one or more FRAMES (also of arbitrary length) and sends them to the network layer.
  3. The network layer splits the data into a number of PACKETS to be sent over the network via TCP.
  4. The server receives the TCP PACKETS (possibly out-of-order, but it re-orders them if necessary) and delivers them to the application that is listening on the relevant port.
  5. The application calls socket_recv() to read the received data from the socket.

The thing I want to understand is what data that my application will see when reading a stream of websocket data using socket_recv()?

Specifically, to what extent do I need to worry about the fragmentation?

To help explain my question, here is the above process in diagrammatic form:

1. Web app  (messages):   [Message_1][Message_2]
2. Browser  (frames)  :   [Messag][e_1][Messag][e_2]
3. TCP send (packets) :   [Mess][ag][e_1][Mess][ag][e_2]
4. TCP recv (packets) :   [ag][Mess][e_2][ag][Mess][e-1]
5. socket_recv        :   ???

If I call socket_recv() in a loop, until it returns a length of zero (adding to my internal buffer each time), am I guaranteed to get a single, complete MESSAGE?

socketrecv: [Message_1]
socketrecv: [Message_2]

Or a single complete FRAME?

socketrecv: [Messag]
socketrecv: [e_1]
socketrecv: [Messag]
socketrecv: [e_2]

Or, will it actually be an arbitrary series of PACKETS representing whatever data has been received so far (which may therefore be a partial FRAME or even multiple FRAMES)?

socketrecv: [Messag
socketrecv: e_1][Mess
socketrecv: ag
socketrecv: e_2]

Or something else?

I am quite happy stitching together the various FRAMES of data, but it will make things a lot easier if I can assume the first bytes of received data in each poll (instigated using socket_select()) will always be the FRAME header, rather than having to handle it as a raw byte stream which needs to be stitched back into FRAMES before we begin.

Get this bounty!!!

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