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Ajith Kumar P M
Ajith Kumar P M

Posted on • Updated on

Websockets in Django (without Channels)

What are websockets?

WebSocket is a computer communications protocol, providing full-duplex communication channels over a single TCP connection.

Introduction of Asynchronous Programming in python.

Unlike Javascript asynchronous execution wasn't supported in python. And this was a huge drawback especially in case of web development, since asynchronous servers and apps are essential in developing web apps.

But with the introduction of async/await to python 3.5, things started to change.


  • In synchronous execution the program executes sequentially in synchronous to the processor clock.
  • Coroutines are computer program components that generalize subroutines for non-preemptive multitasking, by allowing execution to be suspended and resumed. (threading is preemptive)
  • Subroutines are special cases of coroutines.[3] When subroutines are invoked, execution begins at the start, and once a subroutine exits, it is finished; an instance of a subroutine only returns once, and does not hold state between invocations. By contrast, coroutines can exit by calling other coroutines, which may later return to the point where they were invoked in the original coroutine;
  • Coroutines are very similar to threads. However, coroutines are cooperatively multitasked, whereas threads are typically preemptively multitasked. Coroutines provide concurrency but not parallelism. The advantages of coroutines over threads are that they may be used in a hard-realtime context (switching between coroutines need not involve any system calls or any blocking calls whatsoever),
var q := new queue

coroutine produce
        while q is not full
            create some new items
            add the items to q
        yield to consume

coroutine consume
        while q is not empty
            remove some items from q
            use the items
        yield to produce

call produce
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  • Generators, also known as semicoroutines (not discussed here)

  • asyncio python example.

import asyncio
import random
async def fetch():
    await asyncio.sleep(2) #Fetching delay
async def receive():
    for i in range(10):
        await asyncio.sleep(0.225) # Receiving delay

async def  main():
    task1 = asyncio.create_task(fetch()) #returns a future
    task2 = asyncio.create_task(receive())
    await task1 # wait for the promise to return something
    print("task one awaited")
    await task2 # event loop beginning

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So having able to write native coroutines in python opens the door to asynchronizing python web servers and apps .


In WSGI applications takes a single request and returns response at a time. This single and synchronous callable limits WSGI for long lived connections like websocket connections.

asgi overview


ASGI consists of two different components:

  • A protocol server, which terminates sockets and translates them into connections and per-connection event messages.
  • An application, which lives inside a protocol server, is instanciated once per connection, and handles event messages as they happen.
  • ASGI relies on the following mental model: when the client connects to the server, we instanciate an application. We then feed incoming bytes into the app and send back whatever bytes come out.

How to Add Websockets to a Django App

  1. There will be Django defined ASGI application function in file.
import os

from django.core.asgi import get_asgi_application

os.environ.setdefault('DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE', 'websocket_app.settings')

application = get_asgi_application()

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  1. And we need to create a wrapper for the django provided asgi application.
from django.core.asgi import get_asgi_application
from websocket_app.websocket import websocket_application

os.environ.setdefault('DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE', 'websocket_app.settings')

django_application = get_asgi_application()

async def application(scope, receive, send):
    if scope['type'] == 'http':
        await django_application(scope, receive, send)
    elif scope['type'] == 'websocket':
        await websocket_application(scope, receive, send)
        raise NotImplementedError(f"Unknown scope type {scope['type']}")

async def websocket_applciation(scope, receive, send):

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  1. defining the websockets function
async def websocket_applciation(scope, receive, send):
    while True:
        event = await receive()

        if event['type'] == 'websocket.connect':
            await send({
                'type': 'websocket.accept'

        if event['type'] == 'websocket.disconnect':

        if event['type'] == 'websocket.receive':
            if event['text'] == 'ping':
                await send({
                    'type': 'websocket.send',
                    'text': 'pong!'

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  1. For running the asgi app we require an asynchronous web server (daphene or uvicor) in case of uvicorn :
pip install uvicorn
uvicorn websocket_app.asgi:application
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  1. The following js script can be used for testing the code.

> ws = new WebSocket('ws://localhost:8000/')
  WebSocket {url: "ws://localhost:8000/", readyState: 0, bufferedAmount: 0, onopen: null, onerror: null, }
> ws.onmessage = event => console.log(
  event => console.log(
> ws.send("ping")

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Top comments (1)

vadimisakov profile image
Vadim Isakov

Very elegant!