Firefox 4 gets web sockets support

Recent Firefox 4 nightlies feature new support for Web Sockets, a new technology (an HTML5 spin-off) that enables bi-directional communication between a web browser and a server.

While the concept may not sound new at first sight, after all we are well used to web chat applications (like meebo, Google Talk, or Facebook Chat), video and audio streaming, camera broadcasting (using the Flash  plugin), and other persistent connections. In reality, these are all possible through a number of serious hacks in the server and client sides that in the end, add a lot of unnecessary overhead web sockets aim to solve.

Testing web socket on Minefield

Web sockets, are a combination of a network protocol the web server and browser can talk (even through proxies), and an API (application program interface) web developers can use with languages like JavaScript, so a web page can initiate a persistent connection to the server, identified with the reserved protocol ws: or wss: (for encrypted communication).

You can test a simple JavaScript instantiation here.

Web sockets is currenty being shipped on by default, but it is easy to disable if you may need to, setting network.websocket.enabled to false in about:config.