Emscripten compiled applications have a number of ways to connect with online servers. Check the subtopics here to learn about the different strategies that are available.
WebSockets API provides connection-oriented message-framed bidirectional asynchronous networking communication to the browser. It is the closest to TCP on the web that web sites can access, direct access to TCP sockets is not possible from web browsers.
Emscripten provides a passthrough API for accessing the WebSockets API from
C/C++ code. This is useful for developers who would prefer not to write any
system include file
<emscripten/websocket.h> for details. One benefit that
the Emscripten WebSockets API provides over manual WebSockets access in
threads, something that can be time consuming to develop from scratch.
To target Emscripten WebSockets API, you must link it in with a
-lwebsocket.js linker directive.
If you have existing TCP networking code written in C/C++ that utilizes the Posix Sockets API, by default Emscripten attempts to emulate such connections to take place over the WebSocket protocol instead. For this to work, you will need to use something like WebSockify on the server side to enable the TCP server stack to receive incoming WebSocket connections. This emulation is not very complete at the moment, it is likely that you will run into problems out of the box and need to adapt the code to work within the limitations that this emulation provides.
This is the default build mode for Emscripten. Use the linker flag
Module['websocket']['url'] to specify the WebSocket URL
to connect to, and the linker flag
Module['websocket']['subprotocol'] to control the connection type
Emscripten provides a native POSIX Sockets proxy server program, located in
tools/websocket_to_posix_proxy/, that allows full POSIX Sockets
API access from a web browser. This support works by proxying all POSIX Sockets
API calls from the browser to the Emscripten POSIX Sockets proxy server (via
transparent use of the WebSockets API), and the proxy server then performs the
native TCP/UDP calls on behalf of the page. This allows a web browser page to
run full TCP & UDP connections, act as a server to accept incoming connections,
and perform host name lookups and reverse lookups. Because all API calls are
individually proxied, this support can be slow. This support is mostly useful
for developing testing infrastructure and debugging.
To use POSIX sockets proxying, link the application with flags
-sPROXY_POSIX_SOCKETS -sUSE_PTHREADS -sPROXY_TO_PTHREAD. That is,
POSIX sockets proxying builds on top of the Emscripten WebSockets library, and
requires multithreading and proxying the application
main() to a pthread.
For an example of how the POSIX Sockets proxy server works in an Emscripten
client program, see the file
For HTTP transfers, one can use the browser built-in XmlHttpRequest (XHR) API
Emscripten also provides passthrough APIs to perform HTTP requests. For more
information, see the
emscripten_async_wget*() C API and the Emscripten Fetch
Direct UDP communication is not available in browsers, but as a close alternative, the WebRTC specification provides a mechanism to perform UDP-like communication with WebRTC Data Channels. Currently Emscripten does not provide a C/C++ API for interacting with WebRTC.