A protocol handler starts a connection process and defines the protocol logic executed in this process.

Writing a protocol handler

All protocol handlers must implement the ranch_protocol behavior which defines a single callback, start_link/4. This callback is responsible for spawning a new process for handling the connection. It receives four arguments: the name of the listener, the socket, the transport handler being used and the protocol options defined in the call to ranch:start_listener/6. This callback must return {ok, Pid}, with Pid the pid of the new process.

The newly started process can then freely initialize itself. However, it must call ranch:accept_ack/1 before doing any socket operation. This will ensure the connection process is the owner of the socket. It expects the listener’s name as argument.

Acknowledge accepting the socket
ok = ranch:accept_ack(Ref).

If your protocol code requires specific socket options, you should set them while initializing your connection process, after calling ranch:accept_ack/1. You can use Transport:setopts/2 for that purpose.

Following is the complete protocol code for the example found in examples/tcp_echo/.

Protocol module that echoes everything it receives


start_link(Ref, Socket, Transport, Opts) ->
        Pid = spawn_link(?MODULE, init, [Ref, Socket, Transport, Opts]),
        {ok, Pid}.

init(Ref, Socket, Transport, _Opts = []) ->
        ok = ranch:accept_ack(Ref),
        loop(Socket, Transport).

loop(Socket, Transport) ->
        case Transport:recv(Socket, 0, 5000) of
                {ok, Data} ->
                        Transport:send(Socket, Data),
                        loop(Socket, Transport);
                _ ->
                        ok = Transport:close(Socket)

Using gen_server

Special processes like the ones that use the gen_server or gen_fsm behaviours have the particularity of having their start_link call not return until the init function returns. This is problematic, because you won’t be able to call ranch:accept_ack/1 from the init callback as this would cause a deadlock to happen.

Use the gen_server:enter_loop/3 function. It allows you to start your process normally (although it must be started with proc_lib like all special processes), then perform any needed operations before falling back into the normal gen_server execution loop.

Use a gen_server for protocol handling

%% Exports of other gen_server callbacks here.

start_link(Ref, Socket, Transport, Opts) ->
        {ok, proc_lib:spawn_link(?MODULE, init, [{Ref, Socket, Transport, Opts}])}.

init({Ref, Socket, Transport, _Opts = []}) ->
        %% Perform any required state initialization here.
        ok = ranch:accept_ack(Ref),
        ok = Transport:setopts(Socket, [{active, once}]),
        gen_server:enter_loop(?MODULE, [], {state, Socket, Transport}).

%% Other gen_server callbacks here.

Check the tcp_reverse example for a complete example.

Ranch 1.3 User Guide


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