Ape: Ajax Push Engine
Let me say a few words about Ape, an Ajax push server I came across this week:
It turned out to be a little bit challenging to develop code for Ape because of the quality of the documentation. There is an API documentation (which is not good for new users) and there is a Wiki with some links leading to missing pages. Most of the examples deal with how to implement a chat server. In fact Ape was previously named ACE (Ajax Chat Engine). It’s sometimes hard to understand how to use it for a general purpose application and what the limits are.
Maximum length of channel names
Nickname required to connect to server
At first it seemed like the server requires a nickname to connect, which makes sense for chat applications only. Not every Web site out there should ask the user to enter his nickname, right? After investigating the issue (I didn’t find a hint in the documentation), I found out that an example server-side script in /var/ape/examples was causing this behavior. You can comment out this line in main.ape.js to “fix” it:
Error when sending messages to empty channels
If you happen to send a message to a channel that is currently not subscribed (Ape calls it “joined”, like in a chat software), you’ll get an error. This behavior is strange, if you are used to other message servers that just accept the message, even if nobody will ever get it. If you know this can happen, it’s not so much of an issue anymore.
Complicated domain name setup
I found it really strange to configure the Ape server URL directly in Build/uncompressed/apeClientJS.js. If you ever update this file, your config will be overwritten. Why not provide the config as a parameter to the load() or constructor function? Again, I modified the code.
Based on MooTools
No standard protocols
Even though it probably is possible to connect Ape to a general usage message server (like ActiveMQ or RabbitMQ) with some additional work, it does not offer a standard STOMP or AMQP interface by default. The Web site states that the Ape protocol is faster than everything else. So far, I was not able to confirm or reject that claim ;)
/var/ape/examples/nickname.js:6:TypeError: params.name.toLowerCase is not a function