Vartalap: Chat Server Architecture V2

This is third blog post in series of blogs posts, where I will be sharing details about Vartalap. How it started, decision I make while development, technical details, problem with current system and how I am planning to solve it. In this blog I will be sharing the new backend server architecture, I come up with to overcome the existing limitations. If you haven’t already read the first and second blog, I highly recommend reading them. Links to previous blog posts:

Quick Recap: Limitation of Current Architecture

  • No proper acknowledgement system for message delivery.
  • Only web socket gateway for events, making it difficult for background event syncing.
  • Router publishing directly into gateway topic, making message delivery logic to be duplicated among services.
  • Group operations are synchronous making it not useable offline.
  • Base message template for events.

Architecture V2:

New Architecture update:

In V2 version of the system external interface of the system remains the same, however there are new components are introduced and the responsibilities has been distributed/ transferred within the components.

New Components:

We have two new services

Rest Gateway (HTTP)

  • Provides the rest endpoint /send to client to send the messages via rest API call instead of just relying on the Web Socket.

Persistence Storage Rest Endpoint (HTTP)

  • Provide the rest endpoint /messages to client to fetch the messages.

New Responsibility of existing components:

Web Socket Gateway

Instead of listening to a Kafka topic for messages to send how it will expose an internal endpoint /send. Which will be used to push messages to client. Advantage of using Sync communication (endpoint) instead of async communication (Kafka topic)

  • Real time update on message status, if message is sent to client or not.
  • Better retry logic.

Session MS

  • As Session MS already has the user connection state, it is an ideal candidate for handling routing message to gateway’s instead of just act as store.
  • Route message to respective gateway, include routing offline messages.
  • Retry failed message.
  • Handle message acknowledgment.
  • Instead of using persistence storage service to store every message and delete them when ack is received. It will be more efficient for session ms to wait message ack and act accordingly like retrying or treating it as offline message as session ms is storing the message in memory store like Redis instead of on disk stores.
  • Maintain user connection state.

Message Router

  • Message router responsibilities as now slim down, new responsibilities are:
  • Message parsing and decoding.
  • Forwarding message to respective services like group messages to group message router, one to one to session ms, etc.

Group Message Router

  • Group message router now instead of completely relying on group ms for getting group data, as they both belongs to same category, it can show access data directly from the database. (Note: access is read only).
  • Message parsing and decoding.
  • This includes updating message with users of the group, and decoding message to get relevant info.
  • Forwarding message to respective services like group upsert message to group ms, chat message to session ms, etc.

Persistence Storage Service

  • Handle ack message as forwarded by session ms.

Updated Request Flow

Send Message (1 to 1)

Client Side

  • Send message against a chat.
  • Store message against chat in local store.
  • Publish message to web socket. (if connected).
  • Publish message using rest endpoint from background service.
  • Send message ack against received message.

Server Side

  • Gateway publish onMessage event to message broker to meta info like from.
  • Message router listen for onMessage.
  • Parse the message and extract destination information.
  • Publish message to send message event to message broker.
  • Session MS listen to send message.
  • If user is connected.
  • It will send message to gateway using Gateway send endpoint.
  • Gateway tries to send message to user socket.
  • If failed, return failure response.
  • Session MS waits to ack message if not received within a time limit, it retry again.
  • If retry count exceeds publish message to offline message.
  • If Ack received after timeout, offline message is published for Ack.
  • If user is not connected.
  • Publish message to offline message.
  • Push notification ms listen for offline message and send push notification.
  • Persistence ms listen for offline message.
  • If message is not ack, Store in the database until user comes online.
  • If message is ack, remove the stored messages.

Group Chat

Create New Group

Client Side

  • Choose the participants and group name.
  • Generate an unique group id.
  • Save group info in local store.
  • Send http request to create group. (if connected).
  • Publish message using rest endpoint from background service.

Server Side

  • Sync/Online flow will remain the same as old one.
  • Async/Offline flow
  • Gateway publish onMessage event to message broker to meta info like from.
  • Message Router listen for onMessage and forward to Group message Router.
  • Group Message Router parse message and call Group MS to create group.
  • Group MS verify participants and create new group.
  • Publish new send message for participants.
  • Further flow will be same as 1 to 1 chat.

Update Group

Client Side

  • Choose participants to add or remove.
  • Save group info in local store.
  • Send http request to add/remove from group. (if connected).
  • Publish message using rest endpoint from background service.

Server Side

  • Sync/Online flow will remain the same as old one.
  • Async/Offline flow
  • It will be handled similar to create group flow, with exception that instead create group call by message handle it will be update group.

Send Message (Group Message)

Client Side

This will be same as 1 to 1 chat flow.

Server Side

All the steps are similar to 1 to 1 chat flow, other than the following mentioned below

  • Message Router publish message to group message for Group Message Router.
  • Group Message Router parse the message
  • Fetch the users for the group
  • Update the message META with target users.
  • Publish message to send message event to message broker.

Let’s see how new version of the system solves the existing problems.

No proper acknowledgement system

  • Now the client needs to send the ack message against the message id to mark the message as delivered else the system will retry to send the message. If failed it will be treated as offline message and will be stored in database and push via firebase.

Only web socket gateway for events, making it difficult for background event syncing.

  • With new Rest Gateway and Persistence store rest endpoint background event syncing is possible.

Router publishing directly into gateway topic, making message delivery logic to be duplicated among services.

  • Responsibility to route message to gateway now has been move to Session MS which will act as the common point of contact to send the message to client.

Group operations are synchronous making it not useable offline.

  • Group operation as now async using the Rest Gateway and Group message router new update.

I have start working on incorporating the required changes in the system, It will be available soon.

Note: This blog is originally published on blog.one9x.org

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Learning jenkins: Installing On Red hat Linux And In Docker Container.

SQL by steps #2 : INSERT

[Leet Code] Decompress Run-Length Encoded List

The guide to Agile Ceremonies for Scrum

Software Engineering Process Group (SEPG) 2000 Conference Notes

Git As a New Way to Write and Publish

Gmail is the go-to emailing app for a lot of smartphone users.

Multi-tenant SaaS on Kubernetes using Platform-as-Code

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Raman kumar

Raman kumar

More from Medium

Cross-Platform App Development With Flutter- Part 3

Firebase : Realtime Database

Multiple image upload using SimpleS3 to AWS s3 bucket using flutter.

Firebase: Troubleshooting “The default Firebase app does not exist…”