The Common Lisp Cookbook – TCP/UDP programming with sockets

Table of Contents

The Common Lisp Cookbook – TCP/UDP programming with sockets

This is a short guide to TCP/IP and UDP/IP client/server programming in Common Lisp using usockets.

TCP/IP

As usual, we will use quicklisp to load usocket.

(ql:quickload "usocket")

Now we need to create a server. There are 2 primary functions that we need to call. usocket:socket-listen and usocket:socket-accept.

usocket:socket-listen binds to a port and listens on it. It returns a socket object. We need to wait with this object until we get a connection that we accept. That’s where usocket:socket-accept comes in. It’s a blocking call that returns only when a connection is made. This returns a new socket object that is specific to that connection. We can then use that connection to communicate with our client.

So, what were the problems I faced due to my mistakes? Mistake 1 - My initial understanding was that socket-accept would return a stream object. NO…. It returns a socket object. In hindsight, its correct and my own mistake cost me time. So, if you want to write to the socket, you need to actually get the corresponding stream from this new socket. The socket object has a stream slot and we need to explicitly use that. And how does one know that? (describe connection) is your friend!

Mistake 2 - You need to close both the new socket and the server socket. Again this is pretty obvious but since my initial code was only closing the connection, I kept running into a socket in use problem. Of course one more option is to reuse the socket when we listen.

Once you get past these mistakes, it’s pretty easy to do the rest. Close the connections and the server socket and boom you are done!

(defun create-server (port)
  (let* ((socket (usocket:socket-listen "127.0.0.1" port))
	 (connection (usocket:socket-accept socket :element-type 'character)))
    (unwind-protect
        (progn
	      (format (usocket:socket-stream connection) "Hello World~%")
	      (force-output (usocket:socket-stream connection)))
      (progn
	    (format t "Closing sockets~%")
	    (usocket:socket-close connection)
        (usocket:socket-close socket)))))

Now for the client. This part is easy. Just connect to the server port and you should be able to read from the server. The only silly mistake I made here was to use read and not read-line. So, I ended up seeing only a “Hello” from the server. I went for a walk and came back to find the issue and fix it.

(defun create-client (port)
  (usocket:with-client-socket (socket stream "127.0.0.1" port :element-type 'character)
    (unwind-protect
         (progn
           (usocket:wait-for-input socket)
           (format t "Input is: ~a~%" (read-line stream)))
      (usocket:socket-close socket))))

So, how do you run this? You need two REPLs, one for the server and one for the client. Load this file in both REPLs. Create the server in the first REPL.

(create-server 12321)

Now you are ready to run the client on the second REPL

(create-client 12321)

Voila! You should see “Hello World” on the second REPL.

UDP/IP

As a protocol, UDP is connection-less, and therefore there is no concept of binding and accepting a connection. Instead we only do a socket-connect but pass a specific set of parameters to make sure that we create an UDP socket that’s waiting for data on a particular port.

So, what were the problems I faced due to my mistakes? Mistake 1 - Unlike TCP, you don’t pass host and port to socket-connect. If you do that, then you are indicating that you want to send a packet. Instead, you pass nil but you set :local-host and :local-port to the address and port that you want to receive data on. This part took some time to figure out, because the documentation didn’t cover it. Instead reading a bit of code from https://code.google.com/p/blackthorn-engine-3d/source/browse/src/examples/usocket/usocket.lisp helped a lot.

Also, since UDP is connectionless, anyone can send data to it at any time. So, we need to know which host/port did we get data from so that we can respond on it. So we bind multiple values to socket-receive and use those values to send back data to our peer “client”.

(defun create-server (port buffer)
  (let* ((socket (usocket:socket-connect nil nil
					:protocol :datagram
					:element-type '(unsigned-byte 8)
					:local-host "127.0.0.1"
					:local-port port)))
    (unwind-protect
	 (multiple-value-bind (buffer size client receive-port)
	     (usocket:socket-receive socket buffer 8)
	   (format t "~A~%" buffer)
	   (usocket:socket-send socket (reverse buffer) size
				:port receive-port
				:host client))
      (usocket:socket-close socket))))

Now for the sender/receiver. This part is pretty easy. Create a socket, send data on it and receive data back.

(defun create-client (port buffer)
  (let ((socket (usocket:socket-connect "127.0.0.1" port
					 :protocol :datagram
					 :element-type '(unsigned-byte 8))))
    (unwind-protect
	 (progn
	   (format t "Sending data~%")
	   (replace buffer #(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8))
	   (format t "Receiving data~%")
	   (usocket:socket-send socket buffer 8)
	   (usocket:socket-receive socket buffer 8)
	   (format t "~A~%" buffer))
      (usocket:socket-close socket))))

So, how do you run this? You need again two REPLs, one for the server and one for the client. Load this file in both REPLs. Create the server in the first REPL.

(create-server 12321 (make-array 8 :element-type '(unsigned-byte 8)))

Now you are ready to run the client on the second REPL

(create-client 12321 (make-array 8 :element-type '(unsigned-byte 8)))

Voila! You should see a vector #(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8) on the first REPL and #(8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1) on the second one.

Credit

This guide originally comes from https://gist.github.com/shortsightedsid/71cf34282dfae0dd2528

Page source: sockets.md


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