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A Reusable Windows Socket Server Class With C++

Ever thought of writing your own Windows socket server class? In this article Len shows you exactly how to do just that, including details of what a socket server should do and example C++ code.

Author Info:
By: Len Holgate
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 53
June 28, 2002
  1. · A Reusable Windows Socket Server Class With C++
  2. · What does a socket server need to do?
  3. · Asynchronous IO
  4. · Some example servers
  5. · Chunking the byte stream (Contd.)
  6. · Conclusion

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A Reusable Windows Socket Server Class With C++ - What does a socket server need to do?
(Page 2 of 6 )

A socket server needs to be able to listen on a specific port, accept connections and read and write data from the socket. A high performance and scaleable socket server should use asynchronous socket IO and IO completion ports. Since we're using IO completion ports we need to maintain a pool of threads to service the IO completion packets. If we were to confine ourselves to running on Win2k and above we could use the QueueUserWorkItem api to deal with our threading requirements but to enable us to run on the widest selection of operating systems we have to do the work ourselves.

Before we can start accepting connections we need to have a socket to listen on. Since there are many different ways to set such a socket up, we'll allow the user's derived class to create this socket by providing a pure virtual function as follows:

virtual SOCKET CreateListeningSocket(
unsigned long address,
unsigned short port) = 0;

The user's class can now implement this function as they see fit, a common implementation might be something like this:

SOCKET CSocketServer::CreateListeningSocket(
unsigned long address,
unsigned short port)
throw CWin32Exception(_T("CSocket::CreateListeningSocket()"), ::WSAGetLastError());
CSocket listeningSocket(s);
CSocket::InternetAddress localAddress(address, port);
return listeningSocket.Detatch();

Note that we use a helper class, CSocket, to handle setting up our listening socket. This class acts as a "smart pointer" for sockets, automatically closing the socket to release resources when it goes out of scope and also wraps the standard socket API calls with member functions that throw exceptions on failure.

Now that we have a socket to listen on we can expect to start receieving connections. We'll use the WSAAccept() function to accept our connections as this is easier to use than the higher performance AcceptEx() we'll then compare the performance characteristics with AcceptEx() in a later article.

When a connection occurs we create a Socket object to wrap the SOCKET handle. We associate this object with our IO completion port so that IO completion packets will be generated for our asynchronous IO. We then let the derived class know that a connection has occurred by calling the OnConnectionEstablished() virtual function. The derived class can then do whatever it wants with the connection, but the most common thing would be to issue a read request on the socket after perhaps writing a welcome message to the client.

void CSocketServer::OnConnectionEstablished(
Socket *pSocket,
CIOBuffer *pAddress)
const std::string welcomeMessage("+OK POP3 server readyrn");
pSocket->Write(welcomeMessage.c_str(), welcomeMessage.length());

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