I am extremely confused about what an Http protocol is, and how to perform a ‘handshake’ with a server as I have been reading about. So unfortunately it is difficult for me to ask a more specific question than the one in the title.
However, even more than I would like an answer to the question in the title, I would really like a resource that will teach me about web sockets in a thorough way, such as a book or an online tutorial.
Any help is appreciated, thanks.
Sockets in general are just TCP streams that you can send data over. HTTP is built on top of them. WebSockets are build on/in parallel with HTTP, and allow for sending data back and forth to a browser in real-time. Standard sockets can do some of this, but browsers have tight security which makes it tough to use standard sockets to communicate with them.
WebSockets are useful when you need a persistent connection to the server from the browser, for real-time applications, or things like push notifications.
I don’t know much about PHP implementations unfortunately, but it looks like there is a library here: http://code.google.com/p/phpwebsocket/
Personally, I’d shy away from doing things like this in PHP because PHP/Apache can be pretty heavy, and since the socket is always open while someone is viewing the page, server resources can be used up pretty quickly.
It looks like this question might be useful too. Using PHP with Socket.io
Does this one fit the bill?
If not I can find another.