When working with Comet, as implemented in Grizzly, you have two different ways to handle client connections to the server:
The HTTP Streaming technique keeps a connection open indefinitely. It never closes, even after the server pushes data to the client.
In the case of HTTP streaming, the application sends a single request and receives responses as they come, reusing the same connection forever. This technique significantly reduces the network latency because the client and the server don't need to open and close the connection.
The basic life cycle of an application using HTTP-streaming is:
request --> suspend --> data available --> write response --> data available --> write response
The client makes an initial request and then suspends the request, meaning that it waits for a response. Whenever data is available, the server writes it to the response.
The long-polling technique is a combination of server-push and client-pull because the client needs to resume the connection after a certain amount of time or after the server pushes an update to the client.
The basic life cycle of an application using long-polling is:
request -> suspend --> data available --> write response --> resume
The client makes an initial request and then suspends the request. When an update is available, the server writes it to the response. The connection closes, and the client optionally resumes the connection.
If you anticipate that your web application will need to send frequent updates to the client, you should use the HTTP-streaming connection so that the client does not have to frequently reestablish a connection. If you anticipate less frequent updates, you should use the long-polling connection so that the web server does not need to keep a connection open when no updates are occurring. One caveat to using the HTTP-streaming connection is that if you are streaming through a proxy, the proxy can buffer the response from the server. So, be sure to test your application if you plan to use HTTP-streaming behind a proxy.