Sun GlassFish Enterprise Server v3 Prelude Developer's Guide

The Hidden Frame Example

This rest of this tutorial uses the Hidden Frame example to explain how to develop Comet-enabled web applications. You can download the example from at Hidden example download. From there, you can download a prebuilt WAR file as well as a JAR file containing the servlet code.

The Hidden Frame example is so called because it uses hidden IFrames. What the example does is it allows multiple clients to increment a counter on the server. When a client increments the counter, the server broadcasts the new count to the clients using the Comet technique.

The Hidden Frame example uses the long-polling technique, but you can easily modify it to use HTTP-streaming by removing two lines. See Notifying the Comet Handler of an Event and Creating the HTML Page That Updates and Displays the Content for more information on converting the example to use the HTTP-streaming technique.

The client side of the example uses hidden IFrames with embedded JavaScript tags to connect to the server and to asynchronously post content to and accept updates from the server.

The server side of the example consists of a single servlet that listens for updates from clients, updates the counter, and writes JavaScript code to the client that allows it to update the counter on its page.

See Deploying and Running a Comet-Enabled Application for instructions on how to deploy and run the example.

When you run the example, the following happens:

  1. The index.html page opens.

  2. The browser loads three frames: the first one accesses the servlet using an HTTP GET; the second one loads the count.html page, which displays the current count; and the third one loads the button.html page, which is used to send the POST request.

  3. After clicking the button on the button.html page, the page submits a POST request to the servlet.

  4. The doPost method calls the onEvent method of the Comet handler and redirects the incremented count along with some JavaScript to the count.html page on the client.

  5. The updateCount JavaScript function on the count.html page updates the counter on the page.

  6. Because this example uses long-polling, the JavaScript code on count.html calls doGet again to resume the connection after the servlet pushes the update.