Socket.io Projects Are Not Just For Chat!
In some ways, socket.io has been a victim of its own success because they have a widely-adopted sample application. Within this sample application, you can create a client and server chat system that shows the power of the socket.io framework. Unfortunately, this has also fostered a lack of creativity among socket.io developers because it seems like everyone out there is working on some sort of chat application. As a member of the Slack for Socket.io, this can be frustrating because it can limit conversation and using such a powerful framework for such a narrow focus is truly a shame.
In this article, I present some new ideas for socket.io projects that go beyond chat applications. In fact, some of these don’t involve humans at all. We all hear about the Internet of Things (or IoT) and that is indeed the future. So realize that frameworks like socket.io will become the “glue”, if you will, that will bind some of these Things together. By creating ideas that use socket communications between devices, we are all moving the IoT forward.
Socket.io Project 1: Drone Traffic Control
Few industries are experiencing the growth that drones are right now. But most of that growth is still in its infancy with a mix of recreational, hobbyist and professional applications for drones. Most of these actors are working completely independent of each other. At some point in the near future, all of those efforts will converge into the need for applications that unite multiple drone systems. I envision creating a standard communication protocol where active drones can check-in into flight areas and flight patterns. A drone could pick up navigation plans for a mile and then pick up another navigation plans the next mile from a different source. That plan could contain local rules such as flight elevation requirements and make drones aware of other drones in the area. You could completely automate drone fight patterns, creating traffic control, for any number of drones or areas of the earth. Socket.io has very lightweight requirements for the client side, so it would be a reasonable addition to most existing drone platforms.
Socket.io Project 2: Online Poker
There has been a lot of consolidation and a lack of competition in the world of online poker. This has led to limited choices for players worldwide and is ultimately hurting the game of poker. There has always been talk of starting a player-funded site that would offer games for reduced rake and expenses. One of the reasons this idea has never gotten off the ground is because of the technical tasks involved to create reliable, consistent communication between globally distributed clients and multiple server instances. Socket.io solves that issue and presents a clear path for creating poker servers that can communicate with any number of clients and provide a high level of reliability. I envision a group of developers getting together to develop a dictionary of potential actions for a player sitting at a table. That dictionary would represent all of the packets that can be communicated via socket.io. Add the socket.io communications layer, add a GUI, then some heavy server-side security and you have yourself a poker site that was developed in a fraction of the time of existing sites. Easy game!
Socket.io Project 3: Financial Data
With an increased societal focus on income inequality, we can examine industries that have had notorious barriers to entry. The financial industry has always had high monetary barriers for app development through excessive access and licensing fees for data. I believe there is an opportunity for a small company to develop easily accessible financial data on a variety of platforms to a variety of audiences. Like some other socket.io projects, this idea has the potential to be a viable business in a short amount of time. There is a clear path to create the server side and then providing the real-time communication is what socket.io excels at. A company could develop a standard approach to both the server and client side of socket.io and distribute that across any number of OSs that socket.io supports. The strength is not in charging excessive fees to users, the strength is in the broad approach to a large base of users in a very short amount of time.
Do I expect all of these socket.io projects will be implemented? No, I do not. But the spirit of the article remains the same. by looking at three disparate project ideas, I’m hoping that more and more developers will be able to go beyond the started chat application for socket.io projects.