Richard Searle


Understanding TCP behavior for Reactive Streams

03 May 2015

This project provides useful examples with which to understand Akka Reactive Streams

Some of the code is a little surprising and required further analysis

The first example (simplified to the core functionality) is

class Experiment(receiverAddress: InetSocketAddress)(implicit val system: ActorSystem) {

  def run(): Unit = {
    implicit val mat = ActorFlowMaterializer()

    StreamTcp().bind(receiverAddress).runForeach { conn =>

       val receiveSink : Sink[ByteString,Unit] = conn.flow
          .transform(() => new ParseLinesStage("\n", 4000000))
          .to(Sink.foreach { line =>

object Experiment extends App {
  implicit val system = ActorSystem()
  new Experiment(new InetSocketAddress("localhost", 9182)).run()

The surprising part is What purpose is served by Source.empty? The code fails to compile if it is omitted, but that does not explain the semantics.

Replacing Source.empty with Source.single(ByteString("hello")) The client now receives output hello

The conn.flow has type Flow[ByteString, ByteString, Unit], matching our expectation that allows us to both read and write bytes.

The receiveSink has type Sink[ByteString,Unit], indicating it consumes bytes. Those bytes move out through conn.flow to the client.

Source.empty is then simply a placeholder with which to complete receiveSink and allow the flow to receive data from the client.