What are Phoenix Channels?

An overview of Channels

Real-time applications exist at the intersection of a communication layer and business logic that satisfies users’ needs. We covered the communication layer in the previous lessons, but we haven’t yet walked through how to build real applications with business logic.

In this lesson, we’ll look at a popular and well-designed framework that allows the development of real-time applications: Phoenix.

Note: Phoenix Channels are the most powerful real-time abstraction that currently exists in the Elixir community, and we will explore their basics to develop an essential real-time toolkit.

After an introduction to the different components of Channels, we’ll see specific examples of how we can use them and structure our application around them.

Importance of Channels

Channels will be at the core of our real-time application. We’ll see them in every lesson of this course due to their ability to provide flexible and straightforward real-time application design. When we understand all the details of Channels, we can make applications that deliver exceptional real-time user experiences.

It will take some time to understand all the ins and outs of using Channels entirely. We’ll start our journey by looking at what a Channel allows us to do. Then, we’ll go over the different components that comprise Channels. We’ll send and receive real-time messages powered by an Elixir server before moving to the client-side with JavaScript examples. We’ll see more advanced concepts before writing a real-world application in the next lesson.

What are Phoenix Channels?

Phoenix is a web framework written in Elixir that drives productive web application development. One of the components of Phoenix is Channels, a way to write bidirectional real-time web applications effectively.

They allow us to write our application code without worrying about details such as:

  • How is the connection set up and maintained?
  • How can we scale the number of connections easily?

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