Action Cable for Real-Time Communication

Real-time communication is an essential aspect of modern web applications. Traditionally, web applications relied on technologies like AJAX or long polling to achieve real-time updates. However, these approaches often come with complexities and performance issues.

Introducing Action Cable - an elegant solution for real-time communication! Available in Ruby on Rails, Action Cable allows developers to seamlessly integrate WebSocket functionality into their applications.

What is Action Cable?

Action Cable is a full-stack WebSocket framework integrated within Ruby on Rails. It provides WebSocket capabilities on both the server and client side, enabling bidirectional communication channels between the server and the web browser.

Features of Action Cable

Let's explore some of the fantastic features that make Action Cable a preferred choice for real-time communication.

WebSocket integration

Action Cable provides easy integration with WebSockets, which are bi-directional communication channels. Unlike traditional HTTP requests, WebSockets provide a persistent connection between the server and the client, allowing real-time data exchange.


Channels are a fundamental concept in Action Cable. A channel represents a logical unit of work that can handle multiple WebSocket connections. Channels allow developers to organize their application's WebSocket logic efficiently.


With Action Cable, broadcasting messages to multiple connected clients is a breeze. You can broadcast messages to all clients within a channel or select specific clients based on defined rules. This feature simplifies broadcasting updates to multiple users in real-time.

Pub-Sub architecture

Action Cable follows a publish-subscribe (pub-sub) architecture, ensuring efficient handling of messages. When the server receives a message, it determines which channels and subscribers should receive it and forwards the message accordingly. This approach optimizes performance and reduces unnecessary data transmission.


Action Cable is designed to scale effortlessly with the needs of your application. It is built on top of the Rails framework, which already provides a robust and scalable foundation. This allows applications to handle a large number of concurrent WebSocket connections without impacting performance.

Getting Started with Action Cable

To get started with Action Cable, you need to set up the necessary infrastructure and add the required code to your Rails application. The following steps will guide you through the initial setup:

  1. Enable Action Cable within your Rails application by uncommenting the corresponding line in the Gemfile.
  2. Run the bundle install command to install the required dependencies.
  3. Create a new channel by running the rails generate channel command.
  4. Implement your channel's logic in the generated files, specifying how it should handle incoming and outgoing WebSocket messages.
  5. Configure your routes to mount Action Cable in the desired location.
  6. Start your Rails server, and your application is now ready to use Action Cable for real-time communication!


Action Cable brings the power of real-time communication to Ruby on Rails applications effortlessly. Its seamless integration with the Rails framework, ease of use, and powerful features make it an excellent choice for building modern web applications that require real-time updates.

By leveraging the capabilities of Action Cable, developers can create engaging user experiences, real-time collaboration tools, live chat applications, and much more! So why wait? Start exploring Action Cable today, and unlock a whole new world of real-time possibilities in your Ruby on Rails applications.

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