Understanding Protocols

We now need to implement a custom protocol which defines how our chat program interacts with the p2p network.

We've already interacted with several protocols already. Protocols are automatically activated when nodes connect to eachother on the p2p network. Here are examples of two protocols that every node runs continuously in the background:

Under the hood, these protocols have a few similarities:

This introduces several generic interfaces that we must use to build our custom protocol. In particular:

The Message Subsystem

MessageSubsystem is a generic publish/subscribe class that contains a list of Message dispatchers. A new dispatcher is created for every Message type. These Message specific dispatchers maintain a list of susbscribers that are subscribed to a particular Message.

Message Subscription

A subscription to a specific Message type. Handles receiving messages on a subscription.


Channel is an async connection for communication between nodes. It is also a powerful interface that exposes methods to the MessageSubsystem and implements MessageSubscription.

The Protocol Registry

ProtocolRegistry is a registry of all protocols. We use it through the method register which passes a protocol constructor and a session bitflag. The bitflag specifies which sessions the protocol is created for. The ProtocolRegistry then spawns new protocols for different channels depending on the session.

TODO: document which protocols are included or excluded depending on the session.


An asynchronous job manager that spawns and stops tasks. Its main purpose is so a protocol can cleanly close all started jobs, through the function close_all_tasks. This way if the connection between nodes is dropped and the channel closes, all protocols are also shutdown.


A generic protocol trait that all protocols must implement.