ASGI

ASGI, or the Asynchronous Server Gateway Interface, is the specification which Channels and Daphne are built upon, designed to untie Channels apps from a specific application server and provide a common way to write application and middleware code.

It’s a spiritual successor to WSGI, designed not only run in an asychronous fashion via asyncio, but also supporting multiple protocols.

The full ASGI spec can be found at http://asgi.readthedocs.io

Summary

An ASGI application is a callable that takes a scope and returns a coroutine callable, that takes receive and send methods. It’s usually written as a class:

class Application:

    def __init__(self, scope):
        ...

    async def __call__(self, receive, send):
        ...

The scope dict defines the properties of a connection, like its remote IP (for HTTP) or username (for a chat protocol), and the lifetime of a connection. Applications are instantiated once per scope - so, for example, once per HTTP request, or once per open WebSocket connection.

Scopes always have a type key, which tells you what kind of connection it is and what other keys to expect in the scope (and what sort of messages to expect).

The receive awaitable provides events as dicts as they occur, and the send awaitable sends events back to the client in a similar dict format.

A protocol server sits between the client and your application code, decoding the raw protocol into the scope and event dicts and encoding anything you send back down onto the protocol.

Composability

ASGI applications, like WSGI ones, are designed to be composable, and this includes Channels’ routing and middleware components like ProtocolTypeRouter and SessionMiddeware. These are just ASGI applications that take other ASGI applications as arguments, so you can pass around just one top-level application for a whole Django project and dispatch down to the right consumer based on what sort of connection you’re handling.

Protocol Specifications

The basic ASGI spec only outlines the interface for an ASGI app - it does not specify how network protocols are encoded to and from scopes and event dicts. That’s the job of protocol specifications: