Taylor Mitchell Taylor Mitchell - 1 year ago 71
ASP.NET (C#) Question

SignalR and WebAPI, why use a combination of the two?

I'm trying to create a new application from the ground up. I've used SignalR and WebAPI. I believe I know a lot of the differences, but isn't SignalR faster since it uses websockets? WebAPI makes sense to me for external frameworks to be able to reuse. SignalR makes sense to me for anything I'm not necessarily going to use externally. I've done some research and I can't find anywhere it says you shouldn't. I realize this is somewhat opinion-based, but why would you use a mix of the two rather than just SignalR?

I think what I'm mostly asking is if it is wrong to use SignalR to send back to the caller, except in cases where I would send to other clients on that channel? To me SignalR can be used like WebAPI when you are just sending back to the client. Is that wrong to do? It is less code for the client calls(2 lines vs 6 or more, depending on what I'm doing with it). My thinking is I may be trying to manipulate data and send it to the caller now, but maybe I want to send it to all clients later or send a notification to all clients. I'm not a fan of using signalR calls in my webApi controllers. It just feels like the signalR calls should be in the Hub. Thanks for your help.

Ted Ted
Answer Source

There is no reason why you shouldn't use them together because they target two different problems. Web-API is a means of making web services easy to target by many different kind of apps/devices whereas SignalR offers bi-directional communications in a way that the Server can call a piece of code on the client without the client having to keep polling the server for results.

E.g. Instead of having a client keep asking the Server for any new messages (like facebook notifications) with SignalR the server knows that there are new notifications for a specific client and it can send them directly without the client having to ask for them.


ASP.NET Web API is a framework that makes it easy to build HTTP services that reach a broad range of clients, including browsers and mobile devices. ASP.NET Web API is an ideal platform for building RESTful applications on the .NET Framework.


ASP.NET SignalR is a new library for ASP.NET developers that makes developing real-time web functionality easy. SignalR allows bi-directional communication between server and client. Servers can now push content to connected clients instantly as it becomes available. SignalR supports Web Sockets, and falls back to other compatible techniques for older browsers. SignalR includes APIs for connection management (for instance, connect and disconnect events), grouping connections, and authorization.

A potential problem is that while SignalR is great at targeting JavaScript code on a client, Web-Api enables connectivity with all sorts of platforms and devices. So the same techniques used through SignalR to target Web Browsers, will not necessarily work on a native Android App.