Mean Stack

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Module 7 builds upon the JavaScript skills you learned in Module 6.


The following articles on the online class wiki textbook contain information that will help you complete the assignments.

Individual Assignments

Install Node.JS

Install Node.JS from Apt or Yum according to the instructions in the Node.JS guide.

Static File Server in Node.JS

The individual portion of Module 7 is short in order to give you enough time to complete the group portion.

  1. Copy the example code from the Node.JS guide into a file called static_server.js or something of that nature. Save it on your EC2 instance (but not in a place that Apache can serve!).
    Ensure that you understand what the static file server script is doing… this might show up on a quiz!
  2. Make a directory parallel to static_server.js named static.
  3. Change "<STATIC DIRECTORY NAME>" on line 11 of the static fileserver example code to reflect the name of the directory you just made.
  4. Save the following files in your static directory:
    <?php   phpinfo();   ?>
  5. Boot up your Node.JS static fileserver, and from your browser, load all four of the files you created in step 4.
    Which ones work and which ones don't? Why might this be the case?

Group Project

In the group portion of Module 7, you will be building a multiplayer Pong game using Node.JS and Socket.IO.

If you want to reminisce and play some Pong on the command line before building it in Node.JS, here is the command, assuming you have emacs installed:

$ emacs -q --no-splash -f pong

Press C-x C-c to exit emacs.

Setting Up for the Pong Game

First thing first: set up a static file server running Node.JS. We will need it in order to serve up our HTML and JavaScript content.

Your First File: pong-game.js

The first file you can save in your static directory will be pong-game.js, which you can download from here:

We created the pong-game.js file for you to save you time and so that you can focus on the Node.JS and Socket.IO aspects of this module. This file contains the core Pong engine, but it does not establish communication between users of any kind. Note that the file does depend on Ext JS.

If you are curious, we used the LimeJS framework as the backbone of pong-game.js. You can find the pre-compiled source code for the Pong game here:

We then used the Google Closure Compiler to compile all of the libraries you need into the one modular JavaScript file.

Just to be clear, for the purposes of Module 7, you do not need to bother with either LimeJS or Google Closure.

Your Second File: client.js

You should create an additional file, client.js, which you include into client.html and which contains the client-side logic for your Pong game. It should load after pong-game.js. Start with the following code in your client.js:

Ext.onReady(function(){"gameContainer").enableDisplayMode().hide(); // hide the game canvas by default"controls").hide(); // hide the play/pause button; we will not be using this feature for the purposes of Module 7

Your Third File: client.html

The third file you can save in your static directory should be an HTML file created from your favorite Quick and Easy Page Layout. You need to add the following CSS rules:

	margin: 0 auto;
	width: 960px;
	height: 500px;
	height: 20px;
	text-align: center;
	width: 960px;
	height: 480px;
	border: 1px solid black;

Add the following HTML inside your main div; this is what will contain the Pong game canvas:

<div id="gameContainer">
	<div id="controls">
		<button id="pauseBtn">
	<div id="game"></div>

You also need to require the Ext JS core library, pong-game.js, and client.js.

<script src="//"></script>
<script src="pong-game.js"></script>
<script src="client.js"></script>

Connecting to Socket.IO

Now that you have your static fileserver running that serves up your three files (pong-game.js, client.html, and client.js), we need to connect everything with Socket.IO.

Follow the instructions in the Socket.IO guide for installing Socket.IO. In your app.js, add the following lines:

io.listen(app).sockets.on("connection", function(socket){
	// This closure runs when a new Socket.IO connection is established.
	// Listen for client messaging server:
	socket.on("message", function(content){
		// do stuff
	// Send a message from the server to the client:
	socket.emit("message", {some:"data"});

Don't forget to require at the top of your file!

io = require("")

Inside of the io.listen callback function is where most of your server-side code will go.

On the client side, you need to include the Socket.IO library (put this below Ext JS but above pong-game.js and client.js):

<script src="/"></script>

And finally, you need to connect your client to the Socket.IO server (put this in client.js):

var socket = io.connect(window.location.origin);

But enough of us giving you all the code! It's time for you to start being creative.

The Pong Game Interface

For the remainder of this module, your work will be in three files:

  • app.js (or whatever you called your Node.JS file)
  • client.html
  • client.js

What you need to do is to build a system that enables two players who are both viewing client.html to choose each other (e.g., from a lobby) and play a game of Pong.

You should be wondering, "how do I interact with the Pong game?" The public interface is as follows:

  • Methods:
    • pong.init() - initialize the game client.
    • pong.resetBall(x, y) - arbitrarily set the position of the ball. Defaults to the center. Cancels all animations currently acting on the ball.
    • pong.launch(angle, direction) - launch the ball from its current position in the specified angle (-89 to +89) and direction (-1 for left or 1 for right).
    • pong.updateOpponentPaddle(position) - set the position of the opponent paddle to position. (Hint: the position value should have been generated by the opponent's paddlemove event)
    • pong.ready() - returns true if the game is not in a "paused" state.
    • pong.setScore(score) - display score on the game canvas. score is an object literal containing two fields: left and right.
  • Events (all fired on window):
    • paddlemove - the player's paddle has moved.
      This event will fire only after the paddle has moved 15 pixels or more.
      • event.detail.position - the new y coordinate of the paddle.
    • paddlehit-left - the ball has hit the left side of the screen.
      • event.detail.hit - true if the ball hit the player's paddle; false otherwise.
      • event.detail.angle - if the ball was reflected, the new angle of the ball's rightward movement.
      • event.detail.position - the position at which the ball hit the left side

Problems with Our Interface

There are at least two major problematic issues with our interface:

  • We are firing events on the window. We should have taken the time to make our Pong class implement the EventTarget interface directly.
  • We are putting more trust in the client than we should, because the client can fake any angle and position upon the paddlehit-left event and manipulate the game in his or her favor. The trajectory should be computed on the Node.JS side.

Just be aware of the above issues as you complete this lab. You won't be required to fix them, although if you do (and if you recompile your modified code with Lime) you may be a candidate for extra credit.

Enabling a Player to Pause

You do not need to implement the pausing part of your Pong game for the purposes of Module 7; it is here for reference.

Implementing a game pause is more difficult for a network game than it is for a game that runs on just one computer. There is one situation during a Pong game when it makes sense to enable a user to pause the game, though: after a user has lost a round, but before they have fired the next ball at the opponent. At this time, you may display the play/pause button like so:"controls").show();

When your timeout for firing the new ball is executed, test whether or not the canvas is ready. If it is, fire the ball and hide the play/pause button; otherwise, continue waiting:

var launchNewBall = function(angle, direction){
	if (pong.ready()) {
		// Hide the pause/resume button"controls").hide();
		// Launch the ball on our local canvas
		pong.launch(angle, direction);
		// Tell our opponent the angle and direction of the new launch (this probably won't be exactly the same with your implementation)
		socket.emit("launch", {
			angle: angle,
			direction: direction
		// Game is paused; keep waiting
		setTimeout(launchNewBall, 500, angle, direction);

Example: Starting a Pong Game

Once two players have formed a pair, one of them needs to initialize the game with a certain angle and direction for the ball. Here is how you might go about doing this:

// generate an initial angle between -60 degrees and +60 degrees:
var initAngle = -60 + 120*Math.random();

// randomly choose the initial direction of the ball:
var initDirection = Math.random() < 0.5 ? -1 : 1;

// show the game canvas:"gameContainer").enableDisplayMode().show();

// initialize the game canvas:

// move the ball to the center:

// set the ball into motion:
pong.launch(initAngle, initDirection);

// tell the opponent about the ball's initial angle and direction.  For example:
socket.emit("launch", {
	angle: initAngle,
	direction: initDirection

Example: When a Player Reflects the Ball

When the ball hits a player's side, the paddlehit-left event fires on the window. Here is how you might listen for this event in your client.js and transmit this information over your socket:

window.addEventListener("paddlehit-left", function(e){
	// e.detail.hit will be true if the client hit the ball with his/her paddle.
	if (e.detail.hit) {
		console.log("HIT PADDLE.  New angle: %f", e.detail.angle); // log a message to the console
		// Tell our opponent via Socket.IO about the ball's new angle and position:
		socket.emit("reflect", {
			angle: e.detail.angle,
			position: e.detail.position
		// Note: The game automatically launches the ball and determines the angle based on the ball's position relative to the paddle position.  We therefore do not need to call pong.launch() in here (but our opponent will, as shown below).
		console.log("MISSED PADDLE");
		// in here, we will update the score, check for victory condition, launch a new ball (perhaps after a timeout), etc.

Here is what you might have in app.js inside of your Socket.IO callback function:

// Listen for the "reflect" message from the client
socket.on("reflect", function(data){
	// Tell our opponent about the reflection.
	// Note: In this sample implementation, we store the opponent in `socket.opponent`.
	// You might use a different mechanism for storing the opponent's socket.
	socket.opponent.emit("reflect", data);

Finally, here is what you might have on the opponent's end (hint: this is also in client.js):

// Listen for the "reflect" message from the server
socket.on("reflect", function(data){
	// In order to make up for any network lag, immediately move the ball to its correct position:
	pong.resetBall(960, data.position);
	// Finally, launch the ball on our local game client:
	pong.launch(data.angle, -1);


We will be grading the following aspects of your work. There are 75 points total.

  1. Individual Portion (20 Points):
    • Node.JS is installed on your EC2 instance (5 points)
    • The hello.txt, brookings.jpg, and city.html files all load successfully (3 points each)
    • Visiting a file that does not exist inside the static directory results in a 404 (3 points)
    • You can explain to the TA why phpinfo.php behaves the way it does when loaded through Node.JS (3 points)
  2. Pong Game (45 Points):
    • Matching Pairs of Players (10 Points):
      • Players are able to specify a name for themselves (3 points)
      • Players are able to initiate a game on their own, without intervention from you (4 points)
      • When a game is started, both players need to consent (3 points)
    • Gameplay (10 Points):
      • The Pong game works (3 points)
      • There is a pause between a player losing a round and the ball being launched for the next round (3 points)
      • Victory condition is enforced (e.g., the first player to score 10 points wins the game) (4 points)
    • Socket.IO Communications (15 Points):
      • A mapping of players to their opponents exists on the server side (without this, you can't complete any other parts of the Socket.IO section) (3 points)
      • Start Game and End Game is forwarded from one client to the other via Socket.IO (3 points)
      • Paddle Moving is forwarded from one client to the other via Socket.IO (3 points)
      • Ball Hitting and Missing Paddle is forwarded from one client to the other via Socket.IO (3 points)
      • Ball Launching is forwarded from one client to the other via Socket.IO (3 points)
    • Best Practices (5 Points):
      • Code is well formatted and easy to read (2 points)
      • All pages pass the W3C validator (1 point)
      • There are no XSS vulnerabilities (2 points)
      • Extra Credit: Your client.js code passes JSHint, a JavaScript validator (+3 bonus points)
    • Usability (5 Points):
      • Finding friends on the Pong interface is easy and intuitive (4 points)
      • Site is visually appealing (1 point)
  3. Creative Portion (10 Points)