Inter-Process Communication with named pipes, Part 01: transfer a byte stream

In two previous articles I have shown how to use anonymous pipes to transfer a byte stream or an object between two processes. Anonymous pipes are limited to processes which are running on the same PC. This limitation will removed by named pipes which I want to explain within this article.

 
Named pipes

In summary named pipes have the following features:

  • Communication between one server and one or several clients
  • One-way or two-way communication
  • Supports data transfer between local processes and between different machines on a network
  • Full-duplex communication
  • Message based communication
  • Client identity change to use the client identity on the connected pipe server
  • Byte-stream oriented

The pipe is implemented in a first-in-first-out manner. The sender will write data to the pipe and the receiver may read it. The data is passed to the reader in the same order in which it was written. The pipe may be used to read and write data. Therefore, in contrast to anonymous pipes, it is sufficient to create one pipe for a two-way communication.

 
Server process

The following source code shows a console application which implements a named pipe to send and receive data. The server waits until the client is connected. Afterwards data in form of byte data is send to the client and response data is received.

static void Main(string[] args)
{
    //create pipe
    var pipe = new NamedPipeServerStream("MyPipe", PipeDirection.InOut, 1);

    //wait until client connects
    pipe.WaitForConnection();
    Console.WriteLine("Client is connected");

    //write and read data
    try
    {
        //write data
        byte dataSend = 48;
        pipe.WriteByte(dataSend);
        Console.WriteLine("Parent send: " + dataSend.ToString());

        //read data
        int dataReceive = pipe.ReadByte();
        Console.WriteLine("Parent receive: " + dataReceive.ToString());
    }
    //catch exception on broken or disconnected pipe
    catch (IOException exception)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("Error: {0}", exception.Message);
    }
            
    //close pipe
    pipe.Close();

    Console.ReadKey();
}

 
Child process

Within the child process, in this example implemented as console application, also a pipe is created. By setting the according address and pipe name of the server process it is possible to connect to the pipe and receive the byte, send by the parent, and send some other byte back.

static void Main(string[] args)
{
    //connect
    var pipe = new NamedPipeClientStream("127.0.0.1", "MyPipe", 
        PipeDirection.InOut, PipeOptions.None, TokenImpersonationLevel.Impersonation);

    pipe.Connect();
    Console.WriteLine("Connected with server");

    //read data
    int dataReceive = pipe.ReadByte();
    Console.WriteLine("Client receive: " + dataReceive.ToString());

    //write data
    byte dataSend = 24;
    pipe.WriteByte(dataSend);
    Console.WriteLine("Client send: " + dataSend.ToString());  

    //close pipe
    pipe.Close();

    Console.ReadKey();
}

 
Summary

Named pipes offer an easy way to transfer data between several processes on different network machines. Within this example only byte data was used. In the next article of this series I want to show you how you may transfer complex data classes by using serialization

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Eine Antwort zu Inter-Process Communication with named pipes, Part 01: transfer a byte stream

  1. Pingback: Inter-Process Communication with named pipes, Part 02: transfer an object | coders corner

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