Data Sync using Sync Gateway

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    Description — Couchbase Lite for Swift — Synchronizing data changes between local and remote databases using Sync Gateway
    Related Content — Handling Data Conflicts | Intra-Device | Peer-to-Peer

    Code Snippets
    All code examples are indicative only. They demonstrate the basic concepts and approaches to using a feature. Use them as inspiration and adapt these examples to best practice when developing applications for your platform.

    Introduction

    Couchbase Lite for Swift provides API support for secure, bi-directional, synchronization of data changes between mobile applications and a central server database. It does so by using a replicator to interact with Sync Gateway.

    The replicator is designed to manage replication of documents and-or document changes between a source and a target database. For example, between a local Couchbase Lite database and remote Sync Gateway database, which is ultimately mapped to a bucket in a Couchbase Server instance in the cloud or on a server.

    This page shows sample code and configuration examples covering the implementation of a replication using Sync Gateway.

    Your application runs a replicator (also referred to here as a client), which will initiate connection with a Sync Gateway (also referred to here as a server) and participate in the replication of database changes to bring both local and remote databases into sync.

    Subsequent sections provide additional details and examples for the main configuration options.

    Replication Protocol

    Scheme

    Couchbase Mobile uses a replication protocol based on WebSockets for replication. To use this protocol the replication URL should specify WebSockets as the URL scheme (see the Configure Target section below).

    Incompatibilities

    Couchbase Lite’s replication protocol is incompatible with CouchDB-based databases. And since Couchbase Lite 2.x+ only supports the new protocol, you will need to run a version of Sync Gateway that supports it — see: Compatibility.

    Legacy Compatibility

    Clients using Couchbase Lite 1.x can continue to use http as the URL scheme. Sync Gateway 2.x+ will automatically use:

    • The 1.x replication protocol when a Couchbase Lite 1.x client connects through http://localhost:4984/db

    • The 2.0 replication protocol when a Couchbase Lite 2.0 client connects through ws://localhost:4984/db.

    You can find further information in our blog: Introducing the Data Replication Protocol.

    Ordering

    To optimize for speed, the replication protocol doesn’t guarantee that documents will be received in a particular order. So we don’t recommend to rely on that when using the replication or database change listeners for example.

    Configuration Summary

    You should configure and initialize a replicator for each Couchbase Lite database instance you want to sync. Example 1 shows the configuration and initialization process.

    Example 1. Replication configuration and initialization
    
    guard let targetURL = URL(string: "wss://10.1.1.12:8092/otherDB") else {
        fatalError("Invalid URL")
    }
    let targetEndpoint = URLEndpoint(url: targetURL)
    var config = ReplicatorConfiguration(database: database, target: targetEndpoint) (1)
    
    config.replicatorType = .pushAndPull
    
    // set auto-purge behavior (here we override default)
    config.enableAutoPurge = false (2)
    
    // Configure Sync Mode
    config.continuous = true
    
    // Configure Server Security -- only accept self-signed certs
    config.acceptOnlySelfSignedServerCertificate = true; (3)
    
    // Configure Client Security (4)
    //  Set Authentication Mode
    config.authenticator = BasicAuthenticator(username: "cbl-user-01",
                                              password: "secret")
    
    /* Optionally set custom conflict resolver call back
     config.conflictResolver = LocalWinConflictResolver()  (5)
     */
    
    // Apply configuration settings to the replicator
    self.replicator = Replicator.init( config: config) (6)
    
    // Optionally add a change listener
    // Retain token for use in deletion
    let token = self.replicator.addChangeListener { change in (7)
        if change.status.activity == .stopped {
            print("Replication stopped")
        } else {
            print("Replicator is currently : \(self.replicator.status.activity)")
        }
    }
    
    // Run the replicator using the config settings
    self.replicator.start()  (8)

    Notes on Example

    1 get endpoint for target DB
    2 Use the ReplicatorConfiguration class’s constructor — init(database:, target:) — to initialize the replicator configuration with the local database — see also: Configure Target
    3 The default is to auto-purge documents that this user no longer has access to — see: Auto-purge on Channel Access Revocation. Here we over-ride this behavior by setting its flag false.
    4 Configure how the client will authenticate the server. Here we say connect only to servers presenting a self-signed certificate. By default, clients accept only servers presenting certificates that can be verified using the OS bundled Root CA Certificates — see: Server Authentication.
    5 Configure the client-authentication credentials (if required). These are the credential the client will present to sync gateway if requested to do so.
    Here we configure to provide Basic Authentication credentials. Other options are available — see: Client Authentication.
    6 Configure how the replication should handle conflict resolution — see: Handling Data Conflicts topic for mor on conflict resolution.
    7 Initialize the replicator using your configuration — see: Initialize.
    8 Optionally, register an observer, which will notify you of changes to the replication status — see: Monitor
    9 Start the replicator  — see: Start Replicator.

    Configure

    Configure Target

    Use the Initialize and define the replication configuration with local and remote database locations using the ReplicatorConfiguration object.

    The constructor provides:

    • the name of the local database to be sync’d

    • the server’s URL (including the port number and the name of the remote database to sync with)

      It is expected that the app will identify the IP address and URL and append the remote database name to the URL endpoint, producing for example: wss://10.0.2.2:4984/travel-sample

      The URL scheme for web socket URLs uses ws: (non-TLS) or wss: (SSL/TLS) prefixes.

    Example 2. Add Target to Configuration
    let tgtUrl = URL(string: "wss://10.1.1.12:8092/travel-sample")!
    let targetEndpoint = URLEndpoint(url: tgtUrl)
    var config = ReplicatorConfiguration(database: database!, target: targetEndpoint) (1)
    1 Note use of the scheme prefix (wss:// to ensure TLS encryption — strongly recommended in production — or ws://)

    Network Interface

    Use networkInterface to specify the network interface to use for connecting to the remote target (for example, en0 or pdp_ip0).

    Example 3. Choose Network Interface
    let url = URL(string: "ws://localhost:4984/mydatabase")!
    let target = URLEndpoint(url: url)
    var config = ReplicatorConfiguration(database: database, target: target)
    config.networkInterface = "en0"

    Sync Mode

    Here we define the direction and type of replication we want to initiate.

    We use ReplicatorConfiguration class’s replicatorType and continuous parameters, to tell the replicator:

    • The type (or direction) of the replication: pushAndPull; pull; push

    • The replication mode, that is either of:

      • Continuous — remaining active indefinitely to replicate changed documents (continuous=true).

      • Ad-hoc — a one-shot replication of changed documents (continuous=false).

    Example 4. Configure replicator type and mode
    config.replicatorType = .pushAndPull
    
    // Configure Sync Mode
    config.continuous = true

    Unless there is a solid use-case not to, always initiate a single PUSH_AND_PULL replication rather than identical separate PUSH and PULL replications.

    This prevents the replications generating the same checkpoint docID resulting in multiple conflicts.

    Retry Configuration

    Couchbase Lite for Swift’s replication retry logic assures a resilient connection.

    The replicator minimizes the chance and impact of dropped connections by maintaining a heartbeat; essentially pinging the Sync Gateway at a configurable interval to ensure the connection remains alive.

    In the event it detects a transient error, the replicator will attempt to reconnect, stopping only when the connection is re-established, or the number of retries exceeds the retry limit (9 times for a single-shot replication and unlimited for a continuous replication).

    On each retry the interval between attempts is increased exponentially (exponential backoff) up to the maximum wait time limit (5 minutes).

    The REST API provides configurable control over this replication retry logic using a set of configiurable properties — see: Table 1.

    Table 1. Replication Retry Configuration Properties

    Property

    Use cases

    Description

    heartbeat()

    • Reduce to detect connection errors sooner

    • Align to load-balancer or proxy keep-alive interval — see Sync Gateway’s topic Load Balancer - Keep Alive

    The interval (in seconds) between the heartbeat pulses.

    Default: The replicator pings the Sync Gateway every 300 seconds.

    maxAttempts()

    Change this to limit or extend the number of retry attempts.

    The maximum number of retry attempts

    • Set this to zero (0) to prevent any retry attempt

    • The retry attempt count is reset when the replicator is able to connect and replicate

    • Default values are:

      • Single-shot replication = 9;

      • Continuous replication = maximum integer value

    • Negative values generate a Couchbase exception InvalidArgumentException

    maxAttemptWaitTime()

    Change this to adjust the interval between retries.

    The maximum interval between retry attempts

    Whilst you can configure the maximum permitted wait time, each individual interval is calculated by the replicator’s exponential backoff algorithm and is not configurable.

    • Default value: 300 seconds (5 minutes)

    • Zero or negative values generate a Couchbase exception, InvalidArgumentException.

    When necessary you can adjust any or all of those configurable values — see: Example 5 for how to do this.

    Example 5. Configuring Replication Retries

    let target = URLEndpoint(url: URL(string: "ws://foo.couchbase.com/db")!)
    
    var config =  ReplicatorConfiguration(database: database, target: target)
    config.replicatorType = .pushAndPull
    config.continuous = true
    config.heartbeat = 150 (1)
    
    config.maxAttempts = 20 (2)
    
    config.maxAttemptWaitTime = 600 (3)
    self.replicator = Replicator(config: config)
    1 Here we use heartbeat() to set the required interval (in seconds) between the heartbeat pulses
    2 Here we use maxAttempts() to set the required number of retry attempts
    3 Here we use maxAttemptWaitTime() to set the required interval between retry attempts.

    User Authorization

    By default, Sync Gateway does not enable user authorization. This makes it easier to get up and running with synchronization.

    You can enable authorization in the sync gateway configuration file, as shown in Example 6.

    Example 6. Enable Authorization
    {
      "databases": {
        "mydatabase": {
          "users": {
            "GUEST": {"disabled": true}
          }
        }
      }
    }

    To authorize with Sync Gateway, an associated user must first be created. Sync Gateway users can be created through the POST /{tkn-db}/_user endpoint on the Admin REST API.

    Server Authentication

    Define the credentials your app (the client) is expecting to receive from the Sync Gateway (the server) in order to ensure it is prepared to continue with the sync.

    Note that the client cannot authenticate the server if TLS is turned off. When TLS is enabled (Sync Gateway’s default) the client must authenticate the server. If the server cannot provide acceptable credentials then the connection will fail.

    Use ReplicatorConfiguration properties acceptOnlySelfSignedServerCertificate and setPinnedServerCertificate(), to tell the replicator how to verify server-supplied TLS server certificates.

    • If there is a pinned certificate, nothing else matters, the server cert must exactly match the pinned certificate.

    • If there are no pinned certs and acceptOnlySelfSignedServerCertificate is true then any self-signed certificate is accepted. Certificates that are not self signed are rejected, no matter who signed them.

    • If there are no pinned certificates and acceptOnlySelfSignedServerCertificate is false (default), the client validates the server’s certificates against the system CA certificates. The server must supply a chain of certificates whose root is signed by one of the certificates in the system CA bundle.

    Example 7. Set Server TLS security
    • CA Cert

    • Self Signed Cert

    • Pinned Certificate

    Set the client to expect and accept only CA attested certificates.

    // Configure Server Security -- only accept CA Certs
    config.acceptOnlySelfSignedServerCertificate = false (1)
    1 This is the default. Only certificate chains with roots signed by a trusted CA are allowed. Self signed certificates are not allowed.

    Set the client to expect and accept only self-signed certificates

    // Configure Server Security -- only accept self-signed certs
    config.acceptOnlySelfSignedServerCertificate = true; (1)
    
    // Configure Server Security -- only accept self-signed certs
    config.acceptOnlySelfSignedServerCertificate = true (2)
    1 Set this to true to accept any self signed cert. Any certificates that are not self-signed are rejected.

    Set the client to expect and accept only a pinned certificate.

    
    // Get bundled resource and read into localcert
    guard
        let pathToCert = Bundle.main.path(forResource: "listener-pinned-cert", ofType: "cer"),
        let localCertificate:NSData = NSData(contentsOfFile: pathToCert)
    else { /* process error */ return }
    
    // Create certificate
    // using its DER representation as a CFData
    guard
        let pinnedCert = SecCertificateCreateWithData(nil, localCertificate)
    else { /* process error */  return }
    
    // Add `pinnedCert` and `acceptOnlySelfSignedServerCertificate=false`(by default)
    // to `ReplicatorConfiguration`
    config.pinnedServerCertificate = pinnedCert

    This all assumes that you have configured the Sync Gateway to provide the appropriate SSL certificates, and have included the appropriate certificate in your app bundle — for more on this see: Certificate Pinning.

    Client Authentication

    There are two ways to authenticate from a Couchbase Lite client: Basic Authentication or Session Authentication.

    Basic Authentication

    You can provide a user name and password to the basic authenticator class method. Under the hood, the replicator will send the credentials in the first request to retrieve a SyncGatewaySession cookie and use it for all subsequent requests during the replication. This is the recommended way of using basic authentication. Example 8 shows how to initiate a one-shot replication as the user username with the password password.

    Example 8. Basic Authentication
    let url = URL(string: "ws://localhost:4984/mydatabase")!
    let target = URLEndpoint(url: url)
    var config = ReplicatorConfiguration(database: database, target: target)
    config.authenticator = BasicAuthenticator(username: "john", password: "pass")
    
    self.replicator = Replicator(config: config)
    self.replicator.start()

    Session Authentication

    Session authentication is another way to authenticate with Sync Gateway.

    A user session must first be created through the POST /{tkn-db}/_session endpoint on the Public REST API.

    The HTTP response contains a session ID which can then be used to authenticate as the user it was created for.

    See Example 9, which shows how to initiate a one-shot replication with the session ID returned from the POST /{tkn-db}/_session endpoint.

    Example 9. Session Authentication
    let url = URL(string: "ws://localhost:4984/mydatabase")!
    let target = URLEndpoint(url: url)
    var config = ReplicatorConfiguration(database: database, target: target)
    config.authenticator = SessionAuthenticator(sessionID: "904ac010862f37c8dd99015a33ab5a3565fd8447")
    
    self.replicator = Replicator(config: config)
    self.replicator.start()

    Custom Headers

    Custom headers can be set on the configuration object. The replicator will then include those headers in every request.

    This feature is useful in passing additional credentials, perhaps when an authentication or authorization step is being done by a proxy server (between Couchbase Lite and Sync Gateway) — see Example 10.

    Example 10. Setting custom headers
    var config = ReplicatorConfiguration(database: database, target: target)
    config.headers = ["CustomHeaderName": "Value"]

    Replication Filters

    Replication Filters allow you to have quick control over the documents stored as the result of a push and/or pull replication.

    Push Filter

    The push filter allows an app to push a subset of a database to the server. This can be very useful. For instance, high-priority documents could be pushed first, or documents in a "draft" state could be skipped.

    Push Filter
    let url = URL(string: "ws://localhost:4984/mydatabase")!
    let target = URLEndpoint(url: url)
    
    var config = ReplicatorConfiguration(database: database, target: target)
    config.pushFilter = { (document, flags) in (1)
        if (document.string(forKey: "type") == "draft") {
            return false
        }
        return true
    }
    
    self.replicator = Replicator(config: config)
    self.replicator.start()
    1 The callback should follow the semantics of a pure function. Otherwise, long running functions would slow down the replicator considerably. Furthermore, your callback should not make assumptions about what thread it is being called on.

    Pull Filter

    The pull filter gives an app the ability to validate documents being pulled, and skip ones that fail. This is an important security mechanism in a peer-to-peer topology with peers that are not fully trusted.

    Pull replication filters are not a substitute for channels. Sync Gateway channels are designed to be scalable (documents are filtered on the server) whereas a pull replication filter is applied to a document once it has been downloaded.
    let url = URL(string: "ws://localhost:4984/mydatabase")!
    let target = URLEndpoint(url: url)
    
    var config = ReplicatorConfiguration(database: database, target: target)
    config.pullFilter = { (document, flags) in (1)
        if (flags.contains(.deleted)) {
            return false
        }
        return true
    }
    
    self.replicator = Replicator(config: config)
    self.replicator.start()
    1 The callback should follow the semantics of a pure function. Otherwise, long running functions would slow down the replicator considerably. Furthermore, your callback should not make assumptions about what thread it is being called on.
    Losing access to a document via the Sync Function.

    Losing access to a document (via the Sync Function) also triggers the pull replication filter.

    Filtering out such an event would retain the document locally.

    As a result, there would be a local copy of the document disjointed from the one that resides on Couchbase Server.

    Further updates to the document stored on Couchbase Server would not be received in pull replications and further local edits could be potentially pushed, which would result in 409 errors since access has been revoked.

    Channels

    By default, Couchbase Lite gets all the channels to which the configured user account has access.

    This behavior is suitable for most apps that rely on user authentication and the sync function to specify which data to pull for each user.

    Optionally, it’s also possible to specify a comma-separated list of channel names on Couchbase Lite’s replicator configuration object. In this case, the replication from Sync Gateway will only pull documents tagged with those channels.

    Auto-purge on Channel Access Revocation

    This is a Breaking Change at 3.0

    New outcome

    By default, when a user loses access to a channel all documents in the channel (that do not also belong to any of the user’s other channels) are auto-purged from the local database (in devices belonging to the user).

    Prior outcome

    Previously these documents remained in the local database

    Prior to this relese, CBL auto-purged only in the case when the user loses access to a document by removing the doc from all of the channels belong to the user. Now, in addition to 2.x auto purge, Couchbase Lite will also auto-purges the docs when the user loses access to the doc via channel access revocation. This feature is enabled by default, but an opt-out is available.

    Behavior

    Users may lose access to channels in a number of ways:

    • User loses direct access to channel

    • User is removed from a role

    • A channel is removed from a role the user is assigned to

    By default, when a user loses access to a channel, the next Couchbase Lite Pull replication auto-purges all documents in the channel from local Couchbase Lite databases (on devices belonging to the user) unless they belong to any of the user’s other channels — see: Table 2.

    Documents that exist in multiple channels belonging to the user (even if they are not actively replicating that channel) are not auto-purged unless the user loses access to all channels.

    Users will be receive an AccessRemoved notification from the DocumentListener if they lose document access due to channel access revocation; this is sent regardless of the current auto-purge setting.

    Table 2. Behavior following access revocation
    System State Impact on Sync

    Replication Type

    Access Control on Sync Gateway

    Expected behavior when enable_auto_purge=true

    Pull only

    User revoked access to channel.

    Sync Function includes requireAccess(revokedChannel)

    Previously synced documents are auto purged on local

    Push only

    User revoked access to channel. Sync Function includes requireAccess(revokedChannel)

    No impact of auto-purge

    Documents get pushed but are rejected by Sync Gateway

    Push-pull

    User revoked access to channel
    Sync Function includes requireAccess(revokedChannel)

    Previously synced documents are auto purged on Couchbase Lite.

    Local changes continue to be pushed to remote but are rejected by Sync Gateway

    If a user subsequently regains access to a lost channel, then any previously auto-purged documents still assigned to any of their channels are automatically pulled down by the active Sync Gateway when they are next updated — see behavior summary in Table 3

    Table 3. Behavior if access is regained
    System State Impact on Sync

    Replication Type

    Access Control on Sync Gateway

    Expected behavior when enable_auto_purge=true

    Pull only

    User REASSIGNED access to channel

    Previously purged documents that are still in the channel are automatically pulled by Couchbase Lite when they are next updated

    Push only

    User REASSIGNED access to channel Sync Function includes requireAccess (reassignedChannel) No impact of auto-purge

    Local changes previously rejected by Sync Gateway will not be automatically pushed to remote unless resetCheckpoint is involved on CBL. Document changes subsequent to the channel reassignment will be pushed up as usual.

    Push-pull

    User REASSIGNED access to channel

    Sync Function includes requireAccess (reassignedChannel)

    Previously purged documents are automatically pulled by couchbase lite

    Local changes previously rejected by Sync Gateway will not be automatically pushed to remote unless resetCheckpoint is involved. Document changes subsequent to the channel reassignment will be pushed up as usual

    Config

    Auto-purge behavior is controlled primarily by the ReplicationConfiguration option enableAutoPurge. Changing the state of this will impact only future replications; the replicator will not attempt to sync revisions that were auto purged on channel access removal. Clients wishing to sync previously removed documents must use the resetCheckpoint API to resync from the start.

    Example 11. Setting auto-purge
    // set auto-purge behavior (here we override default)
    config.enableAutoPurge = false (1)
    1 Here we have opted to turn off the auto purge behavior. By default this is ON (true)

    Overrides

    Where necessary, clients can override the default auto-purge behavior. This can be done either by setting enableAutoPurge to false, or for finer control by applying pull-filters — see: Table 4 and Replication Filters This ensures backwards compatible with 2.8 clients that use pull filters to prevent auto purge of removed docs.

    Table 4. Impact of Pull-Filters

    purge_on_removal setting

    Pull Filter

    Not Defined

    Defined to filter removals/revoked docs

    disabled

    Doc remains in local database

    App notified of “accessRemoved” if a Documentlistener is registered

    enabled (DEFAULT)

    Doc is auto purged

    App notified of “accessRemoved” if Documentlistener registered

    Doc remains in local database

    App notified of “Rejected Rev(403)” if Documentlistener registered

    Delta Sync

    This is an Enterprise Edition feature.

    With Delta Sync [1], only the changed parts of a Couchbase document are replicated. This can result in significant savings in bandwidth consumption as well as throughput improvements, especially when network bandwidth is typically constrained.

    Replications to a Server (for example, a Sync Gateway, or passive listener) automatically use delta sync if the property is enabled at database level by the server — see: databases.$db.delta_sync.enabled.

    Intra-Device replications automatically disable delta sync, whilst Peer-to-Peer replications automatically enable delta sync.

    Initialize

    Start Replicator

    Use the Replicator class’s init(config:) constructor, to initialize the replicator with the configuration you have defined. You can, optionally, add a change listener (see Monitor) before starting the replicator running using start().

    Example 12. Initialize and run replicator
    // Apply configuration settings to the replicator
    self.replicator = Replicator.init( config: config) (1)
    
    
    // Run the replicator using the config settings
    self.replicator.start()  (2)
    1 Initialize the replicator with the configuration
    2 Start the replicator

    Checkpoint Starts

    Replicators use checkpoints to keep track of documents sent to the target database.

    Without checkpoints, Couchbase Lite would replicate the entire database content to the target database on each connection, even though previous replications may already have replicated some or all of that content.

    This functionality is generally not a concern to application developers. However, if you do want to force the replication to start again from zero, use the checkpoint reset argument when starting the replicator — as shown in Example 13.

    Example 13. Resetting checkpoints
    
    if doResetCheckpointRequired {
        self.replicator.start(reset: true)  (1)
    } else {
        self.replicator.start()
    }
    1 Set start’s reset option to true.
    The default false is shown here for completeness only; it is unlikely you would explicitly use it in practice.

    Monitor

    You can monitor a replication’s status by using a combination of Change Listeners and the replication.status.activity property — see; Activity. This enables you to know, for example, when the replication is actively transferring data and when it has stopped.

    You can also choose to monitor document changes — see: Monitor Document Changes.

    Change Listeners

    Use this to monitor changes and to inform on sync progress; this is an optional step. You can add and a replicator change listener at any point; it will report changes from the point it is registered.

    Best Practice
    Don’t forget to save the token so you can remove the listener later

    Use the Replicator class to add a change listener as a callback to the Replicator (addChangeListener(_:)) — see: Example 14. You will then be asynchronously notified of state changes.

    You can remove a change listener with removeChangeListener(withToken:).

    Replicator Status

    You can use the Replicator class’s Status property to check the replicator status. That is, whether it is actively transferring data or if it has stopped — see: Example 14.

    The returned ReplicationStatus structure comprises:

    • Activity — stopped, offline, connecting, idle or busy — see states described in: Table 5

    • Progress

      • completed — the total number of changes completed

      • total — the total number of changes to be processed

    • Error — the current error, if any

    Example 14. Monitor replication
    • Adding a Change Listener

    • Using replicator.status

    // Optionally add a change listener
    // Retain token for use in deletion
    let token = self.replicator.addChangeListener { change in (1)
        if change.status.activity == .stopped {
            print("Replication stopped")
        } else {
            print("Replicator is currently : \(self.replicator.status.activity)")
        }
    }
            print("Replicator is currently : \(self.replicator.status.activity)")
        }
    }

    Replication States

    Table 5 shows the different states, or activity levels, reported in the API; and the meaning of each.

    Table 5. Replicator activity levels

    State

    Meaning

    STOPPED

    The replication is finished or hit a fatal error.

    OFFLINE

    The replicator is offline as the remote host is unreachable.

    CONNECTING

    The replicator is connecting to the remote host.

    IDLE

    The replication caught up with all the changes available from the server. The IDLE state is only used in continuous replications.

    BUSY

    The replication is actively transferring data.

    The replication change object also has properties to track the progress (change.status.completed and change.status.total). Since the replication occurs in batches the total count can vary through the course of a replication.

    Replication Status and App Life Cycle

    The following diagram describes the status changes when the application starts a replication, and when the application is being backgrounded or foregrounded by the OS. It applies to iOS only.

    replicator states

    Additionally, on iOS, an app already in the background may be terminated. In this case, the Database and Replicator instances will be null when the app returns to the foreground. Therefore, as preventive measure, it is recommended to do a null check when the app enters the foreground, and to re-initialize the database and replicator if any of those is null.

    On other platforms, Couchbase Lite doesn’t react to OS backgrounding or foregrounding events and replication(s) will continue running as long as the remote system does not terminate the connection and the app does not terminate. It is generally recommended to stop replications before going into the background otherwise socket connections may be closed by the OS and this may interfere with the replication process.

    Monitor Document Changes

    You can choose to register for document updates during a replication.

    For example, the code snippet in Example 15 registers a listener to monitor document replication performed by the replicator referenced by the variable replicator. It prints the document ID of each document received and sent. Stop the listener as shown in Example 16.

    Example 15. Register a document listener
    let token = self.replicator.addDocumentReplicationListener { (replication) in
        print("Replication type :: \(replication.isPush ? "Push" : "Pull")")
        for document in replication.documents {
            if (document.error == nil) {
                print("Doc ID :: \(document.id)")
                if (document.flags.contains(.deleted)) {
                    print("Successfully replicated a deleted document")
                }
            } else {
                // There was an error
            }
        }
    }
    
    self.replicator.start()
    Example 16. Stop document listener

    This code snippet shows how to stop the document listener using the token from the previous example.

    self.replicator.removeChangeListener(withToken: token)

    Document Access Removal Behavior

    When access to a document is removed on Sync Gateway (see: Sync Gateway’s Sync Function), the document replication listener sends a notification with the AccessRemoved flag set to true and subsequently purges the document from the database.

    Documents Pending Push

    Replicator.isDocumentPending() is quicker and more efficient. Use it in preference to returning a list of pending document IDs, where possible.

    You can check whether documents are waiting to be pushed in any forthcoming sync by using either of the following API methods:

    • Use the Replicator.pendingDocumentIds() method, which returns a list of document IDs that have local changes, but which have not yet been pushed to the server.

      This can be very useful in tracking the progress of a push sync, enabling the app to provide a visual indicator to the end user on its status, or decide when it is safe to exit.

    • Use the Replicator.isDocumentPending() method to quickly check whether an individual document is pending a push.

    Example 17. Use Pending Document ID API
    
    let url = URL(string: "ws://localhost:4984/mydatabase")!
    let target = URLEndpoint(url: url)
    
    var config = ReplicatorConfiguration(database: database, target: target)
    config.replicatorType = .push
    
    self.replicator = Replicator(config: config)
    let myDocIDs = try self.replicator.pendingDocumentIds() (1)
    
    if(!myDocIDs.isEmpty) {
        print("There are \(myDocIDs.count) documents pending")
        let thisID = myDocIDs.first!
    
        self.replicator.addChangeListener { (change) in
            print("Replicator activity level is \(change.status.activity)")
            do {
                let isPending = try self.replicator.isDocumentPending(thisID)
                if(!isPending) { (2)
                    print("Doc ID \(thisID) now pushed")
                }
            } catch {
                print(error)
            }
        }
    
        self.replicator.start()
    1 Replicator.pendingDocumentIds() returns a list of the document IDs for all documents waiting to be pushed. This is a snapshot and may have changed by the time the response is received and processed.
    2 Replicator.isDocumentPending() returns true if the document is waiting to be pushed, and false otherwise.

    Stop

    Stopping a replication is straightforward. It is done using stop(). This initiates an asynchronous operation and so is not necessarily immediate. Your app should account for this potential delay before attempting any subsequent operations.

    You can find further information on database operations in Databases.

    Example 18. Stop replicator
    
    // Remove the change listener
    self.replicator.removeChangeListener(withToken: token)
    
    // Stop the replicator
    self.replicator.stop()
    1 Here we initiate the stopping of the replication using the stop() method. It will stop any active change listener once the replication is stopped.

    Error Handling

    When replicator detects a network error it updates its status depending on the error type (permanent or temporary) and returns an appropriate HTTP error code.

    The following code snippet adds a Change Listener, which monitors a replication for errors and logs the the returned error code.

    Example 19. Monitoring for network errors
    self.replicator.addChangeListener { (change) in
        if let error = change.status.error as NSError? {
            print("Error code :: \(error.code)")
        }
    }

    For permanent network errors (for example, 404 not found, or 401 unauthorized): Replicator will stop permanently, whether setContinuous is true or false. Of course, it sets its status to STOPPED

    For recoverable or temporary errors: Replicator sets its status to OFFLINE, then:

    • If setContinuous=true it retries the connection indefinitely

    • If setContinuous=false (one-shot) it retries the connection a limited number of times.

    The following error codes are considered temporary by the Couchbase Lite replicator and thus will trigger a connection retry.

    • 408: Request Timeout

    • 429: Too Many Requests

    • 500: Internal Server Error

    • 502: Bad Gateway

    • 503: Service Unavailable

    • 504: Gateway Timeout

    • 1001: DNS resolution error

    Load Balancers

    Couchbase Lite [2] uses WebSockets as the communication protocol to transmit data. Some load balancers are not configured for WebSocket connections by default (NGINX for example); so it might be necessary to explicitly enable them in the load balancer’s configuration (see Load Balancers).

    By default, the WebSocket protocol uses compression to optimize for speed and bandwidth utilization. The level of compression is set on Sync Gateway and can be tuned in the configuration file (replicator_compression).

    Certificate Pinning

    Couchbase Lite for Swift supports certificate pinning.

    Certificate pinning is a technique that can be used by applications to "pin" a host to its certificate. The certificate is typically delivered to the client by an out-of-band channel and bundled with the client. In this case, Couchbase Lite uses this embedded certificate to verify the trustworthiness of the server (for example, a Sync Gateway) and no longer needs to rely on a trusted third party for that (commonly referred to as the Certificate Authority).

    The following steps describe how to configure certificate pinning between Couchbase Lite and Sync Gateway.

    1. Create your own self-signed certificate with the openssl command. After completing this step, you should have 3 files: cert.pem, cert.cer and privkey.pem.

    2. Configure Sync Gateway with the cert.pem and privkey.pem files. After completing this step, Sync Gateway is reachable over https/wss.

    3. On the Couchbase Lite side, the replication must point to a URL with the wss scheme and configured with the cert.cer file created in step 1.

      This example loads the certificate from the application sandbox, then converts it to the appropriate type to configure the replication object.

    Example 20. Cert Pinnings
    let certURL = Bundle.main.url(forResource: "cert", withExtension: "cer")!
    let data = try! Data(contentsOf: certURL)
    let certificate = SecCertificateCreateWithData(nil, data as CFData)
    
    let url = URL(string: "wss://localhost:4985/db")!
    let target = URLEndpoint(url: url)
    
    var config = ReplicatorConfiguration(database: database, target: target)
    config.pinnedServerCertificate = certificate
    1. Build and run your app. The replication should now run successfully over https/wss with certificate pinning.

    For more on pinning certificates see the blog entry: Certificate Pinning with Couchbase Mobile

    Troubleshooting

    Logs

    As always, when there is a problem with replication, logging is your friend. You can increase the log output for activity related to replication with Sync Gateway — see Example 21.

    Example 21. Set logging verbosity
    // Verbose / Replicator
    Database.log.console.level = .verbose
    Database.log.console.domains = .replicator
    
    // Verbose / Network
    Database.log.console.level = .verbose
    Database.log.console.domains = .network

    For more on troubleshooting with logs, see: Using Logs.

    Authentication Errors

    If Sync Gateway is configured with a self signed certificate but your app points to a ws scheme instead of wss you will encounter an error with status code 11006 — see: Example 22

    Example 22. Protocol Mismatch
    CouchbaseLite Replicator ERROR: {Repl#2} Got LiteCore error: WebSocket error 1006 "connection closed abnormally"

    If Sync Gateway is configured with a self signed certificate, and your app points to a wss scheme but the replicator configuration isn’t using the certificate you will encounter an error with status code 5011 — see: Example 23

    Example 23. Certificate Mismatch or Not Found
    CouchbaseLite Replicator ERROR: {Repl#2} Got LiteCore error: Network error 11 "server TLS certificate is self-signed or has unknown root cert"

    1. Couchbase Mobile 2.5+
    2. From 2.0