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Routing

Pre-defined Routes

Without any configuration required, ServiceStack already includes pre-defined routes for all services in the format:

/api?/[xml|json|html|jsv|csv]/[reply|oneway]/[servicename]

servicename is the name of the Request DTO

e.g. the pre-defined url to call a JSON ‘Hello’ Service is:

/json/reply/hello

Auto Batched Requests

/json/reply/Hello[]

SOAP Web Service urls

/api?/[soap11|soap12]

Custom Routes

In its most basic form, a Route is just any string literal attributed on your Request DTO:

[Route("/hello")]
public class Hello { ... }

which matches:

/hello
/hello?Name=XXX

Variable place-holders

Routes can also have variable place-holders:

[Route("/hello/{Name}")]

matches:

/hello/foo

And will populate the public property Name on the Request DTO with foo.

Note: The QueryString, FormData and HTTP Request Body isn’t apart of the Route (i.e. only the /path/info is) but they can all be used in addition to every web service call to further populate the Request DTO.

Wildcard paths

Using a route with a wild card path like:

[Route("/hello/{Name*}")]

matches any number of variable paths:

/hello
/hello/name
/hello/my/name/is/ServiceStack    //Name = my/name/is/ServiceStack

Another good use-case for when to use wildcard routes.

Fallback Route

Use the FallbackRoute attribute to specify a fallback route starting from the root path, e.g:

[FallbackRoute("/{Path}")]
public class Fallback
{
    public string Path { get; set; }
}

This will match any unmatched route from the root path (e.g. /foo but not /foo/bar) that’s not handled by CatchAll Handler or matches a static file. You can also specify a wildcard path e.g. [FallbackRoute("/{Path*}")] which will handle every unmatched route (inc. /foo/bar). Only 1 fallback route is allowed.

The Fallback route is useful for HTML5 Single Page App websites handling server requests of HTML5 pushState pretty urls, e.g. All Single Page Apps Templates use the [FallbackRoute] to return the home page for all HTML Requests that do not have Server Routes, e.g MyServices.cs:

[FallbackRoute("/{PathInfo*}", Matches="AcceptsHtml")]
public class FallbackForClientRoutes
{
    public string PathInfo { get; set; }
}

public class MyServices : Service
{
    //Return index.html for unmatched requests so routing is handled on client
    public object Any(FallbackForClientRoutes request) => Request.GetPageResult("/");
}

Which will returns the the default index.html page using #Script Pages.

Examples of other HTML Fallback Response:

//Return static HTML file
return new HttpResult(VirtualFileSources.GetFile("index.html"));

//Return HTML String
return new HttpResult(VirtualFileSources.GetFile("index.html").ReadAllText());

//Return ServiceStack.Razor View
return new HttpResult(request)
{
    View = "/default.cshtml"
};

Limiting to HTTP Verbs

If not specified Routes will match All HTTP Verbs. You can also limit Routes to individual Verbs, this lets you route the same path to different services, e.g:

[Route("/contacts", "GET")]
[Route("/contacts/{Id}", "GET")]
public class GetContacts { ... }

[Route("/contacts", "POST PUT")]
[Route("/contacts/{Id}", "POST PUT")]
public class UpdateContact { ... }

[Route("/contacts/{Id}", "DELETE")]
public class DeleteContact { ... }

Matching ignored paths

You can use the {ignore} variable placeholder to match a Route definition that doesn’t map to a Request DTO property, e.g:

[Route("/contacts/{Id}/{ignore}", "GET")]
public class GetContacts { ... }

Will match on /contacts/1/john-doe request and not require your Request DTO to have an ignore property

Fluent API

You can also use a Fluent API to register ServiceStack Routes by adding them in your AppHost.Configure():

Routes
    .Add<Hello>("/hello")
    .Add<Hello>("/hello/{Name}");

and to match only GET request for /Customers?Key=Value and /Customers/{Id}:

Routes
    .Add<GetContact>("/Contacts", "GET")
    .Add<GetContact>("/Contacts/{ContactId}", "GET");

Content Negotiation

In addition to using the standard Accept HTTP Header to retrieve the response a different format, you can also request an alternative Content-Type by appending ?format=ext to the query string, e.g:

Or by appending the format .ext to the end of the route, e.g:

This is enabled on all custom routes and works for all built-in and user-registered formats. It can be disabled by setting Config.AllowRouteContentTypeExtensions = false.

Custom Rules

The Matches property on [Route] and [FallbackRoute] attributes lets you specify an additional custom Rule that requests need to match. This feature is used in all SPA project templates to specify that the [FallbackRoute] should only return the SPA index.html for unmatched requests which explicitly requests HTML, i.e:

[FallbackRoute("/{PathInfo*}", Matches="AcceptsHtml")]
public class FallbackForClientRoutes
{
    public string PathInfo { get; set; }
}

This works by matching the AcceptsHtml built-in RequestRules below where the Route will only match the Request if it includes the explicit text/html MimeType in the HTTP Request Accept Header. The AcceptsHtml rule prevents the home page from being returned for missing resource requests like favicon which returns a 404 instead.

The implementation of all built-in Request Rules:

SetConfig(new HostConfig {
  RequestRules = {
    {"AcceptsHtml", req => req.Accept?.IndexOf(MimeTypes.Html, StringComparison.Ordinal) >= 0 },
    {"AcceptsJson", req => req.Accept?.IndexOf(MimeTypes.Json, StringComparison.Ordinal) >= 0 },
    {"AcceptsXml", req => req.Accept?.IndexOf(MimeTypes.Xml, StringComparison.Ordinal) >= 0 },
    {"AcceptsJsv", req => req.Accept?.IndexOf(MimeTypes.Jsv, StringComparison.Ordinal) >= 0 },
    {"AcceptsCsv", req => req.Accept?.IndexOf(MimeTypes.Csv, StringComparison.Ordinal) >= 0 },
    {"IsAuthenticated", req => req.IsAuthenticated() },
    {"IsMobile", req => Instance.IsMobileRegex.IsMatch(req.UserAgent) },
    {"{int}/**", req => int.TryParse(req.PathInfo.Substring(1).LeftPart('/'), out _) },
    {"path/{int}/**", req => {
        var afterFirst = req.PathInfo.Substring(1).RightPart('/');
        return !string.IsNullOrEmpty(afterFirst) && int.TryParse(afterFirst.LeftPart('/'), out _);
    }},
    {"**/{int}", req => int.TryParse(req.PathInfo.LastRightPart('/'), out _) },
    {"**/{int}/path", req => {
        var beforeLast = req.PathInfo.LastLeftPart('/');
        return beforeLast != null && int.TryParse(beforeLast.LastRightPart('/'), out _);
    }},
 }
})

Routes that contain a Matches rule have a higher precedence then Routes without. We can use this to define multiple idential matching routes to call different Service depending on whether the Path Segment is an integer or not, e.g:

// matches /users/1
[Route("/users/{Id}", Matches = "**/{int}")]
public class GetUser
{
    public int Id { get; set; }
}

// matches /users/username
[Route("/users/{Slug}")]
public class GetUserBySlug
{
    public string Slug { get; set; }
}

Other examples utilizing {int} Request Rules:

// matches /1/profile
[Route("/{UserId}/profile", Matches = @"{int}/**")]
public class GetProfile { ... }

// matches /username/profile
[Route("/{Slug}/profile")]
public class GetProfileBySlug { ... }

// matches /users/1/profile/avatar
[Route("/users/{UserId}/profile/avatar", Matches = @"path/{int}/**")]
public class GetProfileAvatar { ... }

// matches /users/username/profile/avatar
[Route("/users/{Slug}/profile/avatar")]
public class GetProfileAvatarBySlug { ... }

Another popular use-case is to call different services depending on whether a Request is from an Authenticated User or not:

[Route("/feed", Matches = "IsAuthenticated")]
public class ViewCustomizedUserFeed { ... }

[Route("/feed")]
public class ViewPublicFeed { ... }

This can also be used to call different Services depending if the Request is from a Mobile browser or not:

[Route("/search", Matches = "IsMobile")]
public class MobileSearch { ... }

[Route("/search")]
public class DesktopSearch { ... }

Instead of matching on a pre-configured RequestRule you can instead specify a Regular Expression using the format:

{Property} =~ {RegEx}

Where {Property} is an IHttpRequest property, e.g:

[Route("/users/{Id}", Matches = @"PathInfo =~ \/[0-9]+$")]
public class GetUser { ... }

An exact match takes the format:

{Property} = {Value}

Which you could use to provide a tailored feed for specific clients:

[Route("/feed", Matches = @"UserAgent = specific-client")]
public class CustomFeedView { ... }

Auto Route Generation Strategies

Also related to this is registering Auto routes via the Routes.AddFromAssembly extension method, where this single call:

Routes.AddFromAssembly(typeof(FooService).Assembly)

Goes through and scans all your services (in the Assemblies specified) and registers convention-based routes based on all the HTTP methods you have implemented.

The default convention registers routes based on the Request DTO Name, whether it has an Id property and what actions were implemented. These conventions are configurable where you can now adjust/remove the existing rules or add your own to the pre-defined rules in Config.RouteNamingConventions:

RouteNamingConventions = new List<RouteNamingConventionDelegate> {
    RouteNamingConvention.WithRequestDtoName,
    RouteNamingConvention.WithMatchingAttributes,     // defaults: PrimaryKeyAttrubute
    RouteNamingConvention.WithMatchingPropertyNames,  // defaults: Id, IDs
}

The existing rules can be further customized by modifying the related static properties, e.g:

RouteNamingConvention.PropertyNamesToMatch.Add("UniqueId");
RouteNamingConvention.AttributeNamesToMatch.Add("DefaultIdAttribute");

Which will make these request DTOs:

class MyRequest1
{
    public UniqueId { get; set;}
}

class MyRequest2
{
    [DefaultId]
    public CustomId { get; set;}
}

Generate the following routes:

/myrequest1
/myrequest1/{UniqueId}
/myrequest2
/myrequest2/{CustomId}

See the implementation of RouteNamingConvention for examples of how to add your own auto-generated route conventions.

Dynamically adding Route Attributes

Routes attributes can also be added dynamically but as Services are auto-registered before AppHost.Configure() runs, Route attributes need to be added before this happens like in the AppHost Constructor or before new AppHost().Init(), i.e:

public class AppHost : AppHostBase {
    public AppHost() {
        typeof(MyRequest)
           .AddAttributes(new RouteAttribute("/myrequest"))
           .AddAttributes(new RouteAttribute("/myrequest/{UniqueId}"));
    }
}

Customizing Defined Routes

You can customize existing routes by overriding GetRouteAttributes() in your AppHost, the example below adds a /api prefix to all existing routes:

public class AppHost : AppHostBase
{
    //...
    public override RouteAttribute[] GetRouteAttributes(Type requestType)
    {
        var routes = base.GetRouteAttributes(requestType);
        routes.Each(x => x.Path = "/api" + x.Path);
        return routes;
    }
}

Routing Resolution Order

This is described in more detail on the New API Design wiki but the weighting used to select a route is based on:

  1. Any exact Literal Matches are used first
  2. Exact Verb match is preferred over All Verbs
  3. The more variables in your route the less weighting it has
  4. Routes with wildcard variables have the lowest precedence
  5. When Routes have the same weight, the order is determined by the position of the Action in the service or Order of Registration (FIFO)

Route weighting example

The following HTTP Request:

GET /content/v1/literal/slug

Will match the following Route definitions in order from highest precedence to lowest:

[Route("/content/v1/literal/slug", "GET")]
[Route("/content/v1/literal/slug")]
[Route("/content/v1/literal/{ignore}", "GET")]
[Route("/content/{ignore}/literal/{ignore}", "GET")]
[Route("/content/{Version*}/literal/{Slug*}", "GET")]
[Route("/content/{Version*}/literal/{Slug*}")]
[Route("/content/{Slug*}", "GET")]
[Route("/content/{Slug*}")]

See the RestPathTests.cs and Smart Routing section on the wiki for more examples.

Reverse Routing

If you use [Route] metadata attributes (as opposed to the Fluent API) you will be able to generate strong-typed URI’s using just the DTOs, letting you create urls outside of ServiceStack web framework as done with .NET Service Clients using the ToUrl(HttpMethod) and ToAbsoluteUri(HttpMethod), e.g:

[Route("/reqstars/search", "GET")]
[Route("/reqstars/aged/{Age}")]
public class SearchReqstars : IReturn<ReqstarsResponse>
{
    public int? Age { get; set; }
}

var relativeUrl = new SearchReqstars { Age = 20 }.ToGetUrl();
var absoluteUrl = new SearchReqstars { Age = 20 }.ToAbsoluteUri();

relativeUrl.Print(); //=  /reqstars/aged/20
absoluteUrl.Print(); //=  http://www.myhost.com/reqstars/aged/20

The Email Contacts demo shows an example of using the above Reverse Routing extension methods to populate routes for HTML Forms and Links in Razor Views.

Other Reverse Routing Extension methods

new RequestDto().ToPostUrl();
new RequestDto().ToPutUrl();
new RequestDto().ToDeleteUrl();
new RequestDto().ToOneWayUrl();
new RequestDto().ToReplyUrl();

Populating Complex Type Properties on QueryString

ServiceStack uses the JSV-Format (JSON without quotes) to parse QueryStrings.

JSV lets you embed deep object graphs in QueryString as seen this example url:

http://test.servicestack.net/json/reply/StoreLogs?Loggers=[{Id:786,Devices:[{Id:5955,Type:Panel,
  Channels:[{Name:Temperature,Value:58},{Name:Status,Value:On}]},
  {Id:5956,Type:Tank,TimeStamp:1199303309,
  Channels:[{Name:Volume,Value:10035},{Name:Status,Value:Full}]}]}]

Customize urls used with IUrlFilter

Request DTO’s can customize urls used in Service Clients or any libraries using ServiceStack’s typed Reverse Routing by having Request DTO’s implement IUrlFilter.

ServiceStack’s Stripe Gateway takes advantage of ServiceStack’s typed Routing feature to implement its Open-Ended, Declarative Message-based APIs with minimal effort.

In order to match Stripe’s unconventional syntax for specifying arrays on the QueryString of their 3rd party REST API we use IUrlFilter to customize the url that’s used. E.g. we need to specify include[] in order for the Stripe API to return any optional fields like total_count.

[Route("/customers")]
public class GetStripeCustomers : IGet, IReturn<StripeCollection<Customer>>, IUrlFilter
{
    public GetStripeCustomers() 
    {
        Include = new[] { "total_count" };
    }

    [IgnoreDataMember]
    public string[] Include { get; set; }

    public string ToUrl(string absoluteUrl) => Include != null 
        ? absoluteUrl.AddQueryParam("include[]", string.Join(",", Include)) 
        : absoluteUrl;
}

[IgnoreDataMember] is used to hide the property being emitted using the default convention

Which when sending the Request DTO:

var response = client.Get(new GetStripeCustomers());

Generates and sends the relative url:

/customers?include[]=total_count

Which has the effect of populating the TotalCount property in the typed StripeCollection<StripeCustomer> response.

Routing Metadata

Most of the metadata ServiceStack knows about your services are accessible internally via HostContext.Config.Metadata from within ServiceStack and externally via the /operations/metadata route. A link to the Operations Metadata page is displayed at the bottom of the /metadata when in ServiceStack is in DebugMode.

Great Performance

Since Routing in ASP.NET MVC can be slow when you have a large number of Routes, it’s worthwhile pointing out ServiceStack’s Routing implementation is implemented with hash lookups so doesn’t suffer the linear performance regression issues you might have had with MVC. So you don’t have to worry about degraded performance when registering a large number of Routes.

Consider “pretty-urls” for public pages

A constant eyesore that hurts my aesthetic eye when surfing the web is how you can immediately tell that a Website is written in ASP.NET by its /{Controller}/{Action} routing convention or .aspx suffix. This forces URL abnormalities where instead of choosing the ideal identifier for your public resource, the path tends to adopt internal method and class names that typically makes more sense to its developers than to external users. These dictated conventions also results in the ?queryString becoming a data bag of params that should otherwise be hidden or included as part of its public URI identifier.

In general it’s not a good idea to let a technology to dictate what your public routes end up being. Ideally your external routes should be regarded as permalinks and decoupled from their internal implementations as you don’t want internal refactors to cause link rot, break existing inbound navigation or lose any SEO weight they’ve accumulated.

If you adopt the ideal URL from the start, you’ll never have a reason to change it and the decoupling frees you from being able to refactor it’s mapped implementation or even replacing the underlying technology completely as the ideal routes are already at what they should be that’s free from any technology bias.

Pretty URLs or Clean URLs also provide important usability and accessibility benefits to non technical users where their prominent location in browsers is a valuable opportunity to add meaningful context on where they are in your Website.

Pre-defined Routes are optimal for machines

In ServiceStack all Services are automatically available using the pre-defined routes which is optimal for automated tooling and machinery as they can be predicted without requiring any server meta information.

Optimize Custom Routes for humans

Use Custom Routes to also make your Services available at the optimal Clean URLs for humans. For Content Pages you can take advantage of Page Based Routing in both Sharp Pages and now in Razor to specify the ideal route for your page which in addition to requiring less effort to define (as they’re implicitly defined) they’re also less effort to implement as no Controller or Service are needed. They also benefit from being immediately inferrible by looking at the intuitively mapped directory and file names alone which works equally well in reverse where the page for a route will be exactly where you think it will be.

Designing Clean URLs

Some great references on designing RESTful Pretty URLs are the Clean URL examples in Wikipedia:

Uncleaned URL Clean URL
http://example.com/index.php?page=name http://example.com/name
http://example.com/about.html http://example.com/about
http://example.com/index.php?page=consulting/marketing http://example.com/consulting/marketing
http://example.com/products?category=12&pid=25 http://example.com/products/12/25
http://example.com/cgi-bin/feed.cgi?feed=news&frm=rss http://example.com/news.rss
http://example.com/services/index.jsp?category=legal&id=patents http://example.com/services/legal/patents
http://example.com/kb/index.php?cat=8&id=41 http://example.com/kb/8/41
http://example.com/index.php?mod=profiles&id=193 http://example.com/profiles/193
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Clean_URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_URL

Get Inspired by GitHub

For some real-world inspiration look to github.com who are masters at it. You can tell a lot of thought went into meticulously choosing the ideal routes they want for all of their sites functionality. This has added tremendous value to GitHub’s usability whose intuitive routes have made deep navigation possible where you can jump directly to the page you want without always having to navigate from their home page as needed in most websites with framework-generated routes who are more susceptible to negatively impacting user engagement in home page redesigns that move around existing links and navigation. GitHub’s logically grouped routes also gets a natural assist from Autocomplete in browsers who are better able to complete previously visited GitHub URLs.

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