scotty-format: A response format helper for the Scotty web framework

scotty-format is a helper for the Scotty web framework that helps you defining different response formats based on the request’s Accept header value.

The functional inspiration for this helper comes from how Rails handles different response formats. In Rails you can implement actions to respond with different formats based on the Accept header value.

For instance a client could accept only responses that contain an application/json content, in that case if the server doesn’t support that format it should respond with a 406 Not Acceptable status code.

If the client accepts more than one content types the response content type will be the best available from the list of all types supported.

If the client doesn’t include any acceptable format the first response format defined will be used.

Rules for choosing the most appropriate response type are defined in RFC-2616 and are enforced by the http-media library.

Inspiration for the implementation of this helper comes from scotty-resource, another helper for Scotty that lets you define REST resources easily by following HTTP strictly. scotty-resource defines a WebResource monad that is used to accumulate callbacks (ActionT) for each HTTP method that you want to support for the resource that you’re defining. In a similar way scotty-format accumulates callbacks in a ResponseFormat monad for each format supported by the current action. The respondTo function will then select the appropriate callback according to the client’s preferences.

Example usage:

main :: IO ()
main = scotty 8080 $ do
  get "/hello" $ do
    let content = "Hello world!"
    respondTo $ do
      formatJson $
        json $ object ["content" .= content]
      formatText $
        text content
      format "application/vnd.chess-pgn" $ do
        setHeader "Content-Type" "application/vnd.chess-pgn; charset=utf-8"
        raw $ encodeUtf8 "1. e4"

This function will define a Scotty app with one action only (GET /hello) that will respond with three different formats based on the Accept header value sent by the client.

curl http://localhost:8080/hello will return a JSON response, because there’s no Accept header value, the first content defined will be used by default.

curl -H 'Accept: text/plain' http://localhost:8080/hello will return a text response.

curl -H 'Accept: image/png' http://localhost:8080/hello will return a 406 Not Acceptable error code because there are no callbacks defined to respond with the requested media type.

You can use formatJson, formatText, or formatHtml, to accept respectively application/json, text/plain, or text/html media types. If you need to accept a different media type you can use the format function that accepts a Text parameter that is the media type.

To use this helper add scotty-format to your project’s build dependencies list and include respondTo and format* functions.

Source code is available at under the Apache 2 license.

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