Embed a Ring Handler

You can quickly get started creating a back-end for your application by embedding a :ring-handler in the Figwheel server.

The Figwheel server is primarily needed to provide a connection for REPL communication. However, it is a server so it’s handy to allow developers to leverage this server so they can concentrate on the problems they are actually trying to solve.

Figwheel allows you to specify the name of a function in your Figwheel configuration options in figwheel-main.edn or in the metadata of your build file under the key :ring-handler.

A quick example.

In src/hello_world/app_server.clj

(ns hello-world.app-server)

(defn handler [req]
  {:status 404
   :headers {"Content-Type" "text/html"}
   :body "Yep the server failed to find it."})

And in your figwheel-main.edn file add a :ring-handler key:

 :ring-handler hello-world.app-server/handler

Now when you start your figwheel.main build when you try to access an endpoint that doesn’t exist you will see the Yep the server failed to find it. message.

You can learn more about Ring by exploring the Wiki and API. This wiki document on Ring concepts provides a good summary of how Ring works.

The last handler

The Figwheel server has a chain of middleware that helps it do its job, this chain of middleware is composed on top of the popular ring-defaults middleware stack.

The function you specify in :ring-handler will be the last handler in the Figwheel middleware chain. This means it will only be called if the request isn’t handled by other middleware.

This can cause confusion if you have an index.html file present and you are trying to respond to a request for the root path / in your handler. In this case the Figwheel middleware will handle the root path returning the index.html file before the request has a chance to make it to your handler.

Returning index.html at specific routes for an SPA

If you are doing pushState history based routing, which is common in Single Page Applications, you will probably want to return the index.html for a given set of routes.

Here’s an example Ring handler that does this.

In src/hello_world/app_server.clj:

(ns hello-world.app-server
    [ring.util.response :refer [resource-response content-type not-found]]))

;; the routes that we want to be resolved to index.html
(def route-set #{"/" "/contact" "/menu" "/about"})

(defn handler [req]
   (when (route-set (:uri req))
     (some-> (resource-response "index.html" {:root "public"})
             (content-type "text/html; charset=utf-8")))
   (not-found "Not found")))

A more advanced Ring Handler

A quick example of a advanced Ring handler that uses higher level Clojure web libraries.

You will need to add compojure and hiccup to your dependencies for the following :ring-handler to work.

(ns hello-world.app-server
    [compojure.core :refer [defroutes GET]]
    [compojure.route :as route]
    [hiccup.page :refer [html5 include-js include-css]]))

(defn index-html []
    [:meta {:charset "UTF-8"}]
    [:meta {:name "viewport"
            :content "width=device-width, initial-scale=1"}]
    (include-css "/css/style.css")]
    [:div {:id "app"}]
    (include-js "/cljs-out/dev-main.js")]))

(defroutes handler
  (GET "/" [] (index-html))
  (route/not-found "<h1>Page not found</h1>"))

The defroutes macro above creates a ring handler function that will work as a :ring-handler parameter.


It’s also important to remember that the Figwheel’s server already uses ring-defaults middleware.

When you create your own server, this middleware will not be present and you will have to supply it by wrapping your handler via (ring.middleware.defaults/wrap-defaults your-app-handler ring.middleware.defaults/site-defaults)