Latest commit 6284b82 Feb 10, 2016 @DomKM Bump version.

Silk Current Version

Isomorphic Clojure[Script] Routing

Design Goals and Solutions

Compatible with Clojure and ClojureScript

The core functionality of Silk in is fully compatible with both Clojure and ClojureScript and was designed to be so from the ground up. Server-specific code for use with Ring is in There is currently no browser-specific code, though there probably will be in the future.

Extensible Routes

An isomorphic routing library must be extensible for environment-specific constraints. For example, on the server-side we may want a route to only respond to GET HTTP requests, while on the browser-side we want that same route to work even though there is no concept of incoming HTTP requests.

This is easy to do with Silk's core protocol,, and is shown below.

Bidirectional Routes

Routes should be bidirectional (commonly referred to as named). If you are serving resources, the likelihood is that you are also providing links to other resources. Your code and routes quickly become coupled and brittle without support for URL formation. Unidirectional routes (like Compojure) will, eventually, break; bidirectional routes will not.

Silk routes are named and a specific route can be retrieved from a collection of routes by its name.

Decoupled Matching and Handling

This architectural principle is especially important in isomorphic applications. Matching will probably be similar on the server-side and browser-side (except for extensions mentioned above) but handling will likely be completely different.

Names are not restricted to strings or keywords, so a name could be a handler function. Or you could store handler functions elsewhere and look them up by route name. Silk does not impose restrictions.

Data, Not Functions/Macros

Data structures can be generated, transformed, and analyzed at runtime and, perhaps more importantly, can be inspected and printed in meaningful ways. Macro DSLs and function composition make these things very difficult.

Silk routes are data structures. They are not nested functions and are not created with complex macros. They are easy to create, manipulate, and inspect from Clojure and ClojureScript.

Reasonably Convenient

Silk has a few special rules to make route definition and use fairly terse. However, since routes are just data and are therefore easy to create and compose, users can easily define more convenient syntax for their specific use cases.

Reasonably Performant

This goal is not yet met. Well, it may be, but there are no benchmarks yet.


Take a few minutes to learn Silk

Patterns can be matched and unmatched with and respectively.

Strings only match themselves.

(silk/match "foo" "foo")
;=> {}
(silk/unmatch "foo" {})
;=> "foo"

Keywords are wildcards.

(silk/match :foo "bar")
;=> {:foo "bar"}
(silk/unmatch :foo {:foo "bar"})
;=> "bar"

There are also built in patterns for common use cases.

(silk/match (silk/int :answer) "42")
;=> {:answer 42}
(silk/unmatch (silk/int :answer) {:answer 42})
;=> "42"

(silk/match (silk/uuid :id) "c11902f0-21b6-4645-a218-9fa40ef69333")
;=> {:id #uuid "c11902f0-21b6-4645-a218-9fa40ef69333"}
(silk/unmatch (silk/uuid :id) {:id #uuid "c11902f0-21b6-4645-a218-9fa40ef69333"})
;=> "c11902f0-21b6-4645-a218-9fa40ef69333"

(silk/match (silk/cat "user-" (silk/int :id)) "user-42")
;=> {:id 42}
(silk/unmatch (silk/cat "user-" (silk/int :id)) {:id 42})
;=> "user-42"

(silk/match (silk/? :this {:this "that"}) "foo")
;=> {:this "foo"}
(silk/match (silk/? :this {:this "that"}) nil)
;=> {:this "that"}

Patterns can be data structures.

(silk/match ["users" (silk/int :id)] ["users" "42"])
;=> {:id 42}

A route can be created with a 2-tuple. The first element is a route name and the second element is something that can be turned into a URL pattern. If the second element is a vector, the first and second elements are associated into the third element under :path and :query keys respectively. If the second element is a map, it is left unchanged.

(silk/url-pattern [["users" "list"] {"filter" :filter "limit" :limit} {:scheme "https"}])
;=> {:path ["users" "list"], :query {"filter" :filter, "limit" :limit}, :scheme "https"}

(silk/url-pattern {:path ["users" "list"] :query {"filter" :filter "limit" :limit} :scheme "https"})
;=> {:path ["users" "list"], :query {"filter" :filter, "limit" :limit}, :scheme "https"}

(silk/route [:route-name [["users" "list"] {"filter" :filter "limit" :limit} {:scheme "https"}]])
;=> #<Route>

Routes are patterns.

(silk/match (silk/route [:route-name [["users" :username]]]) {:path ["users" "domkm"]})
;=> {:username "domkm", :route-name, {:path ["users" :username]}}
(silk/unmatch (silk/route [:route-name [["users" :username]]]) {:username "domkm"})
;=>{:scheme nil, :user nil, :host nil, :port nil, :path ["users" "domkm"], :query nil, :fragment nil}

None of that is particularly useful unless you can match and unmatch route collections. Fortunately, a collection of routes is also a pattern.

(def user-routes
  (silk/routes [[:users-index [["users"]]]
                [:users-show [["users" (silk/int :id)]]]]))

(silk/match user-routes {:path ["users" "42"]})
;=> {:id 42, :users-show, #<Routes>, ...}
(silk/unmatch user-routes {:id 42 :users-show})
;=>{:scheme nil, :user nil, :host nil, :port nil, :path ["users" "42"], :query nil, :fragment nil}

If you don't care about the match order, you can create routes with a map.

(def page-routes
  (silk/routes {:home-page [[]] ; match "/"
                :other-page [["pages" :title]]}))

Routes can be constrained by request methods.

(def api-routes
  (silk/routes {:api-data [["api"] {"limit" (silk/? (silk/int :limit) {:limit 100})
                                    "offset" (silk/? (silk/int :offset) {:offset 0})} (serve/POST)]}))

(silk/match api-routes {:path ["api"]})
;=> nil
(silk/match api-routes {:path ["api"] :request-method :post})
;=> {:limit 100, :offset 0, :api-data, ...}

Routes can be combined.

(def all-routes
  (silk/routes [user-routes
                [:comments [["comments"] {"id" (silk/uuid :id)}]]

All matching and unmatching is pure and bidirectional.

Matching and unmatching patterns is powerful and pure but quite verbose. Silk provides a higher-level interface via and

(silk/arrive all-routes "/pages/about")
;=> {:title "about", :other-page, ...}

You can also provide a handler function.

(silk/arrive all-routes "/pages/about" :title)
;=> "about"

Unmatching is almost as easy.

(silk/depart all-routes :other-page {:title "about"})
;=> "/pages/about"

As with, you can provide a handler function.

(silk/depart all-routes :other-page {:title "about"} clojure.string/upper-case)

Go forth and route!


Silk is very much a work-in-progress. Everything is subject to change.

If you have suggestions, please do share them.


Copyright © 2014 Dom Kiva-Meyer

Distributed under the Eclipse Public License either version 1.0 or (at your option) any later version.