WebSharper - the F#-to-JavaScript framework
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README.md

WebSharper

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WebSharper is an F#-based web programming platform including a compiler from F# code to JavaScript.

Installing

The easiest way to get started is from an application template. You can install the various WebSharper project templates by following the instructions below for:

Alternatively, you can use the F# Yeoman Generator to install template files for your favorite editor. You can then build your project by running msbuild in the project root folder.

Creating WebSharper project by hand

If you are using any one of the available WebSharper project templates, they should compile and run without any modifications.

If you are creating your project files manually, the following is a typical string of steps to get you up and running, although you should really consider starting off of an existing WebSharper template:

  • Start from an ordinary F# library project
  • Install WebSharper using paket. This will include the main WebSharper.targets and the core references in your project file.
  • Add a special project file property to drive how you want to compile your project. These are:

    • <WebSharperProject>Html</WebSharperProject> for HTML Applications
    • <WebSharperProject>Site</WebSharperProject> for Client-Server Applications
    • <WebSharperProject>Bundle</WebSharperProject> for Single-Page Applications
  • Include any further bits in your project file you may need. For instance, you will need to reference Microsoft.WebApplication.targets if you intend to host your application in IIS or the built-in web server in Visual Studio.

Running your applications

With the exception of the self-hosted templates, all WebSharper templates produce applications that can run inside an ASP.NET-compatible container. (HTML applications can be deployed in any web server by copying the contents of the bin\html folder.)

In the examples below, you will see how to create WebSharper sitelets. Sitelets are web applications encoded in the F# type system. They have a set of endpoints (accessed via GET, POST, etc.) to which they respond by serving web content asynchronously. You can run these the following ways:

  • In IIS or any other ASP.NET-compatible container

    Annotate your main sitelet with the [<Website>] attribute:

    [<Website>]
    let MySite = ...
  • As a self-hosted executable using WebSharper.Warp

    Warp provides a way to self-host sitelets via OWIN and Microsoft.Owin. To use Warp, you need to add WebSharper.Warp to your project (which should be a console project), and invoke the host machinery with your sitelet:

    [<EntryPoint>]
    do Warp.RunAndWaitForInput(MySite) |> ignore

    By default, sites are served on http://localhost:9000.

  • As a Suave application

    Suave is a light-weight web server built in F#. You can easily use WebSharper in your existing Suave application, or host your WebSharper applications (which should be a console project) on Suave, by adding WebSharper.Suave to your project and calling the WebSharper adapter to convert your sitelet to a Suave WebPart:

    module WebSharperOnSuave
    
    open WebSharper
    open WebSharper.Sitelets
    
    let MySite =
       Application.Text (fun ctx -> "Hello World")
    
    open global.Suave
    open Suave.Web
    open WebSharper.Suave
    
    startWebServer defaultConfig
       (WebSharperAdapter.ToWebPart(MySite, RootDirectory="../.."))

Hello World!

With WebSharper you can develop pure JS/HTML, and single- and multi-page web applications with an optional server side, all in F#. Unless you are looking for low-level control, we recommend that you start by creating a sitelet.

The simplest sitelet serves text on a single endpoint at the root of the application:

module YourApp

open WebSharper
open WebSharper.Sitelets

[<Website>]
    let Main = Application.Text (fun ctx -> "Hello World!")

Single Page Applications

While serving text is fun and often useful, going beyond isn't any complicated. For instance, you can easily construct single-page applications:

module YourApp

open WebSharper
open WebSharper.Sitelets
open WebSharper.UI.Next.Html
open WebSharper.UI.Next.Server

[<Website>]
let Main =
    Application.SinglePage (fun ctx ->
        Content.Page(
            h1 [text "Hello World!"]
        )
    )

This code creates an empty HTML document and inserts a header node.

HTML responses

Pages are a special type of content responses, and you can easily finetune them by specifying where you want content to be added, by using an optional Title, Head, Body, and Doctype.

    ...
    Application.SinglePage (fun ctx ->
        Content.Page(
            Title = "My Hello World app",
            Body = [
                h1 [text "Hello World!"]
            ],
            ...
        )
    )

You can construct HTML via the (soon legacy) WebSharper 3.x markup combinators in WebSharper.Html.Server and WebSharper.Html.Client (for client-side markup, see the section below), or using the next generation reactive HTML language from UI.Next (as above and in the examples on this page). A quick syntax guide to the HTML constructors in UI.Next:

(TBA)

Custom responses

Content responses are asynchronous. Next to full HTML pages, you can return:

  • Plain text with Content.Text:

    Content.Text "Hello World!"
  • JSON values with Content.Json (visit JSON documentation or JSON cheatsheet for more info):

      type Person = { First: string; Last: string; Age: int}
    
      Content.Json { First="John"; Last="Smith"; Age=30 }
  • Files with Content.File:

    Content.File("Main.fs", ContentType="text/plain")
  • Various error codes:

    • Content.Unauthorized (401)
    • Content.Forbidden (403)
    • Content.NotFound (404)
    • Content.MethodNotAllowed (405)
    • Content.ServerError (500)

    You can also create your own custom error code response:

    Content.Custom(Status=Http.Status.Custom 402 (Some "Payment Required"))
  • Any other custom content with Content.Custom.

Multi-page applications

Multi-page applications have multiple endpoints: pairs of HTTP verbs and paths, and are represented as an annotated union type we typically call Endpoints (or Action in previous terminology). The endpoints, as defined by this union type - given the various annotations on each union case - are mapped to content to be served using Application.MultiPage. Links to endpoints in your site can be calculated from the serving context, so you will never have invalid URLs.

module YourApp

open WebSharper
open WebSharper.Sitelets
open WebSharper.UI.Next
open WebSharper.UI.Next.Html
open WebSharper.UI.Next.Server

type Endpoints =
    | [<EndPoint "GET /">] Home
    | [<EndPoint "GET /about">] About

[<Website>]
let Main =
    Application.MultiPage (fun ctx endpoint ->
        let (=>) label endpoint = aAttr [attr.href (ctx.Link endpoint)] [text label]
        match endpoint with
        | Endpoints.Home ->
            Content.Page(
                Body = [
                    h1 [text "Hello world!"]
                    "About" => Endpoints.About
                ]
            )
        | Endpoints.About ->
            Content.Page(
                Body = [
                    p [text "This is a simple app"]
                    "Home" => Endpoints.Home
                ]
            )
    )

Adding client-side functionality

WebSharper applications can easily incorporate client-side content, expressed in F#, giving an absolute edge over any web development library. Just mark your client-side functions or modules with [<JavaScript>] and embed them into server side markup using client. Server-side RPC functions are annotated with [<Rpc>].

The example below is reimplemented from the blog entry Deploying WebSharper apps to Azure via GitHub, also available in the main WebSharper templates, and although it omits the more advanced templating in that approach (which is straightforward to add to this implementation), it should give you an recipe for adding client-side functionality to your sitelets easily.

module YourApp

open WebSharper
open WebSharper.Sitelets
open WebSharper.UI.Next
open WebSharper.UI.Next.Html
open WebSharper.UI.Next.Client

module Server =
    [<Rpc>]
    let DoWork (s: string) = 
        async {
            return System.String(List.ofSeq s |> List.rev |> Array.ofList)
        }

[<JavaScript>]
module Client =
    open WebSharper.JavaScript

    let Main () =
        let input = inputAttr [attr.value ""] []
        let output = h1 []
        div [
            input
            buttonAttr [
                on.click (fun _ _ ->
                    async {
                        let! data = Server.DoWork input.Value
                        output.Text <- data
                    }
                    |> Async.Start
                )
            ] [text "Send"]
            hr []
            h4Attr [attr.``class`` "text-muted"] [text "The server responded:"]
            divAttr [attr.``class`` "jumbotron"] [output]
        ]

open WebSharper.UI.Next.Server

[<Website>]
let MySite =
    Application.SinglePage (fun ctx ->
        Content.Page(
            Body = [
                h1 [text "Say Hi to the server"]
                div [client <@ Client.Main() @>]
            ]
        )
    )

Using JavaScript libraries

WebSharper extensions bring JavaScript libraries to WebSharper. You can download extensions or develop your own using WIG, among others. Below is an example using WebSharper.Charting and chart.js underneath.

Note that these and any other dependencies you may be using will be automatically injected into a Content.Page or other sitelet HTML response, and you will never have to deal with them manually.

module YourApp

open WebSharper
open WebSharper.Sitelets
open WebSharper.UI.Next
open WebSharper.UI.Next.Html

[<JavaScript>]
module Client =
    open WebSharper.JavaScript
    open WebSharper.UI.Next.Client
    open WebSharper.Charting

    let RadarChart () =
        let labels =    
            [| "Eating"; "Drinking"; "Sleeping";
               "Designing"; "Coding"; "Cycling"; "Running" |]
        let data1 = [|28.0; 48.0; 40.0; 19.0; 96.0; 27.0; 100.0|]
        let data2 = [|65.0; 59.0; 90.0; 81.0; 56.0; 55.0; 40.0|]

        let ch =
            Chart.Combine [
                Chart.Radar(Seq.zip labels data1)
                    .WithFillColor(Color.Rgba(151, 187, 205, 0.2))
                    .WithStrokeColor(Color.Rgba(151, 187, 205, 1.))
                    .WithPointColor(Color.Rgba(151, 187, 205, 1.))

                Chart.Radar(Seq.zip labels data2)
                    .WithFillColor(Color.Rgba(220, 220, 220, 0.2))
                    .WithStrokeColor(Color.Rgba(220, 220, 220, 1.))
                    .WithPointColor(Color.Rgba(220, 220, 220, 1.))
            ]
        Renderers.ChartJs.Render(ch, Size = Size(400, 400))

open WebSharper.UI.Next.Server

[<Website>]
let MySite =
    Application.SinglePage (fun ctx ->
        Content.Page(
            Body = [
                h1 [text "Charts are easy with WebSharper Warp!"]
                div [client <@ Client.RadarChart() @>]
            ])
    )

Creating REST applications

TBA.


Links