The Application Before, After and OnError pipelines

Nathan Armstrong edited this page Apr 5, 2017 · 17 revisions
Clone this wiki locally

The application pipelines enable you to perform tasks before and after routes are executed, and in the event of an error in any of the routes in the application. They behave the same way as the module pipelines but they are executed for all invoked routes, not just for the ones that are the module of the route that is being invoked.

Intercepting the request before the route is invoked

The Before pipeline enables you to intercept the request before it is passed to the appropriate route handler. This gives you a couple of possibilities such as modifying parts of the request or even prematurely aborting the request by returning a response that will be sent back to the caller.

An application level Before hook is defined by a Func<NancyContext, Response> function and is used in the following way

pipelines.BeforeRequest += (ctx) => {
    return <null or a Response object>;

The parameter that is passed into the pipeline is an instance of the current NancyContext, from which you get access to things like context variables and the request.

A return value of null means that no action is taken by the hook and that the request should be processed by the matching route. However, if the interceptor returns a Response of its own, the request will never be processed by a route and the response will be sent back to the client.

The following is the async version of the function.

pipelines.BeforeRequest += async (ctx, token) => {
    return <null or a Response object>;

Intercepting the request after the route was invoked

The After pipeline is defined using the same syntax as the Before pipeline, and the passed in parameter is also the current NancyContext. The difference is that the hook does not return a value.

An application level After hook is defined by a Action<NancyContext> function and is used in the following way

pipelines.AfterRequest += (ctx) => {
    // Modify ctx.Response

The After hooks does not have any return value because one has already been produced by the appropriate route. Instead you get the option to modify (or completely replace) the existing response by accessing the Response property of the NancyContext that is passed in.

Intercepting the request when an error occurred

The OnError interceptor enables you to execute code whenever an exception occurs in any of the routes that are being invoked. It gives you access to the NancyContext and the exception that took place.

An application level OnError hook is defined by a Func<NancyContext, Exception, Response> function and is used in the following way

pipelines.OnError += (ctx, ex) => {
    return null;

A note on System.AggregateExceptions on the OnError pipeline

The route execution is handled by a number of nested Tasks (System.Threading.Tasks.Task). If anything goes wrong when those Tasks are being invoked, the exceptions are wrapped in a nested hierarchy of System.AggregateException. System.AggregateException can hold as many exceptions as are thrown. While this is for most cases only one exception, we could potentially see multiple exceptions.

If only one exception is wrapped, then Nancy will unwrap that exception and hand it to the OnError pipeline. If a collection of exceptions is wrapped, then Nancy will pass on a flattened System.AggregateException in order not to swallow any exceptions.

A note on the OnError pipeline in release mode

If your app is setup with hooks into the OnError pipeline, and you want to continue capturing view rendering exceptions when compiling for release, you will need to manually set StaticConfiguration.DisableErrorTraces = false in your Bootstrapper.ApplicationStartup override. For more info on this, see issue #2052.

Wiring up your hooks

There are two ways to wire up these hooks: by overriding methods in the bootstrapper, or by creating classes that extend specific interfaces that are automatically wired in at startup.

Overriding methods in the Bootstrapper

To create application level hooks you define them in your Bootstrapper. They can be defined either in the ApplicationStartup or RequestStartup methods. This is because you might need to use something from the container in your hook, and the different methods let you resolve from the right container depending on your scoping requirements.

protected override void ApplicationStartup(TinyIoCContainer container, IPipelines pipelines)

protected override void RequestStartup(TinyIoCContainer requestContainer, IPipelines pipelines, NancyContext context)

The hooks are created by accessing the appropriate property on the pipelines parameter. The pipelines parameter is of the type IPipelines and gives you access to the BeforeRequest, AfterRequest and OnError properties.

Implementing Interfaces

By implementing the interfaces IApplicationStartup or IRequestStartup you can avoid having to create a bootstrapper. Nancy will wire them in for you. The IApplicationStartup interface has an abstract method void Initialize(IPipelines pipelines) that works the same as overriding ApplicationStartup in the bootstrapper. The IRequestStartup class has an Initialize method as well that takes a NancyContext as its second argument: void Initialize(IPipelines pipelines, NancyContext context) and works the same as the RequestStartup bootstrapper override.

In both cases your implementing class can manage any dependencies it has the normal Nancy way: by including it in the constructor:

public class FooBeforeAllRequests : IApplicationStartup {
    private IFooFactory fooFactory;
    public FooBeforeAllRequests(IFooFactory fooFactory) {
        this.fooFactory = fooFactory;

    public void Initialize(IPipelines pipelines) {
        pipelines.BeforeRequest.AddItemToStartOfPipeline(ctx => {
            var foo = fooFactory.Make();

« Part 6. The before and after module hooks  —  Documentation overview  —  Part 8. Model binding »