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webmachine for Ruby travis

webmachine-ruby is a port of Webmachine, which is written in Erlang. The goal of both projects is to expose interesting parts of the HTTP protocol to your application in a declarative way. This means that you are less concerned with handling requests directly and more with describing the behavior of the resources that make up your application. Webmachine is not a web framework per se, but more of a toolkit for building HTTP-friendly applications. For example, it does not provide a templating engine or a persistence layer; those choices are up to you.

NOTE: Webmachine is NOT compatible with Rack. This is intentional! Rack obscures HTTP in a way that makes it hard for Webmachine to do its job properly, and encourages people to add middleware that might break Webmachine's behavior. Rack is also built on the tradition of CGI, which is nice for backwards compatibility but also an antiquated paradigm and should be scuttled (IMHO). Rack may be supported in the future, but only as a shim to support other web application servers.

Getting Started

Webmachine is very young, but it's still easy to construct an application for it!

    require 'webmachine'
    # Require any of the files that contain your resources here
    require 'my_resource' 
    # Point all URIs at the MyResource class
    Webmachine::Dispatcher.add_route(['*'], MyResource)
    # Start the server, binds to port 3000 using WEBrick 

Your resource will look something like this:

    class MyResource < Webmachine::Resource
      def to_html
        "<html><body>Hello, world!</body></html>"

Run the first file and your application is up. That's all there is to it! If you want to customize your resource more, look at the available callbacks in lib/webmachine/resource/callbacks.rb. For example, you might want to enable "gzip" compression on your resource, for which you can simply add an encodings_provided callback method:

    class MyResource < Webmachine::Resource
      def encodings_provided
        {"gzip" => :encode_gzip, "identity" => :encode_identity}
      def to_html
        "<html><body>Hello, world!</body></html>"

There are many other HTTP features exposed to your resource through callbacks. Give them a try!


  • Handles the hard parts of content negotiation, conditional requests, and response codes for you.
  • Most callbacks can interrupt the decision flow by returning an integer response code. You generally only want to do this when new information comes to light, requiring a modification of the response.
  • Supports WEBrick and Mongrel (1.2pre+). Other host servers are being investigated.
  • Streaming/chunked response bodies are permitted as Enumerables or Procs.
  • Unlike the Erlang original, it does real Language negotiation.


  • Support streamed responses as Fibers.
  • Command-line tools, and general polish.
  • Tracing is exposed as an Array of decisions visited on the response object. You should be able to turn this off and on, and visualize the decisions on the sequence diagram.


0.2.0 September 11, 2011

0.2.0 includes an adapter for Mongrel and a central place for configuration as well as numerous bugfixes. Added Ian Plosker and Bernd Ahlers as committers. Thank you for your contributions!

  • Acceptable media types are matched less strictly, which has implications on both responses and PUT requests. See the discussion on the commit.
  • Resources now receive a callback after the language has been negotiated, so they can decide what to do with it.
  • Added Webmachine::Configuration so we can more easily support more than one host server/adapter.
  • Added Mongrel adapter, supporting 1.2pre+.
  • Media type headers are more lax about whitespace following semicolons.
  • Fix some problems with callable response bodies.
  • Make sure String response bodies get a Content-Length header added and streaming responses get chunked encoding.
  • Numerous refactorings, including extracting MediaType into its own top-level class.

0.1.0 August 25, 2011

This is the initial release. Most things work, but only WEBrick is supported.