A library that creates chained actions for use with the standard http and html/template packages.
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What Does it Do?

Congo provides a small but useful facility to add a chain of responsibility to http handlers (called "handler actions"). For those familiar with Ruby on Rails this is similar to before filters.

During the execution of the chain, a context is passed to each action and is passed automatically to any html templates being rendered as the template data. Along the way, one can augment the context with custom structures (so long as they implement congo.Context) to provide additional data or functionality to templates.

The handler action chain will halt whenever an action returns a "response". There are a handful of defined responses that represent basic things: template rendering, redirecting (302) and returning 404. Currently there is no facility to add custom responses but this is certainly a good candidate for a feature addition.


Defining Handler Action Chains

Say you want to have a set of handlers that each must load a secure cookie from the request and, depending on the content (if the user ID is present or whatever) either redirect the user to an authentication page or display some content.

We'll start by defining an augmented context:

type SecureCookieContext struct {
  Cookie xyz.SecureCookie // just some fictitious package

So that subsequent actions and, possibly, templates can access the secure cookies, we are augmenting the base congo.Context with SecureCookieContext. In order to apply this, we need to then define the action that will do this:

func addSecureCookieContext(c congo.Context) (congo.Context, interface{}) {
  newContext := &SecureCookieContext{c, globalCookieStruct}
  return newContext, nil // return nil for a response to allow the chain to continue

Since we want this to be applied for all handlers, we can start by defining a "root" handler whose first action is to augment the context with our SecureCookieContext:

rootHandler := congo.NewHandler().Actions(addSecureCookieContext)

Now we can add another context and action pair for augmenting the SecureCookieContext with some user information and checking that the user is logged in (simply checking if their ID exists in the cookie).

type AuthContext struct {

func (c *AuthContext) LoggedIn() bool {
  loggedIn := false
  // logic for checking cookie here
  return loggedIn

func addAuthContext(c congo.Context) (congo.Context, interface{}) {
  cookieContext, ok := c.(*SecureCookieContext)
  if !ok {
    panic("Expected inbound context to be *SecureCookieContext")

  newContext := &AuthContext{cookieContext}
  return newContext, nil

func requireLoggedIn(c congo.Context) (congo.Context, interface{}) {
  authContext, ok := c.(*AuthContext)
  if !ok {
    panic("Expected inbound context to be *AuthContext")

  if authContext.LoggedIn() {
    return authContext, nil // the user is logged in, allow the chain to continue
  } else {
    return authContext, &congo.RedirectResponse{"/login"}

Let's say we want to have the AuthContext available to all actions by default. We can just change our root handler as so:

rootHandler := congo.NewHandler().Actions(addSecureCookieContext, addAuthContext)

Now we can branch off the root handler to create some handlers for specific pages. Let's define one for /account and one for /login where /account can only be accessed by a logged in user.

loginHandler := rootHandler.Copy().Actions(loginHandler)
accntHandler := rootHandler.Copy().Actions(requireLoggedIn, accountHandler)

Here we've made copies of the root handler which retain its previously defined addSecureCookieContext and addAuthContext actions and then appended other actions on to the end of the chains.

We can now define our terminal actions for /login and /account:

func loginHandler(c congo.Context) (congo.Context, interface{}) {
  return c, &congo.RenderResponse("login", "layout")

func accntHandler(c congo.Context) (congo.Context, interface{}) {
  return c, &congo.RenderResponse("account", "layout")

Great, now the handler action chains are all set up. Now we need to define how templates are rendered when we return a congo.RenderResponse.

Handling Templates

Currently, congo can be given a default template store which is applied to all handlers or a template store can be defined on specific handlers. Generally, it's easiest to have a single store that is applied to all handlers for the sake of simplicity.

Template stores are simply pointers to template.Template from the core html/template package. Templates are referred to by the names defined within these stores when returning a congo.RenderResponse.

The layout concept is also borrowed from other web frameworks. Templates are rendered then provided to the layout which uses the output of the template somewhere in it's content. From examples/basic.go:

store, _ := template.New("layout").Parse("LAYOUT START (SECURE: {{.IsSecure}})\n{{.Content}}\nLAYOUT END")

This defines three templates: "layout", "home" and "lion". As you can see, the "layout" template refers to {{.Content}} which is where the template results are made available to layouts.

So for this example we can do something similar (of course, you'll likely want to use that newfangled HTML technology):

store, _ := template.New("layout").Parse("HEADER\n{{.Content}}\nFOOTER")
store.New("login").Parse("You must login to access your account")
store.New("account").Parse("Welcome to your account!")

Putting it Together

Now we just need to wire up our handlers to the template store and the http server. First, we'll define our template store as the default for all handlers. Note that this should appear before any handler creation.

// handler creation from earlier in the example comes after this point

Finally, we can adapt our handlers to the net/http library's http.HandlerFunc and start the server like so:

http.HandleFunc("/login", congo.MuxHandler(loginHandler))
http.HandleFunc("/account", congo.MuxHandler(accountHandler))
http.ListenAndServe(":8080", nil)