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Goliath is a non-blocking Ruby web server framework

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Goliath is an API framework. Goliath is designed to serve a single type of API, be it a feed API, log API or search API. While similar to Rails and Sinatra, Goliath is more inclined to return JSON or XML responses instead of HTML. Goliath sits behind your Sinatra or Rails application and feeds data back them for display.

While rack-aware, Goliath is not 100% rack compliant. We make some modifications and take some short cuts in order to get what we want out of the framework.


  • Asynchronous execution from the ground up.
  • Rack-aware, but not rack compliant.
  • Plugins.


  • Ruby 1.9.2 or greater
  • eventmachine
  • EM-Synchrony
  • Rack
  • Rack-Contrib
  • Async-Rack
  • Rack-Respond_to
  • Log4r
  • Yajl

Getting Started

Let's create an echo server with Goliath. I'm adding a bit of validation and a few other things in order to show some of the features in the framework.

#!/usr/bin/env ruby

require 'rubygems'
require 'goliath'
require 'rack/supported_media_types'
require 'rack/abstract_format'

class Echo < Goliath::API
  use Goliath::Rack::Params

  use Rack::AbstractFormat

  use Goliath::Rack::DefaultMimeType
  use Rack::SupportedMediaTypes, %w{application/json}

  use Goliath::Rack::Formatters::JSON

  use Goliath::Rack::Render
  use Goliath::Rack::Heartbeat
  use Goliath::Rack::ValidationError

  use Goliath::Rack::Validation::RequestMethod, %w(GET)

  use Goliath::Rack::Validation::RequiredParam, {:key => 'echo'}

  def response(env)
    [200, {}, {:response => env.params['echo']}]

So, what's going on here. First off, skipping the requires, all Goliath applications will inherit from Goliath::API. This will do some initial setup for us and create the Fiber that the API will execute within.

Next up we setup the middleware we want to use. The middleware is defined directly inside the API file. By default, Rack::ContentLength will be included in all applications. The Goliath middleware are:

  • Goliath::Rack::Params : The default params parser. Will setup env.params for us with the URL and POST parameters.
  • Goliath::Rack::DefaultMimeType : Makes sure a MIME type is always specified.
  • Goliath::Rack::Formatters::JSON : Formatter for application/json requests.
  • Goliath::Rack::Render : Sets the correct Content-Type for the response.
  • Goliath::Rack::Heartbeat : Adds a /status handler that responds with OK. For monitoring purposes.
  • Goliath::Rack::ValidationError : Generic handler for all error responses.
  • Goliath::Rack::Validation::RequestMethod : Validates we only respond to GET requests.
  • Goliath::Rack::Validation::RequiredParam : Validates the echo param is provided to the API.

Finally, we implement the def response(env) method. This method is required and is executed with the fiber setup by the API super class. We return the triple of response_code, headers, and body.

If we save and execute (-s is for standard out logging, -v is verbose logging):

dj2@titania ~ $ ruby echo.rb -sv
[85201:INFO] 2010-12-31 23:48:09 :: Starting server on Watch out for stones.

We should have an echo server running on port 9000. We can query using curl:

dj2@titania ~ $ curl "localhost:9000?echo=Calling%20Goliath"
  "response": "Calling Goliath"

You can also query the /status endpoint.

dj2@titania ~ $ curl "localhost:9000/status"
  "status": "OK"

Help and Documentation


Goliath is originally cribbed from the Thin ( HTTP server and has liberally borrowed the application launching code from the Sinatra ( framework.

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