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Bare bone minimalist (masochistic) framework for building rack apps
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Rack::App Build Status

Your next favourite rack based micro framework that is totally addition free! Have a cup of awesomeness with your sadistically minimalist framework!

The idea behind is simple. Keep the dependencies and everything as little as possible, while able to write pure rack apps, that will do nothing more than what you defined.

The Routing can handle any amount of endpoints that can fit in the memory, so if you that crazy to use more than 10k endpoint, you still dont have to worry about response speed.

It was inspirited by sinatra, grape, and the pure use form of rack. It's in production, powering Back Ends on Heroku


If you want see fancy magic, you are in a bad place buddy!

This also implies that the framework does not include extensions that monkey patch the whole world to give you nice features. The Clean architechture define that a webframework should only provide an external interface to the web, and nothing more.

If you use rack-app, one thing is sure.

You either love it or will be able to remove it from the project even after years of development because, it will not vendor-lock your application business entities and business use cases to this framework.

And it's totaly fine to us. We don't want everyone to be tied to our solutions, we only want build clean and well designed softwared for the developer happiness.


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'rack-app'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install rack-app

Is it Production ready?

Yes, in fact it's already powering heroku hosted micro-services.


  • Keep It Simple
  • No Code bloat
  • No on run time processing, or keep at the bare minimum
  • Fully BDD (Behaviour Driven Design)
    • build in test module to ease the development with easy to use tests
  • Easy to Learn
    • rack-app use well known and easy to understand conventions, such as sinatra like DSL
  • Principle Of Least Surprise
  • Modular design
  • Only dependency is rack, nothing more
  • Open development
  • Try to create Examples for every feature so even the "sketch to learn new" types can feel in comfort


  • easy to understand syntax
    • module method level endpoint definition inspirited heavily by the Sinatra DSL
    • unified error handling
    • syntax sugar for default header definitions
    • namespaces for endpoint request path declarations so it can be dry and unified
  • no Class method bloat, so you can enjoy pure ruby without any surprises
  • App mounting so you can create separated controllers for different task
  • Streaming
  • O(log(n)) lookup routing
    • allows as many endpoint registration to you as you want, without impact on route lookup speed
  • only basic sets for instance method lvl for the must need tools, such as params, payload
  • simple to use class level response serializer
    • so you can choose what type of serialization you want without any enforced convention
  • static file serving so you can mount even filesystem based endpoints too
  • built in testing module so your app can be easily written with BDD approach
  • made with minimalism in mind so your app can't rely on the framework when you implement business logic
    • if you need something, you should implement it without any dependency on a webframework, rack-app only mean to be to provide you with easy to use interface to the web layer, nothing less and nothing more
  • per endpoint middleware definitions
    • you can define middleware stack before endpoints and it will only applied to them, similar like protected method workflow
  • File Upload and file download in a efficient and elegant way with minimal memory consuming
    • note that this is not only memory friendly way pure rack solution, but also 2x faster than the usually solution which includes buffering in memory
  • params validation with ease

Under the hood

rack-app's router relies on a tree structure which makes heavy use of common prefixes, it is basically a compact prefix tree (or just Radix tree). Nodes with a common prefix also share a common parent.





require 'rack/app'

class App < Rack::App

  desc 'some hello endpoint'
  get '/hello' do
    'Hello World!'



require 'rack/app'

class App < Rack::App

  mount SomeAppClass

  headers 'Access-Control-Allow-Origin' => '*',
          'Access-Control-Expose-Headers' => 'X-My-Custom-Header, X-Another-Custom-Header'

  serializer do |object|

  desc 'some hello endpoint'
  validate_params do
    required 'words', :class => Array, :of => String, :desc => 'some word', :example => ['pug']
    optional 'word', :class => String, :desc => 'one word', :example => 'pug'
    optional 'boolean', :class => :boolean, :desc => 'boolean value', :example => true
  get '/hello' do

    'Hello World!'

  namespace '/users' do

    desc 'some restful endpoint'
    get '/:user_id' do
      response.status = 201
      params['user_id'] #=> restful parameter :user_id
      say #=> "hello world!"


  desc 'some endpoint that has error and will be rescued'
  get '/make_error' do
    raise(StandardError,'error block rescued')

  def say
    "hello #{params['user_id']}!"

  error StandardError, NoMethodError do |ex|

  root '/hello'

  get '/stream' do
    stream do |out|
      out << 'data row'


you can access Rack::Request with the request method and Rack::Response as response method.

By default if you dont write anything to the response 'body' the endpoint block logic return will be used

Frontend Example

if you don't mind extend your dependency list, than you can use the front_end extension for creating template based web applications.

require 'rack/app'
require 'rack/app/front_end' # You need to add `gem 'rack-app-front_end'` to your Gemfile

class App < Rack::App

  apply_extensions :front_end

  helpers do

    def method_that_can_be_used_in_template
      'hello world!'


  # use ./app/layout.html.erb as layout, this is optionable
  layout 'layout.html.erb'

  # at '/' the endpoint will serve (render)
  # the ./app/index.html content as response body and wrap around with layout if layout is given
  get '/' do
    render 'index.html'


this example expects an "app" folder next to the "app.rb" file that included templates being used such as layout.html.erb and index.html.


for testing use rack/test or the bundled testing module for writing unit test for your rack application

require 'spec_helper'
require 'rack/app/test'

describe App do

  include Rack::App::Test

  rack_app described_class

  describe '/hello' do
    # example for params and headers and payload use
    subject { get(url: '/hello', params: {'dog' => 'meat'}, headers: {'X-Cat' => 'fur'}, payload: 'some string') }

    it { expect(subject.status).to eq 200 }

    it { expect(subject.body).to eq "Hello World!" }

  describe '/users/:user_id' do
    # restful endpoint example
    subject { get(url: '/users/1234') }

    it { expect(subject.body).to eq 'hello 1234!'}

    it { expect(subject.status).to eq 201 }


  describe '/make_error' do
    # error handled example
    subject { get(url: '/make_error') }

    it { expect(subject.body).to eq '{:error=>"error block rescued"}' }


Example Apps To start with


This is a repo that used for measure Rack::App project speed in order keep an eye on the performance in every release.

the benchmarking was taken on the following hardware specification:

  • Processor: 2,7 GHz Intel Core i5
  • Memory: 16 GB 1867 MHz DDR3
  • Ruby: ruby 2.3.0p0 (2015-12-25 revision 53290) [x86_64-darwin15]

Endpoint to be call type: static

number of declared endpoints: 100

name version current / fastest real
rack-app 4.0.0 1.0 2.2053215187043942e-05
rack-app 5.2.0 1.185 2.6140331494390213e-05
rack-app 5.0.0.rc3 1.387 3.0592694940592784e-05
rack-app 5.10.0 1.687 3.719768107671963e-05
rack-app 5.12.0 1.747 3.852106360719058e-05
rack-app 5.7.0 1.784 3.934149001724991e-05
ramaze 2012.12.08 2.237 4.932373271523216e-05
hobbit 0.6.1 3.111 6.860981349018188e-05
brooklyn 0.0.1 5.245 0.00011567194234917104
plezi 0.14.1 5.334 0.00011763589749898317
plezi 0.14.2 5.588 0.00012324020796222724
nancy 0.3.0 5.725 0.00012626088352407584
nyny 3.4.3 5.744 0.00012667404900032145
roda 2.20.0 9.662 0.00021307581296423227
roda 2.17.0 10.646 0.00023477471132838754
scorched 0.25 12.728 0.0002807019599946191
scorched 0.27 16.074 0.0003544879730325173
sinatra 1.4.7 19.857 0.00043791615583657487
grape 0.17.0 25.941 0.0005720832234016178
rails 5.0.0 33.234 0.0007329187002032537
camping 2.1.532 39.818 0.0008781073650072727
grape 0.18.0 41.857 0.000923075147962645
rails 47.286 0.0010428086559986802
cuba 3.8.0 55.397 0.0012216723478342246
almost-sinatra unknown 58.728 0.0012951477793394547

For more reports check the Benchmark repo out :)


Team Backlog

If you have anything to say, you can leave a comment. :)


After checking out the repo, run bin/setup to install dependencies. Then, run rake spec to run the tests. You can also run bin/console for an interactive prompt that will allow you to experiment.

To install this gem onto your local machine, run bundle exec rake install. To release a new version, update the version number in version.rb, and then run bundle exec rake release, which will create a git tag for the version, push git commits and tags, and push the .gem file to


Bug reports and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at This project is intended to be a safe, welcoming space for collaboration, and contributors are expected to adhere to the Contributor Covenant code of conduct.

License and Copyright

Rack::App is free software released under the Apache License V2 License. The logo was designed by Zsófia Gebauer. It is Copyright © 2015 Adam Luzsi. All Rights Reserved.

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