Your first http4k app
Welcome to the world of http4k! In this guide, we'll run you through the steps required to get up and running with your first Kotlin server application. We'll generate the project, make some requests to it and then build it into a runnable application. By the end, you'll have a fully working app built packaged and tested using the Gradle build tool.
- An internet connection
- JDK 11 or greater installed and set up
- An IDE/Text-editor - (http4k is developed using IntelliJ)
First, we'll generate and download a project template from the http4k Toolbox. Point your browser at toolbox.http4k.org and select the Project Wizard from the menu.
The Toolbox is designed as a questionnaire which will help you configure a working project from all of the available http4k modules. There are several stages, but for this guide we're just going to generate the project using the defaults.
We explain each of the parts in the remainder of this step, but if you just want to skip to the end, just keep hitting Next until the progress bar hits 100% then go to step 2:
a. First we select a deployment model for our App - Server or Serverless. Hit Next to select Server.
b. We don't need any realtime components such as Websockets. Hit Next.
c. The third page allows us to select whichever Server backend we want. The default option is SunHttp which is pre-bundled with the core module. Hit Next.
d. Next, we can choose an HTTP client. The Java HTTP Client is also pre-bundled. Hit Next.
e. Parts 2 and 3 allows us to select bolt-on functionality and testing modules. Keep hitting Next until you get to Part 4.
e. Now we can name the main class and package of our application. If you're happy with the defaults (later steps will assume you are), hit Next twice.
f. Finally, we can choose a build tool and packaging for the app. We'll use the defaults of Gradle with ZIP distribution.
Once you're finished, the Toolbox will review your choices and you can hit Download. Unzip and import the project into your IDE. In Intellij, you choose:
File -> New -> Project from existing sources. and select the
build.gradle file inside the unpacked ZIP.
The project is fully formed and buildable, it consists of:
a. Build files and scripts for gradle
b. A runnable program containing the http4k app in the
src/test/kotlin directory containing a working test and a runnable client program for our app.
First, let's take a tour of the
/src/main/kotlin/HelloWorld.kt file which contains our production app.
- Lines 14-18 defines our production application. It consists of a single HTTP endpoint binding all HTTP
GETrequests on the path
HttpHandlerfunction. This function takes an implicit
it(which it ignores), and just constructs and returns a
Responseobject with status and a static body string. The return type of the call to
routes()is also an
- Lines 20-26 form a runnable program which starts our application.
- Lines 21 decorates our app with a
Filter. This returns another
- Lines 23 binds the app onto an instance of the
SunHttpServer backend and starts it on port
Hit the little green arrow and the application will run and start. Point your browser at
http://localhost:9000/ping to check that it's working. Note that the
Filter is printing each incoming request to the console.
/src/main/kotlin/HelloWorldClient.kt there is an example of an HTTP client which we can use to call our running app.
- Lines 12 creates an HTTP client - note that it's type is also
- Lines 14 decorates the client with a
Filter. The result type of new client is also
- Lines 16 constructs an HTTP
Requestand calls the client app with it, receiving a response.
Try running the client by hitting the little green arrow on line 11. You'll see the
Response printed to the console by the
Filter, followed by a repeat of the body content, which is printed by line 18.
Modify the request in
/src/main/kotlin/HelloWorldClient.kt to point at
http://localhost:9000/pong instead. Run the client program again and note that a 404 is printed. This happens because we have not bound an
HttpHandler to that endpoint.
A test for our app is found in
/src/main/kotlin/HelloWorldTest.kt. Run it with the green arrow on line 10 and it should pass.
Cool things to notice about the test:
- As our
appis just an
HttpHandlerfunction, it runs entirely in-memory. It is therefore super-fast and completely threadsafe.
- There is no custom core or other setup required for the test to run.
Responseobjects are immutable data classes, and can therefore be compared safely in tests.
Let's package our app into a runnable Application. From the IDE or command line, run
./gradlew distZip. This will create an standard application ZIP file with scripts to run the app and deposit it in the
You have successfully:
- Created an working http4k project using the http4k Toolbox.
- Bound a simple
HttpHandlerfunction to particular HTTP endpoint.
- Seen how the http4k
Filtermodel provide a simple set of composable building blocks to construct HTTP applications.
- Tested the application entirely in-meory with no custom libraries or code.
- Packaged your http4k app into a ZIP file.