A brief look at what makes Rocket special.

How Rocket Works

Every request received by a Rocket web application follows a simple 3-step process from request to response.



First, Rocket validates a matching request by ensuring that all of the types in a given handler can be derived from the incoming request. If the types cannot be derived, the request is forwarded to the next matching route until a route’s types validate or there are no more routes to try. If all routes fail, a customizable 404 error is returned.

#[post("/user", data = "<new_user>")]
fn new_user(admin: AdminUser, new_user: Form<User>) -> T {

For the new_user handler above to be called, the following conditions must hold:

  • The request method must be POST.
  • The request path must be /user.
  • The request must contain data in its body.
  • The request metadata must authenticate an AdminUser.
  • The request body must be a form that parses into a User struct.


Next, the request is processed by an arbitrary handler. This is where most of the business logic in an application resides, and the part of your applications you’ll likely spend the most time writing. In Rocket, handlers are simply functions - that’s it! The only caveat is that the function’s return type must implement the Responder trait. The new_user function above is an example of a handler.



Finally, Rocket responds to the client by transforming the return value of the handler into an HTTP response. The HTTP response generated from the returned value depends on the type’s specific Responder trait implementation.

fn route() -> T { ... }

If the function above is used as a handler, for instance, then the type T must implement Responder. Rocket provides many useful responder types out of the box. They include:

  • Json<T>: Serializes the structure T into JSON and returns it to the client.
  • Template: Renders a template file and returns it to the client.
  • Redirect: Returns a properly formatted HTTP redirect.
  • NamedFile: Streams a given file to the client with the Content-Type taken from the file’s extension.
  • Stream: Streams data to the client from an arbitrary Read value.
  • Many Primitive Types: String, &str, File, Option, Result, and others all implement the Responder trait.

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