Guide

The ins and outs of Rocket, in detail.

State#

Many web applications have a need to maintain state. This can be as simple as maintaining a counter for the number of visits or as complex as needing to access job queues and multiple databases. Rocket provides the tools to enable these kinds of interactions in a safe and simple manner.

Managed State#

The enabling feature for maintaining state is managed state. Managed state, as the name implies, is state that Rocket manages for your application. The state is managed on a per-type basis: Rocket will manage at most one value of a given type.

The process for using managed state is simple:

  1. Call manage on the Rocket instance corresponding to your application with the initial value of the state.
  2. Add a &State<T> type to any request handler, where T is the type of the value passed into manage.
Note: All managed state must be thread-safe.

Because Rocket automatically multithreads your application, handlers can concurrently access managed state. As a result, managed state must be thread-safe. Thanks to Rust, this condition is checked at compile-time by ensuring that the type of values you store in managed state implement Send + Sync.

Adding State#

To instruct Rocket to manage state for your application, call the manage method on an instance of Rocket. For example, to ask Rocket to manage a HitCount structure with an internal AtomicUsize with an initial value of 0, we can write the following:

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use std::sync::atomic::AtomicUsize;

struct HitCount {
    count: AtomicUsize
}

rocket::build().manage(HitCount { count: AtomicUsize::new(0) });

The manage method can be called any number of times as long as each call refers to a value of a different type. For instance, to have Rocket manage both a HitCount value and a Config value, we can write:

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rocket::build()
    .manage(HitCount { count: AtomicUsize::new(0) })
    .manage(Config::from(user_input));

Retrieving State#

State that is being managed by Rocket can be retrieved via the &State type: a request guard for managed state. To use the request guard, add a &State<T> type to any request handler, where T is the type of the managed state. For example, we can retrieve and respond with the current HitCount in a count route as follows:

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use rocket::State;

#[get("/count")]
fn count(hit_count: &State<HitCount>) -> String {
    let current_count = hit_count.count.load(Ordering::Relaxed);
    format!("Number of visits: {}", current_count)
}

You can retrieve more than one &State type in a single route as well:

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#[get("/state")]
fn state(hit_count: &State<HitCount>, config: &State<Config>) { /* .. */ }
Warning

If you request a &State<T> for a T that is not managed, Rocket will refuse to start your application. This prevents what would have been an unmanaged state runtime error. Unmanaged state is detected at runtime through sentinels, so there are limitations. If a limitation is hit, Rocket still won't call an the offending route. Instead, Rocket will log an error message and return a 500 error to the client.

You can find a complete example using the HitCount structure in the state example on GitHub and learn more about the manage method and State type in the API docs.

Within Guards#

Because State is itself a request guard, managed state can be retrieved from another request guard's implementation using either Request::guard() or Rocket::state(). In the following code example, the Item request guard retrieves MyConfig from managed state using both methods:

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use rocket::State;
use rocket::request::{self, Request, FromRequest};
use rocket::outcome::IntoOutcome;

struct Item<'r>(&'r str);

#[rocket::async_trait]
impl<'r> FromRequest<'r> for Item<'r> {
    type Error = ();

    async fn from_request(request: &'r Request<'_>) -> request::Outcome<Self, ()> {
        // Using `State` as a request guard. Use `inner()` to get an `'r`.
        let outcome = request.guard::<&State<MyConfig>>().await
            .map(|my_config| Item(&my_config.user_val));

        // Or alternatively, using `Rocket::state()`:
        let outcome = request.rocket().state::<MyConfig>()
            .map(|my_config| Item(&my_config.user_val))
            .or_forward(());

        outcome
    }
}

Request-Local State#

While managed state is global and available application-wide, request-local state is local to a given request, carried along with the request, and dropped once the request is completed. Request-local state can be used whenever a Request is available, such as in a fairing, a request guard, or a responder.

Request-local state is cached: if data of a given type has already been stored, it will be reused. This is especially useful for request guards that might be invoked multiple times during routing and processing of a single request, such as those that deal with authentication.

As an example, consider the following request guard implementation for RequestId that uses request-local state to generate and expose a unique integer ID per request:

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use rocket::request::{self, Request, FromRequest};

/// A global atomic counter for generating IDs.
static ID_COUNTER: AtomicUsize = AtomicUsize::new(0);

/// A type that represents a request's ID.
struct RequestId(pub usize);

/// Returns the current request's ID, assigning one only as necessary.
#[rocket::async_trait]
impl<'r> FromRequest<'r> for &'r RequestId {
    type Error = ();

    async fn from_request(request: &'r Request<'_>) -> request::Outcome<Self, Self::Error> {
        // The closure passed to `local_cache` will be executed at most once per
        // request: the first time the `RequestId` guard is used. If it is
        // requested again, `local_cache` will return the same value.
        request::Outcome::Success(request.local_cache(|| {
            RequestId(ID_COUNTER.fetch_add(1, Ordering::Relaxed))
        }))
    }
}

#[get("/")]
fn id(id: &RequestId) -> String {
    format!("This is request #{}.", id.0)
}

Note that, without request-local state, it would not be possible to:

  1. Associate a piece of data, here an ID, directly with a request.
  2. Ensure that a value is generated at most once per request.

For more examples, see the FromRequest request-local state documentation, which uses request-local state to cache expensive authentication and authorization computations, and the Fairing documentation, which uses request-local state to implement request timing.

Databases#

Rocket includes built-in, ORM-agnostic support for databases. In particular, Rocket provides a procedural macro that allows you to easily connect your Rocket application to databases through connection pools. A database connection pool is a data structure that maintains active database connections for later use in the application. This implementation of connection pooling support is based on r2d2 and exposes connections through request guards. Databases are individually configured through Rocket's regular configuration mechanisms: a Rocket.toml file, environment variables, or procedurally.

Connecting your Rocket application to a database using this library occurs in three simple steps:

  1. Configure the databases in Rocket.toml.
  2. Associate a request guard type and fairing with each database.
  3. Use the request guard to retrieve and use a connection in a handler.

Presently, Rocket provides built-in support for the following databases:

KindDriverVersionPoolable TypeFeature
MySQLDiesel1diesel::MysqlConnectiondiesel_mysql_pool
PostgresDiesel1diesel::PgConnectiondiesel_postgres_pool
PostgresRust-Postgres0.19postgres::Clientpostgres_pool
SqliteDiesel1diesel::SqliteConnectiondiesel_sqlite_pool
SqliteRusqlite0.24rusqlite::Connectionsqlite_pool
Memcachememcache0.15memcache::Clientmemcache_pool

Usage#

To connect your Rocket application to a given database, first identify the "Kind" and "Driver" in the table that matches your environment. The feature corresponding to your database type must be enabled. This is the feature identified in the "Feature" column. For instance, for Diesel-based SQLite databases, you'd write in Cargo.toml:

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[dependencies.rocket_sync_db_pools]
version = "0.1.0-rc.1"
default-features = false
features = ["diesel_sqlite_pool"]

Then, in Rocket.toml or the equivalent via environment variables, configure the URL for the database in the databases table:

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[global.databases]
sqlite_logs = { url = "/path/to/database.sqlite" }

In your application's source code, create a unit-like struct with one internal type. This type should be the type listed in the "Poolable Type" column. Then decorate the type with the #[database] attribute, providing the name of the database that you configured in the previous step as the only parameter. You will need to either add #[macro_use] extern crate rocket_sync_db_pools to the crate root or have a use rocket_sync_db_pools::database in scope, otherwise the database attribute will not be available. Finally, attach the fairing returned by YourType::fairing(), which was generated by the #[database] attribute:

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use rocket_sync_db_pools::{diesel, database};

#[database("sqlite_logs")]
struct LogsDbConn(diesel::SqliteConnection);

#[launch]
fn rocket() -> _ {
    rocket::build().attach(LogsDbConn::fairing())
}

That's it! Whenever a connection to the database is needed, use your type as a request guard. The database can be accessed by calling the run method:

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#[get("/logs/<id>")]
async fn get_logs(conn: LogsDbConn, id: usize) -> Logs {
    conn.run(|c| logs::filter(id.eq(log_id)).load(c)).await
}
Note: The above examples uses Diesel with some fictional Logs type.

The example above contains the use of a Logs type that is application specific and not built into Rocket. It also uses Diesel's query-building syntax. Rocket does not provide an ORM. It is up to you to decide how to model your application's data.

Note: Rocket wraps synchronous databases in an async API.

The database engines supported by #[database] are synchronous. Normally, using such a database would block the thread of execution. To prevent this, the run() function automatically uses a thread pool so that database access does not interfere with other in-flight requests. See Multitasking for more information on why this is necessary.

If your application uses features of a database engine that are not available by default, for example support for chrono or uuid, you may enable those features by adding them in Cargo.toml like so:

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[dependencies]
postgres = { version = "0.15", features = ["with-chrono"] }

For more on Rocket's sanctioned database support, see the rocket_sync_db_pools library documentation. For examples of CRUD-like "blog" JSON APIs backed by a SQLite database driven by each of sqlx, diesel, and rusqlite with migrations run automatically for the former two drivers and Rocket's database support use for the latter two drivers, see the databases example.