Warp: Rust’s new web framework

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Warp is a new Rust web framework. Built by Sean McArthur and Carl Lerche, it’s a tool for building and managing web servers. More specifically, it was designed to give developers more control over how they to configure routes within their services.

It’s worth pointing out that Rust’s Warp shouldn’t be confused with Haskell’s Warp – in the Haskell world, Warp is a lightweight web server for WAI applications.

This article was amended 7.25.2019 to clarify that Rust’s Warp framework and Haskell’s Warp frameworks are different.

What’s the thinking behind Rust’s Warp framework?

In a blog post announcing the framework, McArthur explains that the inspiration for Warp came out of his experience working with many different frameworks and tools – most recently Node.js.


He writes:

“I found that I often times need to configure predicates, like certain headers required, query parameters needed, etc, and sometimes, I need to configure that a set of routes should be ‘mounted’ at a different path, and possibly want certain predicates there too. I noticed the concept of mounting or sub-routes or sub-resources or whatever the framework calls them didn’t feel… natural, at least to me.”

With this challenge setting the context for Warp, McArthur’s love of Rust and the highly functional aspect of Scala tools like Finch and Akka helped to lay the technical foundations for the web framework.

Central to the framework are filters.

Read next: Will Rust replace C++?

What are filters in the Warp web framework?

Filters are a feature that makes configuring endpoints easier. McArthur explains by saying they are “a function that can operate on some input… and returns some output, which could be some app-specific type you wish to pass around, or can be some reply to send back as an HTTP response.”

The advantage of this is that if you are trying to “piece together data from several different places of a request before you have your domain object” you can treat each source as a ‘filter’ and combine them in a relatively straightforward manner. McArthur repeatedly uses the word ‘natural’ – to put it another way, it makes things easier and cleaner for the developer.

Read next: Rust 1.28 is here with global allocators, nonZero types and more

The Rust ecosystem is growing

It’s not news that Rust is a hugely popular programming language. In this year’s Stack Overflow survey, Rust was listed as the most loved language by respondents (3 years running!). However, it hasn’t seen extensive and rapid growth despite its advantages – with a growing ecosystem of tools like Warp that could well change over the next couple of years.

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