servant has the following guiding principles:

  • concision

    This is a pretty wide-ranging principle. You should be able to get nice documentation for your web servers, and client libraries, without repeating yourself. You should not have to manually serialize and deserialize your resources, but only declare how to do those things once per type. If a bunch of your handlers take the same query parameters, you shouldn’t have to repeat that logic for each handler, but instead just “apply” it to all of them at once. Your handlers shouldn’t be where composition goes to die. And so on.

  • flexibility

    If we haven’t thought of your use case, it should still be easily achievable. If you want to use templating library X, go ahead. Forms? Do them however you want, but without difficulty. We’re not opinionated.

  • separation of concerns

    Your handlers and your HTTP logic should be separate. True to the philosophy at the core of HTTP and REST, with servant your handlers return normal Haskell datatypes - that’s the resource. And then from a description of your API, servant handles the presentation (i.e., the Content-Types). But that’s just one example.

  • type safety

    Want to be sure your API meets a specification? Your compiler can check that for you. Links you can be sure exist? You got it.

To stick true to these principles, we do things a little differently than you might expect. The core idea is reifying the description of your API. Once reified, everything follows. We think we might be the first web framework to reify API descriptions in an extensible way. We’re pretty sure we’re the first to reify it as types.