Independent Failure

A request that is mapped through a directive can produce either a failure or success response. Usually, this works the way you want. When a PUT request is received for an endpoint that only supports POST, the service can respond with a 405 MethodNotAllowed status without inspecting any request parameters.

But among the request parameters themselves, it may be desirable to respond with multiple error messages when there are multiple parameters in error. This can be accomplished by combining directives into a single directive which knows how to bundle the error responses.

Normalizing Error Responses

Even if you don’t intend to bundle errors right away, it’s a good idea to generate error responses in a consistent way. This allows you to factor out the status code generation and to put error messages in context. One way to do this is with a case class.

import unfiltered.request._
import unfiltered.response._
import unfiltered.directives._, Directives._

case class OneBadParam(msg: String) extends Responder[Any] {
  def respond(res: HttpResponse[Any]): Unit =
    (BadRequest ~> ResponseString(msg + "\n"))(res)

We could use this class with a “required” function.

implicit def required[T] = data.Requiring[T].fail(name =>
  OneBadParam(name + " is missing")

This cuts out a bit of boiler plate, but things get more interesting when we define a smarter case class.

Joinable Responses

If we want Unfiltered to combine error responses from multiple directives, we need to specify exactly how that should work. This can be done with a simple variation of the case class defined above.

case class BadParam(msg: String) extends ResponseJoiner(msg)(
  msgs =>
    BadRequest ~> ResponseString(msgs.mkString("","\n","\n"))

Instances of this class are still defined for a single error message msg, but they know how to format a response for multiple messages of the same type. This allows the toolkit to combine many BadParam instances into a single error response, using the response function defined on any one of the instances.


The type system guarantees that error messages are of the same type and that any instance can produce a response from them, but it is not guaranteed which instance’s error handler will be used to produce the error response. You should use the same case class, or the same error handling function, for all of your response error instances.

We can redefine “required” with this improved error responder.

implicit def required[T] = data.Requiring[T].fail(name =>
  BadParam(name + " is missing")

Joining and Splitting Directives

Now that we have joinable error responses issued from our required interpreter, we can use the & method of Directive to join them, as well as an unapply method of unfiltered.request.& to split them.

import unfiltered.jetty.SocketPortBinding

val binding = SocketPortBinding(host = "localhost", port = 8080)

  unfiltered.filter.Planify { Directive.Intent {
    case Path("/") =>
      for {
        (a & b & c) <-
          ([String] named "a") &
          ([String] named "b") &
          ([String] named "c")
      } yield ResponseString(
        s"a: $a b: $b c: $c"
  } }

In a failure case, the errors objects are combined and returned on separate lines. On success, the combined directive produces nested tuples of the success cases which & extracts in the order produced.

$ curl
a is missing
b is missing
c is missing