Let’s wrap this up, Ada

We’ve seen how to use directives in general, and how to use interpreters to make our own parameter directives, and even how to make our own interpreters. Our closing example will be one that you’ve had with you all along: the default Unfiltered giter8 template.

Setting up the Template

If you don’t have the template project already, skip back to the beginning and follow the directions up until the Consoled section.

Instead of entering a Scala console this time, we want to examine and use the Scala sources included in the project. Go ahead and compile and run them:

sbt run

The main class in the project will start an HTTP server on some available port, and it will attempt to open the root document on that server in your default browser. If you see a big ugly form, you’re all set.

Understanding the Source

Take a look at the source for the server, located here:


You should be able to understand most of what’s happening, but there are a few things worth mentioning. Unlike previous examples in this chapter, this is a web server intended for browser clients. Our output is HTML and our input for the POST is a form serialized by the browser.

A simple view function is defined for displaying the page in both its initial, error, and success states. The function takes a map of parameters so that it can serve back the form inputs exactly as they were submitted, without being affected by any interpreters. We can get this separately from our parameter directives, using the trusty old Params extractor.


Since we’re just calling out snippets of the code, you won’t be able to copy and paste these into a console as you can with most sections of this documentation. Feel free to play around with the template project source though, that’s what it’s there for.

sourcecase POST(Params(params)) =>
  case class BadParam(msg: String)
  extends ResponseJoiner(msg)( messages =>
      for (message <- messages)
      yield <li>{message}</li>

Also worth noting is that we defined our BadParam case class inside the match expression, since it needs a reference to params to build its error response. Another option would have been to take the params as a constructor parameter for the class.

Finally, since we’re dealing with user input via a serialized form rather than a programmatic web service, our expectations for errors are different. An “empty” field in the form is still submitted as a parameter – an empty string. Since this will be a common user error, we should handle it much like we would if the parameter were not submitted at all.

sourceval inputString = data.as.String ~>
  data.as.String.trimmed ~>
    (key, _) => BadParam(s"$key is empty")

But of course, we still need to define a required function since it is possible that some client will fail to submit a parameter.

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

Finally, in this case the code keeps the logic of the conditional interpreter separate from the implementation, which is inline.

source(inputString ~> data.Conditional(palindrome).fail(
  (_, value) => BadParam(s"'$value' is not a palindrome")
) ~> required named "palindrome")

def palindrome(s: String) =
  s.toLowerCase.reverse == s.toLowerCase

This is just to show the variety of what’s possible, it’s up to you to decide how to organize and apply your own interpreters. Good luck, and don’t be shy about contributing back interpreters of standard library types back into the Unfiltered directives source!

The source code for this page can be found here.