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Url dispatchers in web frameworks are redundant (seporaitis.net)
4 points by seporaitis on Feb 26, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 3 comments

Url dispatchers are important insofar as they allow an application developer to worry about just writing an application and defining its resources. If they had to configure url routes in the web server, that adds an additional layer of error and requires expertise at yet another level of the stack that they shouldn't need to have.

Likewise, a deployment engineer should not have to worry about the particular resources being served by an application. In other words, the interface between application and server should be as simple as possible, and url routing just makes more sense in the web framework because the application developer wants control over the resources and how to reach them.

I agree that application developers should worry about application and deployment engineers should not worry about particular resources being served.

However, what I was trying to suggest is something slightly different. What if a web framework was smart enough to generate a routing configuration for a web server, instead of processing some sort of route table on every request? Think of a workflow like this:

1. Application developers can still define routes somewhere in application code as they do now.

2. Framework takes that route table, and generates a routing config for a web server, offline.

3. Deployment engineer does not need to worry about resources being served, but would have to make sure that the generated config is included where appropriate and trigger configuration reload on web server.

I (naively) think, that the above three could result in:

1. Nothing really changes for the application developer, except a chunk of redundant code is removed from the top of his code in the stack.

2. Web server configuration languages (or a subset related to routing) are fairly robust by now and rarely drastically change (I'm thinking about nginx and Apache2 here). Add this to an auto-generated configuration and a layer of error is reduced.

3. Deployment engineer does not need to configure any routing, but has to make sure a generated file is included in configuration, when deployed.

The suggestion appears to be that we should put routing logic in nginx. It doesn't seem like a great idea to me - I want my routing logic to be in the same place as mu app code, because they're pretty intertwined. I really don't see in-app routing code as a performance bottleneck.

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