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Smoke Framework

The Smoke Framework is a light-weight server-side service framework written in Swift and using SwiftNIO for its networking layer by default. The framework can be used for REST-like or RPC-like services and in conjunction with code generators from service models such as Swagger/OpenAPI.

The framework has built in support for JSON-encoded request and response payloads.

Conceptual Overview

The Smoke Framework provides the ability to specify handlers for operations your service application needs to perform. When a request is received, the framework will decode the request into the operation's input. When the handler returns, its response (if any) will be encoded and sent in the response.

Each invocation of a handler is also passed an application-specific context, allowing application-scope entities such as other service clients to be passed to operation handlers. Using the context allows operation handlers to remain pure functions (where its return value is determined by the function's logic and input values) and hence easily testable.

Getting Started

Step 1: Add the Smoke Framework dependency

The Smoke Framework uses the Swift Package Manager. To use the framework, add the following dependency to your Package.swift-

dependencies: [
    .package(url: "https://github.com/amzn/smoke-framework.git", .upToNextMajor(from: "0.8.0"))

Step 2: Add an Operation Function

The next step to using the Smoke Framework is to define one or more functions that will perform the operations that your application requires. The following code shows an example of such a function-

func handleTheOperation(input: OperationInput, context: MyApplicationContext) throws -> OperationOutput {
    return OperationOutput()

This particular operation function accepts the input to the operation and the application-specific context while returning the output from the operation.

For HTTP1, the operation input can conform to OperationHTTP1InputProtocol, which defines how the input type is constructed from the HTTP1 request. Similarly, the operation output can conform to OperationHTTP1OutputProtocol, which defines how to construct the HTTP1 response from the output type. As an alternative, both operation input and output can conform to the Codable protocol if they are constructed from only one part of the HTTP1 request and response.

The Smoke Framework also supports additional built-in and custom operation function signatures. See the The Operation Function and Extension Points sections for more information.

Step 3: Add Handler Selection

After defining the required operation handlers, it is time to specify how they are selected for incoming requests.

The Smoke Framework provides the StandardSmokeHTTP1HandlerSelector implementation of a Handler Selector suitable for a basic REST-like service where operation handlers are selected based on the HTTP URI and verb of the request.

The following code shows how to create a handler selector using the StandardSmokeHTTP1HandlerSelector-

import SmokeOperationsHTTP1

public typealias HandlerSelectorType =
    StandardSmokeHTTP1HandlerSelector<MyApplicationContext, JSONPayloadHTTP1OperationDelegate>

public func createHandlerSelector() -> HandlerSelectorType {
    var newHandler = HandlerSelectorType(defaultOperationDelegate: JSONPayloadHTTP1OperationDelegate())
    newHandler.addHandlerForUri("/theOperationPath", httpMethod: .POST,
                                operation: handleTheOperation,
                                allowedErrors: [(MyApplicationErrors.unknownResource, 400)])

    return newHandler
  • StandardSmokeHTTP1HandlerSelector takes two generic parameters-
  • The type of the context instance to use for the application.
  • The type of the default operation delegate.
  • Each handler added requires the following parameters to be specified-
  • The operation URI that must be matched by the incoming request to select the handler.
  • The HTTP method that must be matched by the incoming request to select the handler.
  • The function to be invoked.
  • The errors that can be returned to the caller from this handler.
  • The location in the HTTP1 request to construct the operation input type from (only required if the input type conforms to Codable)
  • The location in the HTTP1 response that the output type represents (only required if the output type conforms to Codable)

Step 3: Setting up the Application Server

The final step is to setup an application as an operation server.

import Foundation
import SmokeHTTP1
import SmokeOperationsHTTP1
import LoggerAPI

// Enable logging here

let operationContext = ... 

do {
    try SmokeHTTP1Server.startAsOperationServer(
        withHandlerSelector: createHandlerSelector(),
        andContext: operationContext)
} catch {
    Log.error("Unable to start Operation Server: '\(error)'")

You can now run the application and the server will start up on port 8080. The application will block in the startAsOperationServer call.

Further Concepts

The Application Context

An instance of the application context type is created at application start-up and is passed to each invocation of an operation handler. The framework imposes no restrictions on this type and simply passes it through to the operation handlers. It is recommended that this context is immutable as it can potentially be passed to multiple handlers simultaneously. Otherwise, the context type is responsible for handling its own thread safety.

It is recommended that applications use a strongly typed context rather than a bag of stuff such as a Dictionary.

The Operation Delegate

The Operation Delegate handles specifics such as encoding and decoding requests to the handler's input and output.

The Smoke Framework provides the JSONPayloadHTTP1OperationDelegate implementation that expects a JSON encoded request body as the handler's input and returns the output as the JSON encoded response body.

Each addHandlerForUri invocation can optionally accept an operation delegate to use when that handler is selected. This can be used when operations have specific encoding or decoding requirements. A default operation delegate is set up at server startup to be used for operations without a specific handler or when no handler matches a request.

The Operation Function

Each handler provides a function to be invoked when the handler is selected. By default, the Smoke framework provides four function signatures that this function can conform to-

  • ((InputType, ContextType) throws -> ()): Synchronous method with no output.
  • ((InputType, ContextType) throws -> OutputType): Synchronous method with output.
  • ((InputType, ContextType, (Swift.Error?) -> ()) throws -> ()): Asynchronous method with no output.
  • ((InputType, ContextType, (SmokeResult<OutputType>) -> ()) throws -> ()): Asynchronous method with output.

Due to Swift type inference, a handler can switch between these different signatures without changing the handler selector declaration - simply changing the function signature is sufficient.

The synchronous variants will return a response as soon as the function returns either with an empty body or the encoded return value. The asynchronous variants will return a response when the provided result handlers are called.

public protocol Validatable {
    func validate() throws

In all cases, the InputType and OutputType types must conform to the Validatable protocol. This protocol gives a type the opportunity to verify its fields - such as for string length, numeric range validation. The Smoke Framework will call validate on operation inputs before passing it to the handler and operation outputs after receiving from the handler-

  • If an operation input fails its validation call (by throwing an error), the framework will fail the operation with a 400 ValidationError response, indicating an error by the caller (the framework also logs this event at Info level).
  • If an operation output fails its validation call (by throwing an error), the framework will fail the operation with a 500 Internal Server Error, indicating an error by the service logic (the framework also logs this event at Error level).

Error Handling

By default, any errors thrown from an operation handler will fail the operation and the framework will return a 500 Internal Server Error to the caller (the framework also logs this event at Error level). This behavior prevents any unintentional leakage of internal error information.

public typealias ErrorIdentifiableByDescription = Swift.Error & CustomStringConvertible
public typealias SmokeReturnableError = ErrorIdentifiableByDescription & Encodable

Errors can be explicitly encoded and returned to the caller by conforming to the Swift.Error, CustomStringConvertible and Encodable protocols and being specified under allowedErrors in the addHandlerForUri call setting up the operation handler. For example-

public enum MyError: Swift.Error {
    case theError(reason: String)
    enum CodingKeys: String, CodingKey {
        case reason = "Reason"

extension MyError: Encodable {
    public func encode(to encoder: Encoder) throws {
        var container = encoder.container(keyedBy: CodingKeys.self)
        switch self {
        case .theError(reason: let reason):
            try container.encode(reason, forKey: .reason)

extension MyError: CustomStringConvertible {
    public var description: String {
        return "TheError"

When such an error is returned from an operation handler-

  • A response is returned to the caller with the HTTP code specified in the allowedErrors entry with a payload of the error encoded according to the Encodable protocol.
  • In addition, the provided error identity of the error will be specified in the __type field of the returned payload.
  • Comparison between the error specified in the allowedErrors list and the error thrown from the operation handler is a string comparison between the respective error identities. This is to allow equivalent errors of differing type (such as code generated errors from different models) to be handled as the same error.
  • For the built-in asynchronous operation functions, errors can either be thrown synchronously from the function itself or passed asynchronously to the result handler. Either way, the operation will fail according to the type of error thrown or passed. This is to avoid functions having to catch synchronous errors (such as in setup) only to pass them to the result handler.


The Smoke Framework has been designed to make testing of operation handlers straightforward. It is recommended that operation handlers are pure functions (where its return value is determined by the function's logic and input values). In this case, the function can be called in unit tests with appropriately constructed input and context instances.

It is recommended that the application-specific context be used to vary behavior between release and testing executions - such as mocking service clients, random number generators, etc. In general this will create more maintainable tests by keeping all the testing logic in the testing function.

If you want to run all test cases in Smoke Framework, please open command line and go to smoke-framework (root) directory, run swift test and then you should be able to see test cases result.

Extension Points

The Smoke Framework is designed to be extensible beyond its current functionality-

  • JSONPayloadHTTP1OperationDelegate provides basic JSON payload encoding and decoding. Instead, the OperationDelegate can be used to create a delegate that provides alternative payload encoding and decoding. Instances of this protocol are given the entire HttpRequestHead and request body when decoding the input and encoding the output for situations when these are required.
  • StandardSmokeHTTP1HandlerSelector provides a handler selector that compares the HTTP URI and verb to select a handler. Instead, the SmokeHTTP1HandlerSelector protocol can be used to create a selector that can use any property from the HTTPRequestHead (such as headers) to select a handler.
  • Even if StandardSmokeHTTP1HandlerSelector does fit your requirements, it can be extended to support additional function signatures. See the built-in function signatures (one can be found in OperationHandler+nonblockingWithInputWithOutput.swift) for examples of this.
  • The Smoke Framework currently supports HTTP1 but can be extended to additional protocols while using the same operation handlers if needed. The initializers of OperationHandler provide a protocol-agnostic layer - as an example [1] - which can be used by a protocol-specific layer - such as [2] for HTTP1 - to abstract protocol-specific handling for the different operation types.

[1] https://github.com/amzn/smoke-framework/blob/master/Sources/SmokeOperations/OperationHandler%2BblockingWithInputWithOutput.swift

[2] https://github.com/amzn/smoke-framework/blob/master/Sources/SmokeOperationsHTTP1/SmokeHTTP1HandlerSelector%2BblockingWithInputWithOutput.swift


This library is licensed under the Apache 2.0 License.


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0.8.0 - Feb 5, 2019

  • [HTTP1] provides the ability to construct operation input and output types from or to more than just the request and response body.
    • The operation input can now conform to OperationHTTP1InputProtocol to specify how the input type is constructed from the HTTP1 request. The operation input type can be constructed from the request headers, body, query string and url path tokens.
    • The operation output can now conform to OperationHTTP1OutputProtocol to specify how the HTTP1 response is constructed from the output type. The operation output type can specify the response headers and body.
    • The operation input and output types can still conform to Codable but when being registered must specify the location in the request and response they correspond to.
  • [HTTP1] Handler selection using StandardSmokeHTTP1HandlerSelector can now take into account tokens in the url path.

Note: This is a breaking change.

  • Handlers with Codable input and output registered with StandardSmokeHTTP1HandlerSelector now need to specify their input and output location in the request or response.
  • The default operation delegate is now specified in the initialiser of StandardSmokeHTTP1HandlerSelector rather than in the SmokeHTTP1Server.startAsOperationServer.

0.7.0 - Nov 1, 2018

Restructures HTTP1-specific operation types into a separate library to allow SmokeOperations to be protocol-agnostic. Also adds an invocation strategy that by default hands off each request to DispatchQueue.global(). This avoids running operations on the thread from SwiftNIO and running into issues with the event loop. Provides an extension point with a strategy protocol if required.

Note: This is a breaking change. The package import for HTTP1-specific operation types will need to change from SmokeOperations to SmokeOperationsHTTP1.

0.6.0 - Oct 3, 2018

Initial release of Smoke Framework. See the fronting README for details on features.