Getting fancy with Nancy – Introduction

Right from very first day that I announced Nancy to the world, the pace that things have moved forward has been nothing short of amazing. Nancy was always meant to be developed right out there with the community and let me tell you that I have not been disappointed, the community answered the call. Pull request nr. 116 was sent in the other day and over 26 people (with a couple of more having pending requests) have contributed code to Nancy – some of them on multiple occasions.

Since then Nancy has gained an impressive feature lists such as bootstrapping capabilities for all the major Inversion of Control containers, view engine support (spark, razor, ndjango and a Nancy specific engine), hosts for asp.net, WCF, self-hosting and even one of the (if not THE) first OWIN compatible host, cookies, sessions, embedded views, pre- and post-request pipeline, security (authentication and authorization) and many many more. The list keeps on growing.

There have also been several individual and companies that have started writing applications on Nancy, ranging from simple proof of concept applications to actually taking Nancy into a production environment is software that’s sold to customers. We’ve also gotten to see Nancy run on mac and Linux thanks to mono support and we think that’s just awesome!

So what’s the fuzz all about?!

The goal of Nancy is to provide a no fuzz, low ceremony framework for building web applications. One of the key concepts that’s applied when working on Nancy is that everything should have a “super-duper-happy-path” implementation, you shouldn’t have to jump though hops to write your websites there should be a sensible default for everything. Simplicity is key, but not at the expense of power.

At first glance you wouldn’t know it, but pretty much everything in Nancy is customizable. It’s intentionally been designed to stay out of your way, but should you find yourself in need to change a specific behavior Nancy will make it as frictionless as could be.

Right from the get go, Nancy was built to not rely on a specific environment to be able to run. We built the concept of host adapters and they site right in between Nancy and what ever environment she might run on. Out of the box we currently supply hosts for running on top of ASP.NET, WCF, OWIN and a self-host (built on httplistner), but the list is sure to expand and writing adapters is easy.

There is no dependency, what so ever, on System.Web from the Nancy core assembly so you can, without any problem, embed Nancy in your applications and so on. ReST-based end-point in your application? Sure why not?!

Bla, bla, bla – show me the codez!

Alrighty then. To give you an idea of how it is to work with Nancy, we will be building a simple Hello World (surprise!) Nancy web application. The application will be built to run on ASP.NET, but it could just as easily have been running on any of the others hosts (just swap it out, no code changes needed).

To get started create a new ASP.NET Empty Web Application project (don’t worry, we have our own project template but let’s skip those and get right to the fun stuff). Once you’ve created the application it’s time to grab Nancy. You could visit out repository to download the source and build the binaries, or you could choose the easy way; use NuGet to grab the bits we need.

We are going to go with the NuGet packages, so grab the Nancy.Hosting.Aspnet nuget. Not only will this install the adapter required to run Nancy on ASP.NET, but it will also register the adapter in your web.config and grab the Nancy core nuget.

That’s it. You have the foundation of a Nancy application running on top of ASP.NET. Now you need contents. So let’s add a module to our project (modules can be added anywhere in your project, Nancy will find them for you).

What you are looking at is a module that responds to a GET request to the root path of your application. When an incoming requests matches those criterion, Nancy will respond with the text “Hello World”. Run the application and verify that I’m not kidding you – it really is as simple as that!

That’s all will show you in this post. In following posts I will be sure to take you on a journey in the world of Nancy and show you things like POST, PUT, DELETE and HEAD requests, injecting dependencies into modules, using response formatters, grabbing parameters from the requested route, complex route syntax, view engines, model binding, before/after request handling (both on request and module level) and much, much more.

Nancy on the web.

If you want to talk about Nancy you can find us on Google Groups or on Twitter using the #NancyFx hashtag. You can also reach me on twitter @thecodejunkie

One thought on “Getting fancy with Nancy – Introduction”

  1. Can this be used for something more than “Hello World”?
    ServiceStack for instance can already be used in production.

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