Wolverine’s New HTTP Endpoint Model

UPDATE: If you pull down the sample code, it’s not quite working with Swashbuckle yet. It *does* publish the metadata and the actual endpoints work, but it’s not showing up in the OpenAPI spec. Always something.

I just published Wolverine 0.9.10 to Nuget (after a much bigger 0.9.9 yesterday). There’s several bug fixes, some admitted breaking changes to advanced configuration items, and one significant change to the “mediator” behavior that’s described at the section at the very bottom of this post.

The big addition is a new library that enables Wolverine’s runtime model directly for HTTP endpoints in ASP.Net Core services without having to jump through the typical sequence of delegating directly from a Minimal API method directly to Wolverine’s mediator functionality like this:

app.MapPost("/items/create", (CreateItemCommand cmd, IMessageBus bus) => bus.InvokeAsync(cmd));

app.MapPost("/items/create2", (CreateItemCommand cmd, IMessageBus bus) => bus.InvokeAsync<ItemCreated>(cmd));

Instead, Wolverine now has the WolverineFx.Http library to directly use Wolverine’s runtime model — including its unique middleware approach — directly from HTTP endpoints.

Shamelessly stealing the Todo sample application from the Minimal API documentation, let’s build a similar service with WolverineFx.Http, but I’m also going to switch to Marten for persistence just out of personal preference.

To bootstrap the application, I used the dotnet new webapi model, then added the WolverineFx.Marten and WolverineFx.HTTP nugets. The application bootstrapping for basic integration of Wolverine, Marten, and the new Wolverine HTTP model becomes:

using Marten;
using Oakton;
using Wolverine;
using Wolverine.Http;
using Wolverine.Marten;

var builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder(args);

// Adding Marten for persistence
builder.Services.AddMarten(opts =>
        opts.DatabaseSchemaName = "todo";

// Wolverine usage is required for WolverineFx.Http
builder.Host.UseWolverine(opts =>
    // This middleware will apply to the HTTP
    // endpoints as well
    // Setting up the outbox on all locally handled
    // background tasks

// Learn more about configuring Swagger/OpenAPI at https://aka.ms/aspnetcore/swashbuckle

var app = builder.Build();

// Configure the HTTP request pipeline.
if (app.Environment.IsDevelopment())

// Let's add in Wolverine HTTP endpoints to the routing tree

return await app.RunOaktonCommands(args);

Do note that the only thing in that sample that pertains to WolverineFx.Http itself is the call to IEndpointRouteBuilder.MapWolverineEndpoints().

Let’s move on to “Hello, World” with a new Wolverine http endpoint from this class we’ll add to the sample project:

public class HelloEndpoint
    public string Get() => "Hello.";

At application startup, WolverineFx.Http will find the HelloEndpoint.Get() method and treat it as a Wolverine http endpoint with the route pattern GET: / specified in the [WolverineGet] attribute.

As you’d expect, that route will write the return value back to the HTTP response and behave as specified by this Alba specification:

public async Task hello_world()
    var result = await _host.Scenario(x =>

Moving on to the actual Todo problem domain, let’s assume we’ve got a class like this:

public class Todo
    public int Id { get; set; }
    public string? Name { get; set; }
    public bool IsComplete { get; set; }

In a sample class called TodoEndpoints let’s add an HTTP service endpoint for listing all the known Todo documents:

public static Task<IReadOnlyList<Todo>> Get(IQuerySession session) 
    => session.Query<Todo>().ToListAsync();

As you’d guess, this method will serialize all the known Todo documents from the database into the HTTP response and return a 200 status code. In this particular case the code is a little bit noisier than the Minimal API equivalent, but that’s okay, because you can happily use Minimal API and WolverineFx.Http together in the same project. WolverineFx.Http, however, will shine in more complicated endpoints.

Consider this endpoint just to return the data for a single Todo document:

// Wolverine can infer the 200/404 status codes for you here
// so there's no code noise just to satisfy OpenAPI tooling
public static Task<Todo?> GetTodo(int id, IQuerySession session, CancellationToken cancellation) 
    => session.LoadAsync<Todo>(id, cancellation);

At this point it’s effectively de rigueur for any web service to support OpenAPI documentation directly in the service. Fortunately, WolverineFx.Http is able to glean most of the necessary metadata to support OpenAPI documentation with Swashbuckle from the method signature up above. The method up above will also cleanly set a status code of 404 if the requested Todo document does not exist.

Now, the bread and butter for WolverineFx.Http is using it in conjunction with Wolverine itself. In this sample, let’s create a new Todo based on submitted data, but also publish a new event message with Wolverine to do some background processing after the HTTP call succeeds. And, oh, yeah, let’s make sure this endpoint is actively using Wolverine’s transactional outbox support for consistency:

public static async Task<IResult> Create(CreateTodo command, IDocumentSession session, IMessageBus bus)
    var todo = new Todo { Name = command.Name };

    // Going to raise an event within out system to be processed later
    await bus.PublishAsync(new TodoCreated(todo.Id));
    return Results.Created($"/todoitems/{todo.Id}", todo);

The endpoint code above is automatically enrolled in the Marten transactional middleware by simple virtue of having a dependency on Marten’s IDocumentSession. By also taking in the IMessageBus dependency, WolverineFx.Http is wrapping the transactional outbox behavior around the method so that the TodoCreated message is only sent after the database transaction succeeds.

Lastly for this page, consider the need to update a Todo from a PUT call. Your HTTP endpoint may vary its handling and response by whether or not the document actually exists. Just to show off Wolverine’s “composite handler” functionality and also how WolverineFx.Http supports middleware, consider this more complex endpoint:

public static class UpdateTodoEndpoint
    public static async Task<(Todo? todo, IResult result)> LoadAsync(UpdateTodo command, IDocumentSession session)
        var todo = await session.LoadAsync<Todo>(command.Id);
        return todo != null 
            ? (todo, new WolverineContinue()) 
            : (todo, Results.NotFound());

    public static void Put(UpdateTodo command, Todo todo, IDocumentSession session)
        todo.Name = todo.Name;
        todo.IsComplete = todo.IsComplete;

In the WolverineFx.Http model, any bit of middleware that returns an IResult object is tested by the generated code to execute any IResult object returned from middleware that is not the built in WolverineContinue type and stop all further processing. This is intended to enable validation or authorization type middleware where you may need to filter calls to the inner HTTP handler.

With the sample application out of the way, here’s a rundown of the significant things about this library:

  • It’s actually a pretty small library in the greater scheme of things and all it really does is connect ASP.Net Core’s endpoint routing to the Wolverine runtime model — and Wolverine’s runtime model is likely going to be somewhat more efficient than Minimal API and much more efficient that MVC Core
  • It can be happily combined with Minimal API, MVC Core, or any other ASP.Net Core model that exploits endpoint routing, even within the same application
  • Wolverine is allowing you to use the Minimal API IResult model
  • The JSON serialization is strictly System.Text.Json and uses the same options as Minimal API within an ASP.Net Core application
  • It’s possible to use Wolverine middleware strategy with the HTTP endpoints
  • Wolverine is trying to glean necessary metadata from the method signatures to feed OpenAPI usage within ASP.Net Core without developers having to jump through hoops adding attributes or goofy TypedResult noise code just for Swashbuckle
  • This model plays nicely with Wolverine’s transactional outbox model for common cases where you need to both make database changes and publish additional messages for background processing in the same HTTP call. That’s a bit of important functionality that I feel is missing or is clumsy at best in many leading .NET server side technologies.

For the handful of you reading this that still remember FubuMVC, Wolverine’s HTTP model retains some of FubuMVC’s old strengths in terms of still not ramming framework concerns into your application code, but learned some hard lessons from FubuMVC’s ultimate failure:

  • FubuMVC was an ambitious, sprawling framework that was trying to be its own ecosystem with its own bootstrapping model, logging abstractions, and even IoC abstractions. WolverineFx.Http is just a citizen within the greater ASP.Net Core ecosystem and uses common .NET abstractions, concepts, and idiomatic naming conventions at every possible turn
  • FubuMVC relied too much on conventions, which was great when the convention was exactly what you needed, and kinda hurtful when you needed something besides the exact conventions. Not to worry, WolverineFx.Http let’s you drop right down to the HttpContext level at will or use any of the IResult objects in existing ASP.Net Core whenever the Wolverine conventions don’t fit.
  • FubuMVC could technically be used with old ASP.Net MVC, but it was a Frankenstein’s monster to pull off. Wolverine can be mixed and matched at will with either Minimal API, MVC Core, or even other OSS projects that exploit ASP.Net Core endpoint routing.
  • Wolverine is trying to play nicely in terms of OpenAPI metadata and security related metadata for usage of standard ASP.Net Core middleware like the authorization or authentication middleware
  • FubuMVC’s “Behavior” model gave you a very powerful “Russian Doll” middleware ability that was maximally flexible — and also maximally inefficient in runtime. Wolverine’s runtime model takes a very different approach to still allow for the “Russian Doll” flexibility, but to do so in a way that is more efficient at runtime than basically every other commonly used framework today in the .NET community.
  • When things went boom in FubuMVC, you got monumentally huge stack traces that could overwhelm developers who hadn’t had a week’s worth of good night sleeps. It sounds minor, but Wolverine is valuable in the sense that the stack traces from HTTP (or message handler) failures will have very minimal Wolverine related framework noise in the stack trace for easier readability by developers.

Big Change to In Memory Mediator Model

I’ve been caught off guard a bit by how folks have mostly been interested in Wolverine as an alternative to MediatR with typical usage like this where users just delegate to Wolverine in memory within a Minimal API route:

app.MapPost("/items/create2", (CreateItemCommand cmd, IMessageBus bus) => bus.InvokeAsync<ItemCreated>(cmd));

With the corresponding message handler being this:

public class ItemHandler
    // This attribute applies Wolverine's EF Core transactional
    // middleware
    public static ItemCreated Handle(
        // This would be the message
        CreateItemCommand command,

        // Any other arguments are assumed
        // to be service dependencies
        ItemsDbContext db)
        // Create a new Item entity
        var item = new Item
            Name = command.Name

        // Add the item to the current
        // DbContext unit of work

        // This event being returned
        // by the handler will be automatically sent
        // out as a "cascading" message
        return new ItemCreated
            Id = item.Id

Prior to the latest release, the ItemCreated event in the handler above when used from IMessageBus.InvokeAsync<ItemCreated>() was not published as a message because my original assumption was that in that case you were using the return value explicitly as a return value. Early users have been surprised that the ItemCreated was not published as a message, so I just changed the behavior to do so to make the cascading message behavior be more consistent and what folks seem to actually want.


2 thoughts on “Wolverine’s New HTTP Endpoint Model

  1. public static void Put(UpdateTodo command, Todo todo, IDocumentSession session)
    todo.Name = todo.Name;
    todo.IsComplete = todo.IsComplete;

    should probably be

    public static void Put(UpdateTodo command, Todo todo, IDocumentSession session)
    todo.Name = command.Name;
    todo.IsComplete = command.IsComplete;

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