Request Middleware

Built-in Middlewares

The middleware package provides middlewares that do not depend on additional packages other than the ones already used by goa. These middlewares provide functionality that is useful to most microservices:

  • LogRequest enables logging of incoming requests and corresponding responses. The log format is entirely configurable. The default format logs the request HTTP method, path and parameters as well as the corresponding action and controller names. It also logs the request duration and response length. It also logs the request payload if the DEBUG log level is enabled. Finally if the RequestID middleware is mounted LogRequest logs the unique request ID with each log entry.

  • LogResponse logs the content of the response body if the DEBUG log level is enabled.

  • RequestID injects a unique ID in the request context. This ID is used by the logger and can be used by controller actions as well. The middleware looks for the ID in the RequestIDHeader header and if not found creates one.

  • Recover recover panics and logs the panic object and backtrace.

  • Timeout sets a deadline in the request context. Controller actions may subscribe to the context channel to get notified when the timeout expires.

  • RequireHeader checks for the presence of a header in the request with a value matching a given regular expression. If the header is absent or does not match the regexp the middleware sends a HTTP response with a given HTTP status.

Other middlewares listed below are provided as separate Go packages.


Package gzip contributed by @tylerb adds the ability to compress response bodies using gzip format as specified in RFC 1952.


package security contains middleware that should be used in conjunction with the security DSL.

Writing Your Own

A middleware is a function that accepts and returns a request handler. The idea is that middlewares are “chained” together, the actual action implementation being the last link. There are many good resources on the web describing middlewares in Go such as Alex Edwards’ writeup.

A request handler in goa has the following signature:

// Handler defines the request handler signatures.
Handler func(context.Context, http.ResponseWriter, *http.Request) error

And a middleware is:

// Middleware represents the canonical goa middleware signature.
Middleware func(Handler) Handler

Writing a middleware thus consists of writing a function that accepts a handler and returns one:

// MyMiddleware does something interesting.
func MyMiddleware(h goa.Handler) Handler {
    return func(ctx context.Context, rw http.ResponseWriter, req *http.Request) error {
        // Use ctx, rw and req - for example:
        newctx = context.WithValue(ctx, "key", "value")
        rw.Header().Set("X-Custom", "foo")

        // Then call the next handler:
        return h(newctx, rw, req)

The middleware can then be mounted on a service or controller with the Use method:

s := goa.New("my service")

Configuring Middleware

Sometimes there’s a need for passing configuration information to the middleware. For example the goa Timeout middleware needs a timeout value. This is easily accomplished by providing a constructor method that accepts the configuration information as parameters and uses closure to build the middleware:

// MyConfiguredMiddleware does something interesting and needs a "config" string value.
func MyConfiguredMiddleware(config string) goa.Middleware {
    return func(h goa.Handler) Handler {
        return func(ctx context.Context, rw http.ResponseWriter, req *http.Request) error {
            // Use ctx, rw, req and any parameter given to the middleware constructor:
            rw.Header().Set("X-Custom", config)
            // Call the next handler
            return h(ctx, rw, req)

Mounting the middleware above then looks like:

s := goa.New("my service")

The pattern above is the one followed by all built-in middlewares, even the ones not taking configuration values for consistency.