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A middleware framework for Deno's native HTTP server, Deno Deploy and Node.js 16.5 and later. It also includes a middleware router.

This middleware framework is inspired by Koa and middleware router inspired by @koa/router.

This README focuses on the mechanics of the oak APIs and is intended for those who are familiar with JavaScript middleware frameworks like Express and Koa as well as a decent understanding of Deno. If you aren't familiar with these, please check out documentation on oakserver.github.io/oak.

Also, check out our FAQs and the awesome-oak site of community resources.

⚠️ Warning The examples in this README pull from main and are designed for Deno CLI or Deno Deploy, which may not make sense to do when you are looking to actually deploy a workload. You would want to "pin" to a particular version which is compatible with the version of Deno you are using and has a fixed set of APIs you would expect. https://deno.land/x/ supports using git tags in the URL to direct you at a particular version. So to use version 3.0.0 of oak, you would want to import https://deno.land/x/oak@v3.0.0/mod.ts.

Application, middleware, and context

The Application class coordinates managing the HTTP server, running middleware, and handling errors that occur when processing requests. Two of the methods are generally used: .use() and .listen(). Middleware is added via the .use() method and the .listen() method will start the server and start processing requests with the registered middleware.

A basic usage, responding to every request with Hello World!:

import { Application } from "https://deno.land/x/oak/mod.ts";

const app = new Application();

app.use((ctx) => {
  ctx.response.body = "Hello World!";

await app.listen({ port: 8000 });

You would then run this script in Deno like:

> deno run --allow-net helloWorld.ts

For more information on running code under Deno, or information on how to install the Deno CLI, check out the Deno manual.

The middleware is processed as a stack, where each middleware function can control the flow of the response. When the middleware is called, it is passed a context and reference to the "next" method in the stack.

A more complex example:

import { Application } from "https://deno.land/x/oak/mod.ts";

const app = new Application();

// Logger
app.use(async (ctx, next) => {
  await next();
  const rt = ctx.response.headers.get("X-Response-Time");
  console.log(`${ctx.request.method} ${ctx.request.url} - ${rt}`);

// Timing
app.use(async (ctx, next) => {
  const start = Date.now();
  await next();
  const ms = Date.now() - start;
  ctx.response.headers.set("X-Response-Time", `${ms}ms`);

// Hello World!
app.use((ctx) => {
  ctx.response.body = "Hello World!";

await app.listen({ port: 8000 });

To provide an HTTPS server, then the app.listen() options need to include the options .secure option set to true and supply a .certFile and a .keyFile options as well.

.handle() method

The .handle() method is used to process requests and receive responses without having the application manage the server aspect. This though is advanced usage and most users will want to use .listen().

The .handle() method accepts up to three arguments. The first being a Request argument, and the second being a Deno.Conn argument. The third optional argument is a flag to indicate if the request was "secure" in the sense it originated from a TLS connection to the remote client. The method resolved with a Response object or undefined if the ctx.respond === true.

An example:

import { Application } from "https://deno.land/x/oak/mod.ts";

const app = new Application();

app.use((ctx) => {
  ctx.response.body = "Hello World!";

const listener = Deno.listen({ hostname: "localhost", port: 8000 });

for await (const conn of listener) {
  (async () => {
    const requests = Deno.serveHttp(conn);
    for await (const { request, respondWith } of requests) {
      const response = await app.handle(request, conn);
      if (response) {

An instance of application has some properties as well:

  • contextState - Determines the method used to create state for a new context. A value of "clone" will set the state as a clone of the app state. A value of "prototype" means the app's state will be used as the prototype of the context's state. A value of "alias" means that the application's state and the context's state will be a reference to the same object. A value of "empty" will initialize the context's state with an empty object.

  • .jsonBodyReplacer - An optional replacer function which will be applied to JSON bodies when forming a response.

  • .jsonBodyReviver - An optional reviver function which will be applied when reading JSON bodies in a request.

  • .keys

    Keys to be used when signing and verifying cookies. The value can be set to an array of keys, and instance of KeyStack, or an object which provides the same interface as KeyStack (e.g. an instance of keygrip). If just the keys are passed, oak will manage the keys via KeyStack which allows easy key rotation without requiring re-signing of data values.

  • .proxy

    This defaults to false, but can be set via the Application constructor options. This is intended to indicate the application is behind a proxy and will use X-Forwarded-Proto, X-Forwarded-Host, and X-Forwarded-For when processing the request, which should provide more accurate information about the request.

  • .state

    A record of application state, which can be strongly typed by specifying a generic argument when constructing an Application(), or inferred by passing a state object (e.g. Application({ state })).

Using Deno's experimental flash server

Deno has an experimental flash server which dramatically increases the performance of HTTP/HTTPS under Deno. oak supports this server. There are currently a few caveats:

  • There currently isn't a way to obtain the remote connection IP address, meaning ctx.request.ip and ctx.request.ips do not work properly.
  • There appears to be an issue with streaming large files with flash.
  • Some of the exception handling with flash isn't as flexible as the "native" implementation, meaning that certain errors result in a hard coded 500 internal server error as well as "invalid" responses result in a server hang.

Because of these current caveats, the flash server is not turned on by default when detected in the environment.

To use the flash server, you need to import it and pass it as an option when constructing the application:

import {
} from "https://deno.land/x/oak/mod.ts";

const appOptions = hasFlash() ? { serverConstructor: FlashServer } : undefined;

const app = new Application(appOptions);

// ... register middleware ...


Currently to enable the flash server, you need to pass the --unstable flag to Deno CLI on startup. An example is contained in examples/flashEchoServer.ts.


The context passed to middleware has several properties:

  • .app

    A reference to the Application that is invoking this middleware.

  • .cookies

    The Cookies instance for this context which allows you to read and set cookies.

  • .request

    The Request object which contains details about the request.

  • .respond

    Determines if when middleware finishes processing, the application should send the .response to the client. If true the response will be sent, and if false the response will not be sent. The default is true but certain methods, like .upgrade() and .sendEvents() will set this to false.

  • .response

    The Response object which will be used to form the response sent back to the requestor.

  • .socket

    This will be undefined if the connection has not been upgraded to a web socket. If the connection has been upgraded, the .socket interface will be set.

  • .state

    A record of application state, which can be strongly typed by specifying a generic argument when constructing an Application(), or inferred by passing a state object (e.g. Application({ state })).

The context passed to middleware has some methods:

  • .assert()

    Makes an assertion, which if not true, throws an HTTPError, which subclass is identified by the second argument, with the message being the third argument.

  • .send()

    Stream a file to the requesting client. See Static content below for more information.

  • .sendEvents()

    Convert the current connection into a server-sent event response and return a ServerSentEventTarget where messages and events can be streamed to the client. This will set .respond to false.

  • .throw()

    Throws an HTTPError, which subclass is identified by the first argument, with the message being passed as the second.

  • .upgrade()

    Attempt to upgrade the connection to a web socket connection, and return a WebSocket interface. Previous version of oak, this would be a Promise resolving with a std/ws web socket.

Unlike other middleware frameworks, context does not have a significant amount of aliases. The information about the request is only located in .request and the information about the response is only located in .response.


The context.cookies allows access to the values of cookies in the request, and allows cookies to be set in the response. It automatically secures cookies if the .keys property is set on the application. Because .cookies uses the web crypto APIs to sign and validate cookies, and those APIs work in an asynchronous way, the cookie APIs work in an asynchronous way. It has several methods:

  • .get(key: string, options?: CookieGetOptions): Promise<string | undefined>

    Attempts to retrieve the cookie out of the request and returns the value of the cookie based on the key. If the applications .keys is set, then the cookie will be verified against a signed version of the cookie. If the cookie is valid, the promise will resolve with the value. If it is invalid, the cookie signature will be set to deleted on the response. If the cookie was not signed by the current key, it will be resigned and added to the response.

  • .set(key: string, value: string, options?: CookieSetDeleteOptions): Promise<void>

    Will set a cookie in the response based on the provided key, value and any options. If the applications .keys is set, then the cookie will be signed and the signature added to the response. As the keys are signed asynchronously, awaiting the .set() method is advised.


The context.request contains information about the request. It contains several properties:

  • .hasBody

    Set to true if the request might have a body, or false if it does not. It does not validate if the body is supported by the built in body parser though.

    WARNING this is an unreliable API. In HTTP/2 in many situations you cannot determine if a request has a body or not unless you attempt to read the body, due to the streaming nature of HTTP/2. As of Deno 1.16.1, for HTTP/1.1, Deno also reflects that behavior. The only reliable way to determine if a request has a body or not is to attempt to read the body.

    It is best to determine if a body might be meaningful to you with a given method, and then attempt to read and process the body if it is meaningful in a given context. For example GET and HEAD should never have a body, but methods like DELETE and OPTIONS might have a body and should be have their body conditionally processed if it is meaningful to your application.

  • .headers

    The headers for the request, an instance of Headers.

  • .method

    A string that represents the HTTP method for the request.

  • .originalRequest

    The "raw" NativeServer request, which is an abstraction over the DOM Request object. .originalRequest.request is the DOM Request instance that is being processed. Users should generally avoid using these.

  • .secure

    A shortcut for .protocol, returning true if HTTPS otherwise false.

  • .url

    An instance of URL which is based on the full URL for the request. This is in place of having parts of the URL exposed on the rest of the request object.

And several methods:

  • .accepts(...types: string[])

    Negotiates the content type supported by the request for the response. If no content types are passed, the method returns a prioritized array of accepted content types. If content types are passed, the best negotiated content type is returned. If no content type match undefined is returned.

  • .acceptsEncodings(...encodings: string[])

    Negotiates the content encoding supported by the request for the response. If no encodings are passed, the method returns a prioritized array of accepted encodings. If encodings are passed, the best negotiated encoding is returned. If no encodings match undefined is returned.

  • .acceptsLanguages(...languages: string[])

    Negotiates the language the client is able to understand. Where a locale variant takes preference. If no encodings are passed, the method returns a prioritized array of understood languages. If languages are passed, the best negotiated language is returned. If no languages match undefined is returned.

  • .body(options?: BodyOptions)

    The method returns a representation of the request body. When no options are passed, the request headers are used to determine the type of the body, which will be parsed and returned. The returned object contains two properties. type contains the type of "json", "text", "form", "form-data", "bytes" or "undefined".

    The type of the value can be determined by the value of the type property:

    type value
    "bytes" Promise<Uint8Array>
    "form" Promise<URLSearchParams>
    "form-data" FormDataReader
    "json" Promise<unknown>
    "reader" Deno.Reader
    "stream" ReadableStream<Uint8Array>
    "text" Promise<string>
    "undefined" undefined

    If there is no body, the type of "undefined" is returned. If the content type of the request is not recognised, then the type of "bytes" is returned.

    You can use the option type to specifically request the body to be returned in a particular format. If you need access to the Deno HTTP server's body, then you can use the type of "reader" which will return the body object of type "reader" with a value as a Deno.Reader:

    import { readAll } from "https://deno.land/x/std/io/util.ts";
    app.use(async (ctx) => {
      const result = ctx.request.body({ type: "reader" });
      result.type; // "reader"
      await readAll(result.value); // a "raw" Uint8Array of the body

    Another use case for the type option is if certain middleware always needs the body in a particular format, but wants other middleware to consume it in a content type resolved way:

    app.use(async (ctx) => {
      const result = ctx.request.body({ type: "text" });
      const text = await result.value;
      // do some validation of the body as a string
    app.use(async (ctx) => {
      const result = ctx.request.body(); // content type automatically detected
      if (result.type === "json") {
        const value = await result.value; // an object of parsed JSON

    You can use the option contentTypes to set additional media types that when present as the content type for the request, the body will be parsed accordingly. The options takes possibly five keys: json, form, formData, text, and bytes. For example if you wanted JavaScript sent to the server to be parsed as text, you would do something like this:

    app.use(async (ctx) => {
      const result = ctx.request.body({
        contentTypes: {
          text: ["application/javascript"],
      result.type; // "text"
      await result.value; // a string containing the text

    Because of the nature of how the body is parsed, once the body is requested and returned in a particular format, it can't be requested in certain other ones, and .request.body() will throw if an incompatible type is requested. The types "form-data", "reader" and "stream" are incompatible with each other and all other types, while "json", "form", "bytes", "text" are all compatible with each other. Although, if there are invalid data for that type, they may throw if coerced into that type.

    In particular the contentTypes.bytes can be used to override default types that are supported that you would want the middleware to handle itself. For example if you wanted the middleware to parse all text media types itself, you would do something like this:

    app.use(async (ctx) => {
      const result = ctx.request.body({
        contentTypes: {
          bytes: ["text"],
      result.type; // "bytes"
      await result.value; // a Uint8Array of all of the bytes read from the request

    The option limit can be used when reading non-stream type bodies, like text, JSON, or bytes. By default it is set to 10 Mib, and ensures that malicious requests don't cause unexpected behavior in the server. When there is a body, but it doesn't supply a content length, or the content length exceeds the limit, trying to await the .value of the body will throw. To disable the feature and read the body anyways, set the limit option to 0 (or Infinity).


The context.response contains information about the response which will be sent back to the requestor. It contains several properties:

  • .body

    The body of the response, which can often be handled by the automatic response body handling documented below.

  • .headers

    A Headers instance which contains the headers for the response.

  • .status

    An HTTP Status code that will be sent back with the response. If this is not set before responding, oak will default to 200 OK if there is a .body, otherwise 404 Not Found.

  • .type

    A media type or extension to set the Content-Type header for the response. For example, you can provide txt or text/plain to describe the body.

And a method:

  • .redirect(url?: string | URL | REDIRECT_BACK, alt?: string | URL)

    A method to simplify redirecting the response to another URL. It will set the Location header to the supplied url and the status to 302 Found (unless the status is already a 3XX status). The use of symbol REDIRECT_BACK as the url indicates that the Referer header in the request should be used as the direction, with the alt being the alternative location if the Referer is not set. If neither the alt nor the Referer are set, the redirect will occur to /. A basic HTML (if the requestor supports it) or a text body will be set explaining they are being redirected.

Automatic response body handling

When the response Content-Type is not set in the headers of the .response, oak will automatically try to determine the appropriate Content-Type. First it will look at .response.type. If assigned, it will try to resolve the appropriate media type based on treating the value of .type as either the media type, or resolving the media type based on an extension. For example if .type was set to "html", then the Content-Type will be set to "text/html".

If .type is not set with a value, then oak will inspect the value of .response.body. If the value is a string, then oak will check to see if the string looks like HTML, if so, Content-Type will be set to text/html otherwise it will be set to text/plain. If the value is an object, other than a Uint8Array, a Deno.Reader, or null, the object will be passed to JSON.stringify() and the Content-Type will be set to application/json.

If the type of body is a number, bigint or symbol, it will be coerced to a string and treated as text.

If the value of body is a function, the function will be called with no arguments. If the return value of the function is promise like, that will be await, and the resolved value will be processed as above. If the value is not promise like, it will be processed as above.

Opening the server

The application method .listen() is used to open the server, start listening for requests, and processing the registered middleware for each request. This method returns a promise when the server closes.

Once the server is open, before it starts processing requests, the application will fire a "listen" event, which can be listened for via the .addEventListener() method. For example:

import { Application } from "https://deno.land/x/oak/mod.ts";

const app = new Application();

app.addEventListener("listen", ({ hostname, port, secure }) => {
    `Listening on: ${secure ? "https://" : "http://"}${
      hostname ??

// register some middleware

await app.listen({ port: 80 });

Closing the server

If you want to close the application, the application supports the option of an abort signal. Here is an example of using the signal:

import { Application } from "https://deno.land/x/oak/mod.ts";

const app = new Application();

const controller = new AbortController();
const { signal } = controller;

// Add some middleware using `app.use()`

const listenPromise = app.listen({ port: 8000, signal });

// In order to close the server...

// Listen will stop listening for requests and the promise will resolve...
await listenPromise;
// and you can do something after the close to shutdown

Error handling

Middleware can be used to handle other errors with middleware. Awaiting other middleware to execute while trapping errors works. So if you had an error handling middleware that provides a well managed response to errors would work like this:

import {
} from "https://deno.land/x/oak/mod.ts";

const app = new Application();

app.use(async (ctx, next) => {
  try {
    await next();
  } catch (err) {
    if (isHttpError(err)) {
      switch (err.status) {
        case Status.NotFound:
          // handle NotFound
          // handle other statuses
    } else {
      // rethrow if you can't handle the error
      throw err;

Uncaught middleware exceptions will be caught by the application. Application extends the global EventTarget in Deno, and when uncaught errors occur in the middleware or sending of responses, an EventError will be dispatched to the application. To listen for these errors, you would add an event handler to the application instance:

import { Application } from "https://deno.land/x/oak/mod.ts";

const app = new Application();

app.addEventListener("error", (evt) => {
  // Will log the thrown error to the console.

app.use((ctx) => {
  // Will throw a 500 on every request.

await app.listen({ port: 80 });


The Router class produces middleware which can be used with an Application to enable routing based on the pathname of the request.

Basic usage

The following example serves up a RESTful service of a map of books, where http://localhost:8000/book/ will return an array of books and http://localhost:8000/book/1 would return the book with ID "1":

import { Application, Router } from "https://deno.land/x/oak/mod.ts";

const books = new Map<string, any>();
books.set("1", {
  id: "1",
  title: "The Hound of the Baskervilles",
  author: "Conan Doyle, Arthur",

const router = new Router();
  .get("/", (context) => {
    context.response.body = "Hello world!";
  .get("/book", (context) => {
    context.response.body = Array.from(books.values());
  .get("/book/:id", (context) => {
    if (books.has(context?.params?.id)) {
      context.response.body = books.get(context.params.id);

const app = new Application();

await app.listen({ port: 8000 });

A route passed is converted to a regular expression using path-to-regexp, which means parameters expressed in the pattern will be converted. path-to-regexp has advanced usage which can create complex patterns which can be used for matching. Check out the documentation for that library if you have advanced use cases.

In most cases, the type of context.params is automatically inferred from the path template string through typescript magic. In more complex scenarios this might not yield the correct result however. In that case you can override the type with router.get<RouteParams>, where RouteParams is the explicit type for context.params.

Nested routers

Nesting routers is supported. The following example responds to http://localhost:8000/forums/oak/posts and http://localhost:8000/forums/oak/posts/nested-routers.

import { Application, Router } from "https://deno.land/x/oak/mod.ts";

const posts = new Router()
  .get("/", (ctx) => {
    ctx.response.body = `Forum: ${ctx.params.forumId}`;
  .get("/:postId", (ctx) => {
    ctx.response.body =
      `Forum: ${ctx.params.forumId}, Post: ${ctx.params.postId}`;

const forums = new Router()
  .use("/forums/:forumId/posts", posts.routes(), posts.allowedMethods());

await new Application()
  .listen({ port: 8000 });

Static content

The function send() is designed to serve static content as part of a middleware function. In the most straight forward usage, a root is provided and requests provided to the function are fulfilled with files from the local file system relative to the root from the requested path.

A basic usage would look something like this:

import { Application } from "https://deno.land/x/oak/mod.ts";

const app = new Application();

app.use(async (context, next) => {
  try {
    await context.send({
      root: `${Deno.cwd()}/examples/static`,
      index: "index.html",
  } catch {
    await next();

await app.listen({ port: 8000 });

send() automatically supports features like providing ETag and Last-Modified headers in the response as well as processing If-None-Match and If-Modified-Since headers in the request. This means when serving up static content, clients will be able to rely upon their cached versions of assets instead of re-downloading them.

ETag support

The send() method automatically supports generating an ETag header for static assets. The header allows the client to determine if it needs to re-download an asset or not, but it can be useful to calculate ETags for other scenarios, and oak supplies the etag object to provide these functions.

There are two main use cases, first, a middleware function that assesses the context.reponse.body and determines if it can create an ETag header for that body type, and if so sets the ETag header on the response. Basic usage would look something like this:

import { Application, etag } from "https://deno.land/x/oak/mod.ts";

const app = new Application();


// ... other middleware for the application

The second use case is lower-level, where you have an entity which you want to calculate an ETag value for, like implementing custom response logic based on other header information. The etag.calculate() method is provided for this, and it supports calculating ETags for strings, Uint8Arrays, and Deno.FileInfo structures. Basic usage would look something like this:

import { etag } from "https://deno.land/x/oak/mod.ts";

export async function mw(context, next) {
  await next();
  const value = await etag.calculate("hello deno");
  context.response.headers.set("ETag", value);

By default, etag will calculate weak tags for Deno.FileInfo (or Deno.FsFile bodies in the middleware) and strong tags for strings and Uint8Arrays. This can be changed by passing a weak property in the options parameter to either the factory or calculate methods.

There are also two helper functions which can be used in conjunction with requests. There is ifNoneMatch() and ifMatch(). Both take the value of a header and an entity to compare to.

ifNoneMatch() validates if the entities ETag doesn't match the supplied tags, while ifMatch() does the opposite. Check out MDN's If-None-Match and If-Match header articles for more information how these headers are used with ETags.


The mod.ts also exports a variable named helpers which contains functions that help with managing contexts.

getQuery(ctx, options?)

The helpers.getQuery() function is designed to make it easier to determine what a request might be querying in the middleware. It takes the supplied context's .request.url.searchParams and converts it to a record object of the keys and values. For example, it would convert the following request:


Into an object like this:

  foo: "bar",
  baz: "qat"

The function can take a couple of options. The asMap will result in a Map being returned instead of an object. The mergeParams will merge in parameters that were parsed out of the route. This only works with router contexts, and any params will be overwritten by the request's search params. If the following URL was requested:


And the following was the router middleware:

router.get("/book/:id/page/:page", (ctx) => {
  getQuery(ctx, { mergeParams: true });

Would result in the return value being:

  id: "1234",
  page: "32",
  size: "24"


The mod.ts exports an object named testing which contains some utilities for testing oak middleware you might create. See the Testing with oak for more information.


As of oak v10.3, oak is experimentally supported on Node.js 16.5 and later. The package is available on npm as @oakserver/oak. The package exports are the same as the exports of the mod.ts when using under Deno and the package auto-detects it is running under Node.js.

A basic example using ESM:


import { Application } from "@oakserver/oak";

const app = new Application();

app.use((ctx) => {
  ctx.response.body = "Hello from oak under Node.js";

app.listen({ port: 8000 });

A basic example using CommonJS:


const { Application } = require("@oakserver/oak");

const app = new Application();

app.use((ctx) => {
  ctx.response.body = "Hello from oak under Node.js";

app.listen({ port: 8000 });

There are a few notes about the support:

  • Currently FormData bodies do not properly write binary files to disk. This will be fixed in future versions.
  • Currently only HTTP/1.1 support is available. There are plans to add HTTP/2.
  • Web Socket upgrades are not currently supported. This is planned for the future. Trying to upgrade to a web socket will cause an error to be thrown.

There are several modules that are directly adapted from other modules. They have preserved their individual licenses and copyrights. All of the modules, including those directly adapted are licensed under the MIT License.

All additional work is copyright 2018 - 2022 the oak authors. All rights reserved.