Current docs on Eyre are out of date. Until they are updated this doc remains for historical purposes

Our HTTP server.

Unix sends http messages to %eyre, and %eyre produces http messages in response. In general, apps and vanes do not call %eyre; rather, %eyre calls apps and vanes. %eyre uses %ford and %gall to functionally publish pages and facilitate communication with apps.

%eyre primarily parses web requests and handles them in a variety of ways, depending on the control string. Nearly all of these are essentially stateless, like functional publishing with %ford. Additionally, there's a fairly significant component that handles %gall messaging and subscriptions, which must be stateful.







Let us follow the loading of a simple cli app, as it bounces from browser to server to browser and back.

Initial request

An http request for http://sampel-sipnym.urbit.org/cli will be redirected to the %eyre on ~sampel-sipnym, and come in as a %this task.

From arvo, requests enter ++call, which after some type reification are passed along to ++apex:ye. In the case of a %this task, its components are parsed(see ++zest:epur, ++eat-headers) and handed off to ++handle, wrapped in ++emule to produce a ++fail page in case of error. ++apex:handle will ++process the request to a pest or a ++done core, and in the former case ++resolve the pest into an outgoing card.

XX it also seems to affect the current ship, test that serving ship name is consistently correct

The pest is produced by ++process, which will first further ++parse the request, and if this does not make the response immediately obvious, ++process-parsed the resulting perk.

++parse produces the perk, by attempting to interpret the pork(url path) ++as-magic-filename, ++as-beam, and ++as-aux-request. In this case, /cli is parsed by the second case as a %beam query to /=cli=: a path which starts with a valid ship name is expected to be a full clay(well, ford) path, and one starting with a term implies the current serving ship and a case of 0, the current revision.

XX spur: when the desks are merged, /cli shall point to /=main=/pub/cli

The parsed perk generates a %f %boil note, marked as its extension(here defaulting to %urb) and wired with ~ to return unaltered to the client. It goes on to ++resolve by being passed to ++ford-get-beam, which translates the perk it into a %boil ++ford-req, adding an ++fcgi path-segment containing query string and ++fcgi-cred:for-client auth information.

%fords translation of /=cli=/hymn/hook to a self-refreshing %urb html page deserves its own commentary, but we resume in %eyre when the %made sign arrives in ++take, and soon after ++axon:ye. There the wire, or rather the whir it has been verified to be, determines that the response should be served immediately. However, as the mark is not %mime, another trip to %ford is required to encode it, on the same wire; afterwards, the value of the %mime cage is verified to be of the correct type, and finally delivered back up the requesting duct as a successful %thou HTTP response.

XX %cast %mime used to be in ford-get-beam, is there a reason it was removed?

Back into the breach, or: auxilary requests

Now, it was mentioned that this result is self-refreshing: the %urb translation door injects a ;script@"/~/on/{deps}.js" into every page, deps is a ford-readable hash of the set of resources that page construction depended on.

This triggers another %this request. Its handling is identical to that of /cli up until ++parse, where it is seen not ++as-beam but ++as-aux-request(auxillary requests starting with /~/ or /~~/). /on/[hash] is a long-%poll, which ++process-parsed, for a .js mark, answers with a direct %js. Its contents are the static ++poll:js, which initiates the long-polling loop, run against an injected urb.js of {poll:[hash]}.

A %js pest is resolved as a text/javascript success %this.

When poll.js is received by the client, it opens an XMLHttpRequest for /~/on/{window.urb.poll}.json, bringing us back to %poll:process.

In the case of a non-%js /~/on/, %poll:process-parsed turns into a ++new-dependency, which stores the listening duct, and pass-notes a %wasp with the deps-hash back to %ford whence it came. While this occured, the page has loaded.

Some indeterminate amount of time afterwards, with dropped /~/on/{...}.jsons being retried upon expiring and also being stored, a %news sign arrives in ++axon, and the hash in question is retrieved from the wire, and the listening long-polls retrieved by the hash. Each receives a 205 "Reload parent view" HTTP response, which poll.js dutifully executes, and a fixed typo of markdown is rendered.


Now, while this accurately reflects the presentation of e.g. a markdown file, /cli is an application front-end, and one that permits only owner access. Its second script is @"/~~/~/at/main/lib/urb.js", semantically equivalent to /~/as/own/~/at/main/lib/urb.js, and handled as follows.

In ++as-aux-request, %as %own becomes %auth %get our perk, which ++process passes to ++process-parsed passes to ++process-auth. There, a yac "ya" core is built ++for-client: a ++cookie-prefix, which is just the serving ship name, is used to get a ++session-from-cookies, here nil as the client has no cookie set. In lieu of a cookie, a ++new-ya is constructed, with a random token hole and a ++new-cyst which fills out cyst session state from request data.

Returning to ++process-auth, %get checks if the yac is authenticated with the requested credentials(anon requests are always granted), which for the fresh new cyst is not the case (more on success later). Unless authenticating as a foreign ship, the only thing left is to ++show-login-page, which detects that the requested resource is not %html, and produces a %red pest. For %js, %redirections ++resolve to ++auth-redir:js, a line of javascript which prepends /~~ to the url path.

The owner-authenticated main page request similarly ends in ++show-login-page, which for the empty session is an [%htme ++login-page:xml], resolved to ++give-html with a 401 "unathorized".

The login page shows a simple prompt, and requests /~/at/auth.js to handle the submission. And so we are, once again, attempting to divine if what we're doing makes sense ++as-aux-request.

To understand /~/at, there will first be a brief diversion to ~/auth.json. auth.json, perk [%auth %json], in ++process-auth serves ++stat-json:ya, containing such information as the serving ship, which identities are associated with this session, and oryx, a CSRF token. An oryx must be present on all stateful requests, in this case executing a log in. It also saves the new/old session using abet.

XX explain ixor here and not later?

/~/at is an alternate interface, which injects auth.json data into the requested file. /~/at/auth.js, then, is a request for the built-in auth:js (parsed to and processed from an [%auth %js ~] perk), with session data added as window.urb. And indeed, [`%js /~/at/auth] is parsed to [%auth at [`%js /auth], which in ++process-auth is re-processed to [%js ++auth:js], which is ++resolved after an ++add-json of the relevant data. The yac cookies are also passed to resolve, which ++add-cookies injects into the httr.

It is at this point that there is first occasion for user input, namely the password.

The auth:js script sends a PUT request, also to /~/auth.json. In parse, the first nontrivial ++check-oryx occurs, ++grab-body the request oryx and ensuring it is recorded for the session. The request parsed with ++need-body to a [%auth %try {password}] perk. %get:process-auth checks it against ++load-secret, upon success updates the session with ++logon:ya, and serves a fresh auth.json which reflects the changed user. Upon receiving this, the page is refreshed to retry the original request.

Post-authentication: app communication.

Upon refresh, /~~/cli brings us for the third time to %get:process-auth, but this time the cookie is set, and the yac fetched contains the serving ship as authenticated. The ++handle sample is updated to reflect the requesting ship, and the process continues for the rest of the pork, once again serving the ford page.

The /~/on/[deps].json poll starts anew, and /~~/~/at/main/lib/urb.js we now know to serve the window.urb necessary to make requests, and the urb.js standard library which extends it with a number of wrappers to them and other useful functions.

One of those functions is urb.bind, which is used to subscribe to application data. Userspace javascript sets urb.appl to /tic, and binds lines to a ;pre; text display, using a callback.

This triggers a PUT to /~/is/{ixor}/cli/lines.json, where ixor is a hash of oryx that identifies the connection. ++as-aux-request, an %is is a %subs subscription update update, which for %put forwards to ++add-subs:ix, the ix core fetched ++for-view by hashing the request ++oryx-to-ixor.

A view has all the state associated with a client that must be remembered between events. In this case, this is what app/path the request duct is associated with; but mainly, ++add-subs:ix will pass-note to %gall so it %shows the data on the path, current and future.

This will immediately(assuming the ship is local) result in a %nice by the /cli app, returning {ok:true} ++nice-json to urb.bind's second callback as {ok:true}. The initial %rush results also arrive, and in ++axon are converted to json using ++back(ford %cast wrapper), and when %made get passed to ++get-rush:ix. There the source application/path are decoded by duct, and then the full event goes to ++get-even; ++add-even inserts it to the queue, and as there is no long poll it simply stays there.

Upon receipt, the client realizes the long-poll isn't actually running, so that is started using urb.poll. At /~/of/{ixor}, perk [%view ixor ~ {sequence-number}], it is processed by ++poll:ix (the cyst is retrieved by ++ire-ix form global state, using the perk ixor): the sequence number is in the past, so the previously received %rush is ++give-even. After deleting the previous message in the queue and invoking ++pass-took to signal %gall of this occurrence, the data is annotated with the source app+path ++subs-to-json, and returned to the polling duct.

On the client, the user callback receives the /cli history, and displays it on the page. The /~/of long poll is continued, this time reaching ++poll:ix with the "pending" sequence number, and being stored in the cyst for its troubles.

Its next update proceeds idenitcally, but first it must be triggered, which happens when the user enters "(add 2 2)\n", firing an urb.send from the event handler. This sends a POST request to /~/to/cli/json.json, perk %mess, ++processed to a %g %mess. Were the mark not %json, a %ford conversion would occur first, and %made:axon would send the gall message proper. In either case, eventually a %mean or %nice arrives, is encoded as json, and sent to the client callback.

A path not taken: magic filenames

The /robots.txt and /favicon.(ico|png) files are static, and served immediately when caught by a ++parse.

XX index.html?

A path not taken: foreign auth

While this example details a login /~/as/own, it is possible to be authenticated as any ship on the network. A request for such seen in %get:process-auth is passed to ++foreign-auth:ya, which sends an %ames /lon message to the ship in question. The foreign ship stores the inquiry, calculates(the local) ++our-host and responds with a /hat, containing the redirection host, which is stored by ++foreign-hat; it is later used to send the client to a /~/am url on the foreign client, which acts as a normal login page but later sends the client back. XX expand, basically the status quo is you're logged in and /~/as/foo is ignored, just setting your urb.user XX

A path not taken: deauthentication

/~/away, perk [%away ~], produces a static ++logout-page:xml, which also uses /~/at/auth.js, to send a DELETE /~/auth.json, perk [%auth %del]. This executes ++logoff:ya for the cookie session, resolving to ++abut to wipe it from memory.

A path not taken: unsubscription

DELETE /~/is/app/path/within works much like PUT /~/is/app/path/within, ++del-subs:ix acting as reverse of ++add-subs by deleting the duct binding and sending %g %nuke.

XX unmentioned arms: abet, add-poll, adit, ames-gram, anon, ares-to-json, bolo, cyst, doze, even, ford-kill, get-mean, gift, give-json, give-thou, gram, hapt, hasp, host-to-ship, ix, ixor, js, kiss, load, mean-json, move, note, pass-note, perk, perk-auth, pest, poke-test, print-subs, render-tang, resp, root-beak, scry, ses-authed, ses-ya, sign, silk, sine, stay, stem, teba, titl, to-oryx, urb, wait-era, wake, whir, wush, xml, ya, ye

Appendix A: DNS

The *.urbit.org domain can be used to access destroyers and cruisers. In the common case oh hosted ships, this is done by dynamic DNS directly to the hosting instance. We do not speak of the uncommon case. When ports are blocked and infrastructure crumbles around you, only imported martian networking can be trusted: the %get and %got grams are used to proxy %this requests and %thou responses respectively.


The %eyre vane serves one purpose: receiving inbound HTTP requests from browsers and clients pretending to be browsers. To facilitate this communication, %eyre does two things: 1. provide an API for traditional clients to talk to; and 2. provide a mechanism for saving state that allows the server to keep track of identities/sessions, subscription data, and active connections.

This document outlines the following:

  1. perk, a pork subset that defines what URLs the client can send to %eyre.

  2. the values stored on the client, both statically in cookies and dynamically as the window.urb object, which facilitate this transaction.

  3. task, the requests %eyre will accept.

  4. gift, the responses it will give to those requests.

  5. note, the set of arvo requests that %eyre makes to the other vanes.

  6. whir, a wire subset, the associated dynamic state

  7. sign, the responses %eyre accepts

  8. bolo, the state stored between separate events.

1. URL structure

There exist several URL forms accepted by %eyre.

1.1 Functional request

The simplest of them is a static %f functional publish request:

  GET /[ship]/[desk]/[case]/path/to/file.[mark]



A case of 0 signifies the most recent version.

If no file extension is provided, the default mark is %urb, which consists of %html injected with an auto-refresh script.

A shorter form:


is prepended with the default request path. For example, if %eyre is configured with a root of /<our>/main/0/pub, then /doc/arvo is interpreted as a request for /=main=/pub/doc/arvo.urb.

Auxiliary paths start with /~/, and provide other functionality, such as:

1.2 Auto-reload

When a new version of a page becomes available, it is useful to propagate it to the client. The %f vane manages the particulars, and provides an update token along with all published pages. The /~/on long-polling endpoint makes use of that token, which is a hash of the server-stored dependency set.

1.3 Authentication

Authenticated requests are accomplished through sessions, tracked with cookies which are set on the first such request.

So far, all the paths specified have been GET requests. Authentication, however, requires sending data. This is also done at the /~/auth.json endpoint.

1.4 Messaging

1.5 Subscriptions

1.6 Ablative

These interfaces will temporarily exist to aid development, and are to be considered unstable.

2. Client state

Some information is stored on, and provided to, browser clients

2.1 Cookies

Authenticated users receive a cookie on the domain of *.urbit.org. The cookie contains a client session token, keyed by the serving ship.

2.2 Authentication

It is common(e.g. by the %urb mark) to set window.urb to the contents of /~/auth.json:

2.3 Client library

To this object, /main/lib/urb.js adds helpers:

3. Requests

[%born port=@ud], unix init

When the vere process is re/started, a TCP port is bound, HTTP requests on which are the scope of this document. The %born gift informs eyre of this occurrence, which in turn updates its state.

Gifts given in response: none.

[%hiss p=mark q=cage], outbound http

Userspace http request, converted by %ford into an actual hiss.

Gifts given in response: a %sigh

3.1 [%this httq], inbound http

The primary %eyre request type comes from the host system, and constitutes an inbound http request. It consists of five parts:

I. p=[? @if]: a loobean determining whether the request is being made over https, and the client source, an IPv6 address possibly encoding an IPv4 one as .

II. q=meth, an http method

III. r=@t, the unparsed URL

IV. s=mess, an associative list of header keys/values

V. t=(unit octs), the request body, if any.

After r is parsed to a purl, the pork(relative path) determines the resource being served. The first step in handling an http request is classifying its intent.

Gifts given in response: a %thou, or a %that followed by multiple %thars.

3.2 [%thud ~], inbound close

Sent when an unresponded-to request is cancelled. The live effect of the request is looked up, and

3.3 [%thin p=@ud], delivery failure

Sent when a partial response or body fails to arrive. Its duct is the same as that of the original request. This is handled by waiting for the client to reconnect, and if this not occur, unwinding all subscription state.

Gifts given in response: None.

3.4 [%wart sock [path *]], inbound message

Sometimes, messages are received from other ships. They are expected to take the from of a gram.

Gifts given in response: %nice or %mean.

3.4.1 gram

There are three messages of note, all concerning authentication

Gifts given in response: nice?

4. Responses

4.1 [%nice ~], [%mean ares], network acknowledgement

A %nice is given upon receiving an ames message, indicating succesful receipt. %mean is currently unused directly, but reserved for error conditions.

[%sigh p=cage], inbound http response

An HTTP response gets converted to the requested mark, or %tang in case of error.

4.2 [%thou httr], full HTTP response

Most requests are served with one coherent response, consisting of

4.3 [%that httr], partial HTTP response

EventStream responses consist of multiple sequential chunks. Treated as %thou, except the request is kept open.

4.4 [%thar (unit octs)], partial HTTP body

Complementing %that, %thar is a body chunk, containing an event. An empty %thar signals for the connection to be closed.

Body chunks, besides [1 '\0a'](a heartbeat newline), are encoded from even events. The stem becomes the event field, and the content, data lines.

4.4.1 even, event types

There are three events that a client subscription will be given.

5. Vane requests

5.1 [%a %wont sock `[path *]`gram], outbound message

The %a interface provides conveyance of messages over UDP.

Signs a %woot upon message arrival.

All open subscriptions require a "heartbeat" newline every ~s30. When this fails to arrive, a complementary timer is set for ~m1, after which the client is considered to have departed. The %b timer interface is used to schedule the next such event, or cancel past scheduled ones when a connection closes.

Signs a %wake upon timer activation.

5.3 [%f %wasp @uvI], dependency listen

Knowledge of filesystem changes, requested by /~/on and /~/in, is requested the %wasp note. It contains the hash token which identifies a set of dependencies to query. Saved as a (livelive] request in case of cancellation when caused by /~/on.

Signs a %writ upon change.

5.4 [%f %exec (unit silk)], functional transformations

The %f interface converts nouns from one form to another. An empty unit represents cancellation.

Signs a %made containing the computation result.

The silks used are as follows:

[%cast %mime %boil mark beam [%web span ~]], file load

The simplest functional request is the construction of a page. Saved as a live request in case of cancellation.

[%cast mark %done ~ cage], convert

This is used when communicating with apps, in both directions.

5.5 %g, app actions

The end goal of many a userspace hymn.hook is to provide UI for a %gall app. To accommodate this, various functionality needs to be interfaced with.

[%mess hapt ship cage], app message

After a /~/to POST has been received, and possibly converted to the correct mark, it is sent to %g for processing. The hapt is the destination, the ship is the source, the cage is the marked message data.

Signs a %nice or %mean, in userspace or upon crashing.

[%show hapt ship path], app subscription

An /~/is PUT, if not already registered, results in a new subscription. A request for such contains the destination hapt, requesting ship, and app-internal path.

Signs a %nice on init, %rush on data, and a %mean in subscription termination.

[%took hapt ship], %rush confirmation

A %took must be sent to acknowledge the receipt of subscription data, which in this case occurs automatically.

Causes no signs.

[%nuke hapt $|(ship [ship path])], subscription cancel

An /~/is DELETE is used to remove a subscription, and is converted straightforwardly to a %nuke. Additionally, when a client disconnects, all of its subscriptions are %nuked to reflect their expiration.

Signs an empty %mean for each open subscription that is closed.

6. In-flight metadata

Various state can be associated with requests, but not necessarily be returned in responses to them.

6.1 ~, dropthrough

If the response should be sent statelessly further up the duct, the wire is empty. This is used in %f pure functional page generation.

6.2 [?(%y %n) ...], stability

The first element of a %b timer path distinguishes between live(%y) and dying(%n) channels.

6.3 /of/[ixor], view

Designates which stream to act upon. Present on %b timer cards.

6.4 /on/<deps>

Present on %f dependency news. Looked up in the state to see if any response is necessary.

6.5 /to/<hasp>/<ship>, app

Present on %f translations of message marks

6.6 /is/[ixor]/{hasp path}, subscription

Subscription requests. Present on %g subscription requests, and %f translations of %rush subscription data.

7. Vane responses

The goal of requests is to cause some manner of result. Specifically,

7.1 [%a %woot ship coop], acknowledgement

A message which has been acknowledged remotely.

7.2 [%b %wake ~], timer

Timer activate. If this is a %y timer, send a newline to each /~/of/[oryx]; if %n and the oryx still has no listeners, wipe its state/subscriptions.

7.3 [%f %news ~], dependency update

This message signifies a hash has changed, and listeners to it should be updated. Results in %news events to concerned streams, and full responses to relevant long-polls.

7.4 [%f %made (each bead (list tank))], compute result

Further action depends on the wire. It can:

7.5 %g, applications

The %g interface sends several responses.

[%nice ~] and [%mean ares], acknowledgment

These are given as a response to %mess, with an empty wire, and %shows, with a subscription wire. The former is served back to the requester(i.e. the remaining duct), and the latter returned to the client.

7.5 [%rush cage], subscription data

A %rush arrives on a subscription wire, and is then sent for conversion to the correct mark. An unexpected %rush is %nuked.

8. Server state

There is a quantity of data that persists between events.

8.1 Global

8.2 live, per-request state

To honor request cancellations, each unserved request must track which effect it is causing.

8.3 sink, per-session state

Each hole has associated authentication state.

8.4 stem, per-view state

Each oryx has active subscription state.

Appendix A: Glossary

Appendix B: EventSource


For more information, see http://dev.w3.org/html5/eventsource/

An EventSource is a stream of events, encoded in a conceptually infinite GET request. Each event is formatted as

  id: {number}
  event: {type}
  data: {contents}
  data: {more-contents}

Data lines are joined by ASCII 10 newline characters; multiple newlines signify separate events. The id is used in a Last-Event-ID HTTP request header upon reconnection.