Method and Path

We saw that the env hash that Rack passes to the method call contains the keys REQUEST_METHOD and PATH_INFO.

Let’s modify our app a little so we can make use of it:

class Application
  def call(env)
    handle_request(env['REQUEST_METHOD'], env['PATH_INFO'])


    def handle_request(method, path)
      if method == "GET"

    def get(path)
      [200, { "Content-Type" => "text/html" }, ["You have requested the path #{path}, using GET"]]

    def method_not_allowed(method)
      [405, {}, ["Method not allowed: #{method}"]]

Reading the code closely, do you understand what it does, and why?

We have changed the method call to extract the values for the keys REQUEST_METHOD and PATH_INFO. And we then pass these two values to a new method handle_request, which checks the request method. Keep in mind that method here is just a variable name that refers to the HTTP concept of a “request method”. This, of course, is not the same as a Ruby method, it’s just a variable that will hold a string such as GET, POST depending on the HTTP request.

Because these response arrays are the return values of these two methods, they’ll also be the return value of the method handle_request, and it turn the method call. So they’ll be passed back to Rack, and turned into the actual HTTP response that is returned to your browser.

If you restart your server, and point your browser to http://localhost:9292/ruby/monstas you should now see something like this:


You have just written your first web application that responds to different requests with (albeit only slightly) different responses.

Imagine working on this application more, and returning different HTML pages based on the path that is part of the request: You could use the ERB rendering method from the previous chapters about ERB in order to render different ERB templates.

And guess what, this is exactly what Sinatra makes super easy :)

In case you are wondering how to test the response for request methods other than GET, that’s not so easy without knowing more about HTML forms. However, if your computer has curl installed (a commandline tool to execute HTTP requests) you can try this:

curl -i -X POST http://localhost:9292

For me this outputs:

HTTP/1.1 405 Method Not Allowed

As well as a bunch of other response headers.