Services and APIs

Simplifying (micro-)service development

Encore makes it simple to build applications with one or many services, without needing to manually handle the typical complexity of developing microservices.

Defining a service

With Encore you define a service by defining one or more APIs within a regular Go package. Encore recognizes this as a service, and uses the package name as the service name. When deploying, Encore will automatically provision the required infrastructure for each service.

On disk it might look like this:

/my-app ├── // ... and other top-level project files │ ├── hello // hello service (a Go package) │   ├── hello.go // hello service code │   └── hello_test.go // tests for hello service │ └── world // world service (a Go package) └── world.go // world service code

This means building a microservices architecture is as simple as creating multiple Go packages within your application. See the app structure documentation for more details.

Defining APIs

To define an API, add the //encore:api annotation any regular Go function. This tells Encore that the function is an API endpoint. Encore will then automatically generate the necessary boilerplate at compile-time.

In the example below, we define the API endpoint Ping, in the hello service, which gets exposed as hello.Ping.

package hello // service name //encore:api public func Ping(ctx context.Context, params *PingParams) (*PingResponse, error) { msg := fmt.Sprintf("Hello, %s!", params.Name) return &PingResponse{Message: msg}, nil }

Request and response schemas

In the example above we defined an API that uses request and response schemas. The request data is of type PingParams and the response data of type PingResponse. That means we need to define them like so:

package hello // service name // PingParams is the request data for the Ping endpoint. type PingParams struct { Name string } // PingResponse is the response data for the Ping endpoint. type PingResponse struct { Message string } // Ping is an API endpoint that responds with a simple response. // This is exposed as "hello.Ping". //encore:api public func Ping(ctx context.Context, params *PingParams) (*PingResponse, error) { msg := fmt.Sprintf("Hello, %s!", params.Name) return &PingResponse{Message: msg}, nil }

Request and response schemas are both optional in case you don't need them. That means there are four different ways of defining an API:

  • func Foo(ctx context.Context, p *Params) (*Response, error) when you need both.
  • func Foo(ctx context.Context) (*Response, error) when you only return a response.
  • func Foo(ctx context.Context, p *Params) error when you only respond with success/fail.
  • func Foo(ctx context.Context) error when you need neither request nor response data.

As you can see, two parts are always present: the ctx context.Context parameter and the error return value.

The ctx parameter is used for cancellation. It lets you detect when the caller is no longer interested in the result, and lets you abort the request processing and save resources that nobody needs. Learn more about contexts on the Go blog.

The error return type is always required because APIs can always fail from the caller's perspective. Therefore even though our simple Ping API endpoint above never fails in its implementation, from the perspective of the caller perhaps the service is crashing or the network is down and the service cannot be reached.

This approach is simple but very powerful. It lets Encore use static analysis to understand the request and response schemas of all your APIs, which enables Encore to automatically generate API documentation, type-safe API clients, and much more.

Access controls

When you define an API, you have three options for how it can be accessed:

  • //encore:api public defines a public API that anybody on the internet can call.
  • //encore:api private defines a private API that only backend services in your app can call.
  • //encore:api auth defines a public API that anybody can call, but requires valid authentication.

For more on defining APIs that require authentication, see the authentication guide.


Encore has support for RESTful APIs and lets you easily define resource-oriented API URLs, parse parameters out of them, and more.

To create a REST API, start by defining an endpoint and specify the method and path fields in the //encore:api comment. (Learn more in the API schemas guide.)

To specify a placeholder variable, use :name and add a function parameter with the same name to the function signature. Encore parses the incoming request URL and makes sure it matches the type of the parameter.

For example, if you want to have a GetBlogPost endpoint that takes a numeric id as a parameter:

// GetBlogPost retrieves a blog post by id. //encore:api public method=GET path=/blog/:id func GetBlogPost(ctx context.Context, id int) (*BlogPost, error) { // Use id to query database... }

You can also combine path parameters with body payloads. For example, if you want to have an UpdateBlogPost endpoint:

// UpdateBlogPost updates an existing blog post by id. //encore:api public method=PUT path=/blog/:id func UpdateBlogPost(ctx context.Context, id int, post *BlogPost) error { // Use `post` to update the blog post with the given id. }
Take care

You cannot define paths that conflict with each other, including paths where the static part can be mistaken for a parameter, e.g both /blog and /blog/:id would conflict with /:username.

As a rule of thumb, try to place path parameters at the end of the path and prefix them with the service name, e.g:

GET /blog/posts GET /blog/posts/:id GET /user/profile/:username GET /user/me

Query parameters

When fetching data with GET endpoints, it's common to receive additional parameters for optional behavior, like filtering a list or changing the sort order.

When you use a struct type as the last argument in the function signature, Encore automatically parses these fields from the HTTP query string (for the GET, HEAD, and DELETE methods).

For example, if you want to have a ListBlogPosts endpoint:

type ListParams struct { Limit uint // number of blog posts to return Offset uint // number of blog posts to skip, for pagination } type ListResponse struct { Posts []*BlogPost } //encore:api public method=GET path=/blog func ListBlogPosts(ctx context.Context, opts *ListParams) (*ListResponse, error) { // Use limit and offset to query database... }

This could then be queried as /blog?limit=10&offset=20.

Query parameters are more limited than structured JSON data, and can only consist of basic types (string, bool, integer and floating point numbers), Encore's UUID types, and slices of those types.

Raw endpoints

In case you need to operate at a lower abstraction level, Encore supports defining raw endpoints that let you access the underlying HTTP request. This is often useful for things like accepting webhooks.

To define a raw endpoint, change the //encore:api annotation and function signature like so:

package service import "net/http" // Webhook receives incoming webhooks from Some Service That Sends Webhooks. //encore:api public raw func Webhook(w http.ResponseWriter, req *http.Request) { // ... operate on the raw HTTP request ... }

Like any other Encore API endpoint, once deployed this will be exposed at the URL:
https://<env>-<app-id> Just like regular endpoints, raw endpoints support the use of :id and *wildcard segments.

Experienced Go developers will have already noted this is just a regular Go HTTP handler. (See the net/http documentation for how Go HTTP handlers work.)

You can read more about receiving webhooks in the receive webhooks guide.

Calling APIs

Calling an API endpoint looks like a regular function call with Encore. Import the service package as a regular Go package using import "" and then call the API endpoint like a regular function. Encore will then automatically generate the necessary boilerplate at compile-time.

In the example below, we import the service package hello and call the Ping endpoint using a function call to hello.Ping.

import "" // import service //encore:api public func MyOtherAPI(ctx context.Context) error { resp, err := hello.Ping(ctx, &hello.PingParams{Name: "World"}) if err == nil { log.Println(resp.Message) // "Hello, World!" } return err }

This means your development workflow is as simple as building a monolith, even if you use multiple services. You get all the benefits of function calls, like compile-time checking of all the parameters and auto-completion in your editor, while still allowing the division of code into logical components, services, and systems.

Then when building your application, Encore uses static analysis to parse all API calls and compiles them to proper API calls.

Current Request

By using Encore's current request API you can get meta-information about the current request. Including the type of request, the time the request started, the service and endpoint called and the path which was called on the service.

For more information, see the metadata documentation.

Service Structs

You can also define a service struct which then enables you to define APIs as methods on that service struct. This is primarily helpful for dependency injection.

It works by defining a struct type of your choice (typically called Service) and declaring it with //encore:service. Then, you can define a special function named initService (or initWhatever if you named the type Whatever) that gets called by Encore to initialize your service when it starts up.

It looks like this:

//encore:service type Service struct { // Add your dependencies here } func initService() (*Service, error) { // Write your service initialization code here. } //encore:api public func (s *Service) MyAPI(ctx context.Context) error { // ... }

Calling APIs defined on service structs

When using a service struct like above, Encore will create a file named encore.gen.go in your service directory. This file contains package-level functions for the APIs defined as methods on the service struct. In the example above, you would see:

// Code generated by encore. DO NOT EDIT. package email import "context" // These functions are automatically generated and maintained by Encore // to simplify calling them from other services, as they were implemented as methods. // They are automatically updated by Encore whenever your API endpoints change. func Send(ctx context.Context, p *SendParams) error { // The implementation is elided here, and generated at compile-time by Encore. return nil }

These functions are generated in order to allow other services to keep calling your APIs as package-level functions, in the same way as before: email.Send(...). This means other services do not need to care about whether you're using Dependency Injection internally. You must always use these generated package-level functions for making API calls.

Please note

Encore will automatically generate these files and keep them up to date whenever your code changes. There is no need to manually invoke anything to regenerate this code.

Encore adds all encore.gen.go files to your .gitignore since you typically don't want to commit them to your repository; doing so ends up creating a lot of unnecessary merge conflicts.

However, in some cases when running third-party linters in a CI/CD environment it can be helpful to generate these wrappers to make the linter happy. You can do that by invoking encore gen wrappers.

Graceful Shutdown

When defining a service struct, Encore supports notifying your service when it's time to gracefully shut down. This works by having your service struct implement the method func (s *Service) Shutdown(force context.Context).

If that method exists, Encore will call it when it's time to begin gracefully shutting down. Initially the shutdown is in "graceful mode", which means that you have a few seconds to complete ongoing work.

The provided force context is canceled when the graceful shutdown window is over, and it's time to forcefully shut down. How much time you have from when Shutdown is called to when forceful shutdown begins depends on the cloud provider and the underlying infrastructure. Typically it's in the range 5-30 seconds.

Please note

Encore automatically handles graceful shutdown of all Encore-managed functionality, such as HTTP servers, database connection pools, Pub/Sub message receivers, distributed tracing recorders, and so on.

The graceful shutdown functionality is provided if you have additional, non-Encore-related resources that need graceful shutdown.

Note that graceful shutdown in Encore is cooperative: Encore will wait indefinitely for your Shutdown method to return. If your Shutdown method does not return promptly after the force context is closed, the underlying infrastructure at your cloud provider will typically force-kill your service, which can lead to lingering connections and other such issues.

In summary, when your Shutdown(force context.Context) function is called:

  • Immediately begin gracefully shutting down
  • When the force context is canceled, you should forcefully shut down the resources that haven't yet completed their shutdown
  • Wait until the shutdown is complete before returning from the Shutdown function