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HTTP Serving

In this guide, you'll learn how to make DBOS workflows accessible through HTTP.

Any function can be made into an HTTP endpoint by annotating it with an endpoint decorator, causing DBOS to use that function to serve that endpoint. You can apply an endpoint decorator either to a new function without any other decorators or to an existing function with an @Transaction, @Workflow, or @Communicator decorator. In the latter case, the order of the decorators doesn't matter. Here's an example of a new function with an endpoint decorator:

static async greetingEndpoint(ctx: HandlerContext, @ArgSource(ArgSources.URL) name: string) {
return `Greeting, ${name}`;

Here's an example applying an endpoint decorator to an existing transaction (from our quickstart):

static async clearTransaction(ctxt: TransactionContext<Knex>, @ArgSource(ArgSources.URL) user: string) {
await ctxt.client.raw("DELETE FROM dbos_hello WHERE NAME = ?", [user]);
return `Cleared greet_count for ${user}!\n`;

DBOS currently supports two endpoint decorators, GetApi (HTTP GET) and PostApi (HTTP POST). Each associates a function with an HTTP URL.


You might be wondering why we don't talk about setting up an HTTP server. That's because DBOS is a serverless framework: we launch and manage the server for you when you start your app with npx dbos-sdk start, using the endpoints and configuration you specify with decorators.


A function annotated with an endpoint decorator but no other decorators is called a handler and must take a HandlerContext as its first argument, like in the first example above. Handlers can invoke other functions and directly access HTTP requests and responses. However, DBOS makes no guarantees about handler execution: if a handler fails, it is not automatically retried. You should use handlers when you need to access HTTP responses directly or when you are writing a lightweight task that does not need the strong guarantees of transactions and workflows.

Inputs and HTTP Requests

Any DBOS method invoked via HTTP request can access the raw request from its context.request field.

When a function has arguments other than its context (e.g., name: String in the snippets above), DBOS automatically parses them from the HTTP request, and returns an error to the client if arguments were not provided.

Arguments are parsed from three places by default:

  1. For GET requests, from a URL query string parameter.
  2. For POST requests, from an HTTP body field.
  3. From an URL path parameter, if there are placeholders specified in the decorated URL.

In all cases, the parameter name must match the function argument name (unless @ArgName is specified). In the first snippet above, /clear/:name matches name: string. Default input parsing behavior can be configured using the @ArgSource parameter decorator. For example, in the greetingEndpoint snippet above the @ArgSource(ArgSources.URL) decorator configures the function to parse its user argument from the endpoint URL's :user path parameter.

By default, DBOS automatically validates parsed inputs, throwing an error if a function is missing required inputs or if the input received is of a different type than specified in the method signature. Validation can be turned off at the class level using @DefaultArgOptional or controlled at the parameter level using @ArgRequired and @ArgOptional.

Outputs and HTTP Responses

By default, if a function invoked via HTTP request returns successfuly, its return value is sent in the HTTP response body with status code 200 (or 204 if nothing is returned). If the function throws an exception, the error message is sent in the response body with a 400 or 500 status code. If the error contains a status field, the handler uses that status code instead.

If you need custom HTTP response behavior, you can use a handler to access the HTTP response directly. DBOS uses Koa for HTTP serving internally and the raw response can be accessed via the .koaContext.response field of HandlerContext, which provides a Koa response.


DBOS supports running custom Koa middleware for serving HTTP requests. Middlewares are configured at the class level through the @KoaMiddleware decorator. Here is an example of a simple middleware looking for an HTTP header:

import { Middleware } from "koa";

const middleware: Middleware = async (ctx, next) => {
const contentType = ctx.request.headers["Content-Type"];
await next();

class Hello {