Announcing Axum

July 30, 2021

Today we are happy to announce axum: An easy to use, yet powerful, web framework designed to take full advantage of the Tokio ecosystem.

High level features

  • Route requests to handlers with a macro free API.
  • Declaratively parse requests using extractors.
  • Simple and predictable error handling model.
  • Generate responses with minimal boilerplate.
  • Take full advantage of the tower and tower-http ecosystem of middleware, services, and utilities.

In particular the last point is what sets axum apart from existing frameworks. axum doesn't have its own middleware system but instead uses tower::Service. This means axum gets timeouts, tracing, compression, authorization, and more, for free. It also enables you to share middleware with applications written using hyper or tonic.

Usage examples

The "hello world" of axum looks like this:

use axum::prelude::*;
use std::net::SocketAddr;

async fn main() {
    let app = route("/", get(root));

    let addr = SocketAddr::from(([127, 0, 0, 1], 3000));

async fn root() -> &'static str {
    "Hello, World!"

This will respond to GET / with a 200 OK response where the body is Hello, World!. Any other requests will result in a 404 Not Found response.


Requests can be parsed declaratively using "extractors". An extractor is a type that implements FromRequest. Extractors can be used as arguments to handlers and will run if the request URI matches.

For example, Json is an extractor that consumes the request body and parses it as JSON:

use axum::{prelude::*, extract::Json};
use serde::Deserialize;

struct CreateUser {
    username: String,

async fn create_user(Json(payload): Json<CreateUser>) {
    // `payload` is a `CreateUser`

let app = route("/users", post(create_user));

axum ships with many useful extractors such as:

  • Bytes, String, Body, and BodyStream for consuming the request body.
  • Method, HeaderMap, and Uri for getting specific parts of the request.
  • Form, Query, UrlParams, and UrlParamsMap for more high level request parsing.
  • [Extension] for sharing state across handlers.
  • Request<hyper::Body> if you want full control.
  • Result<T, E> and Option<T> to make an extractor optional.

You can also define your own by implementing FromRequest.

Building responses

Handlers can return anything that implements IntoResponse and it will automatically be converted into a response:

use http::StatusCode;
use axum::response::{Html, Json};
use serde_json::{json, Value};

// We've already seen returning &'static str
async fn text() -> &'static str {
    "Hello, World!"

// String works too
async fn string() -> String {
    "Hello, World!".to_string()

// Returning a tuple of `StatusCode` and another `IntoResponse` will
// change the status code
async fn not_found() -> (StatusCode, &'static str) {
    (StatusCode::NOT_FOUND, "not found")

// `Html` gives a content-type of `text/html`
async fn html() -> Html<&'static str> {
    Html("<h1>Hello, World!</h1>")

// `Json` gives a content-type of `application/json` and works with any type
// that implements `serde::Serialize`
async fn json() -> Json<Value> {
    Json(json!({ "data": 42 }))

This means in practice you rarely have to build your own Responses. You can also implement IntoResponse to create your own domain specific responses.


Multiple routes can be combined using a simple DSL:

use axum::prelude::*;

let app = route("/", get(root))
    .route("/users", get(list_users).post(create_user))
    .route("/users/:id", get(show_user).delete(delete_user));


axum supports middleware from tower and tower-http:

use axum::prelude::*;
use tower_http::{compression::CompressionLayer, trace::TraceLayer};
use tower::ServiceBuilder;
use std::time::Duration;

let middleware_stack = ServiceBuilder::new()
    // timeout all requests after 10 seconds
    // add high level tracing of requests and responses
    // compression responses
    // convert the `ServiceBuilder` into a `tower::Layer`

let app = route("/", get(|| async { "Hello, World!" }))
    // wrap our application in the middleware stack

This feature is key as it allows us to write middleware once and share them across applications. For example, axum doesn't have to provide its own tracing/logging middleware, TraceLayer from tower-http can be used directly. That same middleware can be also be used for clients or servers made with tonic.

Routing to any tower::Service

axum can also route requests to any tower leaf service. Could be one you write using service_fn or something from another crate, such as ServeFile from tower-http:

use axum::{service, prelude::*};
use http::Response;
use std::convert::Infallible;
use tower::{service_fn, BoxError};
use tower_http::services::ServeFile;

let app = route(
    // Any request to `/` goes to a some `Service`
    service::any(service_fn(|_: Request<Body>| async {
        let res = Response::new(Body::from("Hi from `GET /`"));
        Ok::<_, Infallible>(res)
    // GET `/static/Cargo.toml` goes to a service from tower-http

Learn more

This is just a small sample of what axum provides. Error handling, web sockets, and parsing multipart/form-data requests are some features not shown here. See the docs for more details.

We also encourage you to check out the examples in the repo to see some slightly larger applications written with axum.

As always, if you have questions you can find us in the Tokio Discord server.

ā€” David Pedersen (@davidpdrsn)