Morepath is a micro-framework, and this makes it small and easy to learn. This quickstart guide should help you get started. We assume you’ve already installed Morepath; if not, see the Installation section.

Hello world

Let’s look at a minimal “Hello world!” application in Morepath:

import morepath

app = morepath.App(name='Hello')

class Root(object):

def hello_world(self, request):
    return "Hello world!"

if __name__ == '__main__':
    config = morepath.setup()

You can save this as hello.py and then run it with Python:

$ python hello.py
Running <morepath.App 'Hello'> with wsgiref.simple_server on

If you now go with a web browser to the URL given, you should see “Hello world!” as expected. When you want to stop the server, just press control-C.

This application is a bit bigger than you might be used to in other web micro-frameworks. That’s for a reason: Morepath is not geared to create the most succinct “Hello world!” application but to be effective for building slightly larger applications, all the way up to huge ones.

Let’s go through the hello world app step by step to gain a better understanding.

Code Walkthrough

  1. We import morepath.

  2. We create an instance of morepath.App. This is a WSGI application that we can run. It also contains our application’s configuration: what models and views are available.

  3. We then set up a Root class. Morepath is model-driven and in order to create any views, we first need at least one model, in this case the empty Root class.

    We set up the model as the root of the website (the empty string '' indicates the root, but '/' works too) using the morepath.AppBase.path() decorator.

  4. Now we can create the “Hello world” view. It’s just a function that takes self and request as arguments (we don’t need to use either in this case), and returns the string "Hello world!". The self argument is the instance of the model class that is being viewed.

    We then need to hook up this view with the morepath.AppBase.view() decorator. We say it’s associated with the Root model. Since we supply no explicit name to the decorator, the function is the default view for the Root model on /.

  5. The if __name__ == '__main__' section is a way in Python to make the code only run if the hello.py module is started directly with Python as discussed above. In a real-world application you instead use a setuptools entry point so that a startup script for your application is created automatically.

  6. func:morepath.setup sets up Morepath’s default behavior, and returns a Morepath config object. If your app is in a Python package and you’ve set up the right install_requires in setup.py, consider using morepath.autosetup() to be done in one step.

  7. We then scan() this module (or package) for configuration decorators (such as morepath.AppBase.path() and morepath.AppBase.view()) and cause the registration to be registered using morepath.Config.commit().

    This step ensures your configuration (model routes, views, etc) is loaded exactly once in a way that’s reusable and extensible.

  8. We then run the WSGI app using the default web server. Since app is a WSGI app you can also plug it into any other WSGI server.

This example presents a compact way to organize your code, but for a real project we recommend you read Organizing your Project.


Morepath uses a special routing technique that is different from many other routing frameworks you may be familiar with. Morepath does not route to views, but routes to models instead.


A model is any Python object that represents the content of your application: say a document, or a user, an address, and so on. A model may be a plain in-memory Python object or be backed by a database using an ORM such as SQLAlchemy, or some NoSQL database such as the ZODB. This is entirely up to you; Morepath does not put special requirements on models.

Above we’ve exposed a Root model to the root route /, which is rather boring. To make things more interesting, let’s imagine we have an application to manage users. Here’s our User class:

class User(object):
     def __init__(self, username, fullname, email):
         self.username = username
         self.fullname = fullname
         self.email = email

We also create a simple users database:

users = {}
def add_user(user):
     users[user.username] = user

faassen = User('faassen', 'Martijn Faassen', 'faassen@startifact.com')
bob = User('bob', 'Bob Bobsled', 'bob@example.com')

Publishing models

We want our application to have URLs that look like this:



Here’s the code to expose our users database to such a URL:

@app.path(model=User, path='/users/{username}')
def get_user(username):
    return users.get(username)

The get_user function gets a user model from the users database by using the dictionary get method. If the user doesn’t exist, it returns None. We could’ve fitted a SQLAlchemy query in here instead.

Now let’s look at the decorator. The model argument has the class of the model that we’re putting on the web. The path argument has the URL path under which it should appear.

The path can have variables in it which are between curly braces ({ and }). These variables become arguments to the function being decorated. Any arguments the function has that are not in the path are interpreted as URL parameters.

What if the user doesn’t exist? We want the end-user to see a 404 error. Morepath does this automatically for you when you return None for a model, which is what get_user does when the model cannot be found.

Now we’ve published the model to the web but we can’t view it yet.

For more on this, see Paths and Linking.


In order to actually see a web page for a user model, we need to create a view for it:

def user_info(self, request):
    return "User's full name is: %s" % self.fullname

The view is a function decorated by morepath.AppBase.view() (or related decorators such as morepath.AppBase.json() and morepath.AppBase.html()) that gets two arguments: self, which is the model that this view is working for, so in this case an instance of User, and request which is the current request. request is a morepath.request.Request object (a subclass of webob.request.BaseRequest).

Now the URLs listed above such as /users/faassen will work.

What if we want to provide an alternative view for the user, such as an edit view which allows us to edit it? We need to give it a name:

@app.view(model=User, name='edit')
def edit_user(self, request):
    return "An editing UI goes here"

Now we have functionality on URLs like /users/faassen/edit and /users/bob/edit.

For more on this, see Views.

Linking to models

Morepath is great at creating links to models: it can do it for you automatically. Previously we’ve defined an instance of User called bob. What now if we want to link to the default view of bob? We simply do this:


which generates the path /users/bob for us.

What if we want to see Bob’s edit view? We do this:

request.link(bob, 'edit')

And we get /users/bob/edit.

Using morepath.Request.link`() everywhere for link generation is easy. You only need models and remember which view names are available, that’s it. If you ever have to change the path of your model, you won’t need to adjust any linking code.

For more on this, see Paths and Linking.

JSON and HTML views

@app.view is rather bare-bones. You usually know more about what you want to return than that. If you want to return JSON, you can use the shortcut @app.json instead to declare your view:

@app.json(model=User, name='info')
def user_json_info(self, request):
    return {'username': self.username,
            'fullname': self.fullname,
            'email': self.email}

This automatically serializes what is returned from the function JSON, and sets the content-type header to application/json.

If we want to return HTML, we can use @app.html:

def user_info(self, request):
    return "<p>User's full name is: %s</p>" % self.fullname

This automatically sets the content type to text/html. It doesn’t do any HTML escaping though, so the use of % above is unsafe! We recommend the use of a HTML template language in that case.

Request object

The first argument for a view function is the request object. We’ll give a quick overview of what’s possible here, but consult the WebOb API documentation for more information.


To redirect to another URL, use morepath.redirect(). For example:

@app.view(model=User, name='extra')
def redirecting(self, request):
    return morepath.redirect(request.link(self, 'other'))

HTTP Errors

To trigger an HTTP error response you can raise various WebOb HTTP exceptions (webob.exc). For instance:

from webob.exc import HTTPNotAcceptable

@app.view(model=User, name='extra')
def erroring(self, request):
    raise HTTPNotAcceptable()