A RouteHandler for IHttpHandlers

asp.net, code comments edit

This code has been incorporated into a new RouteMagic library I wrote which includes Source Code on CodePlex.com as well as a NuGet package!

I saw a bug on Connect today in which someone offers the suggestion that the PageRouteHandler (new in ASP.NET 4) should handle IHttpHandler as well as Page.

I don’t really agree with the suggestion because while a Page is an IHttpHandler, an IHttpHandler is not a Page. What I this person really wants is a new handler specifically for http handlers. Let’s give it the tongue twisting name: IHttpHandlerRouteHandler.

Unfortunately, it’s too late to add this for ASP.NET 4, but it turns out such a thing is trivially easy to write. In fact, here it is.

public class HttpHandlerRouteHandler<THandler> 
    : IRouteHandler where THandler : IHttpHandler, new() {
  public IHttpHandler GetHttpHandler(RequestContext requestContext) {
    return new THandler();

Of course, by itself it’s not all that useful. We need extension methods to make it really easy to register routes for http handlers. I wrote a set of those, but will only post two examples here on my blog. To get the full set download the sample project at the very end of this post.

public static class HttpHandlerExtensions {
  public static void MapHttpHandler<THandler>(this RouteCollection routes,     string url) where THandler : IHttpHandler, new() {
    routes.MapHttpHandler<THandler>(null, url, null, null);
  public static void MapHttpHandler<THandler>(this RouteCollection routes, 
      string name, string url, object defaults, object constraints) 
      where THandler : IHttpHandler, new() { 
    var route = new Route(url, new HttpHandlerRouteHandler<THandler>());
    route.Defaults = new RouteValueDictionary(defaults);
    route.Constraints = new RouteValueDictionary(constraints);
    routes.Add(name, route);

This now allows me to register a route which is handled by an IHttpHandler very easily. In this case, I’m registering a route that will use my SimpleHttpHandler to handle any two segment URL.

public static void RegisterRoutes(RouteCollection routes) {

And here’s the code for SampleHttpHandler for completeness. All it does is print out the route values.

public class SampleHttpHandler : IHttpHandler {
  public bool IsReusable {
    get { return false; }

  public void ProcessRequest(HttpContext context) {
    var routeValues = context.Request.RequestContext.RouteData.Values;
    string message = "I saw foo='{0}' and bar='{1}'";
    message = string.Format(message, routeValues["foo"], routeValues["bar"]);


When I make a request for /testing/yo I’ll see the message

I saw foo=’testing’ and bar=’yo’

in my browser. Very cool.


One limitation here is that my http handler has to have a parameterless constructor. That’s not really that bad of a limitation since to register an HTTP Handler in the old way you had to make sure that the handler had an empty constructor.

However, this code that I wrote for this blog post is based on code that I added to Subtext. In that code, I am passing an IKernel (I’m using Ninject) to my HttpRouteHandler. That way, my route handler will use Ninject to instantiate the http handler and thus my http handlers aren’t required to have a parameterless constructor.

Try it out!

The RouteMagic solution includes a sample project that demonstrates all this.