GSoC 2023: Wrap-up

It’s been a while since my last GSoC project status update, but after almost 3 months in, my adventure is coming to an end and I would like to give a final and brief wrap-up of what I’ve been working on lately and what changes took place during this time.

In my last article about the project I left off by talking about VictoriaMetrics and how most of the endpoints would need to proxy requests to it. Initially, I thought that we needed to manipulate the data that VictoriaMetrics returned - to manipulate data you also have to parse it first. This is the snippet of code that I first wrote to proxy requests to VM

impl VictoriaMetricsClient {
    pub async fn query(
        params: Vec<(String, String)>
    ) -> Result<Vec<victoriametrics::Result>, String> {
        let res = self.client.get(&self.config.url)
            .map_err(|e| e.to_string())?;

        if res.status().as_str() != "200" {
            let err_res = res.json::<victoriametrics::ErrorResponse>()

            return Err(err_res.error);

        if let Ok(response) = res.json::<victoriametrics::Response>().await {
            return Ok(;

        Err("something went wrong during VM data deserialization".into())

Why would you need to parse the data and then return it, you might ask? I am asking myself the same thing right now, it doesn’t make sense at all! I later found out that we could actually just skip parsing and return the same response that VM returned to the service, that’s the whole point of calling it "proxy". Needless to say that I completely refactored the way I proxy requests to VictoriaMetrics.

pub async fn query(
    params: &Vec<(String, String)>
) -> HttpResponse {
    let req = self.client.get(&self.config.url).query(params);
    if req.is_err() {
        return HttpResponse::InternalServerError()
            .body("Encountered error while building request")

    let res = req.unwrap()
        .basic_auth(&self.config.username, &self.config.passwd)
        .insert_header(("User-Agent", "awc/3.0"))

    if let Ok(res) = res {
        return res.into_http_response();


This might look similar to the previous implementation, probably because it is, but instead of parsing the data I am just fetching the response and transforming it into an HttpResponse with the help of that into_http_response method.

IntoHttpResponse is a little trait that I’ve found on while I was searching for good ways to return ClientResponse as an HttpResponse.

/// Trait for converting a [`ClientResponse`] into a [`HttpResponse`].
/// You can implement this trait on your types, of course, but its
/// main goal is to enable [`ClientResponse`] as return value in
/// [`impl Responder`](actix_web::Responder) contexts.
/// [`ClientResponse`]: ClientResponse
/// [`HttpResponse`]: HttpResponse
pub trait IntoHttpResponse {
    /// Creates a [`HttpResponse`] from `self`.
    /// [`HttpResponse`]: HttpResponse
    fn into_http_response(self) -> HttpResponse;
    /// Wraps the [`HttpResponse`] created by [`into_http_response`]
    /// in a `Result`.
    /// # Errors
    /// Because [`into_http_response`] is infallible, this method is,
    /// too.
    /// So calling this method never fails and never returns an `Err`.
    /// [`HttpResponse`]: HttpResponse
    /// [`into_http_response`]: Self::into_http_response
    fn into_wrapped_http_response<E>(self) -> Result<HttpResponse, E>
        Self: Sized,

This is usually referred to as an extension trait and it is a common patter used in Rust when you want to extend types that you don’t own, they are very useful especially when you want to extend types in the std library:

  1. Define a public local trait

  2. Make an implementation of the trait for the external type

With that in place, I can now implement it for any external type that I desire - in this case it’s going to be ClientResponse.

impl IntoHttpResponse for ClientResponse<dev::Decompress<dev::Payload>> {
    fn into_http_response(self) -> HttpResponse {
        let mut response = HttpResponse::build(self.status());
        for header in self.headers() {
            // Copy every header into the new response
        // Stream the rest of the data

This looks a lot more like proxying requests: the same response that VM returns to the service is then sent back to the user as is - same headers, same status, same payload.

If you paid close attention you might have noticed that reqwest does not have a type ClientResponse and that’s because I’m no longer using reqwest. While I was looking for a way to perform proxy requests I also discovered that actix_web used to have its own built-in client for making external HTTP requests which later was places in its own crate: awc. I’ve read multiple discussions where @rojtende (a major actix_web maintainer) talked about the better performances of awc compared to reqwest, so I sticked with it and included it in the project dependencies.

// Cargo.toml
awc = { version = "3.1.1", features = ["openssl"] }
openssl = "0.10.57"

openssl is required since I’m making secure & authenticated requests to VM.

I’ve also refactored the VM client interface so that it’s clean and simpler to use

impl ProxyRequestBuilder {
    pub fn new() -> Self {
        let params = Vec::with_capacity(4);
        Self { params }

    pub fn query(mut self, query: impl Into<String>) -> Self {
        self.params.push(("query".into(), query.into()));

    pub fn label(mut self, label: &str, fingerprint: Option<String>) -> Self {
        let q = match fingerprint {
            Some(f) => format!("{}{{fingerprint='{}'}}", label, f),
            None => label.to_string()
        self.params.push(("query".into(), q));

    pub fn start(mut self, start: impl Into<String>) -> Self {
        self.params.push(("start".into(), start.into()));

    pub fn end(mut self, end: impl Into<String>) -> Self {
        self.params.push(("end".into(), end.into()));

With this overhaul of the previous client I can query VM directly from any handler with a very minimal amount of code

pub async fn get_weights(
    vm: web::Data<Arc<VictoriaMetricsProxy>>,
    params: VmProxyQueryFilters
) -> Result<HttpResponse, Error> {
    if params.r#type == Some(ParametersType::Bridge) {
        return Ok(HttpResponse::BadRequest().body("metric not available for bridge type"));

    let req = ProxyRequestBuilder::new()
        .label(MetricsLabel::NetworkExitFraction.as_str(),|x| x.into()))

    let res = vm.send(req).await;
    if res.status() != http::StatusCode::OK {
        return Ok(HttpResponse::InternalServerError().into());


This new client was the major re-design that I’ve worked on during this month, I have only taken the interesting pieces in this article so if you want to see the full implementation you can take a look at the victoriametrics module in the service.

Last but not least, I’ve started to write some integration tests for the APIs with the help of a great book that I recommend: Zero to Production in Rust written by a fellow italian software engineer. The concept is pretty simple - you have a method that spawns your application with mocked data and a database connection

pub struct TestApp {
    pub addr: String,

pub async fn spawn_app() -> TestApp {
    let listener = TcpListener::bind("")
        .expect("failed to bind to random port");
    let port = listener.local_addr().unwrap().port();
    let addr = format!("{}", port);
    let conn_pool = configure_database().await;

    let mut path = std::env::current_dir().unwrap();

    let path_str = path.to_str().unwrap();
    let factory = ResponseFactory::with_config(path_str.to_string())
        .expect("error creating factory");

    let vm_config = VictoriaMetricsProxyConfig::with("testurl".into(), "testusername".into(), "testpasswdn".into());

    let server = run(listener, conn_pool, factory, vm_config)
        .expect("error running server");
    let _ = tokio::spawn(server);
    TestApp { addr }

async fn configure_database() -> SqlitePool {
    let conn = SqlitePool::connect(":memory:")
        .expect("could not connect to sqlite in-mem database");

    // run other migrations and data insertions here


You can then test each of your endpoints with an HTTP client, just as you would if you were querying each and every single endpoint by typing out curl commands. Here’s a simple example

async fn make_weights_req(
    params: Vec<(&str, &str)>
) -> ClientResponse<dev::Decompress<dev::Payload>> {
    let app = spawn_app().await;
    let client = awc::Client::new();
    client.get(&format!("{}/weights", app.addr))

async fn weights_test_invalid_lookup() {
    let req = make_weights_req(vec![("lookup", "invalid")]).await;
    assert_eq!(req.status().as_str(), "400");

async fn weights_test_invalid_type() {
    let req = make_weights_req(vec![("type", "non_existent_type")]).await;
    assert_eq!(req.status().as_str(), "400");

// and so on ...

Luca in his book sets up a much more complex pipeline and uses a Postgres database to test the app but I wanted to make things simpler and I did not want to spin up a Pg instance every time I need to run tests, so I am using an in-memory sqlite connection which is great and works like a charm.

Documentation is another aspect that I curated during this last month, you can consult it directly from the Wiki of the project and it’s a swagger-like description of the APIs in markdown format so that future clients have a spec to look at when they will want to adopt this new service.

That sums up the work that I’ve done on the Network Status APIs for the last couple of months and I am really satisfied with the result. We now have deployed internally this initial version of the APIs for us to use and we are making sure that the service behaves as expected and performs at its best as well.

My final thoughts on this GSoC experience are super positive. Contributing to open-source software not only is rewarding on its own, especially if you are developing software for a well known project that is used by thousands of people around the world, but it’s especially a great opportunity to meet other software engineers that will review your code, you can read their code and with which you can come up with solutions to engineering problems that will eventually enrich your knowledge in the field. If you have the opportunity I would definitely recommend it.

It’s been a great journey, so good indeed that I’ve already told my mentors that I’ll be sticking around and continue to maintain my project even after GSoC, and maybe help them out with some other projects, who knows :)

Until next time, happy coding!