Unicode, Redirects, and More


Routes assumes UTF-8 encoding on incoming URLs, and url and url_for also generate UTF-8. You can change the encoding with the map.charset attribute:

map.charset = "latin-1"

New in Routes 1.10: several bugfixes.

Redirect Routes

Redirect routes allow you to specify redirects in the route map, similar to RewriteRule in an Apache configuration. This avoids the need to define dummy controller actions just to handle redirects. It’s especially useful when the URL structure changes and you want to redirect legacy URLs to their new equivalents. The redirection is done by the Routes middleware, and the WSGI application is not called.

map.redirect takes two positional arguments: the route path and the destination URL. Redirect routes do not have a name. Both paths can contain variables, and the route path can take inline requirements. Keyword arguments are the same as map.connect, both in regards to extra variables and to route options.

map.redirect("/legacyapp/archives/{url:.*}", "/archives/{url}")

map.redirect("/legacyapp/archives/{url:.*}", "/archives/{url}")

By default a “302 Found” HTTP status is issued. You can override this with the _redirect_code keyword argument. The value must be an entire status string.

map.redirect("/home/index", "/", _redirect_code="301 Moved Permanently")

New in Routes 1.10.


Mappers now have a formatted string representation. In your python shell, simply print your application’s mapper:

>>> map.collection("entries", "entry")
>>> print map
Route name   Methods Path                        Controller action
entries      GET     /entries{.format}           entry      index
create_entry POST    /entries{.format}           entry      create
new_entry    GET     /entries/new{.format}       entry      new
entry        GET     /entries/{id}{.format}      entry      show
update_entry PUT     /entries/{id}{.format}      entry      update
delete_entry DELETE  /entries/{id}{.format}      entry      delete
edit_entry   GET     /entries/{id}/edit{.format} entry      edit

New in Routes 1.12.

Controller/action fields new in Routes 2.1


The mapper attribute .matchlist contains the list of routes to be matched against incoming URLs. You can iterate this list to see what routes are defined. This can be useful when debugging route configurations.


If your application is behind an HTTP proxy such a load balancer on another host, the WSGI environment will refer to the internal server rather than to the proxy, which will mess up generated URLs. Use the ProxyMiddleware in PasteDeploy to fix the WSGI environment to what it would have been without the proxy.

To debug routes, turn on debug logging for the “routes.middleware” logger. (See Python’s logging module to set up your logging configuration.)

Backward compatibility

The following syntaxes are allowed for compatibility with previous versions of Routes. They may be removed in the future.

Omitting the name arg

In the tutorial we said that nameless routes can be defined by passing None as the first argument. You can also omit the first argument entirely:

map.connect(None, "/{controller}/{action}")

The syntax with None is preferred to be forward-compatible with future versions of Routes. It avoids the path argument changing position between the first and second arguments, which is unpythonic.


Path variables were defined in the format :varname and :(varname) prior to Routes 1.9. The form with parentheses was called “grouping”, used to delimit the variable name from a following letter or number. Thus the old syntax “/:controller/:(id)abc” corresponds to the new syntax “/{controller}/{id}abc”.

The older wildcard syntax is *varname or *(varname):

# OK because the following component is static.

# Deprecated syntax.  WRONG because the wildcard will eat the rest of the
# URL, leaving nothing for the following variable, which will cause the
# match to fail.


Minimization was a misfeature which was intended to save typing, but which often resulted in the wrong route being chosen. Old applications that still depend on it must now enable it by putting map.minimization = True in their route definitions.

Without minimization, the URL must contain values for all path variables in the route:

map.connect("basic", "/{controller}/{action}",
    controller="mycontroller", action="myaction", weather="sunny")

This route matches any two-component URL, for instance “/help/about”. The resulting routing variables would be:

{"controller": "help", "action": "about", "weather": "sunny"}

The path variables are taken from the URL, and any extra variables are added as constants. The extra variables for “controller” and “action” are never used in matching, but are available as default values for generation:

url("basic", controller="help") => "/help/about?weather=sunny"

With minimization, the same route path would also match shorter URLs such as “/help”, “/foo”, and “/”. Missing values on the right of the URL would be taken from the extra variables. This was intended to lessen the number of routes you had to write. In practice it led to obscure application bugs because sometimes an unexpected route would be matched. Thus Routes 1.9 introduced non-minimization and recommended “map.minimization = False” for all new applications.

A corollary problem was generating the wrong route. Routes 1.9 tightened up the rule for generating named routes. If a route name is specified in url() or url_for(), only that named route will be chosen. In previous versions, it might choose another route based on the keyword args.

Implicit defaults and route memory

Implicit defaults worked with minimization to provide automatic default values for the “action” and “id” variables. If a route was defined as map.connect("/{controller}/{action}/{id}") and the URL "/archives" was requested, Routes would implicitly add action="index", id=None to the routing variables.

To enable implicit defaults, set map.minimization = True; map.explicit = False. You can also enable implicit defaults on a per-route basis by setting map.explicit = True and defining each route with a keyword argument explicit=False.

Previous versions also had implicit default values for “controller”, “action”, and “id”. These are now disabled by default, but can be enabled via map.explicit = True. This also enables route memory


url_for was a route generation function which was replaced by the url object. Usage is the same except that url_for uses route memory in some cases and url never does. Route memory is where variables from the current URL (the current request) are injected into the generated URL. To use route memory with url, call url.current() passing the variables you want to override. Any other variables needed by the route will be taken from the current routing variables.

In other words, url_for combines url and url.current() into one function. The location of url_for is also different. url_for is properly imported from routes:

from routes import url_for

url_for was traditionally imported into WebHelpers, and it’s still used in some tests and in webhelpers.paginate. Many old Pylons applications contain h.url_for() based on its traditional importation to helpers.py. However, its use in new applications is discouraged both because of its ambiguous syntax and because its implementation depends on an ugly singleton.

The url object is created by the RoutesMiddleware and inserted into the WSGI environment. Pylons makes it available as pylons.url, and in templates as url.


This combined url_for with a redirect. Instead, please use your framework’s redirect mechanism with a url call. For instance in Pylons:

from pylons.controllers.util import redirect