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MoonGem is a Gemini protocol server written in C. It supports serving static files as well as Gemtext (.gmi) files with inline Lua scripting.

An example page might look like this:

# Example 1

Lua scripts are enclosed by double curly-braces.

{{ for i = 1, 10 do mg.line(i) end }}

# Example 2

If a script returns a string, that string will be written to the page verbatim.

{{ return "Meow!" }}

# Example 3

  mg.head("Script blocks may span multiple lines", 2)
  mg.line("There are several methods that modify response headers")


  • OpenSSL 1.1.1 or later
  • Lua 5.4 (5.3 may work but I haven't tried it)
  • LibMagic
  • LibEvent 2.1


git clone https://git.panda-roux.dev/MoonGem
cd MoonGem && git submodule update --init
cmake -B build . && cd build
make && sudo make install


Usage: moongem [options] --cert=cert.pem --key=key.pem
   or: moongem [options] -c cert.pem -k key.pem

A Gemini server with inline Lua scripting for generating dynamic content

    -h, --help            show this help message and exit

    -c, --cert=<str>      (required) certificate file path (.pem)
    -k, --key=<str>       (required) key file path (.pem)

    -p, --port=<int>      port to listen for Gemini requests on (default: 1965)

    -r, --root=<str>      root directory from which to serve content (default: current)
    -c, --chunk=<int>     size in bytes of the chunks loaded into memory while serving static files (default: 16384)

    -b, --before=<str>    script to be run before each request is handled
    -a, --after=<str>     script to be run after a request has resulted in a success response code (20)
    -e, --error=<str>     script to be run after a request has resulted in an error response code (40 thru 59)


The start and end of script sections are indicated with a double curly-braces.

  • Start: {{
  • End: }}

All of the MoonGem-defined functionality is contained within a table called mg.


These methods are only accessible from pre-request scripts.

  • `mg.set_path()
    • Sets the value of the incoming request path, overriding the initial value
    • This can be useful for implementing virtual directories and other URL-reinterpretation features
  • mg.interrupt()
    • Instructs MoonGem to bypass the rest of the requet-handling pipeline and use the current response state
    • Unless otherwise set, the default response status code will be 20 (OK)


These methods modify the body of the Gemini page.

  • mg.include(<file-path>)
    • Inserts the contents of the file at into the page verbatim
    • The file is not processed in any way
  • mg.write(<text>)
    • Writes text to the page
  • mg.line([text])
    • Writes text to the page followed by a line break
  • mg.link(<url>, [text])
    • Writes a link to url on the page, and optionally includes the alt-text text
  • mg.head(<text>, [level])
    • Writes a header line containing text to the page, with an optional header level
    • The default header level is 1 (i.e. a single '#' character)
  • mg.quote(<text>)
    • Writes text in a quotation line to the page
  • mg.block(<text>)
    • Writes text in a preformatted block to the page
  • mg.begin_block([alt-text])
    • Writes the beginning of a preformatted block to the page, with optional alt-text
  • mg.end_block()
    • Writes the end of a preformatted block to the page
    • Should follow mg.begin_block

These methods modify the response header.

If a method is called which modifies the response's status code (which all but the first of these do), then no further scripts will be run and the server will send the response immediately.

  • mg.set_language(<language>)

    • Sets the lang portion of the response header, indicating the language(s) that the page is written in
  • mg.success()

    • Sets the response status code to 20 (OK)
    • Only really useful in pre- and post-request scripts
  • mg.temp_redirect(<url>)

    • Responds with a code-30 temporary redirect to url
  • mg.redirect(<url>)

    • Responds with a code-31 redirect to url
  • The following methods each causes the server to respond with one of the status codes in the 40 to 60 range. An optional meta string may be appended to the response in order to provide the client with more information.

    • mg.temp_failure([meta])
    • mg.unavailable([meta])
    • mg.cgi_error([meta])
    • mg.proxy_error([meta])
    • mg.slow_down([meta])
    • mg.failure([meta])
    • mg.not_found([meta])
    • mg.gone([meta])
    • mg.proxy_refused([meta])
    • mg.bad_request([meta])
    • mg.cert_required([meta])
    • mg.unauthorized([meta])


These methods are concerned with handling user-input.

  • mg.get_path()
    • Returns the path portion of the requested URL
  • mg.get_input([meta])
    • If an input argument was included in the request URL, this method returns that value
    • If no input was provided in the request, then the server responds with a code-10 status response and optional meta string
  • mg.get_sensitive_input([meta])
    • Same as mg.get_input, but uses status code 11
    • Client support for this is status code is not guaranteed
  • mg.has_input()
    • Returns true if there was an input argument included in the request
    • Otherwise returns false


  • mg.get_cert([meta])
    • If a client certificate was provided along with the request, then a table with the following members is returned:
      • fingerprint: a string representing an SHA256 hash of the certificate's modulus in hexadecimal format
      • not_after: a unix timestamp representing the expiration time of the certificate
    • If no client certificate was provided with the request, then the server responds with a code-60 status and optional meta string
      • If client certificates are an optional feature of your application, use mg.has_cert to check whether one exists before calling this method in order to avoid the code-60 response
    • TODO: fetch additional fields from the cert (CN, etc.)
  • mg.has_cert()
    • Returns true if a client certificate was included along with the request
    • Otherwise returns false