Creating a Custom Route Constraint (VB)

by Stephen Walther

Stephen Walther demonstrates how you can create a custom route constraint. We implement a simple custom constraint that prevents a route from being matched when a browser request is made from a remote computer.

The goal of this tutorial is to demonstrate how you can create a custom route constraint. A custom route constraint enables you to prevent a route from being matched unless some custom condition is matched.

In this tutorial, we create a Localhost route constraint. The Localhost route constraint only matches requests made from the local computer. Remote requests from across the Internet are not matched.

You implement a custom route constraint by implementing the IRouteConstraint interface. This is an extremely simple interface which describes a single method:

Function Match ( _
    httpContext As HttpContextBase, _
    route As Route, _
    parameterName As String, _
    values As RouteValueDictionary, _
    routeDirection As RouteDirection _
) As Boolean

The method returns a Boolean value. If you return False, the route associated with the constraint won't match the browser request.

The Localhost constraint is contained in Listing 1.

Listing 1 - LocalhostConstraint.vb

Public Class LocalhostConstraint
    Implements IRouteConstraint
    Public Function Match( _
                ByVal httpContext As HttpContextBase, _
                ByVal route As Route, _
                ByVal parameterName As String, _
                ByVal values As RouteValueDictionary, _
                ByVal routeDirection As RouteDirection _
            ) As Boolean Implements IRouteConstraint.Match
        Return httpContext.Request.IsLocal
    End Function
End Class

The constraint in Listing 1 takes advantage of the IsLocal property exposed by the HttpRequest class. This property returns true when the IP address of the request is either or when the IP of the request is the same as the server's IP address.

You use a custom constraint within a route defined in the Global.asax file. The Global.asax file in Listing 2 uses the Localhost constraint to prevent anyone from requesting an Admin page unless they make the request from the local server. For example, a request for /Admin/DeleteAll will fail when made from a remote server.

Listing 2 - Global.asax

Public Class MvcApplication
    Inherits System.Web.HttpApplication
    Shared Sub RegisterRoutes(ByVal routes As RouteCollection)
        routes.MapRoute( _
            "Admin", _
            "Admin/{action}", _
            New With {.controller = "Admin"}, _
            New With {.isLocal = New LocalhostConstraint()} _
        'routes.MapRoute( _
        '    "Default", _
        '    "{controller}/{action}/{id}", _
        '    New With {.controller = "Home", .action = "Index", .id = ""} _
    End Sub
    Sub Application_Start()
    End Sub
End Class

The Localhost constraint is used in the definition of the Admin route. This route won't be matched by a remote browser request. Realize, however, that other routes defined in Global.asax might match the same request. It is important to understand that a constraint prevents a particular route from matching a request and not all routes defined in the Global.asax file.

Notice that the Default route has been commented out from the Global.asax file in Listing 2. If you include the Default route, then the Default route would match requests for the Admin controller. In that case, remote users could still invoke actions of the Admin controller even though their requests wouldn't match the Admin route.