Type-safe ASP.NET Configuration in F#

Something that I always find confusing why is how .NET (specially ASP.NET) seems to be moving most of its API away from a type-safe design. One of the APIs that works this way is the application configuration. If you’re not using the Option pattern, this is how you access a configuration value:

ConnectionString = new configuration.GetValue<string>("ConnectionString");

Well, you can probably tell that this is not type-safe at all! In order to do this in a more elegant way in F#, we can leverage the FsConfig package as it has support for the Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration namespace. First, let’s add the package to our project:

$ dotnet add package FsConfig

Now, let’s define a Configuration record with our structure and a module with a helper function called init that will do the heavy lifting for us.

open System.IO
open FsConfig
open Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration

type Configuration =
    { SuperSecret: string }

module Configuration =
    let init =
        let configurationRoot =

        let appConfig = AppConfig(configurationRoot)

However, how useful would be our configuration if we couldn’t access it from within our ASP.NET application? In order to do just that, we can register our Configuration record as a Singleton (check out the service lifetime documentation) and retrieve it whenever we want it just like any other dependency. Adding it as a service is pretty straightforward:

let configureServices (services: IServiceCollection) =
    let config =
        match Configuration.init with
        | Ok config -> config
        | Error e -> failwithf "Error reading configuration: %A" e

    services.AddSingleton<Configuration>(config) |> ignore
    services.AddGiraffe() |> ignore

Consecutively, to retrieve it from, let’s say, an HttpHandler, you can do the following:

❗ Please, never print your secrets!

let handler : HttpHandler =
    fun (next: HttpFunc) (ctx: HttpContext) ->
        let config = ctx.GetService<Configuration>()
        let msg = sprintf "config: %s" config.SuperSecret
        text msg next ctx