Simple setup for forwarding webhooks to an app running on your local machine


Hookforward allows you to forward webhooks from an external provider to an app running on your local machine without having to expose ports.

You need a publicly accessible CouchDB server that your webhook provider can post to. On your local machine, you run a simple program that listens for new webhook docs in CouchDB and forwards them to the url of your dev server.

I used this setup to develop an app that receives Stripe webhooks. Nice to be able to run the app on my local machine and have the whole moustrap work.

This is an alternative to using a service like Localtunnel. Localtunnel works ok (via voodoo I don't understand), but because they recycle urls frequenly, my app was receiving webhooks from various oddball services that the url was previously used for. Creepy.

  1. Get a publicly accessible CouchDB server (free plans available from IrisCouch and Cloudant)

  2. Run the hookforward push command with your desired DB url, e.g.:

hookforward push https://user:pass@myname.cloudant.com/hooks

This will create the DB if it doesn't already exist, and push a design doc with a hook capture update function.

  1. Set 2 will output the hook capture url for your DB. Configure your webhook provider to post hooks to this url for development/testing.

Start the forwarder server on your dev machine with the hookforward start command, specifying the db url and the url you'd like to forward your webhook to, e.g.:

hookforward start https://user:pass@myname.cloudant.com/hooks http://localhost:4567/myhandler

Trigger a test webhook from your webhook provider, or use the hookforward test command, e.g.:

hookforward test https://user:pass@myname.cloudant.com/hooks

Here's a simple one-line Sinatra app to test receiving webhooks, which will just dump the contents to STDOUT:

ruby -rubygems -r sinatra -e "post('*') { puts request.body.read }"

You can create a .hookforwardrc file with your DB and handler urls:

  "db_url": "https://user:pass@myname.cloudant.com/hooks",
  "handler_url": "http://localhost:4567/myhandler"

This will allow you to run hookforward commands without having to specify urls, e.g. you can just run hookforward start

This setup won't work for webhooks that contain binary data -- CouchDB will only accept binary data if it's encoded as Base64.