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§Manipulating Results

§Changing the default Content-Type

The result content type is automatically inferred from the Scala value that you specify as the response body.

For example:

val textResult = Ok("Hello World!")

Will automatically set the Content-Type header to text/plain, while:

val xmlResult = Ok(<message>Hello World!</message>)

will set the Content-Type header to application/xml.

Tip: this is done via the play.api.http.ContentTypeOf type class.

This is pretty useful, but sometimes you want to change it. Just use the as(newContentType) method on a result to create a new similar result with a different Content-Type header:

val htmlResult = Ok(<h1>Hello World!</h1>).as("text/html")

or even better, using:

val htmlResult2 = Ok(<h1>Hello World!</h1>).as(HTML)

Note: The benefit of using HTML instead of the "text/html" is that the charset will be automatically handled for you and the actual Content-Type header will be set to text/html; charset=utf-8. We will see that in a bit.

§Manipulating HTTP headers

You can also add (or update) any HTTP header to the result:

val result = Ok("Hello World!").withHeaders(
  CACHE_CONTROL -> "max-age=3600",
  ETAG -> "xx")

Note that setting an HTTP header will automatically discard the previous value if it was existing in the original result.

§Setting and discarding cookies

Cookies are just a special form of HTTP headers but we provide a set of helpers to make it easier.

You can easily add a Cookie to the HTTP response using:

val result = Ok("Hello world").withCookies(
  Cookie("theme", "blue"))

Also, to discard a Cookie previously stored on the Web browser:

val result2 = result.discardingCookies(DiscardingCookie("theme"))

You can also set and remove cookies as part of the same response:

val result3 = result.withCookies(Cookie("theme", "blue")).discardingCookies(DiscardingCookie("skin"))

§Changing the charset for text based HTTP responses

For text based HTTP response it is very important to handle the charset correctly. Play handles that for you and uses utf-8 by default (see why to use utf-8).

The charset is used to both convert the text response to the corresponding bytes to send over the network socket, and to update the Content-Type header with the proper ;charset=xxx extension.

The charset is handled automatically via the play.api.mvc.Codec type class. Just import an implicit instance of play.api.mvc.Codec in the current scope to change the charset that will be used by all operations:

class Application extends Controller {

  implicit val myCustomCharset = Codec.javaSupported("iso-8859-1")

  def index = Action {
    Ok(<h1>Hello World!</h1>).as(HTML)


Here, because there is an implicit charset value in the scope, it will be used by both the Ok(...) method to convert the XML message into ISO-8859-1 encoded bytes and to generate the text/html; charset=iso-8859-1 Content-Type header.

Now if you are wondering how the HTML method works, here it is how it is defined:

def HTML(implicit codec: Codec) = {
  "text/html; charset=" + codec.charset

You can do the same in your API if you need to handle the charset in a generic way.

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