A simple module to kick-start your Node.js app development.






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A simple module to kick-start your Node.js app development.

npm install simple-app


It has all the Express, Mongoose,, Jade, Passport, and all that stuff pre-configured for you.

It assists you without getting in your way, or your style of doing things.


To configure routes, you can do

var app = require('simple-app');
app.get('/', function(req, res, next){

Since a module in Node.js is only loaded once, you can include it in any file and configure it there. For example a separate file for routes




var app = require('simple-app');
app.get('/myroute', function(req, res, next){

Note, it's important to first require it in your main index.js (or server.js, or app.js) because that's the path relative to which it looks for views and public folders etc.


It follows the widely accepted standard of having your views (Jade, HTML) in the views directory, and your images, CSS, client-javascripts in public and client directories.

Anything in your public or client directory is available as a static resource.

public/vendor/some.css => GET /vendor/some.css

client/app.js => GET /app.js


Minify your resources! If you set an environment variable or config variable minify, it'll minify all the CSS and JS files when the app starts up. For Stylus styles, it'll also convert and minify it as CSS.

It'll include jQuery, Angular, Bootstrap before any other files.

For all CSS and JS files in public it'll create public.css.min and public.js.min

For all CSS/Stylus and JS files in client it'll create client.css.min and client.js.min


You can configure the app, like its name, IP address, port, external domain name that it's hosted on (for generating Sitemap), and whether the app is in development mode or production mode.

There are two ways to configure these settings:

  1. through environment variables.

    # defaults
    export app="SimpleApp"
    export IP=""
    export PORT=80
    export NODE_ENV="production"
    export NODE_ENV="development"
    # default is development
  2. through a config.js file

    var config = module.exports; = 'TestApp';
    config.ip = ""
    config.port = 10000;

It tries to normalize all setting names to lowercase, and having several different aliases for same settings names like app/appname/name/APP_NAME etc. More info in the source

All these settings are in app.config


It uses and makes available frequently used modules that you might need in your app.


Passport is available as app.passport and strategies as app.passport.local/google/facebook

There's a wrapper to serialize/deserialize

app.serializeUser(function(user, done){ done(null, });
app.deserializeUser(function(id, done){ User.findById(id, done) });

which handles errors and logs messages

Serializing [user.user/name](54e8d8…cd1)
POST [302] /login
DeSerialized [user.user/name](54e8d8…cd1)

And since serializeUser is the same in most cases, and doesn't require User, it's already pre-configured like that.

Of course, you can still over-ride however you want, using either the wrappers or directly using

There are also some helper middlewares

app.reqUser which checks if(req.user) otherwise redirects to /login

app.reqAdmin which checks if(req.user.admin || == 'admin') or throws 401

app.get('/secret', app.reqAdmin, function(req, res) {


Mongoose is available as app.mongoose which tries to connect to mongodb://locahost/appname by default, or if you configure a setting mongodburl

It also tries to guess the URL if app is hosted on openshift or MONGOLAB etc.

When defining databases in your app you should use

var app = require('simple-app');
var mongoose = app.mongoose;
var User = mongoose.Schema({

Mongo Session Store

Sessions are stored in the mongo database using connect-mongo.


Default view engine is set to Jade.

As usual you can change to whatever app.set('view engine', 'hbs')


Serves Jade files in client (or public) directory as HTMLs

/client/components/header-nav/header-nav.jade => GET /components/header-nav/header-nav.html

Found it extremely useful in creating AngularJS directive components using templateUrl.


All .styl files (in client/public) are injected with nib and served as .css files.

app.locals #todo

res.locals #todo

Development/Production mode #todo

compress #todo

no minificationin devel #todo

Routes (revisited)

The routes should be configured with app.<verb>. This is actually a wrapper for the original app.<verb> which would've been available if you were to configure Express manually. It's still available in app._<verb>. But the wrapper serves an important function.

There are certain default routes and middlewares, like 404/500 error handler*, and those should always be configured after your routes.

Every time you add a route, it removes those previously added "default" routes and adds them back after your routes.

*The error handler serves the default view error.jade with the relevant error message.

There's also a default / route which serves the default index view as seen in the screenshot above. If you configure your own / route, it is made to precede this default view as described above, effectively disabling it.

Same could be done to disable the default error handlers if you wish to implement your own.

middlewarres #todo

Last page #todo

Sitemap generator #todo

catch404s #todo

First, check if there's a viewfile that exists with the corresponding req.path #todo

catchErrors #todo

failed-lookup #todo

routes #todo

All can be removed app.removeDefaultMiddlewares() #todo

views #todo

Lot of commonly used views, like header/footer, error page, login/logout/register pages etc are included.

Resources listing

For convenience of including all the resources programatically, all the resources are enlisted in app.config.resources

public: {
    js: ['jquery.js', 'angular.js', 'angular-animate.js', 'bootstrap.js', 'moment.js', ...
      fullpaths: ['C:\\TestApp\\node_modules\\simple-app\\lib\\public\\jquery.js', ... ]],
      min: 'public.min.js'
    css: ['bootstrap-theme.css', 'bootstrap.css' ...
      fullpaths: ['C:\\TestApp\\node_modules\\simple-app\\lib\\public\\bootstrap-theme.css', ...]],
      min: 'public.min.css'
client: {
    css: ['components/data/data.css',  'app.css' ...
      fullpaths: ['C:\\TestApp\\client\\components\\data\\data.css', ...]],
      min: 'client.min.css'
    js: ['components/data/data.js', 'app.js' ...
      fullpaths: ['C:\\TestApp\\client\\components\\data\\data.js' ...]]
      min: 'client.min.js'
angularApp: ['data', 'alertErr']

app.config.resources.public.js would contain an array of names of all the JS files in public dir. app.config.resources.public.js.fullpaths would contain an array full paths of the same. app.config.resources.public.js.min would only be present if minification was done, and would contain just the string "public.min.css"

Same everything goes for app.config.resources.client

Note that app.config.resources.public.js is an Array and app.config.resources.public.js.min is a property which won't be enumerated when the array would be looped with forEach

app.config.resources.angularApp contains the names of all the folders in the client/components dir that have a JS file.

Useful for creating Angular directive components.


An Angular directive header-nav is available by default. This is what creates the top bar in the default view. You just include the tagname header-nav in your HTML and Angular injects this directive.

Client-side (revisited)

Lot of commonly needed client-side CSS and javascripts libraries are included. And this is where the resources listed in app.config.resources come in handy!

Here's what the default (partial) header view that's included looks like:

<!DOCTYPE html><html ng-app="app" ng-controller="app">
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="/bootstrap-theme.css">
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="/bootstrap.css">
    <script src="/jquery.js"></script>
    <script src="/angular.js"></script>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="/misc.css">
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="/title.css">
    <script src="/components/header-nav/header-nav.js"></script>
    <script src="/app.js"></script>

Ignoring the bad practice of including all that in the <head>, what's to be noted here is that the Jade file views/partials/header.jade that generated it is included by default, but you'll probably use your own version of a header etc anyways, so the layout itself is not as important.

What's more important is all those CSS and javascript libraries and other stuff is available on client-side without you having put anything in your app public or client folder. You can use them in your own layouts wherever you want.

Furthermore, if you look at the actual jade file, you'll see that it includes all those script programatically. So that you don't have to change the file anytime you include more client-side files, restarting the app will automatically make them available as certain variables which can be looped through.

div Resources
  each topdir in ['public', 'client']
    div= topdir
      div CSS
        if(dev && resources[topdir].css)
          each css in resources[topdir].css
            link(rel="stylesheet", href="/#{css}")
        else if(!dev && resources[topdir].css.min)
          link(rel="stylesheet", href="/#{resources[topdir].css.min}")
      div JS
        if(dev && resources[topdir].js)
          each js in resources[topdir].js
        else if(!dev && resources[topdir].js.min)

If this cup of tea tastes bad, you don't have to drink it. :) It's just an option.

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