Mana allows api-oriented clients greater stability and high availability in demanding distributed battles and boss fights.
Clone or download
Latest commit 4c44cdb May 3, 2018


Build Status

Mana is an small package that provides basic and a dead simple API structure for creating high performance API clients. Take your mana potion and start creating magical API clients which contain the following powers:

  • Rolling tokens Supports multiple OAuth tokens which will be switched when rate limits are hit.
  • Callback queue Multiple requests calls to the same URL will result in a single call.
  • Mirrors When API endpoints become unresponsive, alternate replica's or mirrors API's can be hit instead.
  • Back off Build in exponential back off when the API endpoint returns an error or error code.
  • Conditional requests Requests with Etags can be cached and result will be reused when a 304 is returned. (Supports async and sync cache engines.)


The module is released through npm.

npm install --save mana


Before you get started with building your first mana based API client there are some assumptions we make


We assume that the supplied token(s) should be used as Authorization header and that the supplied token should be prefixed with token .

Rate limiting

Again, we have to make some sane assumptions here as well. There tons of ways that an API server can say that you've reached your limit. We assume that it sends the following headers with each HTTP response:

  • x-ratelimit-reset Time when the limit is reset in UTC EPOCH seconds.
  • x-ratelimit-limit Maximum of requests the user can make.
  • x-ratelimit-remaining The amount of requests the user has left.

We will only take these values in to account when multiple tokens are used and a none 200 status code has been returned from the server.


In order to relieve stress on the API server that you're implementing there is an option to supply a cache instance which will be used to store responses that have etag headers. When we're about to request an API we check if the URL has been stored in the cache and use the stored etag in the if-none-match header so we can trigger a 304 response on the API end point and use our cached data instead. This reduces the amount of data you need receive over the connection and some API providers like GitHub don't count 304 requests as part of their rate limiting.

See mana.fireforget() for more details on the cache API requirements.


In all of the examples we assume that you've loaded the library using:

'use strict';

var mana = require('mana');

To create you own custom mana instance you need to extend the returned mana instance. Extending is done by calling the mana.extend method with an object which will be merged on the prototype:

var MyAPI = mana.extend({
  api: ''

In the code snippet you see us adding the api property and storing the result of the extending as the MyAPI class. The api property is one of the properties that are required and need to be specified on every single instance. The following properties are required to be specified on your custom mana:

  • api The URL of the site we're communicating with.
  • name Name of your module.
  • version Version number of your module.

The version and name can be set automatically if you are using the .drink(module) method to expose the module and lazy load the API endpoints. It does make the assumption that package.json file is in the same directory as the file that calls the .drink method.

There are also a couple of properties which are optional but can be overridden if needed:

  • maxdelay The maximum delay for the exponential back off. Defaults to 60 seconds.
  • mindelay The minimum delay for the exponential back off. Defaults to 100 ms.
  • retries The maximum of retries of the API call we can do. Defaults to 3.
  • factor The exponential back off factor. Defaults to 2.
  • timeout How long a request should run before we automatically assume it timed out. Defaults to 20 seconds.
  • _view The prefix to access CouchDB view/design doc. Defaults to /-/_view/ which is the same as npm is using.
  • strictSSL Should we request everything with strict SSL. Defaults to false.
  • maxSockets Maximum amount of sockets. Defaults to 444.
  • prefix The prefix for the authorization header value, defaults to token .

Every property that represents time can be set with either a number in milliseconds as value or a human readable string like 10 seconds. This is parsed to milliseconds automatically but improves the readability of your code base.


Transform an random object in a query string. If there are no keys or matches in the object an empty string will be returned instead. The function accepts 2 arguments:

  1. options The supplied object/options where we extract the parameters from
  2. allowed An array with keys that are accepted as parameters or an object with key->value where key are the accepted parameters and value's the default value for when it's missing on the supplied object.
  initialize: function (options) {
    this.api = this.querystring(options, [

    // if the options object had foo and bar the `this.api` would now be:
    //   ?foo=<value>&bar=<value>

    this.api = this.querystring(options, {
      foo: 'foo',
      bar: 'bar'

    // if options was empty, the `this.api` would now be
    //   ?foo=foo&bar=bar


This does exactly the same the mana.querystring method but instead of returning a query string it will return a new object.

  initialize: function (options) {
    options = this.json(options, {
      foo: 'foo',
      bar: 'bar'


Add extra debug information which can be triggered enabling the debug flags when you start your application. It's not advised to override this when extending mana. It accepts multiple arguments but the first argument would be the log/template string that is actually outputted. This first line is processed by same function that you would also normally use in console.log so all the %s and %d formatting still function as intended.

MyAPI = mana.extend({
  initialize: function init(options) {
    this.debug('you and users can only see this when the DEBUG env variable is set');
    this.debug('%d digits and event %j json can be outputted', 1, { foo: 'bar' });


Parse arguments or supplied array and return an object with all arguments classified by type and shorthand. It accepts one argument which would be the Arguments that your function receives or an Array.

  customfunction: function (args) {
    args = this.args(arguments);

    console.log(args.str, args.fn, args.options, args.string);

As you can see in the example above we also map a view values to a more sensible name.

  • function -> fn
  • object -> options
  • string -> str
  • number -> nr


Get accurate type information for the given JavaScript class.

  foo: function (bar) {
    if (this.type(bar) === 'array') doarraystuff();
    else dosomethingelse();


This the method what it's all about. This is the part where you actually start sending a request to the specified URL. This method accepts multiple arguments.

  • string: This is the path that you want to request on the URL.
  • array: If you didn't supply a string, you need to supply an Array with paths. This array will be filtered with Boolean() and then joined with / to generate a path. In some cases this much more readable then doing a lot of concatenations manually in your code to produce a string.
  • function: The actual callback function that should receive the results. We assume that this callback follows the error first pattern.

In addition to these arguments we also accept an options object/argument which is used to fully configure the way we send requests. It supports a ton of options.

  • api: An alternate API which will be used instead of mana.api. It should be a string.
  • method: The HTTP method that should be used for the request. It defaults to GET>
  • timeout: Alternate timeout which be used instead of mana.timeout.
  • strictSSL: Should this we request with strictSSL? Defaults to mana.stictSSL.
  • headers: An object of headers that need to be added to the request. The object should be formatted as key (header name) -> value (header value).
  • maxSockets The maximum amount of sockets. Defaults to mana.maxSockets.
  • maxdelay The maximum delay for the exponential back off. Defaults to mana.maxdelay.
  • mindelay The minimum delay for the exponential back off. Defaults to mana.mindelay.
  • retries The maximum of retries of the API call we can do. Defaults to mana.retries.
  • assign A custom or pre-build assign instance that should be used to write the data against. This can be useful if you need to make multiple requests against various of API points but want to process it all at once with one callback.
  • factor The exponential back off factor. Defaults to mana.factor.
  • params Array or object with params that should be send to the server. If method is set to GET we will use mana.querystring and append it after the pathname. If the URL already has a query string, it will be merged and potentially overridden using these options. For all other HTTP methods we assume that this is the data should be send to the server and send transform it using mana.json to a JSON body.
  • next A function which will control what happens next after the data has been received from the server. If nothing is provided we will automatically end the returned assign instance so the callback gets triggered. If you did supply this function it will be called with the following arguments:
    • res The HTTP response object
    • assign The assign instance we would have ended
    • args The compiled arguments object of the current send call.

In the options you've seen that we allow sending of custom headers. There are some headers we will append by default if they are not specified:

  • User-Agent We will use the format <>/<mana.version> node/<process.version> as user agent format.
  • Authorization If not authorization header is present we will attempt to use the one that is set at mana.authorization
  • Accept This will be set to application/json.

If cache has been specified on the mana object and a cache entry is also available we will also add a if-none-match header with the value of the returned etag during the time of the caching.

  afunction: function fn(id, callback) {
    var x = this.send(['path', id, 'action'], this.merge(body, {
      headers: {
        'x-foo-bar': 'foboar'
    }), callback);

    // As the `send` method returns an Assign instance we can do
    // map/reduce/filter operation on the returned dataset. This ensures that
    // the supplied callback gets a data structure that we want and not that the
    // API server returns.
    // (row) {
      return {


The view method allows you do to some basic requests against a CouchDB interface it makes this a bit more easier to work with. It accepts 3 arguments, the order of these arguments do not matter.

  • string, required, The name of the CouchDB view you're requesting.
  • function, required The callback function which follows an error first callback pattern.
  • object Optional configuration:
    • group_level: The group level of the query, defaults to 3
    • key: Will be set as startkey and endkey so you can search for results.
    • descending: Should the results that are returned be descending. Defaults to false.
    • stale: OK or update_after which is the default value.
    • limit: Limit the number of documents returned
    • skip: Skip the x number of documents

This function will return a assign instance which can be used to transform and manipulate the data if needed.

  foo: function () {
    this.view('/foo', {
      key: 'known key',
      skip: 10
    }, function (err, data) {


This is a private method, do not touch unless you feel adventurous.

Simple wrapper around a possible cache interfaces. Both async and sync interfaces are supported. We assume that the cache is stored on the mana instance as cache property. This cache instance should have a minimum of 2 methods:

  • cache.get Which receives a key of the cache it needs to retrieve. If 2 arguments are accepted in the function we assume that the second argument is a callback and that it's executed asynchronously.
  • cache.set Which stores the key and value. If 3 or more arguments are accepted we assume that the method is async and that the last supplied argument should be a callback.


This is a private method, do not touch unless you feel adventurous.

Downgrade the list of given mirrors so we can query against a different server when our default api endpoint is down.


This is a private method, do not touch unless you feel adventurous.

This attempts to select a new token when the remaining api calls has been set to 0. It filters all tokens to see which ones are available and most likely to be reset or still have remaining API calls. The token with the highest remaining API calls will be set returned first and set as Authorization header.


This is a private method, do not touch unless you feel adventurous.

Transforms the tokens property in to an array of mana.Token instances. And it removes all duplicates and potential undefined values.


This is a private method, do not touch unless you feel adventurous.

Returns a function will will call queued functions for the given urid.


This is a private method, do not touch unless you feel adventurous.

Check if we are already fetching the given request.


There are also a couple of methods that mana has because it inherits from certain modules. The mana instance that you create is an EventEmitter not the regular emitter from node but a high-performance variant of it. It's an EventEmitter3. So all emit, on and all other EventEmitter related methods are available for you to use and abuse.

As the extending is done using the fusing library it also inherits the following methods:


The are various of debug outputs available for this module. Debugging is using the diagnostics module which will read out the DEBUG and DIAGNOSTICS environment variables of your machine to see if it needs to output debug information to STDOUT.

This is also one of the reasons why the name property is required as this name is used for the debug flags. If you've named API example you can output debug information by starting your application using:

DEBUG=example* node <your-app-index.js>

Mana it self also have a few lines of debug output and they can be seen using:

DEBUG=mana node <your-app-index.js>

Drinking the potion

The module assumes a simple pattern. The API end points are listed in a folder called endpoints. This folder contains JavaScript files which exports a function:

function Endpoint(api) {
  this.api = api;

module.exports = Endpoint

This function receives a reference to your base API class once it's initialised. These API endpoints will be introduced on the prototype of your base API in lowercase. So if you name your file Endpoints it will create an base.endpoints method for you which access this constructed function. Now the beauty of this is that these methods support lazy construction. So only when you access the .endpoints property, it will create a new instance (only once of course). This way you don't construct pointless API points that might never be used by your users.

In addition to lowercasing your endpoint and introducing it as constructed property it also exposes the Full class on the base API. This class is Uppercase first, just like all Classes should be in JavaScript.