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Routing and Controller Organization Utility for Express

branch: master
README.md

The Express Routing Utility

is a helper module for Express to provide a Django-inspired controller hierarchy (separated from the view hierarchy and URL hierarchy), and a URL generation method to be used by the controllers. The controllers are defined to use a directory hierarchy like so:

controllers/
  controllers.js
  social/
    controllers.js
    helper_lib.js

The utility only imports the export objects of the controllers.js files, so other code not to be used as a controller can reside within separate library files for even better source organization.

The URL hierarchy is defined by the user in a simple JSON tree such as:

{
    '/': 'index',
    'get,post/login': 'login',
    'post/logout': ['common.requireLogin', 'logout'],
    '/social': {
        '/': 'social.index',
        '/profile': {
            '/:username': 'social.viewProfile',
            'get,post/edit': ['common.requireLogin', 'social.editProfile']
        }
    },
    '/admin': {
        'required': {
            'prefix': 'common.requireLogin',
            'postfix': ['debug.footer', 'debug.showErrors']
        },
        '/': 'admin.index',
        'get,post/users': 'admin.users'
    }
}

The basic syntax for the keys is [HTTP methods]/url/path/:variable, where [HTTP methods] is an optional, case-insenstive comma-separated list of HTTP methods, and the rest of the key is a standard Express URL.

The value for a key can be a string indicating the particular controller to use, an array of strings indicating the controllers to use and the order to use them, or an object, following these same patterns, allowing a sub-sectioning of URLs.

When a key is holding an object, any HTTP methods you indicate are ignored, and the given URL is prepended to the URLs of all keys within the object, so the social.editProfile controller would have a URL of /social/profile/edit/ and the URL will function for both GET and POST requests.

The required specifies a set of controllers that should be prefixed or postfixed to the controllers listed for the URL. Also, a depth can be specified such that these controllers only affect to a certain depth within the tree, where the default is to attach to all URLs listed after this point in the tree.

This depth can also be specified individually for each controller with the router.DepthString constructor:

{
    'required': {
        'prefix': [
            new router.DepthString('common.requireLogin', 2),
            new router.DepthString(1, 'debug.footer'),
            'debug.showErrors'
        ]
    },
    '/': 'social.index'
}

The DepthString constructor can take the parameters in either order, and can be mixed with "normal" strings, but of course makes the JSON object no longer valid JSON. Beyond that, the utility of having mixed expirations on required controllers at a given level is small, since this can make the controller definition hard to read in most cases, and the extra verbosity of declaring the same controller a few times shouldn't be that big of a deal, but the feature is there.

Usage and Recommendations

var router = require("express-route-util");

router.setDefaultMethod("get");
router.registerRoutes(app, urlJSON, "/path/to/controllers/");
var href = router.getControllerUrl("social.viewProfile", { username: "dellis" });

Where app is the Express application object, urlJSON is the JSON object relating paths to controllers, and "/path/to/controllers/" is the location of the controllers for the project (can be a relative URL).

A "good" set of defaults for registerRoutes is:

router.registerRoutes(app, JSON.parse(fs.readFileSync("./paths.json")), "./controllers");

This way, you have an overall hierarchy similar to:

app/
    controllers/
        controllers.js
        ...
    public/
        ...
    views/
        ...
    app.js
    paths.json

And you'll probably want to attach the router to the global object, as the getControllerUrl is most useful to the controllers to generate the URLs to pass to the views.

Installation

Using NPM, type:

    npm install express-route-util

License (MIT)

Copyright (C) 2011 by Agrosica, Inc.

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

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