Dependency injection with namespacing, privacy and lifetimes
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README.md

DI-hard

npm dependency Status devDependency Status license

Simple, predictable dependency injection

Features:

  • clear separation between wiring and application
  • minimal lock-in
  • control over component lifetimes
  • module hierarchy with private and public components

Disclaimer: Despite (now) being written in Typescript, the dependency injection is not typesafe.

Example

import dihard, {Container} from "../src"

interface InfoGiver {
  getInfo(): string
}

function myDependencyFactory() {
  return {
    getInfo() {
      return "(dependency)"
    }
  }
}
function myServiceFactory({myDependency}: {myDependency: InfoGiver}) {
  return {
    getInfo() {
      return `(service - dependencies: ${myDependency.getInfo()})`
    },
  }
}

const container: Container = dihard.createContainer("application")
container.registerFactory("myService", myServiceFactory)
container.registerFactory("myDependency", myDependencyFactory)

const myService = container.resolve("myService") as InfoGiver
console.log(myService.getInfo()) // "(service - dependencies: (dependency))"

Terminology

  • component - a reusable piece of your application
  • registration - something which can be registered with the DI container (an instance, factory or module)
  • instance - a static value, or a value created by a factory
  • factory - a function which creates a (potentially cachable) instance
  • module - a namespaced set of registrations
  • register - map an ID to a registration
  • resolution - the process of mapping an ID to an instance (either externally or through injection)
  • injection - the process of automatically resolving dependencies for a factory
  • resolver - object which performs resolution (a Proxy)
  • container - object which contains registrations and cached instances
  • lifetime - how long a cached instance is expected to live
  • scope - which registrations are able to be resolved from a given context
  • visibility - whether a registration is private (visible only to other registrations in the same module) or public (shares parent module's visibility)

Concepts

The purpose of this library is to enable easy creation of your application's components, without having to worry about those components' dependencies.

Components

Components are the individual pieces of your application. They can be functions, objects, classes, strings... whatever you want.

Below is an example of a component with two dependencies. Here, we have a factory function, which takes an object with named dependencies, and returns an instance of the component (in this case, an object).

Notice that there is no direct dependency on the DI library here. The only requirement is that factory functions take their dependencies as named arguments (an object). This makes the code portable, easy to test, and possible to wire together manually.

// my-component.js
const factory = ({dep1, dep2}) => {
  const instance = {
    get() {
      return dep1.getSomething() + dep2.getSomethingElse()
    },
  }
  return instance
}

Registration, resolution and injection

When we have enough components in our application, and the dependency tree starts to get deeper (e.g. A depends on B which depends on C etc.), wiring these components together can become tedious.

What we can do instead is register all our component factories with a 'container', and let it be responsible for creating our components (and their dependencies) for us.

Here is how we would register the component factories for the above example, and manually resolve (create) an instance of the component, with its dependencies injected.

const di = require("di-hard")

const container = di.createContainer("application")

// register all component factories
container.register("myComponent", require("./my-component"))
container.register("dep1", require("./dep1"))
container.register("dep1", require("./dep2"))

// resolve an instance of the component
const myInstance = container.resolve("myComponent")
myInstance.get()

Here we've called container.resolve() directly to manually resolve an instance of myComponent. But how do dep1 and dep2 get resolved? Let's have a look at myComponent again, but slightly re-write it to illustrate what's happening.

// my-component.js
const factory = (resolver) => {
  const dep1 = resolver.dep1 // resolved when this property is accessed
  const instance = {
    get() {
      const dep2 = resolver.dep2 // lazily resolve dep2
      return dep1.getSomething() + dep2.getSomethingElse()
    },
  }
  return instance
}

Here we can see that what actually gets injected is a 'resolver' object. Accessing properties on the resolver is what triggers resolution of dependencies.

Lifetimes

A lifetime is a statement about how long a container caches a reference to an instance created by a factory.

There are two lifetimes currently supported:

  • Transient
    • no reference cached
    • one instance created per resolution
  • Registration
    • reference cached in container in which the factory was registered
    • one instance per registration container

Transient is the default lifetime.

To explicitly set a lifetime, use the registerFactory function like so:

container.registerFactory("id", factory, {lifetime: di.Lifetime.Registration})

If you have only stateless components, there is very little difference between the two.

Generally, you can think of Transient as being for stateless components, and Registration for stateful, though Registration can also be used to avoid creating multiple instances unnecessarily.

Child containers

Sometimes you don't want a component to live for the entire life of your application, but also don't want to create a new instance every time it's resolved. For example, in an HTTP server, you might want to create a component which holds some data associated with a request.

For this, we can use child containers. Create one like so:

const di = require("di-hard")
const express = require('express')
const app = express()

const container = di.createContainer("application")

app.get("/", (req, res) => {
  req.container = container.child("request")
  // register some components
  // resolve and use a component
})

Now, each request can register its own components and have its own instances.

It is expected that a child container will have a shorter lifetime that its parent. Here, for example, request container will live only as long as the request, but the application container will live for the lifetime of the application.

With that in mind, there are two simple rules which dictate how instances get resolved when using child containers:

  • instances get resolved in the container they were registered in
  • a container can only resolve dependencies from itself or a parent container

This means nothing can depend on something with a shorter lifetime. For example, no components in the application container could depend on a component in the request container. However, components in the request container can depend on instances from the application container.

Modules

So far we've registered all components into the same namespace. As your application grows, you might want group related components together into namespaces to avoid ID clashes. For this, we use modules.

It's possible to namespace groups of components by creating a hierarchy of modules.

const factory = ({
  // use nested object deconstruction to inject components from modules
  my_module: {
    dependency,
  },
}) => {
  // ...
}

const dependencyDefinition = () => "dependencyInstance"

const container = createContainer("root")
container
  .registerSubmodule("my_module", Visibility.Public)
    .registerFactory("component", factory, {
      visibility: Visibility.PUBLIC,
    })
    .registerFactory("dependency", dependencyDefinition)

// use shorthand dot-notation to externally resolve components inside modules
const instance = container.resolve("my_module.component")

Visibility

You can control which components are visible to other components by using visiblity modifiers. Anything registered with the container (a component or a module) can be either Public or Private. Private components are only visible to other components in the same module. Public components share their parent module's visiblity.

Visibility defaults to Private.

The top-level (default) module is Public (otherwise you wouldn't be able to resolve anything!).

In the example below, it would be possible to inject my_module.public_api into my_component, and my_module.internal into my_module.public_api, but trying to inject my_module.internal into my_component would throw an error.

const container = createContainer("root")
container
  .registerFactory("my_component", myComponentFactory)
  .registerSubmodule("my_module", {visibility: Visibility.Public})
    .registerFactory("public_api", publicComponent, {
      visibility: Visibility.Public,
    })
    .registerFactory("internal", privateComponent, {
      visibility: Visibility.Private,
    })

API

const di = require("di-hard")

DI

  • di.createContainer(containerName: string) -> Container
  • di.Lifetime.Transient
  • di.Lifetime.Registration
  • di.Visibility.Public
  • di.Visibility.Private

Container

Services and values can be registered with a container. It is responsible for resolving an ID to an instance.

  • container.registerFactory(id: string, factory: function, options: {lifetime, visibility}) -> registrationApi
  • container.registerValue(id: string, value: any, options: {visibility}) -> registrationApi
  • container.registerSubmodule(id: string, options: {visibility}) -> registrationApi
  • container.resolve(id: string) -> componentInstance
  • container.child(containerName: string) -> container

The registerX functions are chainable, for example:

container
  .registerFactory(...)
  .registerValue(...)
  .registerSubmodule(...)
    .registerValue(...)

Factory functions

Factory functions are used to create the component instances.

  • factory(resolver) -> componentInstance

Resolver

The resolver gets injected into each factory function. It is a Proxy which resolves component instances on property lookup.

  • resolver[id] -> componentInstance

Further reading

Inversion of Control Containers and the Dependency Injection pattern - Martin Fowler

Dependency Injection in Node.js - 2016 edition