Node.js app for IBM Bluemix (or other Cloud Foundry-based environments) which uses a custom wrapper of cfenv to make it easier to use the same code whether running locally or in the cloud
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.



I'm a fan of the cfenv package for Node.js written by Patrick Mueller. It parses environment info in a Bluemix (or Cloud Foundry) application, and provides functions to make it easy to retrieve all of the service attributes you need from VCAP_SERVICES. It also gives access to other important attributes for port, host name/ip address, URL of the application, etc. On top of that, it detects whether your app is running locally or in the cloud. And, when running locally, it provides handy defaults.

I've written a simple wrapper (a local module called cfenv-wrapper) to make local development of Bluemix/Cloud Foundry apps a little easier. My code parses a local copy of your app's environment data, and extracts the data for VCAP_SERVICES and VCAP_APPLICATION. Then, it passes that information to cfenv's initialization function, getAppEnv. After this initialization, you can use the same cfenv interface just as if you were running in the cloud.

The local environment data can be in JSON or properties files meeting the following requirements:

  • env.json -- JSON file with VCAP_SERVICES info as retrieved by cf env. If env.json is present, the code will also load env_custom.json, which should hold JSON representing your app's user-defined environment variables.
  • env.log file (deprecated) -- If there's no env.json file, the wrapper will load a local copy of your app's env.log file. This is provided for backwards compatibility with earlier versions of cfenv-wrapper. After CF 182, CF stopped providing an env.log file for security reasons.

NOTE: Many cloud services can be accessed with no changes when running locally. In Bluemix, a partial list of these includes Cloudant, Pitney Bowes, and Twilio. In those cases, you can use env.json and env.log with the exact data provided by CF. However, there are services that don't yet allow connections from outside of Bluemix. For those services, you would need to modify your local file so that it uses info specific to installations of those services in your local environment.

New Functions

My wrapper also adds two new functions, not in the original cfenv interface:

  • getEnvVars -- returns JSON data structure containing all environment variables. When running locally, it returns the data from the env_custom.json or env.log files. When running in the cloud, it will return the standard process.env runtime variable.
  • getEnvVar(name) -- returns value of the environment variable with the given name. When running locally, it will try to pull the value from the env_custom.json or env.log files. If it can't find it, it falls back to the standard process.env runtime variable.

These serve to give you a consistent interface for environment variable resolution in both environments.

Run Live Demo

You can run a a working deployment of the code on Bluemix by using the link below:

Get the Code

You need to get the code onto your machine in order to run your own copy on Bluemix, another Cloud Foundry-based environment, or locally. You have two main options:

  • Use the zip archive for this repository:
    1. Download
    2. Extract to the directory of your choice which should create a directory called node-cfenv-wrapper-master
    3. Run cd node-cfenv-wrapper-master


  • Use git clone from the command line:
    1. cd to the parent directory you want to install the project in
    2. Run git clone
    3. Run cd node-cfenv-wrapper/

Running on Bluemix


Before installing the code to Bluemix you will need to:

  1. Register for an account at If you don't already have an account you can register for a free trial without a credit card.
  2. Install the cf command line tool:

Log Into Bluemix

If you are not logged into Bluemix, then you should do the following from the command line:

  1. Set the cf target: cf api
  2. Log into Bluemix: cf login

Push the Code

Now that you are logged in, you should be able to push your code to Bluemix by simply running:

cf push

You should then see a bunch of console output that eventually ends with something like the what is shown below. NOTE: the string ${random-word} was included as a placeholder in the manifest.yml file so that a unique route (or URL) would be created for your app. So, where you see ${random-word} in the output, you will actually see a randomly chosen word.

Showing health and status for app cfenv-wrapper in org / space test as

requested state: started
instances: 1/1
usage: 128M x 1 instances
urls: cfenv-wrapper-${random-word}

 state     since                    cpu    memory          disk   
#0   running   2014-10-04 03:19:59 PM   0.0%   15.7M of 128M   25.1M of 1G 

After the successful push, you should be able to run your app by pointing your browser at:


If everything works, the page in the browser should show something like the following (notice Is Local is false):

Is Local: false
App Name: cfenv-wrapper
Port: 61400

No services are bound to this app.


If you start binding services or adding environment variables to your app, then you'll see additional data in the SERVICES and ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES sections when you refresh the page.

Information retrieved using cfenv:

Is Local: false
App Name: cfenv-wrapper
Port: 61400



Running Locally

Retrieving Environment Data from CF

JSON Format

To see a JSON representation of your app's environment data, you can run the following cf command:

cf env APP_NAME

Then, copy the JSON (which starts right after the System-Provided header and ends just before the User-Provided header) into a file named env.json. This file should be in the same place on your local file system that you put the code. That is, as a peer to the server.js file.

If you have user-defined environment variables, put them into a file name env_custom.json. For example, if cf env shows the following user-provided environment variables:


Then, you would want your env_custom.json file to look like this:

	"CUSTOM_ENV_VAR1": "Value 1",
	"CUSTOM_ENV_VAR2": "Value 2",
	"CUSTOM_ENV_VAR3": "Value 3"

env.log Format (deprecated)

NOTE: This section is only applicable if running a version of CF earlier than 182.

To see the contents of env.log, you can run the following cf command:

cf files APP_NAME logs/env.log

Then, copy the output into a file named env.log to the same place on your local file system that you put the code. That is, as a peer to the server.js file.

Install Dependencies

Assuming you have already downloaded and installed Node.js (which also includes npm), then you can run the following command from the code directory (the one containing server.js) to retrieve dependencies:

npm install

Execute node Command

Once dependencies are installed, you can run the following command from the code directory:

node server.js

Then, point your browser at the URL that is shown in the console output (e.g., something like http://localhost:6001). You should see similar kinds of information that you saw when running in the cloud. However, the top part will be different (e.g., Is Local will be true and port/url will be changed). But, the SERVICES and ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES sections should reflect whatever was in your env.json \ env_custom.json or env.log files:

Information retrieved using cfenv:

Is Local: true
App Name: cfenv-wrapper
Port: 6001
URL: http://localhost:6001


Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.