A node.js proxy server that makes injecting applications or prototype applications onto potential client websites easy.
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README.md

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swat-proxy

swat-proxy is a tool to easily inject content, such as Javascript web applications, onto third party web pages. This is useful in the development of applications intended for third party use. It can also be useful in establishing a general proxy server for use in applications that might need to regularly transform requested content.

swat-proxy acts as a man-in-the-middle between browser and server, altering the server response for specified pages. The browser renders the modified response as if it came directly from the server itself. This allows viewing and interacting with content on the target page.

The name swat-proxy derives from the name of the Small Web-Apps Technology team whose members built the first iteration of this tool.

Installation

npm install swat-proxy

Quick Start

Write a script that runs the Proxy

/* Filename: do-proxy.js */

// Import swat-proxy.
var swat_proxy = require('swat-proxy');

// Add some JS to the end of the Google homepage.
swat_proxy.proxy('http://www.google.com/', {
  selector: 'body',
  manipulation: swat_proxy.Manipulations.APPEND,
  content: '<script> alert ("Hello from swat-proxy!"); </script>'
});

// Start the proxy server.
swat_proxy.start();

Run your Script

node do-proxy.js

By default swat-proxy runs on port 8063 so set your browser to use the proxy at 127.0.0.1:8063 and navigate to http://www.google.com/.

You should be immediately presented with the greeting alert, and you can View Page Source to see that the Javascript was inserted before the closing body tag (</body>).

Usage

Let us dig a little deeper.

Proxy Blocks

A call to .proxy is referred to as a proxy block:

swat_proxy.proxy('http://www.google.com/', {
  selector: 'body',
  manipulation: swat_proxy.Manipulations.APPEND,
  content: '<script> alert ("Hello from swat-proxy!"); </script>'
});

The way to read this proxy block is:

APPEND content to the body of http://www.google.com.

Removing Proxy Blocks

In order to prevent memory leaks over the lifetime of potentially long-running proxy scripts, when new proxy URLs may be registered in an ad hoc fashion, a .removeProxy function is also provided. An example usage might look like this:

var options = {
  selector: 'body',
  manipulation: swat_proxy.Manipulations.APPEND,
  content: '<script> alert ("Hello from swat-proxy!"); </script>'
};

swat_proxy.proxy('http://www.google.com/', options);
swat_proxy.removeProxy('http://www.google.com/', options);
// OR
swat_proxy.removeProxy('http://www.google.com/');

Note that any options objects passed to .removeProxy are compared by reference, not by value. If you want to remove an options object from your proxy at a future time, you need to store a reference for it in a variable, to be passed later. If you simply want to clear all proxies associated with a given URL, you can ignore the second option and just pass the target URL.

Details

Let us break down the parameters of proxy blocks. The most up-to-date documentation can always be found in the source code, but for convenience it is detailed here as well. Refer to the following signature:

swat_proxy.proxy(url, {
  selector,
  manipulation,
  content,
  [matchType]
});
URL

The target URL to inject content into. Example http://www.google.com/.

Note that this must match exactly to the browser URL - google.com will not match www.google.com. In other words, if you point your proxy block at google.com but navigate to www.google.com, your content will not be injected.

The easiest way to grab your target URL is to navigate to your target page and copy/paste the URL directly into your proxy block code. For example, typing google.com into Firefox and copy/pasting results in http://google.com/. This is the value you want to use.

selector

A CSS selector to target DOM elements. Examples body, div, #id, .class.

manipulation

swat-proxy provides an enumeration of supported DOM manipulations to be used as values for manipulation. They are:

  • APPEND: Insert content as the last child of each of the selected elements.
  • PREPEND: Insert content as the first child of each of the selected elements.
  • REPLACE: Replace selected elements with content.
  • WRAP: Wrap selected elements with content.

swat-proxy uses the cheerio package under the hood. For more information on these manipulations, see the cheerio documentation.

content

A string containing the content to inject, or a function that returns a string of content to be injected. If passing a function, it will receive the original element's markup for transformation, and is expected to return the transformed markup. Since content is injected into an HTML page, it is important to wrap the content with the appropriate HTML tags.

matchType

swat-proxy also provides an enumeration of matchType algorithms for some flexibility in the way it matches URLs. For backwards compatibility, this field is optional, and defaults to EXACT. The values in the matchType enumeration are:

  • DOMAIN: Match against just the domain portion of the url. This includes subdomain.
  • EXACT: Match the url exactly as it's been entered, including query parameters.
  • PREFIX: Match the target URL against the beginning of the requested URL (i.e. URL starts with)

The matchType option is provided as part of the options object(s) passed to the .proxy function, meaning you can provide a different matchType parameter for each rule in the overall set of options, if you desire different behavior based on the URL stub.

// HTML Markup.
content: '<div id="MyWidget">This is my widget!</div>'

// Some Javascript.
content: '<script> alert ("Hello from my widget!"); </script>'

// A block of CSS.
content: '<style> #MyWidget { font-variant: small-caps; } </style>'
Using React

React is currently very popular for building front-end user interfaces. Here is an example of using React to generate markup to assign to content:

/* Filename: MyWidget.js */

module.exports = React.createClass({
  render: function () {
    return (
      <div id="MyWidget">This is my widget!</div>
    );
  }
});
/* Filename: main.js */

var MyWidget = require('./MyWidget.js');
const WidgetFactory = React.createFactory(MyWidget);
const widgetContent = ReactDOMServer.renderToStaticMarkup(WidgetFactory());

swat_proxy.proxy(example_url, {
  selector: example_selector,
  manipulation: example_manipulation,
  content: widgetContent
});

Third Party JS Common Use Case

A common use case for third party Javascript applications is for clients or customers to place on their page (a) a container <div> where content should appear, and (b) a <script> tag to load the application that will place content into the container element.

This can be simulated by injecting more than one piece of content into a page using swat-proxy.

Using an Array

Pass an array of manipulation instructions into a single proxy block, like so:

// Import swat-proxy.
var swat_proxy = require('swat-proxy');

// Add a container div and Javascript that populates it to the end of the Google
// homepage.
swat_proxy.proxy('http://www.google.com/', [{
  selector: 'body',
  manipulation: swat_proxy.Manipulations.APPEND,
  content: '<div id="MyWidgetContainer"></div>'
}, {
  selector: 'body',
  manipulation: swat_proxy.Manipulations.APPEND,
  content: '<script>document.getElementById("MyWidgetContainer").innerHTML = "Hello from swat-proxy!";</script>'
}]);

// Start the proxy server.
swat_proxy.start();

Multiple Proxy Blocks

The same result can be achieved using multiple proxy blocks with the same target URL:

// Import swat-proxy.
var swat_proxy = require('swat-proxy');

// Add a container div to the end of the Google homepage.
swat_proxy.proxy('http://www.google.com/', {
  selector: 'body',
  manipulation: swat_proxy.Manipulations.APPEND,
  content: '<div id="MyWidgetContainer"></div>'
});

// Add Javascript that populates the container div to the end of the Google
// homepage.
swat_proxy.proxy('http://www.google.com/', {
  selector: 'body',
  manipulation: swat_proxy.Manipulations.APPEND,
  content: '<script>document.getElementById("MyWidgetContainer").innerHTML = "Hello from swat-proxy!";</script>'
});

// Start the proxy server.
swat_proxy.start();

FAQ

Q: Why is my content not injected? A: The .start function supports a debugMode property that can hopefully help:

// Start the proxy server in debug mode.
swat_proxy.start({ debugMode: true });

This will log each request URL from to the console and notify when that URL matches the URL of any proxy block. If there are no matches, revisit the proxy block's url configuration.


Q: I keep getting Error: listen EADDRINUSE :::8063? A: The target port (8063) is currently in use, most likely because another instance of the proxy server is running. Shut down that process and try again. If another service is using that port, it is possible to instruct swat-proxy to use a different port:

// Start the proxy server on port 8064.
swat_proxy.start({ port: 8064 });

Q: My injection worked yesterday and today it doesn't - I haven't changed anything! A: Many third parties change their web pages on a frequent basis. Ensure that the selectors used in code and configuration still exist.

Contributing

Please refer to the Contributing Guidelines.