A boilerplate for Node.js web applications
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Alt Hackathon Starter Dependency Status

A boilerplate for Node.js web applications.

Live Demo: http://hackathonstarter.herokuapp.com :octocat:

If you have attended any hackathons in the past then you know how much time it takes to get a project started. Decide on an idea, pick a programming language, pick a web framework, pick a CSS framework. A while later, you will have an initial project up on GitHub, and only then can other team members start contributing. Or what about doing something as simple as OAuth 2.0 Authentication? You can spend hours on it if you are not familiar with how OAuth 2.0 works. (As a side-note, over a year ago I had no idea WTF REST or OAuth were, or how to do a simple "Sign in with Facebook". It was a frustrating experience to say the least.)

When I started this project, my primary focus was on simplicity and ease of use. I also tried to make it as generic and reusable as possible to cover most use cases of hackathon web apps, without being too specific. In the worst case you can use this as a guide for your projects, if for example you are only interested in Sign in with Google authentication and nothing else.

Chances are, you might not need all 4 types of OAuth 1.0a/OAuth2 authentication methods, or all 9 API examples. Sadly, there is no step-by-step wizard to configure the boilerplate code just for your use case. So, use what you need, simply delete what you don't need.

Flatly Bootstrap Theme


Default Theme


Table of Contents


  • Local Authentication using Email and Password
  • OAuth 1.0a Authentication via Twitter
  • OAuth 2.0 Authentication via Facebook, Google or GitHub
  • Awesome flash notifications with animations by animate.css
  • MVC Project Structure
  • Node.js clusters support
  • Rails 3.1-style asset pipeline (See FAQ)
  • LESS stylesheets (auto-compiled via Express middleware)
  • Bootstrap 3 + Flat UI + iOS7 Theme
  • Contact Form (powered by Sendgrid)
  • Account Management
  • Gravatar
  • Profile Details
  • Change Password
  • Link multiple OAuth strategies to one account
  • Delete Account
  • API Examples: Facebook, Foursquare, Last.fm, Tumblr, Twitter, PayPal, and more.


  • MongoDB
  • Node.js
  • Command Line Tools
  • Mac OS X: Xcode (or OS X 10.9 Mavericks: xcode-select --install)
  • Windows: Visual Studio
  • Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install build-essential
  • Fedora: sudo yum groupinstall "Development Tools"
  • OpenSUSE: sudo zypper install --type pattern devel_basis

❗️ Note: If you are new to Node.js or Express framework, I highly recommend watching Node.js and Express 101 screencast that teaches Node and Express from scratch.

Getting Started

The easiest way to get started is to clone the repository:

# Fetch only the latest commits.
git clone --depth=1 git@github.com:sahat/hackathon-starter.git my-project

cd my-project

# Install NPM dependencies
npm install

node app.js

❗️ Note: I strongly recommend installing nodemon sudo npm install -g nodemon. It will monitor for any changes in your node.js application and automatically restart the server. Once installed, instead of node app.js use nodemon app.js. It is a big time saver in the long run.

Next up, if you want to use any of the APIs or OAuth authentication methods, you will need to obtain appropriate credentials: Client ID, Client Secret, API Key, or Username & Password. You will need to go through each provider to generate new credentials.

Obtaining API Keys

- Visit [Google Cloud Console](https://cloud.google.com/console/project) - Click **CREATE PROJECT** button - Enter *Project Name*, then click **CREATE** - Then select *APIs & auth* from the sidebar and click on *Credentials* tab - Click **CREATE NEW CLIENT ID** button - **Application Type**: Web Application - **Authorized Javascript origins**: http://localhost:3000 - **Authorized redirect URI**: http://localhost:3000/auth/google/callback - Copy and paste *Client ID* and *Client secret* keys into `config/secrets.js`

❗️ Note: When you ready to deploy to production don't forget to add your new url to Authorized Javascript origins and Authorized redirect URI, e.g. http://my-awesome-app.herokuapp.com and http://my-awesome-app.herokuapp.com/auth/google/callback respectively. The same goes for other providers.

- Visit [Facebook Developers](https://developers.facebook.com/) - Click **Apps > Create a New App** in the navigation bar - Enter *Display Name*, then choose a category, then click **Create app** - Copy and paste *App ID* and *App Secret* keys into `config/secrets.js` - *App ID* is **clientID**, *App Secret* is **clientSecret** - Click on *Settings* on the sidebar, then click **+ Add Platform** - Select **Website** - Enter `http://localhost:3000` for *Site URL*

- Go to [Account Settings](https://github.com/settings/profile) - Select **Applications** from the sidebar - Then inside **Developer applications** click on **Register new application** - Enter *Application Name* and *Homepage URL*. - For *Authorization Callback URL*: http://localhost:3000/auth/github/callback - Click **Register application** - Now copy and paste *Client ID* and *Client Secret* keys into `config/secrets.js`

- Sign in at [https://dev.twitter.com](https://dev.twitter.com/) - From the profile picture dropdown menu select **My Applications** - Click **Create a new application** - Enter your application name, website and description - For **Callback URL**: - Go to **Settings** tab - Under *Application Type* select **Read and Write** access - Check the box **Allow this application to be used to Sign in with Twitter** - Click **Update this Twitter's applications settings** - Copy and paste *Consumer Key* and *Consumer Secret* keys into `config/secrets.js`

- Visit [PayPal Developer](https://developer.paypal.com/) - Log in using your existing PayPal account - Click **Applications > Create App** in the navigation bar - Enter *Application Name*, then click **Create app** - Copy and paste *Client ID* and *Secret* keys into `config/secrets.js` - *App ID* is **client_id**, *App Secret* is **client_secret** - Change **host** to api.paypal.com if you want to test against production and use the live credentials

- Go to [foursquare for Developers](https://developer.foursquare.com/) - Click on **My Apps** in the top menu - Click the **Create A New App** button - Enter *App Name*, *Welcome page url*, - For **Redirect URI**: http://localhost:3000/auth/foursquare/callback - Click **Save Changes** - Copy and paste *Client ID* and *Client Secret* keys into `config/secrets.js`

- Go to http://www.tumblr.com/oauth/apps - Once signed in, click **+Register application** - Fill in all the details - For **Default Callback URL**: http://localhost:3000/auth/tumblr/callback - Click **✔Register** - Copy and paste *OAuth consumer key* and *OAuth consumer secret* keys into `config/secrets.js`

Project Structure

Name Description
config/passport.js Passport Local and OAuth strategies + Passport middleware.
config/secrets.js Your API keys, tokens, passwords and database URL.
controllers/api.js Controller for /api route and all api examples.
controllers/contact.js Controller for contact form.
controllers/home.js Controller for home page (index).
controllers/user.js Controller for user account management page.
models/User.js Mongoose schema and model for User.
public/* Static assets, i.e. fonts, css, js, img.
public/css/styles.less Main stylesheet for your app.
public/css/themes/default.less Some Bootstrap overrides to make it look prettier.
views/account/* Templates relating to user account.
views/api/* Templates relating to API Examples.
views/partials/flash.jade Error, info and success notifications.
views/partials/navigation.jade Navbar partial template.
views/partials/footer.jade Footer partial template.
views/layout.jade Base template.
views/home.jade Home page template.
app.js Main application file.
cluster_app.js Creates multiple instances of app.js via Node.js clusters.

❗️ Note: There is no difference how you name or structure your views. You could place all your templates in a top-level views directory without having a nested folder structure, if that makes things easier for you. Just don't forget to update extends ../layout and corresponding res.render() method in controllers. For smaller apps, I find having a flat folder structure to be easier to work with.

‼️ Note: Although your main template - layout.jade only knows about /css/styles.css file, you should be editing styles.less stylesheet. Express will automatically generate minified styles.css whenever there are changes in LESS file. This is done via less-middleware node.js library.

Useful Tools

Recommended Design

Recommended Node.js Libraries

  • nodemon - automatically restart node.js server on code change.
  • geoip-lite - get geolocation coordinates from IP address.
  • Nodemailer - send emails with node.js (without sendgrid or mailgun).
  • filesize.js - make file size pretty, e.g. filesize(265318); // "265.32 kB".
  • Numeral.js - a javascript library for formatting and manipulating numbers.

Recommended Client-Side libraries

  • Hover - Awesome css3 animations on mouse hover.
  • platform.js - Get client's operating system name, version, and other useful information.
  • iCheck - Custom nice looking radio and check boxes.
  • Magnific Popup - Responsive jQuery Lightbox Plugin.
  • jQuery Raty - Star Rating Plugin.
  • Headroom.js - Hide your header until you need it.
  • Fotorama - Very nice jQuery gallery.
  • X-editable - Edit form elements inline.
  • Offline.js - Detect when user's internet connection goes offline.
  • Color Thief - Grabs the dominant color or a representative color palette from an image.
  • Alertify.js - Sweet looking alerts and browser dialogs.
  • select.js - Styleable select elements.
  • drop.js - Powerful Javascript and CSS library for creating dropdowns and other floating displays.
  • scrollReveal.js - Declarative on-scroll reveal animations.

Pro Tips

  • When you install a new npm package, add a --save flag and it will be automatially added to package.json as well. For example, npm install --save moment.
  • Use async.parallel() when you neeed to run multiple asynchronous tasks, and then render a page, but only when all tasks are completed. For example, you might want to scrape 3 different websites for some data (async operation) and render the results on a page after all 3 websites have been scraped.
  • Need to find a specific object inside an Array? Use _.findWhere function from Underscore.js. For example, this is how you would retrieve a Twitter token from database: var token = _.findWhere(req.user.tokens, { kind: 'twitter' });, where req.user.tokens is an Array, and a second parameter is an object with a given key/value.
  • If you right click and select View Page Source, notice how Express minified HTML for you. If you would like to see original, non-minified markup, add app.locals.pretty = true; to Express configuration.


What is cluster_app.js?

From the Node.js Documentation:

A single instance of Node runs in a single thread. To take advantage of multi-core systems the user will sometimes want to launch a cluster of Node processes to handle the load. The cluster module allows you to easily create child processes that all share server ports.

cluster_app.js allows you to take advantage of this feature by forking a process of app.js for each CPU detected. For the majority of applications serving HTTP requests, this is a resounding boon. However, the cluster module is still in experimental stage, therefore it should only be used after understanding its purpose and behavior. To use it, simply run node cluster_app.js. Its use is entirely optional and app.js is not tied in any way to it. As a reminder, if you plan to use cluster_app.js instead of app.js, be sure to indicate that in Procfile if you are deploying your app to Heroku.

What is this Rails 3.1-style asset pipeline that you mentioned in Features?

This is how you typically define static files inside HTML, Jade or any template for that matter:

link(href='/css/styles.css', rel='stylesheet')

Simple enough right? But wouldn't it be nice to have it just like that in development mode, but when you deploy to production, have it minified and concatenated automatically without any extra effort on you part?

link(href='/css/styles.css', rel='stylesheet')

As soon as you start bringing in more JavaScript libraries, the benefits of concatenating and minifying JavaScript files will be even greater. Using connect-assets library it's as as simple as:

!= css('styles')      // expects public/css/styles.less
!= js('application')  // expects public/js/application.js

The only thing you need to know is to define your JavaScript files inside public/js/application.js using this strange syntax convention (Sprockets-style) borrowed from Rails. I know it's an extra thing to learn for someone who has never seen Rails asset pipeline, but in this case benefits outweigh the costs.

//= require lib/jquery-2.1.0.min
//= require lib/bootstrap.min
//= require main

Using this approach, when in development mode, connect-assets will load each file individually, without minifying or concatenating. When you deploy your app, it will run in production mode, and so connect-assets will automatically serve a single concatenated + minified application.js. For more information see Sprockets-style concatenation

I am getting MongoDB Connection Error, how do I fix it?

That's a custom error message defined in app.js to indicate that there was a connection problem to MongoDB:

mongoose.connection.on('error', function() {
  console.log('✗ MongoDB Connection Error. Please make sure MongoDB is running.'.red);

As the message says, you need to have a MongoDB server running before launching app.js. You can get MongoDB from mongodb.org/downloads, or install it via a package manager (Homebrew on Mac, apt-get on Ubuntu, yum on Fedora, etc.)

I get an error when I deploy my app, why?

Chances are you haven't changed the Dabatase URI in secrets.js. If db is set to localhost, it will only work on your machine as long as MongoDB is running. When you deploy to Heroku, OpenShift or some other provider, you will not have MongoDB running on localhost. You need to create an account with MongoLab or MongoHQ, then create a free tier database. See Deployment (coming soon) section for more information on how to setup an account and a new database step-by-step with MongoLab.

Why Jade and not Handlebars template engine?

When I first started this project I didn't have any experience with Handlebars. Since then I have worked on Ember.js apps and got myself familiar with the Handlebars syntax. While it is true Handlebars is easier, because it looks like good old HTML, I have no regrets picking Jade over Handlebars. First off, it's the default template engine in Express, so someone who has built Express apps in the past already knows it. Secondly, I find extends and block to be indispensable, which as far as I know, Handlebars does not have out of the box. And lastly, subjectively speaking, Jade looks much cleaner and shorter than Handlebars, or any non-HAML style for that matter.

Why do you have all routes defined in app.js?

For the sake of simplicity. While there might be a better approach, such as passing app context to each controller as outlined in this blog, I find such style to be confusing for beginners. It took me a long time to grasp the concept of exports and module.exports, let alone having a global app reference in other files. That to me is a backward thinking. The app.js is the "heart of the app", it should be the one referencing models, routes, controllers, etc. When working solo on small projects I actually prefer to have everything inside app.js as is the case with this REST API server.

I don't need a sticky footer, can I delete it?

Absolutely. But unlike a regular footer there is a bit more work involved. First, delete #wrap and #footer ID selectors and html, body { height: 100%; } from styles.less. Next, delete #wrap and #footer lines from layout.jade (By the way, If no element is specified before the class or id, Jade assumes it's a div element). Don't forget to indent everything under #wrap to the left once, since this project uses two spaces per block indentation.

Can I use Ember, Angular or Backbone with Hackathon Starter?

It might be possible, but why would you want to? I specifically avoided client-side MV* frameworks in this project to keep things simple. There is a big shift in the way you develop apps with Ember, Backbone, Angular as opposed to server-side frameworks like Express, Flask, Rails, Django. Not only would you need to know how to use Express in this case, but also the client-side framework of your choice, which in itself is not a trivial task. And then there is a whole different process for authentication with single page applications. If you insist on using a client-side framework, it's best if you use a boilerplate of choice for your particular client-side framework and just grab the pieces you need from the Hackathon Starter.

Why is there no "Forgot Password" during login?

I started working on it, but quickly realized it should be library's responsibility. It would add a lot of extra code to an already hefty boilerplate that people would have to go through. That's part of the reason. The main reason is I have never built this feature before, and there is no "one true way" to do it if you search the web. I don't want to invest a lot of time into it by putting together a quick hack, trying to mimick the way others have build this feature. Ideally, I wish there was node.js library that integrates well with passport-local, but AFAIK it does not exist yet. Even, Keystone.JS - a node.js CMS does not have this feature. I have started working on it, but if it's really that important and you would like to continue it, check out the forgot-password branch. So far it has a template, GET controller to render that template, POST controller to send an email via Nodemailer.

How it works (mini guide)

This section is intended for giving you a detailed explanation about how a particular functionality works. Maybe you are just curious about how it works, or maybe you are lost and confused while reading the code, I hope it provides some guidance to you.

###🌹 Custom HTML and CSS Design 101 HTML5 UP has many beautiful templates that you can download for free, like the ones you see below: Alt Alt

When you download the ZIP file, it will come with index.html, images, css and js folders. So, how do you integrate it with Hackathon Starter? Hackathon Starter uses Bootstrap CSS framework, but these templates do not. Trying to use both CSS files at the same time will likely result in undesired effects.

❗️ Note: Using the custom templates approach, you should understand that you cannot reuse any of the views I have created: layout, home page, api browser, login, signup, account management, contact. Those views were built using Bootstrap grid and styles. You will have to manually update the grid using a different syntax provided in the template. Having said that, you can mix and match if you want to do so: Use Bootstrap for main app interface, and a custom template for a landing page.

Let's start from the beginning. For this example I will use Escape Velocity template: Alt

Note: For the sake of simplicity I will only consider index.html, and skip left-sidebar.html, no-sidebar.html, right-sidebar.html.

Move all javascript files from html5up-escape-velocity/js to public/js. Then move all css files from html5up-escape-velocity/css to public/css. And finally, move all images from html5up-escape-velocity/images to public/images (You could move it to the existing img folder, but then you would have to manually change every img reference). Grab the contents of index.html and paste it into HTML To Jade.

Create a new file escape-velocity.jade and paste the Jade markup there. Change !!! 5 to doctype html. It's a fairly recent change in Jade language, but http://html2jade.aaron-powell.com hasn't caught up to this change yet.

Let's see how it looks. Create a new controller escapeVelocity inside controllers/home.js:

exports.escapeVelocity = function(req, res) {
  res.render('escape-velocity', {
    title: 'Landing Page'

And then create a route in app.js. I placed it right after the index controller:

app.get('/escape-velocity', homeController.escapeVelocity);

Restart the server (if you are not using nodemon), then you should see the new template at http://localhost:3000/escape-velocity.

I will stop here, but if you would like to use this template as more than just a single page, take a look at how these Jade templates work: layout.jade - base template, index.jade - home page, partials/navigation.jade - Bootstrap navbar, partials/footer.jade - sticky footer. You will have to manually break it apart into smaller pieces. Figure out which part of the template you want to keep the same on all pages - that's your new layout.jade. Then, each page that changes, be it index.jade, about.jade, contact.jade will be embedded in the new layout.jade via block content.

This is a lengthy process, I know, and templates you get from outside HTML5UP, will have yet another grid system. That's why I chose Bootstrap CSS for the Hackathon Starter. Most people are familiar with Bootstrap, it's easy to get started, very extendable. You can also buy a Bootstrap theme drop it in into your project, and everything looks great without a single change to your markup or CSS class names. However, if you would like to go with a completely custom design, there you have it!

###💡 How do flash messages work in this project? Flash messages allow you to display a message at the end of the request and access it on next request and only next request. For instance, on a failed login attempt, you would display an alert with some error message, but as soon as you refresh that page or visit a different page and come back to the login page, that error message will be gone. It is only displayed once. This project uses express-flash module for flash messages. And that module is built on top of connect-flash, which is what I used in this project initially. With express-flash you don't have to explicity send a flash message to every view inside res.render(). All flash messages are available in your views via messages object by default, thanks to express-flash.

Flash messages have a two-step process. You use req.flash('errors', { msg: 'Error messages goes here' } to create a flash message in your controllers, and then display them in your views:

if messages.errors
    for error in messages.errors
      div= error.msg

In the first step, 'errors' is the name of a flash message, which should match the name of the property on messages object in your views. You place alert messages inside if message.errors because you don't want to show them flash messages are actually present. The reason why you pass an error like { msg: 'Error messages goes here' } instead of just a string - 'Error messages goes here', is for the sake of consistency. To clarify that, express-validator module which is used for validating and sanitizing user's input, returns all errors as an array of objects, where each object has a msg property with a message why an error has occured. Here is a more general example of what express-validator returns when there are errors present:

  { param: "name", msg: "Name is required", value: "<received input>" },
  { param: "email", msg: "A valid email is required", value: "<received input>" }

To keep consistent with that style, you should pass all flash messages as { msg: 'My flash message' } instead of a string. Otherwise you will just see an alert box without an error message. That is because, in partials/flash.jade template it will try to output error.msg (i.e. "My flash message".msg), in other words it will try to call a msg method on a String object, which will return undefined. Everything I just mentioned about errors, also applies to "info" and "success" flash messages, and you could even create a new one yourself, such as:

Data Usage Controller (Example)

req.flash('warning', 'You have exceeded 90% of your data usage');

User Account Page (Example)

if messages.warning
    for warning in messages.warning
      div= warning.msg

partials/flash.jade is a partial template that contains how flash messages are formatted. If you don't like the fadeIn animation, try something like flipInX (refer to animate.css), or just delete .animated.fadeIn from alerts if you don't want any animations. Or if you want to customize your flash messages by displaying ✔ on success flash and ✗ on error flash, this is the place where you would do all those customizations. Previously, flash messages were scattered throughout each view that used flash messages (contact, login, signup, profile), but now, thankfully it is uses a DRY approach.

The flash messages partial template is included in the layout.jade, along with footer and navigation.

    include partials/navigation
      include partials/flash
      block content
  include partials/footer

If you have any further questions about flash messages, please feel free to open an issue and I will update this mini-guide accordingly, or send a pull request if you would like to include something that I missed.

###⛄️ How do I create a new page? A more correct way to be to say "How do I create a route". The main file app.js contains all the routes. Each route has a callback function (aka controller) associated with it. Sometimes you will see 3 or more arguments to routes. In cases like that, the first argument is still a URL string, the middle arguments are what's called middleware. Think of middleware as a door. If this door prevents you from continuing forward, well, you won't get to your callback function (aka controller). One such example is authentication.

app.get('/account', passportConf.isAuthenticated, userController.getAccount);

It always goes from left to right. A user visits /account page. Then isAuthenticated middleware checks if you are authenticated:

exports.isAuthenticated = function(req, res, next) {
  if (req.isAuthenticated()) return next();

If you are authenticated, you let this visitor pass through your "door" by calling return next();. It then proceeds to the next middleware until it reaches the last argument which is a callback function that usually renders a template, or responds with a JSON data, if you are building a REST API. But in this example it simply renders a page and nothing more:

exports.getAccount = function(req, res) {
  res.render('account/profile', {
    title: 'Account Management'

Express.js has app.get, app.post, app.put, app.del, but for the most part you will only use the first two. If you just want to display a page, then use GET, if you are submitting a form, sending a file then use POST.

Here is a typical workflow of adding new routes to your application. Let's say we are building a page that lists all books from database.

Step 1. Start by defining a route.

app.get('/books', bookController.getBooks);

Step 2. Create a new controller file called book.js.

 * GET /books
 * List all books.

exports.getBooks = function(req, res) {
  Book.find(function(err, docs) {
    res.render('books', { books: docs });

Step 3. Import that controller in app.js.

var bookController = require('./controllers/book');

Step 4. Create books.jade template.

extends layout

block content
    h3 All Books

    for book in books
      li= book.name

That's it! I will say that you could have combined Step 1, 2, 3 as following:

app.get('/books', function(req, res) {
  Book.find(function(err, docs) {
    res.render('books', { books: docs });

Sure, it's simpler, but as soon as you pass 1000 lines of code in app.js it becomes a little difficult to navigate the file. I mean, the whole point of this boilerplate project was to separate concerns, so you could work with your teammates without running into MERGE CONFLICTS. Imagine you have 4 developers working on a single app.js, I promise you it won't be fun resolving merge conflicts all the time. If you are the only developer then it's fine. But as I said, once it gets up to a certain LoC size, it becomes difficult to maintain everything in a single file.

That's all there is to it. Express.js is super simple to use. Most of the time you will be dealing with other APIs to do the real work: Mongoose for querying database, socket.io for sending and receiving messages over websockets, sending emails via Nodemailer, form validation using express-validator library, parsing websites using Cheerio, and etc.

###💫 How do I use Socket.io with Hackathon Starter? Dan Stroot submitted an excellent pull request that adds a real-time dashboard with socket.io. And as much as I'd like to add it to the project, I think it violates one of the main principles of the Hackathon Starter:

When I started this project, my primary focus was on simplicity and ease of use. I also tried to make it as generic and reusable as possible to cover most use cases of hackathon web apps, without being too specific.

When I need to use socket.io, I really need it, but most of the time - I don't. But more importantly, websockets support is still experimental on most hosting providers. As of October 2013, Heroku supports websockets, but not until you opt-in by running this command:

heroku labs:enable websockets -a myapp

And what if you are deploying to OpenShift? They do support websockets, but it is currently in a preview state. So, for OpenShift you would need to change the socket.io connect URI to the following:

var socket = io.connect('http://yoursite-namespace.rhcloud.com:8000');

Wait, why is it on port 8000? Who knows, and if I didn't run across this blog post I wouldn't even know I had to use port 8000.

I am really glad that Heroku and OpenShift at least have a websockets support, because many other PaaS providers still do not support it. Due to the aforementioned issues with websockets, I cannot include socket.io as part of the Hackathon Starter. For now... If you need to use socket.io in your app, please continue reading.

First you need to install socket.io:

npm install socket.io --save

Replace var app = express(); with the following code:

var app = express();
var http = require('http');
var server = http.createServer(app);
var io = require('socket.io').listen(server);

I like to have the following code organization in app.js (from top to bottom): module dependencies, import controllers, import configs, connect to database, express configuration, routes, start the server, socket.io stuff. That way I always know where to look for things.

Add the following code at the end of app.js:

io.configure(function() {
  io.set('transports', ['websocket']);

io.sockets.on('connection', function(socket) {
  socket.emit('greet', { hello: 'Hey, Mr.Client!' });
  socket.on('respond', function(data) {
  socket.on('disconnect', function() {
    console.log('Socket disconnected');

We are done with the server-side business.

You now have a choice - to include your JavaScript code in Jade templates or have all your client-side JavaScript in a separate file - in main.js. I will admit, when I first started out with Node.js and JavaScript in general, I placed all JavaScript code inside templates because I have access to template variables passed in from Express right then and there. It's the easiest thing you can do, but also the least efficient and harder to maintain. Since then I almost never include inline JavaScript inside templates anymore.

But it's also understandable if you want take the easier road. Most of the time you don't even care about performance during hackathons, you just want to "get shit done" before the time runs out. Well, either way, use whichever approach makes more sense to you. At the end of the day, it's what you build that matters, not how you build it.

If you want to stick all your JavaScript inside templates, then in layout.jade - your main template file, add this to head block.

    var socket = io.connect(window.location.href);
    socket.on('greet', function (data) {
      socket.emit('respond', { message: 'Hello to you too, Mr.Server!' });

Note: Notice the path of the socket.io.js, you don't actually have to have socket.io.js file anywhere in your project; it will be generated automatically at runtime.

If you want to have JavaScript code separate from templates, move that inline script code into main.js, inside the $(document).ready() function:

$(document).ready(function() {

  // Place JavaScript code here...
  var socket = io.connect(window.location.href);
  socket.on('greet', function (data) {
    socket.emit('respond', { message: 'Hello to you too, Mr.Server!' });


And that's it, we are done!

If you want to see a really cool real-time dashboard check out this live example. Refer to the pull request #23 to see how it is implemented.


Once you are ready to deploy your app, you will need to create an account with a cloud platform to host it. These are not the only choices, but they are my top picks. Create an account with MongoLab and then pick one of the 4 providers below. Once again, there are plenty of other choices and you are not limited to just the ones listed below. From my experience, Heroku is the easiest to get started with, it will automatically restart your node.js process when it crashes, custom domain support on free accounts, hot push deployments, and Hackathon Starter already includes Procfile, which is necessary for deployment to Heroku.

- Open [mongolab.com](https://mongolab.com) website - Click the yellow **Sign up** button - Fill in your user information then hit **Create account** - From the dashboard, click on **⚡️Create new** button - Select **any** cloud provider (I usually go with AWS) - Under *Plan* click on **Single-node (development)** tab and select **Sandbox** (it's free) - *Leave MongoDB version as is - `2.4.x`* - Enter *Database name** for your web app - Then click on **⚡️Create new MongoDB deployment** button - Now, to access your database you need to create a DB user - You should see the following message: - *A database user is required to connect to this database.* **Click here** *to create a new one.* - Click the link and fill in **DB Username** and **DB Password** fields - Finally, in `secrets.js` instead of `db: 'localhost'`, use the following URI with your credentials: - `db: 'mongodb://:@ds027479.mongolab.com:27479/'`

❗️Note: As an alternative to MongoLab there is also MongoHQ.




Windows Azure


  • Pages that require login, should automatically redirect to last attempted URL on successful sign-in.


If something is unclear, confusing, or needs to be refactored, please let me know. Pull requests are always welcome, but due to the opinionated nature of this project, I cannot accept every pull request. Please open an issue before submitting a pull request.


The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2014 Sahat Yalkabov

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.