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xRest: RESTful Routing for ExpressJS

Note: this project is a work in progress. It's functional and useable already, but missing several planned features, and still subject to API changes.

xRest provides highly configurable, extensible support for RESTful resources in Express. By supplying xRest with just a few lines of configuration, code, and templates, you get intelligent, re-mappable request routing, support for multiple rendering formats (currently, HTML and JSON out of the box) and more.

If you need a technical introduction to REST and RESTful resources, Architect Zone's Common REST Design Pattern article is a great place to start.

xRest Features:

  • xRest resources can be mounted to any URL path
  • Routes can be customized/overridden:
    • globally for all xRest resources (default routes)
    • when a resource is defined (per-resource routes)
    • when a resource is mounted (per-mount routes) [TODO]
  • Route middleware can be applied:
    • globally for all xRest resources (default middleware)
    • when a resource is defined (per-resource middleware)
    • when a resource is mounted (per-mount middleware)
    • within individutal routes (per-route middleware) [TODO]
  • RESTful resources can be defined recursively (a resource can internally mount another resource) [TODO]
  • Content Negotiation: HTML/JSON/XML formats for free, and easilly extensible with other custom formats [TODO]


Creating an xRest resource is easy:

var sys = require('sys');
var xrest = require('express-rest');

var users = new xrest.Resource({
    fetchItem: function(req, res, next) {
        var id =; // default item key set by xRest
        var item = ...;  // fetch user from database
        req.item = item; // store it for use in later route handlers
    // ... other handler functions and/or configuration properties

The default configuration will call various functions if you've defined them, to pre-fetch data or process requests which create or change it.

Once you have a resource, you need to mount it in your Express application:

var express = require('express');
var app = express.createServer();
app.restful('/users', users);

Done! xRest automatically sets up various routes for you:

HTTP Method Path Calls Handler Renders Template
GET /$ fetchAll /(none)/
GET /$ itemList index
POST /$ itemCreate /(none)/
GET /{new} itemCreateForm create_new
GET /:{key}/:op? fetchItem /(none)/
GET /:{key} itemDetail detail
PUT /:{key} itemUpdate /(none)/
GET /:{key}/{edit} itemUpdateForm detail_edit
DEL /:{key} itemRemove /(none)/

Paths use {name}-style placeholders, the values of which you can override at various levels (globally, per-resource, per-mount).

You implement the handler functions you need on your resource, and supply the templates. The default configuration expects several templates to be defined for serving HTML responses, as shown above. If you only need to serve JSON, though, you don't need any of them.

More Information

Additional documentation, including a full API reference, is available on the xRest website on GitHub.


xRest is distributed under the MIT license. Contributions are very welcome :-)


xRest: RESTful routing for ExpressJS






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