Kraken.js on Nunjucks - Basic Application Structure
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Kraken.js on Nunjucks

Kraken on Nunjucks Screenshot

1. Installation

  1. Clone the repository and checkout the folder
  2. Install project dependencies
    1. All Environments: [sudo] npm install -g grunt-cli pm2 && npm install
  3. Build assets:
    1. Development (build and watch): grunt
    2. Production (build): grunt build
  4. Run node server:
    1. Development environment: [PORT=8000] node .
    2. Production environment: [PORT=8000] NODE_ENV=production node .

1.1. Process Manager

Kraken on Nunjucks Screenshot

  1. You can use PM2 process manager so that the application restarts automatically in development mode and watches for file changes. It sets port and environment variables automatically via configuration file.
    1. Install it with [sudo] npm install -g pm2
    2. Start the application: pm2 start <development.json|production.json>
    3. Start or restart the application: pm2 startOrRestart <development.json|production.json>
    4. Monit processes: pm2 monit
    5. Tail logs: pm2 logs
    6. Reload processes: pm2 reload all
    7. Restart processes: pm2 restart all
    8. Kill the process manager: pm2 kill

2. Configuration

2.1. Node.js

Node.js configuration is stored in config directory. Production configuration is called config.json, development overrides production and is called development.json

3. Debugging

3.1. Application Logs

  1. In order to see debug logs, simply prepend DEBUG=* to the command you're running, e.g. DEBUG=* node .
  2. In order to keep debug information of a given type on your screen, use proper filtering, e.g. DEBUG=express:router, DEBUG=express:* etc.

3.2. JavaScript debugging

  1. In order to debug JavaScript like you do it with the browser:
    1. Install node-inspector globally with [sudo] npm install -g node-inspector
    2. Open node-inspector on a given port, e.g. node-inspector --web-port 9191
    3. Run your application with --debug flag if you'd like to set breakpoints yourself, e.g. node --debug .
    4. Run it with --debug-brk if you'd like to break before JavaScript starts executing, e.g. node --debug-brk .
    5. Open URL node-inspector provided you with in your browser, e.g.

4. Dependencies

  • Kraken.js - Kraken is a light extension to express.js developed on a daily basis by PayPal. It helps us keep everything well organised and configurable per environment via json files. Kraken's actually a structure you end up with after weeks of creating project yourself using express.js (time saver), why to write in pure express then?
  • Nunjucks - lightweight, well documented and supported template engine based on the Jinja syntax (same syntax as Twig for PHP)
  • Grunt.js - JavaScript tasks runner, one of the two big competitors on the market (Grunt.js and Gulp). Grunt is more mature.