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Node development for the lazy

If you can describe it in 495 characters, why on earth should it take 879?

Zappa is a CoffeeScript-optimized interface to Express and Socket.IO that makes this:

require('zappa') ->
  Gizmo = require './model/gizmo'
  @use 'bodyParser', 'methodOverride', @app.router, 'static'

    development: => @use errorHandler: {dumpExceptions: on}
    production: => @use 'errorHandler'

  @get '/': -> @render 'index'
  @get '/gizmos/:id': ->
    Gizmo.findById, (err, gizmo) =>
      @render index: {err, gizmo}

  @on connection: ->
    @emit welcome: {time: new Date()}

  @on shout: ->
    @broadcast shout: {@id, text: @data.text}

Equivalent to this:

express = require 'express'
app = express.createServer()
io = require('').listen(app)

Gizmo = require './model/gizmo'

app.use express.bodyParser()
app.use express.methodOverride()
app.use app.router
app.use express.static __dirname + '/public'

app.configure 'development', ->
  app.use express.errorHandler dumpExceptions: on

app.configure 'production', ->
  app.use express.errorHandler()

app.get '/', (req, res) -> res.render 'index'

app.get '/gizmos/:id', (req, res) ->
  Gizmo.findById, (err, gizmo) ->
    res.render 'index', {err, gizmo}

io.sockets.on 'connection', (socket) ->
  socket.emit 'welcome', time: new Date()

  socket.on 'shout', (data) ->
    socket.broadcast.emit 'shout',
      id:, text: data.text

app.listen 3000

console.log "Express server listening on port %d in %s mode",
  app.address().port, app.settings.env

And throws in some additional features while at it:

require('zappa') ->
  @enable 'default layout', 'serve jquery',
    'serve sammy', 'minify'

  @get '/': ->
    @render 'index'

  @on connection: ->
    @emit welcome: {result: sum 1, 2}
  @shared '/shared.js': ->
    root = window ? global
    root.sum = (x, y) -> x + y
  @client '/index.js': ->

    @get '#/route': ->
      $('body').append 'client routes!'

    @on welcome: ->
      $('body').append "welcomed: #{sum @data.result, 2}"
  @view index: ->
    @title = 'PicoChat!'
    @scripts = ['/', '/zappa/jquery',
      '/zappa/sammy', '/zappa/zappa', '/shared', '/index']
    h1 @title

Learn More

Other resources

  • The source code repository at github

  • Questions, suggestions? Drop us a line on the mailing list

  • Rather do it realtime? Join the IRC channel on freenode: [#zappajs]((irc://

  • Found a bug? Open an issue at github

  • Check the project's history at the change log

  • Migrating from an earlier version? Read the announcements (0.2.x/0.3.x) for an overview on changes, and follow the TL;DR migration guides (0.2.x/0.3.x)

  • Deploying to heroku? Check this blog post

Thanks loads

To all people behind the excellent libs that made this little project possible, more specifically:

  • Jeremy Ashkenas for CoffeeScript, the "little" language is nothing short of revolutionary to me.

  • TJ Holowaychuk for the robust and flexible cornerstone that's Express.

  • Guillermo Rauch for solving (as far as I'm concerned) the comet problem once and for all.

  • Ryan Dahl for Node.js, without which nothing of this would be possible.


  • Blake Mizerany for Sinatra, the framework that made me redefine simple.

  • why the lucky stiff, for making me redefine hacking.

  • And last but not least Frank Zappa, for the spirit of nonconformity and experimentation that inspires me to push forward. Not to mention providing the soundtrack.

"Why do you necessarily have to be wrong just because a few million people think you are?" - FZ


Node development for the lazy.







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