Create a RESTful service with ES7 decorators for your express based node.js application.
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Create a RESTful service with ES7 decorators for your express based node.js application.

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npm install js-restful-express --save

You need to use a es7 reflect metadata shim (reflect-metadat or core-js). This is essential to make the decorators working. It must be ensured that this module is only loaded once. Otherwise the decorated information will be lost at runtime. Keep in mind that this is a shim and until now not a language feature!


  • You use TypeScript for your app
  • You use express 4.x as your http framework for your node.js application


Decorate your service class with the decorators from the js-restful Github-project. So far there are the following decorators available:

Decorator Description
@Path The path under which the service will be published. The decorator can be used at class and method level. You need to provide a path as string.
@GET Decorator that indicates a HTTP GET method.
@POST Decorator that indicates a HTTP POST method.
@PUT Decorator that indicates a HTTP PUT method.
@DELETE Decorator that indicates a HTTP DELETE method.
@PathParam A method parameter may be decorated with the @PathParam decorator. The decorator reuquires a string parameter - the name of the parameter. The name must be present within the Path. For example /books/:id. One can access the id parameter parameter with @PathParam('id')
@HeaderParam You can access the http header information in the same way as a path parameter. The difference is, that the value will be determined by a http header entry at runtime. For example if you want to access a token that is stored in the http header use: @HeaderParam('token)
@QueryParam If you want to access url query parameters from your service use this decorator. For example in a url like this: /books?readed=true you can use @QueryParam('readed')
@Context (HttpRequest, HttpResponse) Sometime it may be necessary to play around with the original HttpRequest or the HttpResponse. In this case you can use the @Context decorator. For Example @Context(ContextTpyes.HttpRequest)
@SecurityContext This module provides decorators that can deal with security concerns out of the box. If this doesn't fits your needs you can inject the SecurityContext manually. For example: withSecContext(@SecurityContext() context:ISecurityContext)
@RolesAllowed You may restrict the access to all methods of a class or a specific method. Just use the @RolesAllowed decorator: @RolesAllowed(['admin'])
@PermitAll If you want you service or service methods to be called by everyone use @PermitAll


  • The HTTP Method decorators are only marker decorators. They don't have a parameter. The request path must be defined by the @Path decorator.
  • If you use any of the build in security capabilities you need to register a ISecurityContextFactory. See below.
  • If you specify @RolesAllowed or @PermitAll at class level and method level, the decorator at the method overwrites the decorator at class level.

This npm modul adds the following decorators:

Decorator Description
@RenderWith The decorator expects a string as parameter. This is the view that should be used to render the result. For example: @RenderWith('index') will render the result of the service method with a view named index. You need to configure express with your preferred render engine: app.set('view engine', 'pug');.
@ExpressContext (HttpNextFunction) The express framework provides a next function. If you need access to this function from within your service you may use this decorator for a method parameter.

A more elaborate example:

import { GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, Path, PathParam, HeaderParam } from 'js-restful';

class BookService {

    allBooks() : Book[]{
       return [];

    createBook(@PathParam('name') name:string, @HeaderParam('token') token:string) :Book {
        return {id:1, name:name};

    updateBook(@PathParam('id') id:number, @PathParam('name') name:string) : Book {
        return {id:id, name:name};

    deleteBook(@PathParam('id') id:number): boolean {
        return true;

After you have done this, setup your express app as you usually would. Then you can register a decorated instance of your service:

import { ExpressServiceRegistry } from './service-registry';
import * as express from 'express';

let app = express();
ExpressServiceRegistry.registerService(app, new BookService());

That's it. Now your service is published as an RESTful service in your express app.

If you start your app you can access the urls:

GET     /books                      -> []
POST    /books/simpsons             -> {id:1, name:'simpsons'}
PUT     /books/1/Huckleberry Finn   -> {id:1, name:'Huckleberry Finn'}
DELETE  /books/1                    -> true

Supported Return Types

So far we have seen that all servcie methods are synchronous. You can return simple javascript types or complex objects. If you simply return a boolean, number, string these values will be returned as text/plain. null or undefined are returned as text/plain if no HttpResponse-object is injected in the service method (in this case you have full control what should be returned to the client). If you returns a complex object the result will be send as application/json.

But what if your service method is asynchronous? In this case you can use es6 promises. For example:

import {Promise} from 'es6-promise';

class TestService {

        const p: Promise<any> = new Promise ((resolve, reject) => {
        return p;

If you access the url '/' you will get [{foo:'bar'}] as the result. May be this is too much code for you - for me it is 😏 . Keep in mind that there are a lot of node modules that already use promisses. For example mongoose. With this you service could be as short as:

import {Path, GET, RolesAllowed} from 'js-restful';
import {User} from './../models/userModel';

export class UserService {

    return User.find({}).exec();


Providing a ISecurityContextFactory

If you decorate your service with @RolesAllowed, @PermitAll or you are using @SecurityContext as a parameter decorator you need to provide a ISecurityContextFactory. js-rstful-express need this factory to create a ISecurityContext to decide who is permitted to access the service or service method.

This Factory must be registered at the ExpressServiceRegistry before you register your service classes:

ExpressServiceRegistry.registerSecurityContextFactory(app, new SecurityContextFactory());

Here is a sample implementation that assumes you are using passport for authentication:

class SecurityContextFactory implements ISecurityContextFactory {

  createSecurityContext(req:express.Request):ISecurityContext {
    return new SecurityContext(req);


The SecurityContext needs to be created for every request!

class SecurityContext implements ISecurityContext {


    this.user = new User(req);

  isUserInRole(roleName:string):boolean {
      return false;
    return this.user.hasRole(roleName);
export default class User implements IUser {

  private passportUser:any;
  private roles:string[] = [];


    if (req.isAuthenticated()){
      this.passportUser = req.user;

    return this.passportUser ? true : false;

  hasRole(roleName:string):boolean {
    return this.passportUser.roles.indexOf(roleName) != -1;


You may ask: what is the advantage of using decorators and TypeScript for your app? Here are some thoughts why it is useful:

  • You may write less code you need to maintain and test.
  • You can refactor your code with minimal impact at other parts of your application. Just move or rename your service class will not break how your service may be accessed.
  • You can change who is allowed to access your service or service method without modifying your code. You just change the decorator.
  • You can test your services more easily - if you do not use HttpReqest or HttpResponse directly you don't need to mock these objects.
  • May be you have a background in Java and know what JAX-RS is. In this case you will be familiar with this approach.