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Safer monkeypatching for Node.js

shimmer does a bunch of the work necessary to wrap other methods in a wrapper you provide:

var http = require('http');
var shimmer = require('shimmer');

shimmer.wrap(http, 'request', function (original) {
  return function () {
    console.log("Starting request!");
    var returned = original.apply(this, arguments)
    console.log("Done setting up request -- OH YEAH!");
    return returned;

Mandatory disclaimer

There are times when it's necessary to monkeypatch default behavior in JavaScript and Node. However, changing the behavior of the runtime on the fly is rarely a good idea, and you should be using this module because you need to, not because it seems like fun.


All monkeypatched functions have an attribute, __wrapped, set to true on them.


If you pass in an options object containing a function labeled logger, shimmer will use it instead of the logger, which defaults to console.error. shimmer is built to be as unobtrusive as possible and has no need to run asynchronously, so it defaults to logging when things fail, instead of throwing.

shimmer.wrap(nodule, name, wrapper)

shimmer monkeypatches in place, so it expects to be passed an object. It accepts either instances, prototypes, or the results of calling require. name must be the string key for the field's name on the object.

wrapper is a function that takes a single parameter, which is the original function to be monkeypatched. shimmer assumes that you're adding behavior to the original method, and not replacing it outright. If you are replacing the original function, feel free to ignore the passed-in function.

If you aren't discarding the original, remember these tips:

  • call the original with something like original.apply(this, arguments), unless your reason for monkeypatching is to transform the arguments.
  • always capture and return the return value coming from the original function. Today's null-returning callback is tomorrow's error-code returning callback.
  • Don't make an asynchronous function synchronous and vice versa.

shimmer.massWrap(nodules, names, wrapper)

Just like wrap, with the addition that you can wrap multiple methods on multiple modules. Note that this function expects the list of functions to be monkeypatched on all of the modules to be the same.

shimmer.unwrap(nodule, name)

A convenience function for restoring the function back the way it was before you started. Won't unwrap if somebody else has monkeypatched the function after you (but will log in that case). Won't throw if you try to double-unwrap a function (but will log).

shimmer.massUnwrap(nodules, names)

Just like unwrap, with the addition that you can unwrap multiple methods on multiple modules. Note that this function expects the list of functions to be unwrapped on all of the modules to be the same.

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