A server micro-framework for Node.js, written for middleware that return promises. Ready for async-await!
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Toisu! is an Express/Koa inspired server micro-framework for Node.js. Toisu!:

  • Follows the tiny module dogma. Functionality is provided by modules.
  • Middleware functions return a promise when they are asynchronous.
  • Middleware share a context (this).

The second point means that all middleware receive just two arguments, and look exactly like a Node.js request handler function. Like Express, Toisu allows you to define a chain of middleware functions to pass the request and response objects through. Each middleware is called only after the promise returned by the one proceeding it has resolved. This avoids the need for a callback. If any middleware throws or returns a promise which becomes rejected, the remaining middlewares in the chain are skipped and an error handler called (a default is provided if you do not define your own).

Beside being a modern approach to handling asynchronous tasks, middleware which returns a promise is ready for the future when async-await is a part of JS.

Toisu is tested to work with Node 4.2 and up.

An example server

const http = require('http');

// http is a Node core module. The following modules need to be added to your
// package.json file if you want to try out this example:
// npm i -S toisu toisu-router toisu-body
const Toisu = require('toisu');
const Router = require('toisu-router');
const body = require('toisu-body');

// A middleware function to build some response data from. Uses data appended
// to the shared context by the body parser (body) and the router (params). It
// appends data to the context. No promise is returned since nothing async is
// going on.
function assembleData(req, res) {
  const body = this.get('body');
  const params = this.get('params');
  const data = JSON.stringify({
    someData: params.someData,
    body: body

  this.set('data', data);

// A middleware which introduces an artificial delay for demonstration.
function delay(req, res) {
  return new Promise(resolve => setTimeout(resolve, 100));

// A middleware to grab the data assembled in previous middlewares, and respond
// to the client with it.
function sendData(req, res) {
  const data = this.get('data'); // We put this here earlier.
  const stringified = JSON.stringify(data);

  res.writeHead(200, {
    'Content-Type': 'application/json',
    'Content-Length': Buffer.byteLength(stringified)

// Create a router object for handling URL path and HTTP method specific logic.
const router = new Router();

// Add a handler to the router for a particular URI. The colon indicates a
// parameter. If a GET request "/test/1234" is recieved, the array of middlwares
// will be called in order and a "params" field set on the shared context with
// a value of { someData: '1234' } (always a string).
router.get('/test/:someData', {
  GET: [assembleData, delay, sendData]

// Create a Toisu! app object to handle HTTP requests.
const app = new Toisu();

// Middlewares have been added to the router, but not the app itself yet. First
// we add a JSON body parser, which appends a "body" field to the shared context
// with the parsed body data as the value. Then the router is added. Since there
// is only one route defined, the server will respond to any other route with a
// 404. If the correct route is used, but the request is not a GET, then the
// router responds with a 405.

// Listen for requests on port 3000.

This small app demonstrates a small Toisu server. It leans heavily on modules to do things, where Express does a lot out of the box.


Aynchronous Toisu! middleware returns a promise for a reason. Functions that return promises may be awaited when async-await is available in the future. For example:

// Wrap setTimout in a function which returns a promise.
const timeout = dt => new Promise(resolve => setTimeout(resolve, dt));

// Asynchronous functions can await promises.
async function delay(req, res) {
  await timeout(100);

This is a simple example. async-await really becomes useful when a middleware has several asynchronous steps (such as querying a database).

This future proofs Toisu!


class Toisu

Creates a new Toisu app.


A default error handler for Toisu! apps. If an error is thrown in a middleware, or a middleware returns a rejected promise then error handler will send a response with a 500 status code.


Add a single middeware function to the stack. These are called in the order they have been added. If a middleware function returns a promise, it must resolve before the next is called. An asynchronous middleware must return a promise. Middleware functions should take (request, response) objects as arguments, and will receive the shared context as their this value. Do not use arrow functions as middleware if you need to use the shared context.

app.handleError(request, response, error)

This is set to Toisu.defaultHandleError by default. If a middleware throws or rejects then this function is called with the shared context. Replace it if you want custom logic for handling errors.

app.requestHandler(request, response)

This is a function which should be passed to http.createServer.