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An Entity is a high level business unit. Entities are supersets of models and resources. They are persistent storage agnostic and provide a normalized CRUD API with which your consuming services can perform business logic actions.

Entity Figure 1

Build Status

The Entity Object on itself is nothing but an extension of EventEmitter. It can be easily extended to create the Interfaces and base classes from where your business logic entities can inherit.

Entities come with a normalized CRUD interface which plugs into [now] two ORM packages, Mongoose and Sequelize.


npm install node-entity --save

Entity Static Methods

Entity uses the Cip package for inheritance, it implements the pseudo-classical inheritance pattern packed in a convenient and easy to use API.


The extend() method is the basic tool for extending, it accepts a constructor.

var entity = require('node-entity');

var EntityChild = entity.extend(function() {
  this.a = 1;

var EntityGrandChild = EntityChild.extend();

var EntityGreatGrandChild = EntityGrandChild.extend(function() {
  this.b = 2;

var greatGrandChild = new EntityGreatGrandChild();

greatGrandChild.a === 1; // true
greatGrandChild.b === 2; // true

Read more about extend() at Cip's documentation.


Use the extendSingleton() method to create singleton constructors, use the getInstance() method to always get the same exact instance of the entity.

var entity = require('entity');

var UserEntity = entity.extendSingleton(function() {});

/* ... */

var userEnt = UserEntity.getInstance();

While the use of singletons has been fairly criticized, it is our view that in modern day web applications, the instance role has moved up to the node process. Your web application will naturally run on multiple cores (instances) and thus each instance is a single unit in the whole that comprises your web service. Entities need to emit and listen to local events, PubSub, create Jobs, send email and generally have bindings to other services (RPC, AWS, whatnot).

Those events, PubSub etc have a lifetime equal to the runtime of the core the application is running on. This requires for a single entity to exist and manage all those bindings, applying the business logic and performing the required high level operations.

Entity CRUD Interface

The current implementation offers a normalized CRUD Interface with a selected set of operations. The purpose of having a normalized interface is to decouple the business logic from storage, models. ORM Adaptors implement the CRUD Interface giving you a vast array of options for the underlying persistent storage. As mentioned above, currently two ORM packages are supported, Mongoose and Sequelize. This pretty much covers all the popular databases like mongodb, Postgres, MySQL, Redis, SQLite and MariaDB.

CRUD Primitive Operations

The CRUD Interface offers the following primitive operations:

  • create(data)
  • read(query=)
  • readOne(query)
  • readLimit(?query, offset, limit)
  • update(query, updateValues)
  • delete(query)
  • count(query=)

These primitives will transparently adapt to the most optimized operations on the ORM of your choosing and guarantee the outcome will always be the same no matter the underlying ORM.

All primitive methods offer Before/After/Last hooks and return a Promise to determine resolution.


  • data Object The Data Object representing the Entity you wish created.
  • Returns Object The newly created item, in the type of the underlying ORM.

The create() method will create a new item, you need to provide an Object containing key/value pairs.

entity.create({name: 'thanasis'})
  .then(function(document) { === 'thanasis'; // true
  .catch(function(error) {
    // deal with error.

Check out the entity.create() tests

  • query= Object|string Optional A query or an id.
  • Returns Array.<Object> An array of documents.

The read() method will query for items. If the query argument is omitted, all the items will be returned. If the query argument is an Object, it will be passed as is to the underlying ORM. Entity guarantees that key/value type queries will work and will also transport any idiomatic ORM query types.
  .then(function(documents) {
    // All documents
  });{networkId: '47'})
  .then(function(documents) {
    // All documents whose "networkId" equals 47

Any additional key/value pairs you add to your query will be added with the AND operator.

Query supports expressions

The query for the read() method supports any of the gt, gte, lt, lte, ne, in by using an Object literal as the value for the attribute you want to query:{
  name: 'sam',
  age: {
    gt: 8
  attr3: {
    lte: 10
  • gt Greater Than, expects a numerical value.
  • gte Greater Than Equals, expects a numerical value.
  • lt Less Than, expects a numerical value.
  • lt Less Than Equals, expects a numerical value.
  • ne Not Equal, expects a numerical value.
  • in Query a Set of items, expects an array of values: {age: {in: [10,11,12]}}, uses OR for all the items defined.
  • and Query a Set of items, expects an array of values: {age: {and: [10,11,12]}}, uses AND for all the items defined, only applies to mongoose adapter and more specifically to attributes that are of type array (i.e relation references).

Check out the tests


  • query Object|string A query or an id, required.
  • Returns Object A single Document.

The readOne() method guarantees that you will get one and only one item. It is the method intended to be used by single item views. The query argument has the same attributes as read().{name: 'thanasis'})
  .then(function(document) { === 'thanasis'; // true
  .then(function(document) { === '42'; // true

entity.readLimit(?query, offset, limit)

  • query Object|string|null A query or an id, if null will fetch all.
  • offset number Starting position.
  • limit number Number of items to fetch.
  • Returns Array.<Object> An array of Documents.

Will fetch the items based on query, limiting the results by the offset and limit defined. The query argument shares the same attributes as read(), if null all the items will be fetched.

entity.readLimit(null, 0, 10)
  .then(function(documents) {
    // fetched the first 10 items

entity.readLimit({networkId: '42'}, 10, 10)
  .then(function(documents) {
    // fetched records whose networkId equels '42
    // And started from the 10th item,
    // limiting the total records to 10

entity.update(query, updateValues)

  • query Object|string A query or an id, required.
  • updateValues Object An Object with key/value pairs to update.
  • Returns Object= The updated document of Mongoose ORM is used or nothing if Sequelize.

Will perform an update operation on an item or set of item as defined by the query. The query argument can be a single id or an Object with key/value pairs.

entity.update('99', {name: 'John')
  .then(function(document) { === 'John'; // true only for Mongoose

entity.update({networkId: '42'}, {isActive: false})
  .then(function(documents) {
    // deactive all items with network id that equals 42

Check out the entity.update() tests


  • query Object|string A query or an id, required.
  • Returns nothing.

Will perform an delete operation as defined by the query. The query argument can be a single id or an Object with key/value pairs.

  .then(function() {
    // job done

entity.delete({networkId: '42'})
  .then(function() {
    // all gone

Check out the entity.delete() tests


  • query= Object|string Optional A query or an id, if omitted all items will be count.
  • Returns number The count.

Will perform a count operation as defined by the query. The query argument can be a single id or an Object with key/value pairs, if empty it will count all the items.

  .then(function(count) {
    typeof count === 'number'; // true, all the items.

entity.count({networkId: '42'})
  .then(function() {
    typeof count === 'number'; // true

Check out the entity.count() tests

Before / After / Last Hooks

Every CRUD operation offers Before/After/Last hooks courtesy of Middlewarify. Each middleware will receive the same exact arguments. To pass control to the next middleware you need to return a promise that conforms to the Promises/A+ spec.

// a middleware with synchronous resolution
  if (! {
    throw new TypeError('No go my friend');

// then...
entity.create({}).then(function(document) {
  // you'll never get here
}, function(err) {
  err instanceof Error; // true
  err.message === 'No go my friend'; // true

An Asynchronous middleware

// a middleware with asynchronous resolution
  return somepackage.promise(function(resolve, reject) {
    // perform an async op
    readTheStars(function(err, omen) {
      if (err) { return reject(err); }

      if (omen === 'thou shall not pass') {
      } else {

Setting up a CRUD Entity

The two currently available adaptors are available through these properties of the entity module

All adaptors expose the setModel() method. Before that method is successfully invoked all CRUD operations will fail, the Model required is an instantiated model of each respective ORM.

Initializing Mongoose


var mongoose = require('mongoose');

var userModel = module.exports = {};
userModel.schema = new mongoose.Schema({
  name: {type: String, trim: true, required: true},
  _isActive: {type: Boolean, required: true, default: true},

// This module now exposes the Mongoose
// User model on the "Model" property
userModel.Model = mongoose.model('user', userModel.schema);


var EntityMongoose = require('entity').Mongoose;
var UserModel = require('../models/user.model');

var UserEntity = module.exports = EntityMongoose.extend(function(){
  // pass the Mongoose User Model

Initializing Sequelize


var Sequelize = require('sequelize');

// typically you have this in another module
var seqInstance = new Sequelize(
    host: '',
    port: '5432',
    dialect: 'postgres',
    logging: false,

var userModel = module.exports = {};

// This module now exposes the Sequelize
// User model on the "Model" property
userModel.Model = seqInstance.define('user', {
  name: {type: Sequelize.STRING, allowNull: false},
  _isActive: {type: Sequelize.BOOLEAN, allowNull: false, defaultValue: true},


var EntitySequelize = require('entity').Sequelize;
var UserModel = require('../models/user.model');

var UserEntity = module.exports = EntitySequelize.extend(function(){
  // pass the Sequelize User Model

That was it, from here on, irrespective of adaptor and ORM, you can instantiate a new entity or use the singleton to perform CRUD operations.


var BaseController = require('./base-controller.js');
var userEnt = require('../entities/user.ent').getInstance();

// The BaseController uses the "cip" package for inheritance
var UserCtrl = module.exports = BaseController.extend();

UserCtrl.prototype.createNew = function(req, res) {
  // pass the submited parameters
  // validation happens on the model.
      // send the User Data Object
    }, function(error) {
      res.json(501, error);

CRUD Events

The base entity class inherits from Node's standard EventEmitter. The CRUD interface provides 3 convenient events that get triggered after each corresponding operation and all its' middleware have finished invocation.

  • create Triggers after a create OP finished, arguments:
    • data Object The data provided by the user to create the record.
    • result Object The result as provided by the underlying ORM.
  • update Triggers after an update OP finished, arguments:
    • query Object|string The query used to define which record to update.
  • delete Triggers after a delete OP finished, arguments:
    • query Object|string The query used to define which record to delete.
    • id string An attempt to provide the ID of the deleted record.


var EntitySequelize = require('entity').Sequelize;
var UserModel = require('../models/user.model');

var UserEntity = module.exports = Entity.Sequelize.extend(function(){
  // pass the Sequelize User Model

/* ... */

var userEntity = UserEntity.getInstance();

userEntity.on('create', function(data, result) {/* ... */});
userEntity.on('update', function(query) {/* ... */});
userEntity.on('delete', function(query, id) {/* ... */});

Entity Schema

Entities offer a schema API. CRUD Adaptors will automatically translate the underlying ORM's schema to a normalized mschema compliant schema.


  • Returns mschema The normalized schema.

getSchema() is synchronous, it will return a key/value dictionary where value will always contain the following properties

  • name string The name of the attribute.
  • path string The full path of the attribute (used by document stores)
  • canShow boolean A boolean that determines View visibility.
  • type string An mschema type, possible types are:
    • string
    • number
    • object
    • boolean
    • any
var userModel = require('../entities/user.ent').getInstance();



  "name": {
    "name": "name",
    "path": "name",
    "canShow": true,
    "type": "string"
  "_isActive": {
    "name": "_isActive",
    "path": "_isActive",
    "canShow": false,
    "type": "boolean"

The path property will be useful when you use nested Objects in your Schema, something only possible with the Mongoose adaptor. So if the address is an object that contains the attribute city here's how that would look like:

  "": {
    "name": "city",
    "path": "",
    "canShow": true,
    "type": "string"

Check out the CRUD Schema method tests

entity.addSchema(attributeName, type)

  • attributeName Object|string The name of the attribute to add or an Object with key/value pairs.
  • type Object|string The type or an Object with key/value pairs representing the attributes values.
  • Returns self, can be chained.

The addSchema() method allows you to add attributes to the entity's schema. Any of the following combinations are acceptable.

entity.addSchema('name', 'string');
entity.addSchema('name', {type: 'string', cahShow: false});
  name: 'string'
  name: {
    type: 'string'


  • attributeName string The name of the attribute to remove.
  • Returns self, can be chained.

Remove an attribute from the schema.


Check out the Schema basic methods tests


entity.sort(attributeName, order)

  • attributeName string The name of the attribute to sort.
  • order string The order of sorting. Either 'ASC' or 'DESC'.

Sort attributed.

this.sort('createdAt', 'DESC');


  • values {string|Array|Object} values to eager load, can be a mongoose expression query.
  • Returns self, can be chained.

Will prepopulate related models on all operations that return item or items.

Available only for the Mongoose adapter, the arguments of this method will be provided to the Mongoose populate method.

// Load the linked User Data Object when fetching records from this entity.


  • var_args {...*} Can be any type and any number of values, the normalizer will always keep the last one which is expected to contain the results from an entity operation.
  • Returns Object, Array of Objects or null.

Normalize is a middleware only available for the Mongoose adaptor and it's main purpose is to provide a normalized way of data representation. More specifically the normalize method will:

  • Return an Object Literal vs a Mongoose.Document type that mongoose returns.
  • Will convert the Mongoose.Document into an object honoring getters: item.toObject({getters: true})
    • Which means that the default defined getter key id will be available.
  • Will delete the attributes _id and __v.

The normalize() should be added manually as a middleware on the after() hook of every operation!

// A normal read operation
  .then(function(results) {
    // [{
    //   _id: '55c9e772856763a729654b99',
    //   __v: 0,
    //   name: 'one',
    // }]

// Now add the normalize middleware;
  .then(function(results) {
    // [{
    //   id: '55c9e772856763a729654b99',
    //   name: 'one',
    // }]

Release History

  • v0.6.0, 03 Mar 2020
    • Fixed mongoose adaptor delete method.
    • Updated all dependencies to latest.
  • v0.5.6, 18 Oct 2016
    • Will now normalize arrays of objects too.
  • v0.5.5, 16 Jan 2016
    • Fixed issues caused by upgrading the dependencies.
  • v0.5.4, 16 Jan 2016
    • Upgraded all dependencies to latest.
  • v0.5.3, 07 Sep 2015
    • Added the and operator for mongoose queries, allows for explicit querying of array attributes.
  • v0.5.2, 27 Aug 2015
    • Fixed normalization of one-to-many relational collections that were eagerloaded.
  • v0.5.1, 21 Aug 2015
    • Normalize will now also normalize Eager Loaded collections (relations) - Mongoose adaptor only.
  • v0.5.0, 11 Aug 2015
    • Added the Mongoose normalization middleware.
    • Changed the way the query is inferred based on provided arguments, affects delete operation with no arguments, will now delete all records.
  • v0.4.2, 23 Jul 2015
    • Upgraded all dependency packages to latest.
  • v0.4.0, 05 Jun 2015
    • Fix for breaking change in mongoose 4.0, error attribute changed, will only work with Mongoose ^4.0.0.
  • v0.3.3, 09 Dec 2014
    • use proper internal method on mongoose adaptor
  • v0.3.2, 09 Dec 2014
    • Upgraded all dependent packages to latest.
  • v0.3.1, 19 Sep 2014
    • Fixed issue where query selector on mongo adaptor confused ObjectId types with objects.
  • v0.3.0, 25 Jul 2014
    • The Middlewarify 0.4.0 may break some existing installations when value is returned on After/ middleware, thus a minor version bump is warranted.
  • v0.2.15, 25 Jul 2014
    • Fixed CRUD events returning null and messing with end result.
  • v0.2.14, 25 Jul 2014
    • Upgraded to Middlewarify 0.4.0, enables result alteration by After/Last middleware.
  • v0.2.13, 24 Jul 2014
    • Added events on CRUD ops.
  • v0.2.12, 23 Jul 2014
    • Count operation fix for mongoose adp.
  • v0.2.11, 07 Jul 2014
    • Fix mongoose adp query building sequence.
  • v0.2.10, 04 Jul 2014
    • Created sorting mechanism.
  • v0.2.9, 03 Jul 2014
    • optimizations and fixes on eager loading for mongoose.
  • v0.2.8, 03 Jul 2014
    • Introduce eager loading mechanisms.
  • v0.2.7, 01 Jul 2014
    • Mute mongoose cast to ID errors.
  • v0.2.6, 27 Jun 2014
    • support more complex queries using between selector.
  • v0.2.5, 26 Jun 2014
    • Now supports query expression gt, gte, lt, lte, ne
  • v0.2.4, 22 Feb 2014
    • Better handling of mongoose relation declarations when reading schema.
  • v0.2.3, 17 Feb 2014
    • Fixed bug on Sequelize adaptor that returned wrong type of value with getSchema().
  • v0.2.2, 17 Feb 2014
    • Upgraded all package dependencies to latest.
  • v0.2.1, 17 Feb 2014
    • Upgrade to cip 0.2.1
  • v0.2.0, 17 Feb 2014
    • Upgrade and integrade to cip 0.2.0, replaces Inher.
  • v0.1.3, 15 Feb 2014
    • Upgrade Middlewarify to 0.3.3.
  • v0.1.2, 12 Feb 2014
    • Now casting to Bluebird promises all returned Objects from Sequelize adaptor.
  • v0.1.1, 11 Feb 2014
    • Added "main" key in package.json
  • v0.1.0, 11 Feb 2014
    • New API, documentation, Inher integration.
  • v0.0.1, 08 Oct 2013
    • Big Bang


Copyright ©2015 Thanasis Polychronakis

Licensed under the MIT License