5.0.3 • Public • Published

Origami Service

Provides an extended Express, as well as useful tools for building consistent Origami services.

NPM version MIT licensed

Table Of Contents



Running the Origami Service module requires Node.js 10.x and npm. You can install with:

npm install @financial-times/origami-service

API Documentation

This library makes use of promises, and provides a wrapper around Express – familiarity is assumed in the rest of the API documentation. You'll also need to require the module with:

const origamiService = require("@financial-times/origami-service")

origamiService( [options] )

This function returns a new Express application preconfigured to run as an Origami service. You can configure the created service with an options object if you need to override any defaults.

const app = origamiService({
	port: 1234,

The application's listen function has a different signature to Express, it's wrapped in a promise and uses the port option from the constructor:

const app = origamiService({
	port: 1234,
app.listen() // runs on port 1234 and returns a promise

The Express application will have some additional properties, added by the Origami Service module. These will also be added to app.locals so they're available in your views.

  • app.ft.log: The logger passed in to the service
  • app.ft.metrics: The Next Metrics instance which can be used to send additional data to Graphite
  • app.ft.options: The defaulted options passed into the origamiService call
  • app.ft.server: The HTTP Server which was returned by app.listen

The following Express settings will be set:

  • case sensitive routing: Enabled
  • json spaces: Configured to prettify output JSON
  • x-powered-by: Disabled
  • views: Configured to the views folder
  • view engine: Configured to use Handlebars

Handlebars will be used as a view engine with the extension .html. We use Express Handlebars for this, which means layouts and partials are supported. Add layouts and partials to views/layouts and views/partials respectively. See the examples for more information.

Some middleware will also be mounted by default, in this order:

  • Express Web Service: To provide /__about, /__health, and /__gtg endpoints (as well as /__error if configured to)
  • Next Metrics: To send request/response data to Graphite
  • Morgan: To log requests (requests to /__gtg, /__health, and /favicon.ico are never logged)
  • Static: To serve files in the application's public folder


The Origami Service module can be configured with a variety of options, passed in as an object to the origamiService function or as environment variables. The priority given to each type of configuration is important:

  1. Options object: options passed in as an options object will take priority over everything. E.g. this means if you hard-code the port configuration in your code, the PORT environment variable will cease to work.
  2. Environment: if an option isn't found in the options object, then for some options an environment variable will be checked. The names of these are slightly different, and will be documented below.
  3. Defaults: if an option isn't found in the options object or environment, then it will use the default value as documented below.

The available options are as follows. Where two names are separated by a /, the first is the object key and the second is the environment variable:

  • about: About information to populate the /__about endpoint with. This should be an object which conforms to the FT's about/runbook standard. This defaults the name/purpose properties to name/description from your package.json file if they're not set. This option gets passed on to Express Web Service
  • basePath: The base path of the application, which paths (e.g. public files) will be relative to. Defaults to process.cwd()
  • defaultLayout: The default layout file to use in view rendering. This should be the name of an HTML file in the views/layouts directory, e.g. 'main' would map to views/layouts/main.html. Defaults to false
  • handlebarsHelpers: Handlebars helpers configuration. This should be an object. Defaults to an empty object.
  • exposeErrorEndpoint/EXPOSE_ERROR_ENDPOINT: Whether to expose the /__error endpoint for debugging purposes. This should be false in production. Defaults to false
  • environment/NODE_ENV: The environment to run in. This affects things like public file max ages. One of 'production', 'development', or 'test'. Defaults to 'development'
  • goodToGoTest: A function to use in calculating whether the application is good to go. See Express Web Service for more information
  • graphiteAppUUID/FT_GRAPHITE_APP_UUID: The graphite UUID to use when recording metrics.
  • healthCheck: A function to use in calculating how healthy the application is. See Express Web Service for more information
  • log: A console object used to output non-request logs. Defaults to the global console object
  • metricsAppName: The name of the application to use when logging to Graphite. Defaults to about.systemCode then about.name
  • port/PORT: The port that the application should run on. Defaults to 8080.
  • region/REGION: The region to use in logging and reporting for the application. Defaults to 'EU'
  • requestLogFormat: The Morgan log format to output request logs in. If set to null, request logs will not be output. Defaults to 'combined'
  • sentryConfig: Additional Sentry configurations. This is passed directly to the Raven configuration, see here for more information. Defaults to {}
  • sentryDsn/SENTRY_DSN: The Sentry DSN to send errors to. If set to null, errors will not be sent to Sentry. Defaults to null

origamiService.middleware.notFound( [message] )

Create and return a middleware for throwing 404 "Not Found" errors. The returned middleware will pass on an error which can be caught later by an error handling middleware. The error will have a status property set to 404 so that your error handler can differentiate it from other errors, as well as a cacheMaxAge property set to '30s'.

This middleware should be mounted after all of your application routes:

// routes go here
// error handler goes here

By default, the error message will be set to 'Not Found'. If you wish to specify a custom message you can specify one as a parameter:

app.use(origamiService.middleware.notFound("This page does not exist"))


Create and return a middleware for rendering errors that occur in the application routes. The returned middleware logs errors to Sentry (if the sentryDsn option is present) and then renders an error page.

The following properties can be set on an error object to change the behaviour of the error handler:

  • status: decide on which error type to render and send the HTTP status code
  • cacheMaxAge: the maximum cache age of the error, which gets passed to the cacheControl middleware
  • skipSentry: if set to true, the error will not be reported to Sentry

This middleware should be mounted after all of your application routes, and is useful in conjunction with origamiService.middleware.notFound:

// routes go here

The error handling middleware will look for a Handlebars template in views/error.html and use it to render the page. If no template is found in that location then it falls back to basic HTML output. This allows you to style your error pages and use your application's default layout.


Calculate the base path that the application is running on and provide it for use in later middleware and templates. This middleware reads and normalises the FT-Origami-Service-Base-Path header (which should be set by the CDN) and adds it to:

  • request.basePath: for later middleware to use
  • response.locals.basePath: for templates to use
// routes go here

origamiService.middleware.cacheControl( options )

Add a Cache-Control header to the response, including stale-if-error and stale-while-revalidate directives. The available options are:

  • maxAge: The max age to set in the Cache-Control header. Must be a valid string that the ms library can parse. Required
  • staleIfError: Override the stale-if-error directive. Must be a valid string that the ms library can parse. Defaults to the same value as maxAge
  • staleWhileRevalidate: Override the stale-while-revalidate directive. Must be a valid string that the ms library can parse. Defaults to the same value as maxAge

This middleware is best used per-route, rather than at the application level:

	origamiService.middleware.cacheControl({maxAge: "1 day"}),
	() => {
		// route stuff

origamiService.middleware.purgeUrls( options )

Create a purge route which will purge all of the given URLs in Fastly when the endpoint is POSTed to. This endpoint accepts general options as well as per-request options in the querystring.

The general options are:

  • fastlyApiKey/FASTLY_PURGE_API_KEY: The Fastly API key to use when purging URLs
  • purgeApiKey/PURGE_API_KEY: The API key that is required when a user requests the purge endpoint. If they don't provide this, then the purge will not be performed
  • urls: The URLs that will be purged as an array of strings. This should contain full URLs with a scheme and hostname, that are permitted to be purged with the given Fastly API key

When a user requests the created endpoint, they can use query string parameters to change behaviour:

  • apiKey: This is required, and must match the purgeApiKey option to work. If this is not provided or is incorrect, an error will be displayed
  • wait: A number of milliseconds to wait before the purge is performed. This can be used to ensure that the purge is performed only once a new version of the application is running. Defaults to 0

This middleware should be mounted as a route, rather than at the application level:

		urls: ["https://example.com/url-1", "https://example.com/url-2"],


You can find example implementations of Origami-compliant services in the examples folder of this repo:

  • Basic: start a bare-bones Origami service with only the default options:

    node examples/basic
  • Options: start an Origami service with some overridden options:

    node examples/options
  • Middleware: start an Origami service using some of the built-in middleware:

    node examples/middleware
  • Views: start an Origami service with partials and layouts:

    node examples/views


This module has a full suite of unit tests, and is verified with ESLint. You can use the following commands to check your code before opening a pull request.

make verify  # verify JavaScript code with ESLint
make test    # run the unit tests and check coverage


New versions of the module are published automatically by CI when a new tag is created matching the pattern /v.*/.

Support and Migration

Origami Service major versions are normally supported for 3–6 months after their last minor release. This means that patch-level changes will be added and bugs will be fixed. The table below outlines the end-of-support dates for major versions, and the last minor release for that version.

We also maintain a migration guide to help you migrate.

Major Version Last Minor Release Node.js Versions Support End Date
❤️ 5 N/A 10+ N/A
4 4.1 8+ 2020-12-06
💀 3 3.0 8 2019-03-27
💀 2 2.5 6-8 2018-08-27
💀 1 1.6 6 2017-05-15

If you're opening issues related to these, please mention the version that the issue relates to.


If you have any questions or comments about this module, or need help using it, please either raise an issue, visit #origami-support or email Origami Support.


This software is published by the Financial Times under the MIT licence.



npm i @financial-times/origami-service

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