4.0.4 • Public • Published

Node.js App Skeleton

npm GitHub Actions

Package skeleton for a Node.js app.


Bootstrap a new Node.js app in five minutes or less.


Bootstrapping a new project

  1. Create an empty (non-initialized) repository on GitHub.
  2. Clone the main branch of this repository with
    $ git clone --single-branch git@github.com:makenew/nodejs-app.git <new-node-service>
    $ cd <new-node-service>
    Optionally, reset to the latest version with
    $ git reset --hard <version-tag>
  3. Run
    $ ./makenew.sh
    This will replace the boilerplate, delete itself, remove the git remote, remove upstream tags, and stage changes for commit.
  4. Create the required GitHub repository secrets.
  5. Review, commit, and push the changes to GitHub with
    $ git diff --cached
    $ git commit -m "Replace makenew boilerplate"
    $ git remote add origin git@github.com:<user>/<new-node-service>.git
    $ git push -u origin main
  6. Ensure the GitHub action passes, then publish the initial version of the package with
    $ nvm install
    $ npm install
    $ npm version patch

Updating from this skeleton

If you want to pull in future updates from this skeleton, you can fetch and merge in changes from this repository.

Add this as a new remote with

$ git remote add upstream git@github.com:makenew/nodejs-app.git

You can then fetch and merge changes with

$ git fetch --no-tags upstream
$ git merge upstream/main

Changelog for this skeleton

Note that CHANGELOG.md is just a template for this skeleton. The actual changes for this project are documented in the commit history and summarized under Releases.


Docker container

The service is distributed as a Docker container on GitHub Container Registry. To run locally, add configuration to config/local.json, then pull and run the image with

$ docker run --read-only --init --publish 8080:8080 \
  --volume "$(pwd)/config/local.json:/usr/src/app/config/local.json" \


All available configuration options and their defaults are defined in config/default.json. Additionally, all configuration options provided by mlabs-koa are supported.

Config files

Configuration is loaded using confit and available in lib/dependencies.js via confit.get('foo:bar'). All static configuration is defined under config and dynamic configuration in server/config.js.

The files config/env.json and config/local.json, and the paths config/env.d and config/local.d are excluded from version control. The load order is env.d/*.json, env.json, local.d/*.json, and local.json. Hidden files (dotfiles) are ignored. In development, use these for local overrides and secrets. In production, mount these inside the container to inject configuration.


The (whitespace-trimmed) contents of each file in config/secret.d is added to the config under the property secret with a key equal to the filename. Filenames should not contain a . and hidden files (dotfiles) are ignored.

For example, to use the secret in config/secret.d/foobar, reference it from another property like

  "api": {
    "key": "config:secret.foobar"

Environment variables

File-based configuration should always be preferred over environment variables, however all environment variables are loaded into the config.

The only officially supported environment variables are LOG_ENV, LOG_SYSTEM, LOG_SERVICE, and LOG_LEVEL.


This app is also published as a package on npm.

Add this as a dependency to your project using npm with

$ npm install @makenew/nodejs-app

Development and Testing


$ git clone https://github.com/makenew/nodejs-app.git
$ cd nodejs-app
$ nvm install
$ npm install

Run each command below in a separate terminal window:

$ npm run test:watch
$ npm run server:watch

Primary development tasks are defined under scripts in package.json and available via npm run. View them with

$ npm run

Source code

The source code is hosted on GitHub. Clone the project with

$ git clone git@github.com:makenew/nodejs-app.git


You will need Node.js with npm, and a Node.js debugging client.

Be sure that all commands run under the correct Node version, e.g., if using nvm, install the correct version with

$ nvm install

Set the active version for each shell session with

$ nvm use

Install the development dependencies with

$ npm install


Use the npm version command to release a new version. This will push a new git tag which will trigger a GitHub action.

Publishing may be triggered using a workflow_dispatch on GitHub Actions.

GitHub Actions

GitHub Actions should already be configured: this section is for reference only.

The following repository secrets must be set on GitHub Actions:

  • NPM_TOKEN: npm token for installing and publishing packages.
  • GH_USER: The GitHub user's username to pull and push containers.
  • GH_TOKEN: A personal access token for the user to pull and push containers.

These must be set manually.

Secrets for Optional GitHub Actions

The version and format GitHub actions require a user with write access to the repository including access to read and write packages. Set these additional secrets to enable the action:

  • GH_TOKEN: A personal access token for the user.
  • GIT_USER_NAME: The GitHub user's real name.
  • GIT_USER_EMAIL: The GitHub user's email.
  • GPG_PRIVATE_KEY: The GitHub user's GPG private key.
  • GPG_PASSPHRASE: The GitHub user's GPG passphrase.


Run the server locally with

$ npm run server

Run a server that will restart on changes with

$ npm run server:watch
Development logging

Logging output may be configured according to the log config and koa logger config.

  • Use koa.logger.useDev to toggle between the simple Koa development logger and the more verbose Koa production logger.
  • Use log.outputMode and log.filter to control log output. Override using LOG_OUTPUT_MODE and LOG_FILTER.
  • Define additional log filters in server/filters.js.

For example, this config will provide more verbose logging while hiding all lifecycle events:

  "log": {
    "level": "debug",
    "filter": "noLifecycle",
    "outputMode": "long"
  "koa": {
    "logger": {
      "useDev": false
Debugging the server

Start a debuggable server with

$ npm run server:inspect

Run a debuggable server that will restart on changes with

$ npm run server:inspect:watch


See the full documentation on using examples.

View all examples with

$ npm run example


Linting is against the JavaScript Standard Style and JSON Lint.

Run all linters with

$ npm run lint

Automatically fix most JavaScript formatting errors with

$ npm run format


Unit and integration testing is handled by AVA and coverage is reported by Istanbul and uploaded to Codecov.

  • Test files end in .spec.js.
  • Unit tests are placed under lib alongside the tested module.
  • Integration tests are placed in test.
  • Smoke tests are placed in test and end in .test.js.
  • Static files used in tests are placed in fixtures.

Watch and run tests on changes with

$ npm run test:watch

If using AVA snapshot testing, update snapshots with

$ npm run test:update

Generate a coverage report with

$ npm run report

An HTML version will be saved in coverage.

Debugging tests

Create a breakpoint by adding the statement debugger to the test and start a debug session with, e.g.,

$ npm run test:inspect test/server.spec.js

Watch and restart the debugging session on changes with

$ npm run test:inspect:watch test/server.spec.js
Smoke tests

Smoke tests make network requests directly against the service (running with NODE_ENV=test). On GitHub Actions, the tests run against the built container.

To run smoke tests locally, start a test server with

$ npm run server:test

and run the tests with

$ npm run test:smoke

or update the test snapshots with

$ npm run test:smoke:update

Refer to the full list of scripts for additional watch and debug modes.


Please submit and comment on bug reports and feature requests.

To submit a patch:

  1. Fork it (https://github.com/makenew/nodejs-app/fork).
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature).
  3. Make changes.
  4. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature').
  5. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature).
  6. Create a new Pull Request.


This service is licensed under the MIT license.


This software is provided by the copyright holders and contributors "as is" and any express or implied warranties, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose are disclaimed. In no event shall the copyright holder or contributors be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, exemplary, or consequential damages (including, but not limited to, procurement of substitute goods or services; loss of use, data, or profits; or business interruption) however caused and on any theory of liability, whether in contract, strict liability, or tort (including negligence or otherwise) arising in any way out of the use of this software, even if advised of the possibility of such damage.



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