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Registry as graph

When asked why he went about with a lamp in broad daylight, Diogenes confessed, "I am looking for a [honest] man."

Diogenes helps to use the dependency injection pattern to split your application into reusable and testable components.

Dependency injection

The dependency injection pattern is a widely used design pattern. Simply put, allows to build complicated abstractions composed by simpler abstractions. The composition happens when you "inject" one or more dependency into a function:

const database = getDB(config.db);
const passwordHashing = getPasswordHashing(config.secret);
const users = getUsers(database, passwordHashing);

I call this progressively complex objects "services" as they provide a specific functionality.

While this is a very nice way to build an application, it will leave the developer with a lot of annoying problems:

  • dealing with the boilerplate needed to create your services only when you need to (no need to rebuild a new "users" service in every module you need to use it)
  • some service might return asynchronously
  • you have to figure out and maintain the correct order for resolving the dependencies
  • you have to manage errors step by step

Diogenes lets you design how these components interact between them, in an declarative way.

You declare your "services" and their dependencies:

const Diogenes = require('diogenes');
const registry = Diogenes.getRegistry();
  .dependsOn(['database', 'passwordHashing'])

and then get the service you need:

  .then((users) => {

Diogenes figures out the execution order, manages error propagation, deals with synchronous and asynchronous functions transparently and much more.

What is a service

A service is a unit of code with a name. It can be a simple value, a synchronous function (returning a value) or an asynchronous function returning a promise. It takes as argument an object containing the dependencies (output of other services).

A service outputs a "dependency", this is identified with the service name. Services are organised inside a registry. The common interface allows to automate how the dependencies are resolved within the registry.

A step by step example

Importing diogenes

You can import Diogenes using commonjs:

const Diogenes = require('diogenes');

Creating a registry

You can create a registry with:

const registry = Diogenes.getRegistry(); // or new Diogenes()

Defining services

A service is defined by a name (a string) and it can be as simple as a value:

  .provides(`Diogenes became notorious for his philosophical
    stunts such as carrying a lamp in the daytime, claiming to
    be looking for an honest man.`);

most of the time you will define a service as a function:

  .provides((deps) => fs.readFileSync(deps.config.path, {encoding: 'utf8'}));

If the function is asynchronous you can return a promise. It will work transparently:

const util = require('util');
const fs = require('fs');
const readFile = util.promisify(fs.readFile);
  .provides((deps) => readFile('diogenes.txt', {encoding: 'utf8'}));

As you can see, Diogenes allows to mix sync and async functions.

Let's add other services:

  .provides(({ text }) => text.split(' '));

The method "dependsOn" allows to specify a list of dependencies. For example this service depends on the "text" service. The deps argument is an object containing an attribute for every dependency, in this example: deps.text.

  .provides(({ tokens }) => tokens.length);
  .provides(({ tokens }) => tokens.slice(0, 20).join(' ') + '...');
  .dependsOn(['text', 'abstract', 'count'])
  .provides(({ text, abstract, count }) => ({text, abstract, count}));

This is how services relates each other: Registry as graph

Calling a service

You can call a service using the method "run" on a registry.

  .then((p) => {
    console.log("This paragraph is " + p.count + " words long");
    console.log("The abstract is: " + p.abstract);
    console.log("This is the original text:");
  .catch((err) => console.log(err.message))

p will be the output of the paragraph service.

When resolving a dependency graph, diogenes takes care of executing every service at most once. If a service returns or throws an exception, this is propagated along the execution graph. Services getting an exception as one of the dependencies, are not executed.


A docstring is the description of the service. That may help using diogenes-lantern, a tool that shows your registry with a graph. You can set a docstring like this:

  .doc('this is some helpful information')

And you can retrieve a docString with:



Registry runner is an object that takes care of running services. This adds many features to a simple registry. You can create a runner like this:

const registryRunner = Diogenes.getRegistryRunner()

then you can run a service with:

registryRunner.run(registry, 'myservice')

Registry runner allows to use callbacks:

registryRunner.run(registry, 'myservice', (err, myservice) => {

The callback uses the node.js convention, the error is the first argument.

Another feature allows to execute multiple services efficiently using an array or a regular expression:

registryRunner.run(registry, /myservice[1-3]/)

or the equivalent:

registryRunner.run(registry, ['myservice1', 'myservice2', 'myservice3'])

The result will be an object with an attribute for every dependency.

Using this feature is different to:

Promise.all([registry.run('myservice1'), registry.run('myservice2'), registry.run('myservice3')])

Because it ensures that every service is executed at most once.

You can also use the same method to add services without dependencies, without changing the original registry:

registryRunner.run(registry, 'myservice', { times: 3 })

So if a service depends on "times", it will get 3. This can be useful for testing (injecting a mock in the dependency graph). It is also useful to give an "execution context" that is different every time (think for example the request data in a web application).

The registry runner keeps track of all pending execution so is able to gracefully shutdown:

  .then(() => {
    console.log('We can shutdown')
registryRunner.run('myservice1') // this return a promise rejection because the registry is not accepting new tasks

Registry and decorators

The decorator pattern can be very useful to enhance a service. For example adding a caching layer, logging or to convert a callback based service to use a promise (promisify is a decorator). The method "provides" includes a shortcut to add decorators to the service. If you pass an array or more than one argument, to the method. In the next example I am able to add a service that uses a callback instead of promises:

    (deps, next) => {
      .. do something
      next(null, result)

In the next example I use a decorator to ensure a service is executed only once:

// define my decorator
const onlyOnce = (func) => {
  let cache
  return (deps) => {
    if (typeof cache === 'undefined') {
      cache = func(deps)
    return cache
    (deps) => {

You can add multiple decorators:

  .provides([logger, onlyOnce, myservice])

This is the equivalent of:


You can find many examples of what you can do with decorators on async-deco and on diogenes-utils. This one in particular, contains a decorator that caches a service.

const cacheService = require('diogenes-utils').cacheService
    cacheService({ len: 3, ttl: 10000 }),



Create a registry of services:

const registry = Diogenes.getRegistry();


const registry = new Diogenes();


Create a registry runner instance:

const registry = Diogenes.getRegistryRunner();



Returns a single service. It creates the service if it doesn't exist.



Helper function. It runs a group of functions with the registry as first argument. Useful for initializing the registry.

/* module1 for example */
module.exports = (registry) => {
/* main */
const module1 = require('module1');
const module2 = require('module2');
registry.init([module1, module2]);


It executes all the dependency tree required by a service and return a promise that will resolve to the service itself.

  .then((service) => {


It allows to create a new registry, merging services of different registries:

const registry4 = registry1.merge(registry2, registry3)

Calling merge without argument, creates a clone.


It returns the adjacency list in the following format:

A ----> B
|     / |
|    /  |
|   /   |
|  /    |
| /     |
VV      V
C ----> D
/* returns
  'A': [],
  'B': ['A'],
  'C': ['A', 'B'],
  'D': ['B', 'C']


This method returns an array of service names that are not in the registry, but are dependencies of another service. This can be useful for debugging.


It returns the metadata of all services:

/* returns
  'A': {
    name: 'A', // service name
    deps: [], // list of deps
    doc: '...', // service documentation string
    debugInfo: {
      fileName: ... // file name where service is defined
      line: ..., // line of code where the service is defined
      functionName: ..., // service function name (if defined)
      parentFunctionName: ..., // the function containing the service definition


You can get a service from the registry with the "service" method.

const service = registry.service('service1');

All the service methods returns a service instance so they can be chained.


It defines the dependencies of a service. It may be an array or an object:


Using an object you can use the dependencies under different names. For example, this are equivalent:

service.dependsOn(['A', 'B']);
service.dependsOn({ A: 'A', B: 'B' });

You can use the object like this:

service.dependsOn({ value: 'A' })
  .provides(({ value }) => return value * 2);


You can pass a function taking a dependencies object as argument, and returning a promise.

service.provides((deps) => ...);

You can also pass any "non function" argument:

service.provides(42); // Any non function argument

Or a synchronous function:

service.provides((deps) => deps.something * 2);

If you pass an array or more than one argument, the first arguments are used to decorate the others:

service.provides(arg1, arg2, arg3, arg4);
// is the equivalent of


get/set the documentation string.

service.doc(); // returns documentation string
service.doc('... service description ...'); // set the doc string


It returns the metadata of this service:

/* returns
  name: 'A', // service name
  deps: [], // list of deps
  doc: '...', // service documentation string
  debugInfo: {
    fileName: ... // file name where service is defined
    line: ..., // line of code where the service is defined
    functionName: ..., // service function name (if defined)
    parentFunctionName: ..., // the function containing the service definition

Registry Runner

This object runs services, keeping track of their execution.


This method runs one or more services:

registryRunner.run(service, 'servicename')

by default it returns a promise but can also use a callback (using the node convention):

registryRunner.run(service, 'servicename', (err, res) => { ... })

you can run multiple services using a regular expression or an array of names.

You can also pass an object with some extra dependencies to be used for this execution:

registry.run('service2', { service1: 'hello' })
  .then(({ service2 }) => {

The extra dependencies won't be added to the original registry.


The purpose of this method is to allow all asynchronous call to be terminated before a system shutdown. After calling this method the registry runner won't execute the "run" method anymore (It will return an exception). The method returns a promise (or uses a callback). This will be fulfilled when all previous "run" has been fulfilled of rejected.

registryRunner.run(registry, 'A')
registryRunner.run(registry, 'C')
  .then(() => {
    // "A" and "C" are fulfilled
registryRunner.run(registry, 'A')  // rejected with DiogenesShutdownError


Flush runs a shutdown and then restore the registry to its normal state.


Diogenes is written is ES6. Please transpile it for using with old browsers/node.js. Also provide a polyfill for Promises, WeakMaps and Sets.


Diogenes won't be possible without the work of many others. The inspiration came from many different patterns/libraries. In particular I want to thank you:

  • architect for introducing the idea of initialising a system using the dependency injection pattern
  • electrician that explored a way to wrap the code in "components" having a common interface, that is a prerequisite of having them working together

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