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    0.0.27 • Public • Published


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    Implements an opinionated, simple management layer for stateful dependencies, directly akin to component, mount, yoyo etc. It provides tooling to describe services and use those descriptions to automatically start and stop collections of those services: eg, an HTTP server that in turn uses a database connection, a cache connection, a configuration service, etc.

    It is designed to be flexible enough to handle all sorts of services (stateless, constant state (eg static configuration), network connections, thread pools, etc.). It handles describing, starting, and linking together those services while not imposing any structure on the shape or further use of those services.

    The API is designed with an opinionated default usage, but also with the flexibility to support any custom semantics.

    • Promises are used pervasively to handle (potentially) asynchronus services.
    • Since we don't have clojure's namespaced keywords, instead we just use strings that (by convention, any convention could be use) include the fully qualified package name, mimicing require/import paths.

    It comes with two bin utils for eaily running programs built with this library:

    • ineedthis-run file1.js file2.js: the listed files should be modules each with an ineedthis service as its default export. This command will then automatically start all the services and their dependencies, and handles graceful shutdown on Ctrl-C (SIGINT).
    • ineedthis-debug file1.js file2.js behaves the same as ineedthis-run, but automatically watches all loaded sources files and will hot reload the changed code + gracefully restart the affected services.

    Finally, ineedthis promotes code reuse and makes it easier to encapsulate best practices for common libraries:

    • @ineedthis/express makes it easy to start an express server with graceful startup, shutdown, and hot reloading.

    Status: Alpha; Working with test suite; Used in prod!


    • Decide which of the many "extra" features of component/mount we want
    • Write more wrappers around common node libraries


    // Static config
    var A = createService(
      'package/Configuration', {
        start: (config = process.env) => () => config
    // Connect to a remote server, eg a DB, based on the configuration
    // service
    var B = createService(
      'package/ConnectionService', {
        dependencies: ['package/Configuration'],
        start: () => ({'package/Configuration': config}) => {
          return db.connect(config.url, config.key);
        stop: (dbConnection) => dbConnection.close()
    var C = createService(
      'package/OverlayService', {
        dependencies: [
        start: () => ({
          'package/Configuration': config,
          'package/ConnectionService': underlyingConn
        }) => {
          return {
            _config: config,
            doSomething: function (msg) {
              console.log('Hello, ' + msg + '!');
    var App = createService(
      'package/AppServer', {
        dependencies: [
        start: () => ({
          'package/Configuration': config,
          'package/OverlayService': overlay
        }) => {
          const app = express();
          // 'global' request DI; possible example:
          app.use((req, res, next) => {
            req.config = config;
            req.ourFancyService = overlay;
          return new Promise((reject, resolve) => {
            let server;
            app.on('error', reject);
            server = app.listen(config.httpPort, () => resolve(server));
        stop: server => new Promise(resolve => server.close(resolve))
    // If the service names all follow the intended nameing pattern, a
    // simple start() suffices.
      // Cleanly shutdown after 1 second:
      .then(system => setTimeout(() => stop(system), 1000))
      // uhoh
      .catch(err => { /* */ });
    // Starts A then B then C and finally App; then 1 second later shuts
    // them down in reverse order (more complex dependency graphs will be
    // handled via topological sort with maximal concurrency at every
    // step). Cyclic dependencies trigger an error.
    // Starting multiple services that can dynamically share common
    // dependencies
    start([App, App2]);
    // Manually specifying some (or all) dependency services:
    const FakeB = MockB();
    start(App, {
      'package/Configuration': A({key: 'ABC'}),
      'package/ConnectionService': FakeB,
    }).catch(err => { /* */ });

    Example project is a WIP project; but it demonstrates a frontend+backend website implemented with this library. Most stateful aspects of both the frontend and backend are split into individual ineedthis services and then composed to produce the final system.

    For example, the frontend uses a helper to delay the initial React render and inject the launched services as props.

    The backend has many stateful components such as a database connection, a postgraphql server, and a job queue.

    In development, this runs all the services with hot reloading and shared DB connections, etc:

    ineedthis-debug -r localenv -r babel-polyfill ./dist/systems/server ./dist/systems/jobqueue ./dist/systems/monitor

    In production, we can easily split the services into separate deployments:

    # Run just the web server:
    ineedthis-run -r localenv -r babel-polyfill ./dist/systems/server
    # Run just the backend monitoring processes:
    ineedthis-run -r localenv -r babel-polyfill ./dist/systems/jobqueue ./dist/systems/monitor


    Often JS apps have a slightly awkward need for a separate startup script to actually launch the desired services. ineedthis provides two scripts you can use to do this automatically for you:

    • ineedthis-run starts services that are the default exports of all files listed on the command lines.
    • ineedthis-debug is the same as -run, except it also automatically watches for changes in any files used by the started systems. When a change is detected, those files are hot-reloaded and the affected services are restarted to pickup the new code. This skips having to restart db connections, etc. and thus can be much faster than a full restart. For example, even large monolithic webservers with DB and other stateful connections can typically hot reload route file changes in a fraction of a second.
      • When using a compiler like babel or TypeScript; I highly recommend having an incremental compiler running in the background and running the built files directly instead of using babel-register, babel-node, or their TS equivalents. This is generally more stable because syntax errors pop up in the compiler process instead of inside the running ineedthis-debug process.


    Types: (ala TypeScript)

    type ServiceName = String;
    type AliasedServiceName = {type: String, as: String};
    type Service = {(): () => any, ...any}
    type System = {[ServiceName]: any}


    (types are rough/not final yet)

    createService<T, StartFn: (...any) => (System) => Promise<T>>( ServiceName: String, { dependencies?: [ServiceName | AliasedServiceName], start: StartFn, stop?: T => Promise<()> } ): StartFn

    Creates a service, registering it under the given ServiceName.

    • dependencies can be specified, and they will be linked in before this service gets started; a map of them being passed to the second call of start. AliasedServiceNames allow asking for multiple services of a specific type (TODO: example).
    • start must be specified to initialize the server; curried so as to be called in two steps:
      1. Arbitrary initialization step: called internally or explicitly by the user to configure an instance of this service
      2. Actual start/linking step: the initialized dependencies are passed in, to actually startup this service
    • stop given a running instance, stop it


    start(targets: (Service | [Service]), dependencies: System): Promise<System>

    Starts the specified service(s), resolving all their dependencies. Returns a system--a map of all the initialized services.a

    partial restarting

    See stopPartial and startPartial for partially reloading only certain bits of a system without having to restart every individual service.


    npm run test/clean/build work as expected.

    npm run dev gets a full stack of builds watching + test cases running on change.

    To filter tests, run with MOCHA_OPTS set to, eg, '-g somepattern'.


    Released under the MIT License. See the LICENSE file for full text

    Copyright © 2017 George Pittarelli


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