ngineer

Generate proxy routes for nginx

ngineer

ngineer is a node automation later for nginx that assists with the following:

  • scaffolding a new nginx configuration folder (i.e. conf/, html/, logs/)
  • starting and reloading nginx using targeted base path
  • adding location proxy directives

The following example shows how the ngineer module can be used to scaffold and start nginx within an application.

var async = require('async');
var nginx = require('ngineer')(__dirname + '/nginx', {
  port: 8080
});
 
async.series([
  nginx.scaffold,
  nginx.start,
  nginx.location('/ngineer').proxy('https://github.com/DamonOehlman/ngineer')
], function(err) {
  if (err) {
    return console.error(err);
  }
 
  console.log('started nginx, pid: ' + nginx.pid);
  console.log('proxying google at http://localhost:8080/ngineer');
});
 

The above example proxies a request from http://localhost:8080/ngineer through to https://github.com/DamonOehlman/ngineer. A more practical example is shown below where we proxy a local express application through nginx.

var async = require('async');
var express = require('express');
 
var nginx = require('ngineer')(__dirname + '/nginx', {
  port: 8080
});
var proxy = nginx.location('/express-test').proxy('http://localhost:3000/');
 
// create our simple express app 
express()
  .get('/', function(reqres) {
    res.end('Hi there');
  })
  .listen(3000, function(err) {
    if (err) {
      return console.error('could not start bind express app to port 3000', err);
    }
 
    async.series([ nginx.scaffold, nginx.start, proxy ], function(err) {
      if (err) {
        return console.error(err);
      }
 
      console.log('started nginx, pid: ' + nginx.pid);
      console.log('express app available at http://localhost:8080/express-test');
    });
  });
 
 

Ngineer expects that it will have a nginx configuration folder that it s responsible for managing (see the -p commandline argument). While ngineer doesn't require that it is reponsible for running the nginx process, it is happy to do this. If you do decide to use this option then ensure that you upstart (or similar) the node process running nginx.

When using ngineer it's important to note that you are probably accepting a few levels of HTTP proxying to make the magic happen. In the case of new version of steelmesh that is under development, we are using an archictecture similar to what is displayed below:

+----------------+      +----------------+      +----------------+
|                |+---->|                |+---->|                |
|     HAproxy    |      |      nginx     |      |      node      |
|                |<----+|                |<----+|                |
+----------------+      +----------------+      +----------------+

Ngineer communicates with the nginx process and sends the HUP signal to flag the the nginx configuration should be reloaded and nginx gracefully restarted.

Why do you want this? Well, because nginx does a kick arse job of serving static files and also proxying services so it makes sense you use it over pure node alternatives such as node-http-proxy. No offense is meant to the awesome nodejitsu team here, but I feel much more comfortable using nginx over node to be the first line in serving both node applications and static content.

Before using ngineer you should consider also consider the following projects (in addition to those listed in Prior Art):

Create a new location directive for the nginx configuration

The reload method sends the reload configuration (HUP) signal to the nginx process.

Scaffold an nginx configuration directory based on a known default configuration.

Attempt to start nginx by using a few well known nginx binary locations.

Create a location section for the nginx configuraton.

Include a proxy_pass directive into the location

Copyright (c) 2014 Damon Oehlman damon.oehlman@gmail.com

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