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Serves Mongoose models on an extensible RESTful API.

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Features at a Glance

  • Tight integration with Mongoose and Express.
    • An Express middleware. Put it on its own route and the rest of your code is left untouched.
    • Configured within the Mongoose schema. No need to deal with messy configuration objects.
  • Query/Create/Get/Update/Destroy
    • Everything you'd ever need from a REST API (other than auth) is already included.
    • Middleware supported on each route, so integration with things like Passport is very simple
  • Flexible query filtering system.
  • Document transformer system. Control what gets sent to which clients.
  • Built with Angular in mind.
  • Test coverage. While probably not at 100%, it is pretty well covered.


This module is installed via npm:

$ npm install restifier --save


The following example serves the User and Badge models on a RESTful API.

var express = require('express');
var restifier = require('restifier');
var app = express();
app.use(require('body-parser').json()); // Required 
var User = restifier(mongoose.model('User', new mongoose.Schema({
  name: {
    type: String,
    id: true, // The id used in the route 
    unique: true
  password: {
    type: String,
    restricted: true // Don't display this field to anyone! 
// A nested route 
var Badge = User.submodel('badges', 'owner', mongoose.model('Badge', new mongoose.Schema({
  owner: {
    type: mongoose.Schema.Types.ObjectId,
    ref: 'User'
  id: {
    type: Number,
    id: true,
    unique: true
  content: String
app.use('/api', restifier.middleware()); // Serve the api on /api. 


Restifier uses the MongoDB collection name to determine the name of the base route, so the User model would create routes under /users.


Querying takes in the following parameters:

  • field - Replace field with any field in your Mongoose model, and it will check for equality.
  • populate - Comma-delimited list of fields to populate
  • sort - Sorts by the given fields in the given order, comma delimited. A - sign will sort descending.
  • limit - Limits the number of returned results.
  • skip - Skips a number of results. Useful for pagination when combined with limit.
  • filter - Applies a filter. See the Filters section for more details.
GET /users
GET /users?field=value
GET /users?populate=posts,comments
GET /users?sort=field,-field2
GET /users?limit=10&skip=10
GET /users?filter=filter1|filter2
GET /users/Bob/badges?sort=date


POST /users
POST /users/Bob/badges


Get supports one parameter, the populate field.

GET /users/Bob
GET /users/Bob?populate=posts
GET /users/Bob/badges/1
GET /users/Bob/badges/1?populate=things


PUT and PATCH are handled the same way.

PUT /users/Bob
PATCH /users/Bob
PUT /users/Bob/badges/1
PATCH /users/Bob/badges/1


DELETE /users/Bob
DELETE /users/Bob/badges/1

Creating an API

First, declare all of your models using restifier(mongooseModel). This function returns a Model object which can be altered. (see the JSDocs)

Next, serve the API as middleware:

app.use('/api', restifier.middleware());

This will create a middleware that will be used by Express.

Namespace Collision

In the case of namespace collision, routes are handled sequentially by Express. Declare your custom routes before using the middleware. For example:'/api/login', myLoginHandler);
app.use('/api', restifier.middleware());

is the appropriate way to add functionality to your API.

Route middleware

There are 5 types of routes: query, create, get, update, and destroy. You can apply middleware to a single one of these routes by doing the following:

model.use('get', function(req, res, next) {
  console.log('Get middleware on model ' + model.model.modelName + ' called!');

You can also apply middleware to all of a model's routes:

model.use('all', function(req, res, next) {
  console.log('Middleware on model ' + model.model.modelName + ' called!');

The following fields are exposed in the request object:

  • doc -- The document being retrieved, or null if not operating on a document route
  • parentDoc -- The parent document being retrieved. Used for nested routes.
  • req.query - The populate and sort fields are parsed beforehand, populate being an Array of Strings and sort being an object.

Authentication middleware example with Passport

Here is an example of using Passport to restrict access to a document:

model.use('get', function(req, res, next) {
  if (req.user._id !== req.doc.owner) {
  return next();

Passport exposes a user property on the request, so we can deal with that directly in our middleware. If we were to use something like connect-roles, we would do something like this:

model.use('all', user.can('operate on the model'));

The Query Pipeline

Restifier was designed to be very flexible so it could be used as a backend for any app. Thus, queries go through a series of steps before being transformed into what is sent to the client.

Modifiers --> Parameters --> Filters --> Population --> Execution --> Transformers


Modifiers alter the query parameters that will be passed to the pipeline. For example, you could have a modifier that forces sorting by name ascending, as shown below:

model.modifyParam('sort', function(req, value) { = 1;
  return value;

To modify a parameter, just pass the name of the parameter you wish to modify and a callback that returns the modified value of the parameter.

sort and populate are the only parameters that are objects.

The sort parameter looks like this:

  name: 1, // Ascending 
  date: -1 // Descending 

The populate parameter looks like this:

['users', 'comments', 'posts']


There are 4 types of parameters: limit, skip, sort, and field equality. These are all described in the Query section.


Filters are user-defined functions that modify the query. They work very similarly to AngularJS filters. They can be chained and take parameters, allowing immense flexibility for developers to add features to APIs.

Filters are defined as follows:

model.filter('children', function(req, query) {

Here is an example of a filter that takes parameters:

model.filter('proximity', function(req, query, distance) {

This filter would be called using proximity 5 if one wanted to check if the location was within a distance of 5.

Chaining filters is pretty simple; just use the | (pipe) operator to do so.

GET /people?filter=children | proximity 5


Fields that were marked for population in the query are now populated. You can change what fields are returned using population transformers.


At this point in the pipeline, query.exec() is called and we query the database.


Transformers change the returned results. One transformer is built in, the restricted transformer, and cannot be changed. Here is an example of using a transformer:

model.transform(function(req, doc) {
  delete doc._id;
  delete doc.password;
  doc.type = 'This is a string that isn\'t in the database!';

Transformers are applied to each individual document in a query result.

Population Transformers

Population transformers are transformers that operate on populated fields. They can be used to make your application more secure by removing fields you don't want people to see.

model.transformPopulate('owners', function(req, doc) {
  delete doc._id;
  delete doc.password;

AngularJS Integration

This software was built with Angular in mind. Use the module Restangular to deal with the generated API in a very intuitive manner.

Example Apps

Here are some apps that use Restifier. If you have one you'd like to share, please don't be afraid to send a PR!

  • todo-restifier - A Restifier-powered Todo app made with Angular, Restangular, Bootstrap, and Restifier.


Copyright (c) 2014 Ian Macalinao. Released under the MIT License, which can be viewed in the attached LICENSE file.