1.0.160 • Public • Published


  • Steal ModSquad from step-forward power
  • Steal all the other fns, too.
  • Make lib/raV2.js, so users of lib can require('run-anywhere).v2;
  • Steal stuff from netlab-server: lib/db/*.js, esp getXyzDb(), and getRedis()
  • Steal anything that uses context.netlabContext, likee netlabContextMw()
  • Provide one function that can be the landing function for all calls from various AWS events, see getHttpParams() in netlab-server src/app/http-helpers.js
  • Use loud-rejection and/or hard-rejection properly
  • Should be able to stop using sgsg
  • Steal minimistify from step-forward
  • Use ../aws-lambda-test as the test-project for ra on Lambda
  • Get rid of test-apps


  • Root lambda.js -- has exports.lamba = function(...) {...}, which is the only entry-point from AWS.
    • Registers with lib/v2/lambda-handler.js all the handlers it needs for the various services.
    • Forwards to ra function lib/v2/lambda-handler.js, which figures out what service it was from.


Write your Node.js functions in the run-anywhere format, and run them anywhere (CLI, AWS Lambda, etc.)

When I started writing for Node.js, it was not apparent that Express would become the de-facto standard framework, so, like everyone back then, I rolled my own. I ended up with a bunch of functions whose calling convention adhered to the Node "final callback parameter" convention, but did not follow the Express style. When it became apparent that Express had "won," I had to convert everything to its style.

Now that serverless hosts are becoming the preferred container for functions, I am looking at the task of converting to a new style, again. This time, I am writing a style that can be used under any function container, and building a helper library to mount my functions under any of them.

This is the goal of the Run-anywhere (Ra) library:

  • Run Anywhere: Write your functions in a way that they can be run under any function container.
  • CLI Development Support: Have special support for developing with CLI function containers.
  • Mix Local and Deployed Functions: Under development, allow the local development workstation to invoke your functions that have been deployed, as well as functions that are still local to your workstation.

Support for

  • CLI - invoke your function from the command-line.
  • AWS Lambda
  • Express
  • Routes
  • React / ReactNative

The run-anywhere Calling Convention

TL;DR: = function(argv, context, callback) {
  // ...
  return callback(null, {hello: "World"});

With the above function, you can use the Run-anywhere CLI to invoke it during development. "argv" will contain the command-line parameters. Inside the function, will be true, and argv.baz will be 'quxx':

ra invoke mod.js foo --bar --baz=quxx

Later, after you deploy, argv will contain query and body parameters of the same name.


The astute reader will recognize this as the AWS Lambda function signature (mostly), which is intentional. Any functions you have already written for AWS Lambda should just work. (Run-anywhere calls the first parameter "argv" instead of "event", but this is a cosmetic issue.)

How it Works

Run-anywhere (Ra) wraps your function with a function that understands the calling convention of several function containers like AWS Lambda, Express, and the command-line. Ra has several of these wrapper functions, one for each container type, and your function is wrapped with the right one at run-time. The wrapper function understands how it is being called, and builds an object it calls raEnv, raEnv has several attributes that were found while Ra was parsing inputs. Ra then invokes your function, passing AWS lambda-like parameters.

Note that Ra does not provide any functionality to deploy your code. Other tools like serverless and Claudia already do an excellent job, so you should use them.


You must accept three parameters to your function: (argv, context, callback), but generally speaking, your code will work best if you only use argv, and callback -- try your best to make your code work irrespective of the context under which it runs.

  • argv - The end-result of processing inputs, and first parameter sent to your function.
  • context - The AWS Lambda context parameter, if this is an AWS Lambda invocation, or a similar looking object otherwise. Note that you should not directly access this parameter (see below.)
  • callback - The typical Node.js callback parameter.

CLI Usage

Run-anywhere (Ra) has a command-line mode that allows you to invoke any Ra function from the command line. All parameters are parsed by an ARGV object from the sgsg project.



The goal is to write your code such that it works no matter what container it is running within. So, most of your code will be at the top-level of your JS files, and have the run-anywhere function signature. During development, liberally run your code from the command-line to test and explore. Then, in another part of the project (or another project), write whatever you need for your chosen container, Ra has a lot of functionality to help.

The Function

Write your code with the Ra signature, as described above, and expose it on the exports object.

// Mod.js
var _ = require('underscore');
exports.echo = function(argv, context, callback) {
  // ...
  var result = _.extend({hello: "world"}, argv);
  return callback(null, result);

During development, invoke your function.

ra invoke sample/hello.js echo --bar --baz=quxx | underscore print
{ "hello": "world", "bar": true, "baz": "quxx" }

ARGV Improvements

If you use invoke2, Ra will parse the command-line arguments with the much improved sg-argv module, which has much better capabilities.

ra invoke2 sample/hello.js echo --no-bar --baz={"a":42} | underscore print
{ "hello": "world", "bar": false, "baz": { "a": 42} }

See sg-argv for details on its full capabilities.

The context Parameter

You should not directly access this parameter, as it will be different depending on the function container under which your function is being run. First, try not to access this parameter at all, since that will make your code less portable. But if you have to, first let Ra wrap it, and then use the wrapped version:

// This is TBD, but:
var ra = require('run-anywhere'); = function(argv, context, callback) {
  var raCtx = ra.context(context);
  var eol = raCtx.timeOfDeath();


You must use (argv, context, callback).

The raEnv Parameter

This section used to read as follows. Do not use this style -- just use (argv, context, callback).

Generally speaking, your code will be best if you only use argv, and callback.

  • argv - The end-result of processing inputs, and first parameter send to your function.
  • callback - The typical Node.js callback parameter.
  • context - The AWS Lambda context parameter, if this is an AWS Lambda invocation, or a similar looking object otherwise.
  • type - The type of invocation, like 'AwsLambda', 'Express', 'Cli'.
  • ARGV - An instance of the ARGV class. The ARGV class parses command-line parameters. undefined if this is not an invocation from the CLI.
  • query - The URL query parameter, if this is an HTTP request, undefined otherwise.
  • body - The request body (as JSON), if this is an HTTP request, undefined otherwise.
  • awsEvent - The event parameter, if this is an AWS Lambda invocation.
  • awsContext - The context parameter, if this is an AWS Lambda invocation, undefined otherwise.




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