2.10.2 • Public • Published

HTTP Application Server Grain for Sand.js

This grain provides a full HTTP Application Server SDK. Features include

  • Automatic server lifecycle management
  • Regular Expression based routing
  • Request Middleware à la Express.js
  • MVC style controllers and views
  • A unique execution context for each web request
  • Graceful error handling per request
  • Other sand grains can extend the web server's functionality through bindToContext. (TODO expand on this)
  • Supports (and encourages) usage of EcmaScript 6 syntactic goodness
  • Battle tested in at least two production applications Whym and
  • Automatic image size generation.
  • And much more!


npm install --save sand-http


Below is listed the basic project structure for an HTTP Application Server.

  • config/routes.js contains the mapping of url patterns to controller/actions
  • config/http.js contains the basic config for the server.
  • controllers/ contains the controllers where the server application logic is implemented.
  • views/ contains the views and layouts used to be rendered in the application.
  • views/layout/ contains the view layouts to be used in rendering views.
  • public/ hosted as static files. (i.e. CSS, JS, other static files)
  • app.js to load the grain of course.


Routes are exported as an object of Regular Expression properties and Controller/action combinations.

Properties are XRegExp compatible strings. Values are . separated strings of the form 'ControllerName.actionName'.

  • Named properties are supported in route patterns. For example '/users/(?<userId>\\d+)'
  • Note that shortcut character classes such as \d, \w, etc must be double escaped like \\d, \\w, etc.

Controllers and Actions

A controller, the C of Model-View-Controller, is a class that extends require('sand-http').Controller.

An action is a static Generator Function member of a controller that executes a piece of application logic.

All actions provide this.req and this.res: references to the HTTP request and response objects associated with the request.


Here is a sample project.


"use strict";
const Http = require('sand-http');
const Sand = require('sand');
let app = new Sand({log: '*'});


module.exports = {
    '/': 'MyController.index'


module.exports = {
    all: {
        port: 3000


"use strict";
const Helper = require('../classes/Helper');
const Controller = require('sand-http').Controller;
class MyController extends Controller {
    This is a controller action.
    Note that all controller actions are static Generator Functions.
    The `this` reference within the action is called a `Context` object. Sand.js provides `Context` objects. `Context` objects allow tracking a single line of execution. If you are familiar with PHP, their "scope" is similar to that of `$_GET`, etc.
    By design, the `Context` object may be referenced by `sand.ctx` from anywhere in the application to obtain a reference to the `this` of the currently executing request. This functionality allows Helper classes (for example `Helper`) to obtain a reference to the currently executing request WITHOUT having to pass the `req` object as an argument or call the Helper functions with `req` bound as `this`.
    static *index() {
        // this.req.url == Helper.getUrl() is an example of the relationship between `this` and `sand.ctx`.
        let req = this.req; // Request object (just like express)
        let res = this.res; // Response object (just like express)
module.exports = MyController;


"use strict";
// this is a helper class
class Helper {
    static getUrl() {
        return sand.ctx.req.url;
module.exports = Helper;

After creating the above structure, run it as follows

npm init
# ...
npm install --save sand sand-http
node app

Adaptive Image

If enabled, this feature will recognize the route /ai/<width>x<height>(@2x)?/your/path/to/the/static/image.(png|jpe?g|gif) and will generate and return an image according to the width and height (and optionally @2x) specified. See for specific details on using this feature.

Options include

  • <width> - required
  • <height> - required
  • jpeg|png|gif - required - these are the only supported images currently
  • @2x - optional - indicates whether to render the image for retina screens or not




Config Properties

Property Name Type Required Description
port integer Yes Indicates which port to bind when running your HTTP service. (Default: 3000)
view object Contains details for loading and rendering Views
view.layout string Contains the name of the layout to use from the views/layout/ directory. function A hook called every time a view or layout is rendered. The ctx argument indicates the currently executing request Context. This function should return an object of properties that will be passed in to the view file at render time.
session object Contains the details for managing Web Sessions. This option requires sand-session to be included and loaded on the application. Config options are based on express-session. See express-session for config details.
ai object Indicates whether to use Adaptive Image. This option requires gm module and also requires the graphics-magick OS package to be installed. (Default: uses memory store)
ai.useCache boolean Indicates whether to cache the individual images generated for each size. (Default: true)
ai.get(cacheKey, callback(err, buffer)) function A custom getter function for the cache. Use the cache key to check your cache location, and call the given callback with a buffer of the returned image.
ai.put(cacheKey, buffer, callback()) function A custom putter function for the cache. use the cache key to put the buffer into your cache. Invoke the callback when you're done. function A custom function for loading a stream of your image file from a remote source (other than the file system). Use path to look up the image on the remote resource and return a stream of the image data.
beforeAllMiddleware(app) function A synchronous hook called on application init which passes an instance of the express server object. This allows you set custom express middleware app.use(expressMiddleware) that will be called with your controller actions.
useBodyParser boolean Indicates whether to load the bodyParser config option.
bodyParser object Contains options to be passed into body-parser. See body-parser for config details.
onError(err, ctx) function A callback that receives any request errors. Arguments include the error and the request Context that threw the error. You can use this to do custom error reporting (i.e. send an error summary email to the dev who wrote the broken code, etc.).

Grain API

Global Grain Reference



Property Name Type Returns Description
config object The reference to the HTTP config. You can attach whatever else you want to the HTTP config and use it with sand.http.config anywhere in your project.

HTTP Context API




npm i sand-http

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