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2.2.5 • Public • Published


A lightweight unopinionated library for rapidly developing Serverless applications inspired by express.

Part of sls.zone

An AWS Lambda targeted library to provide light-weight boiler plate to manage middleware, error handling and API lifecycle in a simple and accessible way. Much of the functionality is inspired by the popular ExpressJS framework, but with some clear differences required when developing in a serverless environment.

Note: This library does not create the routes in API Gateway, it's purpose is to provide a framework for the handler code only. You will still need to create API Gateway routes and funcitons via the Serverless framework or other method.


  • To enable developers to rapidly create serverless applications by providing a recommended approach and set of useful boilerplate code.
  • To keep flexability in application and architectural design within Lambda handlers.
  • To be as small and lightweight as possible with very few dependencies and overhead.


  • Middleware chains - move common logic across multiple http calls into one place for reuse across multiple endpoints (request, response and finally middleware chains are available).
  • Centralised exception handling - automatically have errors caught and forwarded to an error handler where they can be processed in the same place and with the same code as errors from your other endpoints.
  • IoC container - reduce the need for manual dependency injection by using the provided container
  • Lifecycle management - create components that are automatically started and stopped either side of your executing function. Never leave that db connection hanging again.
  • Routing - use one function to easily service multiple events. Sometimes it makes sense to split them up sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't then don't! (your function is less likely to cold start)
  • Logging - simple configurable log filtering.
  • Mix and match existing functions with slspress functions - plain serverless functions are fully supported (with added middleware and exception handling!).

Why slspress

There are so many node libraries out there solving all sorts of problems including many of those solved by this one. Why do we need another?

Put simply there additional considerations when using serverless that make many existing libraries unsuitable or hard to use in a serverless environment.

  • To start with most libraries and frameworks dont just plug into a serverless environment. Granted you could probably write adapters but that takes time.
  • Many libraries have huge dependency lists. This may not matter when the server is restarted infrequently but with serverless it can make a big difference. Executors are started and stopped on demand by the provider when a http request is made . You want your code to be a lean as possible to minimise the impact of "cold starts".


On Handler

On handler specifies which lambda to attach to. After the .on(...) statment, any middle where or routes will be attached to that lambda only.


slspress provies provisions for all the standard route types. The default route is .use(...) which is a raw forward handler for the lambda specified, but the below list is also allowed for convenience:

  • app.on('lambda').get('/users',...)
  • app.on('lambda').post('/users',...)
  • app.on('lambda').put('/users/{id}',...)
  • app.on('lambda').delete('/users/{id}',...)
  • app.on('lambda').patch('/users/{id}',...)


Middlewhere allows for workflow injections at different parts of the function life-cycle similar to the expressJS framework. There are three types of middlewhere:

  • request - called before your function handler is processed.
  • response - called after your function handler is processed, and before your response is returned, only if no exceptions are thrown.
  • finally - called at the end of you function lifecycle regardless of exceptions.

Note: you may modify your req and res object within the middlewhere, or prevent further execution of the function lifecycle.


Components assist with lifecycle management and dependency injection. As lambda functions have unclear lifespans, and caotic reuse of single lambda's, components provide a logical location to manage DB connections, or resources you may wish to build up and tear down on each lambda function execution. Any component added will be available via the this.component within all middlewhere, and funciton handlers. slspress will process the opening and closing of the component without duplication if called in multiple locations or instances. Please see the components examples below.

Getting started

There are a few simple examples of usage below however they assume that you have a working knowledge of serverless. A more extensive tutorial will be coming soon to the sls.zone website.


An slspress handler file is designed to look very much like an express application. You create your app, you define some common middleware, potentially provide your own error handler and then list the handlers that you want to export. Its worth noting that slspress does not interact with the serverless.yml file at all so routes still need to be defined there.

Hello World

The below module would export the 'hello' handler that can be referenced from the below serverless.yml.


const app = require('slspress').create();
app.on('hello').use((req, res) => res.ok('Hello!'));
module.exports = app.export();


service: "test"
  stage: 'dev'
  name: "aws"
  runtime: "nodejs6.10"
    handler: "application.hello"
          path: "hello"
          method: "get"

Routing and functions

This example shows a multiple handlers with different routes or functions. providing you the flexability to easily create nano-services, micro-services, or monaliths.

const { create } = require('slspress');
const app = create();
  .post('/my-rest-endpoint', require('create-handler'))
  .get('/my-rest-endpoint/{id}', require('show-handler'))
  .patch('/my-rest-endpoint/{id}', require('update-handler'))
  .delete('/my-rest-endpoint/{id}', require('delete-handler'));
  .get('/another-rest-endpoint', require('/separate-function/handler'));
module.exports = app.export();

Using request middleware

This shows an example of how to add middleware at the global scope and function scope.

const {create, BadRequestError} = require('slspress');
const app = create();
app.middleware((req, res, next) => {
  //do some request validation
  if (!req.event.body) {
    throw new BadRequestError();
  return next();
app.on('function-with-global-middleware').use((req, res) => res.ok('Hello!'));
  .use((req, res) => res.ok('Hello!'));
module.exports = app.export();

Using response and finally middleware

This shows an example of how to add response and finally middleware at both the global and function scope.

const {create, response, final } = require('slspress');
const app = create();
app.middleware(response((req, res, next) => {
  // add some extra headers for a successful response
  res.headers({'all-good': 'yes'});
  return next();
app.on('function-with-global-middleware').use((req, res) => res.ok('Hello!'));
  .use((req, res) => res.ok('Hello!')
module.exports = app.export();

Defining a custom error handler

This following provides a custom error handler. Will be called on any error caught within the function handler.

const app = require('slspress').create();
app.onError((req, res) => {
  if (req.error instanceof MyError) {
    return res.notFound();
  return res.internalServerError();
app.on('hello').use((req, res) => res.ok('Hello!'));
module.exports = app.export();

Adding headers to the response

This shows how headers can be added at both the global and function scope.

const app = require('slspress').create();
app.headers({'Api-Version': '1.0.0'});
  .headers({'Hello': 'true'})
  .use((req, res) => res.ok('Hello!'));
module.exports = app.export();

Adding an authorizer

const {create, createAuthorizerResponse } = require('slspress');
const app = create();
  .authorizer((event, context, callback) => {
    // very insecure! If the authorization header is present we are authorized and our user id is the value of the auth token!
    return createAuthorizerResponse(event.authorizationToken, event.authorizationToken, event, callback);
module.exports = app.export();

Using with scheduled events

Scheduled events can be attached to any existing handler. The following will limit the handler to only match scheduled task events so a combination of cron and use can be added to the function to allow it to handle both.

const { create, rawHandler } = require('slspress');
const app = create();
module.exports = app.export();

What about my existing functions?

They can simply live side by side in a separate handler file or be plugged in like below and get middleware chains and an error handler too!

const { create, rawHandler } = require('slspress');
const app = create();
module.exports = app.export();

Using a component to manage a database connection.

This example shows an example approach of using a component to manage a db connection.

const { create, Component } = require('slspress');
const MyDb = class extends Component {
  constructor(container) {
    // get any deps from the IoC container using container.fetch().
  start() {
    return new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
      try {
        db.connect(function onSuccess() {
      } catch (e) {
  stop() {
    // disconnect promise
    return db.disconnect();
  find(id) {
    // do something that returns a promise.
const app = create();
app.component('component/resource/db', MyDb);
app.on('hello').use(function(req, res) {
  .then(data => res.send(data))
  .catch(e => res.handleError(e))
module.exports = app.export();

Alternatively the handler can be a plain arrow function and use req.app instead of this.

app.on('hello').use((req, res) => {
  .then(data => res.send(data))
  .catch(e => res.handleError(e))

Any suggestions or recommendations - please get in touch with the development team at Reason


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