New project: Node.js application framework

So I decided to learn a new language / architecture last weekend and since Node.js has been getting a lot of attention lately I thought I might as well go with that.

I’ve put maybe 6 hours into it so far, and you can see the fruits of my labour over at github: https://github.com/Tall-Paul/node-framework

I don’t have it up and running anywhere yet, and there’s still some work to do but so far I have:

  • A routing system that takes a json config file and routes requests to ‘handlers’
  • A packaging system that allows related code to be grouped together
  • An ORM based on sequelize that lets you easily define database backed models for data
  • Automatic Ajax loading of models.

You can see an example of this in the ‘blog’ package that comes with the framework.

Currently there’s a model (/packages/blog/models/post.js) that looks like this:

module.exports = function(sequelize, DataTypes) {
  return sequelize.define("Post", {
    title: DataTypes.STRING,
    content: DataTypes.TEXT,
    author: DataTypes.STRING,
    slug: DataTypes.STRING,
    category: DataTypes.INTEGER,
  })
}
A custom handler / route that currently just takes any request of the form /blog/foo/bar.html and returns the first blog entry (this obviously needs work so it translates the request into the correct blog post) and finally a simple template that looks like this:
<html>
<head>
{{{js_includes}}}
{{{framework_get_object("blog_post",post_id,"post")}}}
</head>
<body>
<div id="post_id"></div>
<div id="post_title"></div>
<div id="post_content"></div>
</body>
</html>
It may not look much, but that template is doing some pretty funky stuff behind the scenes, it embeds some javascript on the page that trundles off and gets the blog post you asked for (post_id in that function call is a template variable that’s set by the handler, but it doesn’t have to be… you can get any content you want with a similar call) and then puts the data from the object into the page in the divs you specify.  Pretty neat (if I do say so myself).  Remember that Ajax stuff is built for you by the framework, just by defining a model of ‘post’ in the package ‘blog’ we automatically get the ability to load instances of that model via ajax.
This is clearly still a work in progress, and doesn’t actually ‘do’ very much yet… but by the weekend I hope to have automagic ajax searching of data in place and then I’m going to think about moving this site over to the new framework, possibly hosted on Engine Yard (depending on how pricey that turns out to be).  So check back soon for a demo of the framework in action.
Also, if anyone can think of a better name for this than ‘node.js web framework’ drop me a line



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