Opinionated configuration for Node application


372.13.0-dev6863 days ago3 years agoMinified + gzip package size for @globality/nodule-config in KB



Opinionated configuration for Node applications


Dependency injection (DI) is a good thing ™ and bottlejs is a fine DI framework. However, DI factory functions will usually need to access configuration from external sources (such as environment variables and secret storage). Nodule is built on the premise that combining configuration with dependency injection factories works best with strong conventions:

  • Non-secret variables should be passed as environment variables
  • Secrets should be loaded from secure storage
  • Variables and secrets should be structured hierarchically, scoped by component name
  • Components should declare their own defaults and should define factories that use their scoped configuration
  • Factories should be aware of whether they are being used for unit testing and debugging

These conventions are shared by the Python microcosm framework.


Application Initialization

Application initialization needs access to the DI framework, which in turn, needs access to information about the application and configuration data.

Nodule uses a simple Metadata format to initialize applications:

    const metadata = {
        // the application's name is used to load configuration
        name: 'myappname',
        // factories may have different behavior during unit testing
        testing: true,
        // factories may have different behavior during local development
        debug: false,

With this Metadata, Nodule can load configuration using loader functions:

    import { Nodule, loadFromEnvironment } from 'nodule-config';

    const nodule = new Nodule(metadata);
    nodule.from(loadFromEnvironment).load().then(bottle => myInitFunc(bottle));

Common loader functions also have shortcuts:

    nodule.fromEnvironment().load().then(bottle => myInitFunc(bottle));

These shortcuts can be chained to enable multiple loaders:

    nodule.fromEnvironment().fromSecretsManager().load().then(bottle => myInitFunc(bottle));

In the likely event that multiple loaders are used, Nodule will merge the loaders (and any defaults) in their declaration order.

Factory Registration

Applications and libraries need to define factories for injected components. Nodule uses a simple global registry of bottle instances and exposes these via the getInjector function:

import { getInjector } from 'nodule-config';

getInjector().factory('foo', (container) => {
    // it's good practice to auto-mock "leaf" components during unit tests
    if (container.metadata.testing) {
        return () => 'value';
    // it's great practice to use scoped configuration
    return () => container.config.foo.value;

Since this pattern is so common, Nodule provides a bind shortcut:

import { bind } from 'nodule-config';

bind('foo', myFactoryFunc);

Configuration should typically have sane defaults (esp. for local development). Nodule enables configuration of such defaults:

import { setDefaults } from 'nodule-config';

setDefaults('foo', {
    key: 'value',


While Nodule defines several useful loaders out of the box, it does not presume to define every possible source of configuration. Fortunately, loaders can be defined as any function that takes Metadata and returns a suitably nested object:

function myLoader(metadata) {
    return {
         key: 'value'

Nodule expectats that these nested objects map top-level keys to name used to bind factories and their injected components to the DI container:

    // configuration for the foo component
    foo: {
        enabled: true,
        password: 'very secure',
    // configuration for the bar component
    bar: {
        password: 'super secret',

Environment Variable Loading

Configuration via environment variables is incredibly common (and useful!). Nodule maps environment variables to nested objects using the following rules:

  • Only environment variables starting with the upper case value of Metadata.name are considered
  • Each environment variable is split on double underscores (__) to create nesting (of arbitrary depth)

For example, the above example configuration could be loaded from:


Note that boolean values are coerced by default; this can be disabled.

SecretsManager Loading

Configuration of secrets via environment variables is a bad (and insecure!) practice. One alternative is to load secrets from AWS SecretsManager using the aws-sdk

If you find any bugs or have a feature request, please open an issue on github!

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