Thin layer to wrap the loopback application for easier testing and sharing of functionality between repositories.


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00Nov 5, 2018Nov 30, 2017Minified + gzip package size for @joinbox/loopback-microservice in KB



Thin layer to wrap the loopback application for easier testing and sharing of functionality between repositories.


We found out that some of the functionality of Loopback depends on the state of the application. Especially the app.get method we use to access configuration does only work correctly after the boot process. For now we don't have the resources to refactor the package accordingly, so please be aware that the following instance methods will only work correctly after the service/app is booted:

  • getName
  • getLogger
  • start


Install it via npm:

npm install @joinbox/loopback-microservice

You can start your microservice using the static start method:

    const Microservice = require('@joinbox/loopback-microservice');
    const service = await Microservice.start();

Starting the service will boot the microservice (using loopback-boot with default configuration) and start the internal server. Sometimes you don't need the server to be listening to the interface (i.e. for scripting) and only want access to configured models and the datasources. Therefore you can boot the application:

    const Microservice = require('@joinbox/loopback-microservice');
    const service = await Microservice.boot();
    // access the loopback application
    const loopbackApp = service.app;
    const models = loopbackApp.models;

Both examples rely on a default configuration of the microservice itself and especially Loopback's boot process. Both methods (Microservice.boot(), Microservice.start) accept an options object which is directly passed to the Microservice constructor.

Especially important is the (optional )boot property of this options which are directly passed to loopback-boot i.e. the compiler. The boot object accepts properties such as the appRootDir. For more information have a look at the corresponding documentation. Having custom boot options allows you to boot an application from different sources.

Note: Starting multiple instances of a Loopback app within the same process leads to shared state between them (might be due to the registry)!!

These factory methods are only for convenience. You can always setup a Microservice by passing your own app instance:

    const boot = {appRootDir: '/home/apps/loopback/demo'};
    const options = { boot };
    // previously: new Microservice(loopbackApp, boot);
    const service = new Microservice(loopbackApp, options);

    await service.boot();
    await service.start();

Note Previous versions of the package directly expected the boot options to be passed to the constructor. This has changed in version 1.0.0


While we currently do not really use any configuration options, the Microservice consumes the microservice config section of your Loopback apps config (e.g. config.json). The only value it currently reads is the name property (available as service.getName() AFTER booting the app).

    "microservice": {
        "name": "my-service",
        "logger": "my-logger",

The logger property (default is "microservice-logger") allows injecting a logger component which must be avialable via app.get("my-logger"). If one wants to access the same logger from somewhere else in the code just use the static Microservice.getServiceLogger(app) method. On the service instance itself it is exposed as microservice.getLogger().

Note: Currently the logger might be undefined if no logger is injected. In the future we might add a silent (null) logger to avoid cumbersome checks.


As soon as the server is running, the Microservice instance provides an api property, a thin client wrapping superagent, preserving the location of the api. To access your models, you can perform queries as follows

    const service = await Microservice.start();
    // returns a superagent get query builder bound to protocol, host, port, and base path

Using this api client is especially useful for integration testing.

Error Handling

The package exposes a custom error class and a basic error handler, useful for typed error handling. This allows you to differentiate between your errors and errors caused by the rest of the application and simplifies error tracing.

One can pass additional data to the error by passing an additional object to the constructor, which is assigned to the error instance.

    const { MicroserviceError } = require('@joinbox/loopback-microservice');
    class MyServiceError extends MicroserviceError {}
    // usage
    try {
        throw new MyServiceError('An error message', {
                status: 400,
                code: 'HOLY_MOLY',
                original: previousError
    } catch (error) {
        if(error instanceof MyServiceError){
            // handle your errors
            if(error.status === 400){
        throw error;

Note: The error class was (and still is for backwards compatibility) previously exposed as Error. Since this might lead to unwanted side effects when using destructuring - i.e. would override the standard Error class - we also expose it at the MicroserviceError property.

Error Handler

The error handler middleware is a simple wrapper for the strong-error-handler. All of the configuration you pass will be directly forwarded to the strong-error-handler.

Hook in the microservice-error-handler in your middleware.json. Sadly, the error handler does not seem to have access to the app and its configuration. Therefore you need to add the name of your service to the error handler too. You can add it using the serviceName property or copy the global config of your microservice:

    "final:after": {
        "@joinbox/loopback-microservice#errorHandler": {
            "params": {
                "serviceName": "your-service, add this only if you don't want to pass the microservice configuration",
                "microservice": "${microservice}",
                "additionalConfig": "consumed by strong error handler"

This will enrich the error included in your responses with the serviceName property if not already set by another service (to be able to track the origin of an error).

Also, the error-handler will add a serviceTrace property to the error, containing the names of all services the error went through (as long as they use the same error handling logic and pass the necessary properties).

Note: If you use strong-remoting and want failing requests to your rest api (ie invalid routes) to be handled by the same error handler, you have to disable the error handling in the remoting config of your config.json:

    "remoting": {
        "rest": {
            "handleErrors": false


Check the package.json to see how to execute tests:

  • all: npm test
  • unit: npm run test:unit
  • integration: npm run test:integration
  • watch tests during development: npm run test:watch (uses mocha's --watch option)
  • linting: npm run lint


  • expose useful functionality for accessing models
  • expose useful functionality for testing purposes

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

The npm package download data comes from npm's download counts api and package details come from npms.io.