For a while now, most of my new development has been working on interaction heavy client-side apps. So, with this, I've been wanting a better way of throwing up APIs fast.

I've learned enough Rails to cut my teeth in. But, I'm still not entirely comfortable putting a new app on it. And, when it comes to PHP with Laravel or Symfony, I tend to over architect things.

What I really have been craving was a HEAVILY opinionated set of tools to make APIs. The list is pretty short but here's what my ideal toolset would contain:

  • Easy 1-2 line route declarations
  • API formatting (for things like HAL or JSON API)
  • Clear DSLs for attribute binding
  • File and project organization

So after some thought, I messaged another JS instructor the following code:

function(req, res) {
  return'events', {queryBy: ['category'], orderBy: 'startDate'});

"Wouldn't it be nice?" I thought.

Then this last week, I looked back at this code and one of my Express apps and thought I should give it a shot.

But, before I started, I wanted to set some ground rules:

  • Make future room for abstraction in 2 main places
  • ORM layer
  • Serialization/Normalization
  • Don't solve every problem (we can always just write usual express routes later)

After a few hours I now have a decent start. There's still room to go before making a true NPM package from what works, but here's what a set of routes for a single resource looks like:

var express = require('express');
var router = express.Router();

router.get('/', function(req, res) {
  return'Book', {
    include: ['author'],
    queryBy: ['year'],
    orderBy: 'year',

router.get('/:id', function(req, res) {
});'/', function(req, res) {
  return'Book', {
    include: ['author'],
    beforeSave: (book, save) => { = '563ed344bd48dfad25a9dbd2';

module.exports = router;

I think it's pretty clean so far. But let me know what you think.