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Standalone applications

There are several ways of mounting a Nest application. You can create a web app, a microservice or just a bare Nest standalone application (without any network listeners). The Nest standalone application is a wrapper around the Nest IoC container, which holds all instantiated classes. We can obtain a reference to any existing instance from within any imported module directly using the standalone application object. Thus, you can take advantage of the Nest framework anywhere, including, for example, scripted CRON jobs. You can even build a CLI on top of it.

Getting started

To create a Nest standalone application, use the following construction:

@@filename()
async function bootstrap() {
  const app = await NestFactory.createApplicationContext(ApplicationModule);
  // application logic...
}
bootstrap();

The standalone application object allows you to obtain a reference to any instance registered within the Nest application. Let's imagine that we have a TasksService in the TasksModule. This class provides a set of methods that we want to call from within a CRON job.

@@filename()
const app = await NestFactory.create(ApplicationModule);
const tasksService = app.get(TasksService);

To access the TasksService instance we use the get() method. The get() method acts like a query that searches for an instance in each registered module. Alternatively, for strict context checking, pass an options object with the strict: true property. With this option in effect, you have to navigate through specific modules to obtain a particular instance from the selected context.

@@filename()
const app = await NestFactory.create(AppModule);
const tasksService = app.select(TasksModule).get(TasksService, { strict: true });

Following is a summary of the methods available for retrieving instance references from the standalone application object.

get() Retrieves an instance of a controller or provider (including guards, filters, and so on) available in the application context.
select() Navigates through the modules graph to pull out a specific instance from the selected module (used together with strict mode as described above).

info Hint In non-strict mode, the root module is selected by default. To select any other module, you need to navigate the modules graph manually, step by step.

If you want the node application to close after the script finishes (e.g., for a script running CRON jobs), add await app.close() to the end of your bootstrap function:

@@filename()
async function bootstrap() {
  const app = await NestFactory.createApplicationContext(ApplicationModule);
  // application logic...
  await app.close();
}
bootstrap();

Providers

Providers are a fundamental concept in Nest. Many of the basic Nest classes may be treated as a provider – services, repositories, factories, helpers, and so on. The main idea of a provider is that it can inject dependencies; this means objects can create various relationships with each other, and the function of "wiring up" instances of objects can largely be delegated to the Nest runtime system. A provider is simply a class annotated with an @Injectable() decorator.

In the previous chapter, we built a simple CatsController. Controllers should handle HTTP requests and delegate more complex tasks to providers. Providers are plain JavaScript classes with an @Injectable() decorator preceding their class declaration.

info Hint Since Nest enables the possibility to design and organize dependencies in a more OO-way, we strongly recommend following the SOLID principles.

Services

Let's start by creating a simple CatsService. This service will be responsible for data storage and retrieval, and is designed to be used by the CatsController, so it's a good candidate to be defined as a provider. Thus, we decorate the class with @Injectable().

@@filename(cats.service)
import { Injectable } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Cat } from './interfaces/cat.interface';

@Injectable()
export class CatsService {
  private readonly cats: Cat[] = [];

  create(cat: Cat) {
    this.cats.push(cat);
  }

  findAll(): Cat[] {
    return this.cats;
  }
}
@@switch
import { Injectable } from '@nestjs/common';

@Injectable()
export class CatsService {
  constructor() {
    this.cats = [];
  }

  create(cat) {
    this.cats.push(cat);
  }

  findAll() {
    return this.cats;
  }
}

info Hint To create a service using the CLI, simply execute the $ nest g service cats command.

Our CatsService is a basic class with one property and two methods. The only new feature is that it uses the @Injectable() decorator. The @Injectable() decorator attaches metadata, which tells Nest that this class is a Nest provider. By the way, this example also uses a Cat interface, which probably looks something like this:

@@filename(interfaces/cat.interface)
export interface Cat {
  name: string;
  age: number;
  breed: string;
}

Now that we have a service class to retrieve cats, let's use it inside the CatsController:

@@filename(cats.controller)
import { Controller, Get, Post, Body } from '@nestjs/common';
import { CreateCatDto } from './dto/create-cat.dto';
import { CatsService } from './cats.service';
import { Cat } from './interfaces/cat.interface';

@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {
  constructor(private catsService: CatsService) {}

  @Post()
  async create(@Body() createCatDto: CreateCatDto) {
    this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
  }

  @Get()
  async findAll(): Promise<Cat[]> {
    return this.catsService.findAll();
  }
}
@@switch
import { Controller, Get, Post, Body, Bind, Dependencies } from '@nestjs/common';
import { CatsService } from './cats.service';

@Controller('cats')
@Dependencies(CatsService)
export class CatsController {
  constructor(catsService) {
    this.catsService = catsService;
  }

  @Post()
  @Bind(Body())
  async create(createCatDto) {
    this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
  }

  @Get()
  async findAll() {
    return this.catsService.findAll();
  }
}

The CatsService is injected through the class constructor. Notice the use of the private syntax. This shorthand allows us to both declare and initialize the catsService member immediately in the same location.

Dependency injection

Nest is built around the strong design pattern commonly known as Dependency injection. We recommend reading a great article about this concept in the official Angular documentation.

In Nest, thanks to TypeScript capabilities, it's extremely easy to manage dependencies because they are resolved just by type. In the example below, Nest will resolve the catsService by creating and returning an instance of CatsService (or, in the normal case of a singleton, returning the existing instance if it has already been requested elsewhere). This dependency is resolved and passed to your controller's constructor (or assigned to the indicated property):

constructor(private catsService: CatsService) {}

Scopes

Providers normally have a lifetime ("scope") synchronized with the application lifecycle. When the application is bootstrapped, every dependency must be resolved, and therefore every provider has to be instantiated. Similarly, when the application shuts down, each provider will be destroyed. However, there are ways to make your provider lifetime request-scoped as well. You can read more about these techniques here.

Custom providers

Nest has a built-in inversion of control ("IoC") container that resolves relationships between providers. This feature underlies the dependency injection feature described above, but is in fact far more powerful than what we've described so far. The @Injectable() decorator is only the tip of the iceberg, and is not the only way to define providers. In fact, you can use plain values, classes, and either asynchronous or synchronous factories. More examples are provided here.

Optional providers

Occasionally, you might have dependencies which do not necessarily have to be resolved. For instance, your class may depend on a configuration object, but if none is passed, the default values should be used. In such a case, the dependency becomes optional, because lack of the configuration provider wouldn't lead to errors.

To indicate a provider is optional, use the @Optional() decorator in the constructor's signature.

import { Injectable, Optional, Inject } from '@nestjs/common';

@Injectable()
export class HttpService<T> {
  constructor(@Optional() @Inject('HTTP_OPTIONS') private httpClient: T) {}
}

Note that in the example above we are using a custom provider, which is the reason we include the HTTP_OPTIONS custom token. Previous examples showed constructor-based injection indicating a dependency through a class in the constructor. Read more about custom providers and their associated tokens here.

Property-based injection

The technique we've used so far is called constructor-based injection, as providers are injected via the constructor method. In some very specific cases, property-based injection might be useful. For instance, if your top-level class depends on either one or multiple providers, passing them all the way up by calling super() in sub-classes from the constructor can be very tedious. In order to avoid this, you can use the @Inject() decorator at the property level.

import { Injectable, Inject } from '@nestjs/common';

@Injectable()
export class HttpService<T> {
  @Inject('HTTP_OPTIONS')
  private readonly httpClient: T;
}

warning Warning If your class doesn't extend another provider, you should always prefer using constructor-based injection.

Provider registration

Now that we have defined a provider (CatsService), and we have a consumer of that service (CatsController), we need to register the service with Nest so that it can perform the injection. We do this by editing our module file (app.module.ts) and adding the service to the providers array of the @Module() decorator.

@@filename(app.module)
import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { CatsController } from './cats/cats.controller';
import { CatsService } from './cats/cats.service';

@Module({
  controllers: [CatsController],
  providers: [CatsService],
})
export class AppModule {}

Nest will now be able to resolve the dependencies of the CatsController class.

This is how our directory structure should look now:

src
cats
dto
create-cat.dto.ts
interfaces
cat.interface.ts
cats.service.ts
cats.controller.ts
app.module.ts
main.ts

Manual instantiation

Thus far, we've discussed how Nest automatically handles most of the details of resolving dependencies. In certain circumstances, you may need to step outside of the built-in Dependency Injection system and manually retrieve or instantiate providers. We briefly discuss two such topics below.

To get existing instances, or instantiate providers dynamically, you can use Module reference.

To get providers within the bootstrap() function (for example for standalone applications without controllers, or to utilize a configuration service during bootstrapping) see Standalone applications.

Controllers

Controllers are responsible for handling incoming requests and returning responses to the client.

A controller's purpose is to receive specific requests for the application. The **routing** mechanism controls which controller receives which requests. Frequently, each controller has more than one route, and different routes can perform different actions.

In order to create a basic controller, we use classes and decorators. Decorators associate classes with required metadata and enable Nest to create a routing map (tie requests to the corresponding controllers).

Routing

In the following example we'll use the @Controller() decorator, which is required to define a basic controller. We'll specify an optional route path prefix of cats. Using a path prefix in a @Controller() decorator allows us to easily group a set of related routes, and minimize repetitive code. For example, we may choose to group a set of routes that manage interactions with a customer entity under the route /customers. In that case, we could specify the path prefix customers in the @Controller() decorator so that we don't have to repeat that portion of the path for each route in the file.

@@filename(cats.controller)
import { Controller, Get } from '@nestjs/common';

@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {
  @Get()
  findAll(): string {
    return 'This action returns all cats';
  }
}
@@switch
import { Controller, Get } from '@nestjs/common';

@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {
  @Get()
  findAll() {
    return 'This action returns all cats';
  }
}

info Hint To create a controller using the CLI, simply execute the $ nest g controller cats command.

The @Get() HTTP request method decorator before the findAll() method tells Nest to create a handler for a specific endpoint for HTTP requests. The endpoint corresponds to the HTTP request method (GET in this case) and the route path. What is the route path? The route path for a handler is determined by concatenating the (optional) prefix declared for the controller, and any path specified in the request decorator. Since we've declared a prefix for every route ( cats), and haven't added any path information in the decorator, Nest will map GET /cats requests to this handler. As mentioned, the path includes both the optional controller path prefix and any path string declared in the request method decorator. For example, a path prefix of customers combined with the decorator @Get('profile') would produce a route mapping for requests like GET /customers/profile.

In our example above, when a GET request is made to this endpoint, Nest routes the request to our user-defined findAll() method. Note that the method name we choose here is completely arbitrary. We obviously must declare a method to bind the route to, but Nest doesn't attach any significance to the method name chosen.

This method will return a 200 status code and the associated response, which in this case is just a string. Why does that happen? To explain, we'll first introduce the concept that Nest employs two different options for manipulating responses:

Standard (recommended) Using this built-in method, when a request handler returns a JavaScript object or array, it will automatically be serialized to JSON. When it returns a JavaScript primitive type (e.g., string, number, boolean), however, Nest will send just the value without attempting to serialize it. This makes response handling simple: just return the value, and Nest takes care of the rest.

Furthermore, the response's status code is always 200 by default, except for POST requests which use 201. We can easily change this behavior by adding the @HttpCode(...) decorator at a handler-level (see Status codes).
Library-specific We can use the library-specific (e.g., Express) response object, which can be injected using the @Res() decorator in the method handler signature (e.g., findAll(@Res() response)). With this approach, you have the ability (and the responsibility), to use the native response handling methods exposed by that object. For example, with Express, you can construct responses using code like response.status(200).send()

warning Warning You cannot use both approaches at the same time. Nest detects when the handler is using either @Res() or @Next(), indicating you have chosen the library-specific option. If both approaches are used at the same time, the Standard approach is automatically disabled for this single route and will no longer work as expected.

Request object

Handlers often need access to the client request details. Nest provides access to the request object of the underlying platform (Express by default). We can access the request object by instructing Nest to inject it by adding the @Req() decorator to the handler's signature.

@@filename(cats.controller)
import { Controller, Get, Req } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Request } from 'express';

@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {
  @Get()
  findAll(@Req() request: Request): string {
    return 'This action returns all cats';
  }
}
@@switch
import { Controller, Bind, Get, Req } from '@nestjs/common';

@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {
  @Get()
  @Bind(Req())
  findAll(request) {
    return 'This action returns all cats';
  }
}

info Hint In order to take advantage of express typings (as in the request: Request parameter example above), install @types/express package.

The request object represents the HTTP request and has properties for the request query string, parameters, HTTP headers, and body (read more here). In most cases, it's not necessary to grab these properties manually. We can use dedicated decorators instead, such as @Body() or @Query(), which are available out of the box. Below is a list of the provided decorators and the plain platform-specific objects they represent.

@Request(), @Req() req
@Response(), @Res()* res
@Next() next
@Session() req.session
@Param(key?: string) req.params / req.params[key]
@Body(key?: string) req.body / req.body[key]
@Query(key?: string) req.query / req.query[key]
@Headers(name?: string) req.headers / req.headers[name]
@Ip() req.ip
@HostParam() req.hosts

* For compatibility with typings across underlying HTTP platforms (e.g., Express and Fastify), Nest provides @Res() and @Response() decorators. @Res() is simply an alias for @Response(). Both directly expose the underlying native platform response object interface. When using them, you should also import the typings for the underlying library (e.g., @types/express) to take full advantage. Note that when you inject either @Res() or @Response() in a method handler, you put Nest into Library-specific mode for that handler, and you become responsible for managing the response. When doing so, you must issue some kind of response by making a call on the response object (e.g., res.json(...) or res.send(...)), or the HTTP server will hang.

info Hint To learn how to create your own custom decorators, visit this chapter.

Resources

Earlier, we defined an endpoint to fetch the cats resource (GET route). We'll typically also want to provide an endpoint that creates new records. For this, let's create the POST handler:

@@filename(cats.controller)
import { Controller, Get, Post } from '@nestjs/common';

@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {
  @Post()
  create(): string {
    return 'This action adds a new cat';
  }

  @Get()
  findAll(): string {
    return 'This action returns all cats';
  }
}
@@switch
import { Controller, Get, Post } from '@nestjs/common';

@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {
  @Post()
  create() {
    return 'This action adds a new cat';
  }

  @Get()
  findAll() {
    return 'This action returns all cats';
  }
}

It's that simple. Nest provides decorators for all of the standard HTTP methods: @Get, @Post, @Put(), @Delete(), @Patch(), @Options(), and @Head(). In addition, @All() defines an endpoint that handles all of them.

Route wildcards

Pattern based routes are supported as well. For instance, the asterisk is used as a wildcard, and will match any combination of characters.

@Get('ab*cd')
findAll() {
  return 'This route uses a wildcard';
}

The 'ab*cd' route path will match abcd, ab_cd, abecd, and so on. The characters ?, +, *, and () may be used in a route path, and are subsets of their regular expression counterparts. The hyphen ( -) and the dot (.) are interpreted literally by string-based paths.

Status code

As mentioned, the response status code is always 200 by default, except for POST requests which are 201. We can easily change this behavior by adding the @HttpCode(...) decorator at a handler level.

@Post()
@HttpCode(204)
create() {
  return 'This action adds a new cat';
}

info Hint Import HttpCode from the @nestjs/common package.

Often, your status code isn't static but depends on various factors. In that case, you can use a library-specific response (inject using @Res()) object (or, in case of an error, throw an exception).

Headers

To specify a custom response header, you can either use a @Header() decorator or a library-specific response object (and call res.header() directly).

@Post()
@Header('Cache-Control', 'none')
create() {
  return 'This action adds a new cat';
}

info Hint Import Header from the @nestjs/common package.

Redirection

To redirect a response to a specific URL, you can either use a @Redirect() decorator or a library-specific response object (and call res.redirect() directly).

@Redirect() takes a required url argument, and an optional statusCode argument. The statusCode defaults to 302 (Found) if omitted.

@Get()
@Redirect('https://nestjs.com', 301)

Sometimes you may want to determine the HTTP status code or the redirect URL dynamically. Do this by returning an object from the route handler method with the shape:

{
  "url": string,
  "statusCode": number
}

Returned values will override any arguments passed to the @Redirect() decorator. For example:

@Get('docs')
@Redirect('https://docs.nestjs.com', 302)
getDocs(@Query('version') version) {
  if (version && version === '5') {
    return { url: 'https://docs.nestjs.com/v5/' };
  }
}

Route parameters

Routes with static paths won't work when you need to accept dynamic data as part of the request (e.g., GET /cats/1 to get cat with id 1). In order to define routes with parameters, we can add route parameter tokens in the path of the route to capture the dynamic value at that position in the request URL. The route parameter token in the @Get() decorator example below demonstrates this usage. Route parameters declared in this way can be accessed using the @Param() decorator, which should be added to the method signature.

@@filename()
@Get(':id')
findOne(@Param() params): string {
  console.log(params.id);
  return `This action returns a #${params.id} cat`;
}
@@switch
@Get(':id')
@Bind(Param())
findOne(params) {
  console.log(params.id);
  return `This action returns a #${params.id} cat`;
}

@Param() is used to decorate a method parameter (params in the example above), and makes the route parameters available as properties of that decorated method parameter inside the body of the method. As seen in the code above, we can access the id parameter by referencing params.id. You can also pass in a particular parameter token to the decorator, and then reference the route parameter directly by name in the method body.

info Hint Import Param from the @nestjs/common package.

@@filename()
@Get(':id')
findOne(@Param('id') id): string {
  return `This action returns a #${id} cat`;
}
@@switch
@Get(':id')
@Bind(Param('id'))
findOne(id) {
  return `This action returns a #${id} cat`;
}

Sub-Domain Routing

The @Controller decorator can take a host option to require that the HTTP host of the incoming requests matches some specific value.

@Controller({ host: 'admin.example.com' })
export class AdminController {
  @Get()
  index(): string {
    return 'Admin page';
  }
}

Warning Since Fastify lacks support for nested routers, when using sub-domain routing, the (default) Express adapter should be used instead.

Similar to a route path, the hosts option can use tokens to capture the dynamic value at that position in the host name. The host parameter token in the @Controller() decorator example below demonstrates this usage. Host parameters declared in this way can be accessed using the @HostParam() decorator, which should be added to the method signature.

@Controller({ host: ':account.example.com' })
export class AccountController {
  @Get()
  getInfo(@HostParam('account') account: string) {
    return account;
  }
}

Scopes

For people coming from different programming language backgrounds, it might be unexpected to learn that in Nest, almost everything is shared across incoming requests. We have a connection pool to the database, singleton services with global state, etc. Remember that Node.js doesn't follow the request/response Multi-Threaded Stateless Model in which every request is processed by a separate thread. Hence, using singleton instances is fully safe for our applications.

However, there are edge-cases when request-based lifetime of the controller may be the desired behavior, for instance per-request caching in GraphQL applications, request tracking or multi-tenancy. Learn how to control scopes here.

Asynchronicity

We love modern JavaScript and we know that data extraction is mostly asynchronous. That's why Nest supports and works well with async functions.

info Hint Learn more about async / await feature here

Every async function has to return a Promise. This means that you can return a deferred value that Nest will be able to resolve by itself. Let's see an example of this:

@@filename(cats.controller)
@Get()
async findAll(): Promise<any[]> {
  return [];
}
@@switch
@Get()
async findAll() {
  return [];
}

The above code is fully valid. Furthermore, Nest route handlers are even more powerful by being able to return RxJS observable streams. Nest will automatically subscribe to the source underneath and take the last emitted value (once the stream is completed).

@@filename(cats.controller)
@Get()
findAll(): Observable<any[]> {
  return of([]);
}
@@switch
@Get()
findAll() {
  return of([]);
}

Both of the above approaches work and you can use whatever fits your requirements.

Request payloads

Our previous example of the POST route handler didn't accept any client params. Let's fix this by adding the @Body() decorator here.

But first (if you use TypeScript), we need to determine the DTO (Data Transfer Object) schema. A DTO is an object that defines how the data will be sent over the network. We could determine the DTO schema by using TypeScript interfaces, or by simple classes. Interestingly, we recommend using classes here. Why? Classes are part of the JavaScript ES6 standard, and therefore they are preserved as real entities in the compiled JavaScript. On the other hand, since TypeScript interfaces are removed during the transpilation, Nest can't refer to them at runtime. This is important because features such as Pipes enable additional possibilities when they have access to the metatype of the variable at runtime.

Let's create the CreateCatDto class:

@@filename(create-cat.dto)
export class CreateCatDto {
  name: string;
  age: number;
  breed: string;
}

It has only three basic properties. Thereafter we can use the newly created DTO inside the CatsController:

@@filename(cats.controller)
@Post()
async create(@Body() createCatDto: CreateCatDto) {
  return 'This action adds a new cat';
}
@@switch
@Post()
@Bind(Body())
async create(createCatDto) {
  return 'This action adds a new cat';
}

Handling errors

There's a separate chapter about handling errors (i.e., working with exceptions) here.

Full resource sample

Below is an example that makes use of several of the available decorators to create a basic controller. This controller exposes a couple of methods to access and manipulate internal data.

@@filename(cats.controller)
import { Controller, Get, Query, Post, Body, Put, Param, Delete } from '@nestjs/common';
import { CreateCatDto, UpdateCatDto, ListAllEntities } from './dto';

@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {
  @Post()
  create(@Body() createCatDto: CreateCatDto) {
    return 'This action adds a new cat';
  }

  @Get()
  findAll(@Query() query: ListAllEntities) {
    return `This action returns all cats (limit: ${query.limit} items)`;
  }

  @Get(':id')
  findOne(@Param('id') id: string) {
    return `This action returns a #${id} cat`;
  }

  @Put(':id')
  update(@Param('id') id: string, @Body() updateCatDto: UpdateCatDto) {
    return `This action updates a #${id} cat`;
  }

  @Delete(':id')
  remove(@Param('id') id: string) {
    return `This action removes a #${id} cat`;
  }
}
@@switch
import { Controller, Get, Query, Post, Body, Put, Param, Delete, Bind } from '@nestjs/common';

@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {
  @Post()
  @Bind(Body())
  create(createCatDto) {
    return 'This action adds a new cat';
  }

  @Get()
  @Bind(Query())
  findAll(query) {
    console.log(query);
    return `This action returns all cats (limit: ${query.limit} items)`;
  }

  @Get(':id')
  @Bind(Param('id'))
  findOne(id) {
    return `This action returns a #${id} cat`;
  }

  @Put(':id')
  @Bind(Param('id'), Body())
  update(id, updateCatDto) {
    return `This action updates a #${id} cat`;
  }

  @Delete(':id')
  @Bind(Param('id'))
  remove(id) {
    return `This action removes a #${id} cat`;
  }
}

Getting up and running

With the above controller fully defined, Nest still doesn't know that CatsController exists and as a result won't create an instance of this class.

Controllers always belong to a module, which is why we include the controllers array within the @Module() decorator. Since we haven't yet defined any other modules except the root AppModule, we'll use that to introduce the CatsController:

@@filename(app.module)
import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { CatsController } from './cats/cats.controller';

@Module({
  controllers: [CatsController],
})
export class AppModule {}

We attached the metadata to the module class using the @Module() decorator, and Nest can now easily reflect which controllers have to be mounted.

Appendix: Library-specific approach

So far we've discussed the Nest standard way of manipulating responses. The second way of manipulating the response is to use a library-specific response object. In order to inject a particular response object, we need to use the @Res() decorator. To show the differences, let's rewrite the CatsController to the following:

@@filename()
import { Controller, Get, Post, Res, HttpStatus } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Response } from 'express';

@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {
  @Post()
  create(@Res() res: Response) {
    res.status(HttpStatus.CREATED).send();
  }

  @Get()
  findAll(@Res() res: Response) {
     res.status(HttpStatus.OK).json([]);
  }
}
@@switch
import { Controller, Get, Post, Bind, Res, Body, HttpStatus } from '@nestjs/common';

@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {
  @Post()
  @Bind(Res(), Body())
  create(res, createCatDto) {
    res.status(HttpStatus.CREATED).send();
  }

  @Get()
  @Bind(Res())
  findAll(res) {
     res.status(HttpStatus.OK).json([]);
  }
}

Though this approach works, and does in fact allow for more flexibility in some ways by providing full control of the response object (headers manipulation, library-specific features, and so on), it should be used with care. In general, the approach is much less clear and does have some disadvantages. The main disadvantages are that you lose compatibility with Nest features that depend on Nest standard response handling, such as Interceptors and the @HttpCode() decorator. Also, your code can become platform-dependent (as underlying libraries may have different APIs on the response object), and harder to test (you'll have to mock the response object, etc.).

As a result, the Nest standard approach should always be preferred when possible.

Custom route decorators

Nest is built around a language feature called decorators. Decorators are a well-known concept in a lot of commonly used programming languages, but in the JavaScript world, they're still relatively new. In order to better understand how decorators work, we recommend reading this article. Here's a simple definition:

An ES2016 decorator is an expression which returns a function and can take a target, name and property descriptor as arguments. You apply it by prefixing the decorator with an @ character and placing this at the very top of what you are trying to decorate. Decorators can be defined for either a class, a method or a property.

Param decorators

Nest provides a set of useful param decorators that you can use together with the HTTP route handlers. Below is a list of the provided decorators and the plain Express (or Fastify) objects they represent

@Request(), @Req() req
@Response(), @Res() res
@Next() next
@Session() req.session
@Param(param?: string) req.params / req.params[param]
@Body(param?: string) req.body / req.body[param]
@Query(param?: string) req.query / req.query[param]
@Headers(param?: string) req.headers / req.headers[param]
@Ip() req.ip
@HostParam() req.hosts

Additionally, you can create your own custom decorators. Why is this useful?

In the node.js world, it's common practice to attach properties to the request object. Then you manually extract them in each route handler, using code like the following:

const user = req.user;

In order to make your code more readable and transparent, you can create a @User() decorator and reuse it across all of your controllers.

@@filename(user.decorator)
import { createParamDecorator, ExecutionContext } from '@nestjs/common';

export const User = createParamDecorator(
  (data: unknown, ctx: ExecutionContext) => {
    const request = ctx.switchToHttp().getRequest();
    return request.user;
  },
);

Then, you can simply use it wherever it fits your requirements.

@@filename()
@Get()
async findOne(@User() user: UserEntity) {
  console.log(user);
}
@@switch
@Get()
@Bind(User())
async findOne(user) {
  console.log(user);
}

Passing data

When the behavior of your decorator depends on some conditions, you can use the data parameter to pass an argument to the decorator's factory function. One use case for this is a custom decorator that extracts properties from the request object by key. Let's assume, for example, that our authentication layer validates requests and attaches a user entity to the request object. The user entity for an authenticated request might look like:

{
  "id": 101,
  "firstName": "Alan",
  "lastName": "Turing",
  "email": "alan@email.com",
  "roles": ["admin"]
}

Let's define a decorator that takes a property name as key, and returns the associated value if it exists (or undefined if it doesn't exist, or if the user object has not been created).

@@filename(user.decorator)
import { createParamDecorator, ExecutionContext } from '@nestjs/common';

export const User = createParamDecorator(
  (data: string, ctx: ExecutionContext) => {
    const request = ctx.switchToHttp().getRequest();
    const user = request.user;

    return data ? user && user[data] : user;
  },
);
@@switch
import { createParamDecorator } from '@nestjs/common';

export const User = createParamDecorator((data, ctx) => {
  const request = ctx.switchToHttp().getRequest();
  const user = request.user;

  return data ? user && user[data] : user;
});

Here's how you could then access a particular property via the @User() decorator in the controller:

@@filename()
@Get()
async findOne(@User('firstName') firstName: string) {
  console.log(`Hello ${firstName}`);
}
@@switch
@Get()
@Bind(User('firstName'))
async findOne(firstName) {
  console.log(`Hello ${firstName}`);
}

You can use this same decorator with different keys to access different properties. If the user object is deep or complex, this can make for easier and more readable request handler implementations.

info Hint For TypeScript users, note that createParamDecorator<T>() is a generic. This means you can explicitly enforce type safety, for example createParamDecorator<string>((data, ctx) => ...). Alternatively, specify a parameter type in the factory function, for example createParamDecorator((data: string, ctx) => ...). If you omit both, the type for data will be any.

Working with pipes

Nest treats custom param decorators in the same fashion as the built-in ones (@Body(), @Param() and @Query()). This means that pipes are executed for the custom annotated parameters as well (in our examples, the user argument). Moreover, you can apply the pipe directly to the custom decorator:

@@filename()
@Get()
async findOne(@User(new ValidationPipe()) user: UserEntity) {
  console.log(user);
}
@@switch
@Get()
@Bind(User(new ValidationPipe()))
async findOne(user) {
  console.log(user);
}

Decorator composition

Nest provides a helper method to compose multiple decorators. For example, suppose you want to combine all decorators related to authentication into a single decorator. This could be done with the following construction:

@@filename(auth.decorator)
import { applyDecorators } from '@nestjs/common';

export function Auth(...roles: Role[]) {
  return applyDecorators(
    SetMetadata('roles', roles),
    UseGuards(AuthGuard, RolesGuard),
    ApiBearerAuth(),
    ApiUnauthorizedResponse({ description: 'Unauthorized' }),
  );
}
@@switch
import { applyDecorators } from '@nestjs/common';

export function Auth(...roles) {
  return applyDecorators(
    SetMetadata('roles', roles),
    UseGuards(AuthGuard, RolesGuard),
    ApiBearerAuth(),
    ApiUnauthorizedResponse({ description: 'Unauthorized' }),
  );
}

You can then use this custom @Auth() decorator as follows:

@Get('users')
@Auth('admin')
findAllUsers() {}

This has the effect of applying all four decorators with a single declaration.

warning Warning The @ApiHideProperty() decorator from the @nestjs/swagger package is not composable and won't work properly with the applyDecorators function.

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Exception filters

Nest comes with a built-in exceptions layer which is responsible for processing all unhandled exceptions across an application. When an exception is not handled by your application code, it is caught by this layer, which then automatically sends an appropriate user-friendly response.

Out of the box, this action is performed by a built-in global exception filter, which handles exceptions of type HttpException (and subclasses of it). When an exception is unrecognized (is neither HttpException nor a class that inherits from HttpException), the built-in exception filter generates the following default JSON response:

{
  "statusCode": 500,
  "message": "Internal server error"
}

Throwing standard exceptions

Nest provides a built-in HttpException class, exposed from the @nestjs/common package. For typical HTTP REST/GraphQL API based applications, it's best practice to send standard HTTP response objects when certain error conditions occur.

For example, in the CatsController, we have a findAll() method (a GET route handler). Let's assume that this route handler throws an exception for some reason. To demonstrate this, we'll hard-code it as follows:

@@filename(cats.controller)
@Get()
async findAll() {
  throw new HttpException('Forbidden', HttpStatus.FORBIDDEN);
}

info Hint We used the HttpStatus here. This is a helper enum imported from the @nestjs/common package.

When the client calls this endpoint, the response looks like this:

{
  "statusCode": 403,
  "message": "Forbidden"
}

The HttpException constructor takes two required arguments which determine the response:

  • The response argument defines the JSON response body. It can be a string or an object as described below.
  • The status argument defines the HTTP status code.

By default, the JSON response body contains two properties:

  • statusCode: defaults to the HTTP status code provided in the status argument
  • message: a short description of the HTTP error based on the status

To override just the message portion of the JSON response body, supply a string in the response argument. To override the entire JSON response body, pass an object in the response argument. Nest will serialize the object and return it as the JSON response body.

The second constructor argument - status - should be a valid HTTP status code. Best practice is to use the HttpStatus enum imported from @nestjs/common.

Here's an example overriding the entire response body:

@@filename(cats.controller)
@Get()
async findAll() {
  throw new HttpException({
    status: HttpStatus.FORBIDDEN,
    error: 'This is a custom message',
  }, HttpStatus.FORBIDDEN);
}

Using the above, this is how the response would look:

{
  "status": 403,
  "error": "This is a custom message"
}

Custom exceptions

In many cases, you will not need to write custom exceptions, and can use the built-in Nest HTTP exception, as described in the next section. If you do need to create customized exceptions, it's good practice to create your own exceptions hierarchy, where your custom exceptions inherit from the base HttpException class. With this approach, Nest will recognize your exceptions, and automatically take care of the error responses. Let's implement such a custom exception:

@@filename(forbidden.exception)
export class ForbiddenException extends HttpException {
  constructor() {
    super('Forbidden', HttpStatus.FORBIDDEN);
  }
}

Since ForbiddenException extends the base HttpException, it will work seamlessly with the built-in exception handler, and therefore we can use it inside the findAll() method.

@@filename(cats.controller)
@Get()
async findAll() {
  throw new ForbiddenException();
}

Built-in HTTP exceptions

Nest provides a set of standard exceptions that inherit from the base HttpException. These are exposed from the @nestjs/common package, and represent many of the most common HTTP exceptions:

  • BadRequestException
  • UnauthorizedException
  • NotFoundException
  • ForbiddenException
  • NotAcceptableException
  • RequestTimeoutException
  • ConflictException
  • GoneException
  • HttpVersionNotSupportedException
  • PayloadTooLargeException
  • UnsupportedMediaTypeException
  • UnprocessableEntityException
  • InternalServerErrorException
  • NotImplementedException
  • ImATeapotException
  • MethodNotAllowedException
  • BadGatewayException
  • ServiceUnavailableException
  • GatewayTimeoutException
  • PreconditionFailedException

Exception filters

While the base (built-in) exception filter can automatically handle many cases for you, you may want full control over the exceptions layer. For example, you may want to add logging or use a different JSON schema based on some dynamic factors. Exception filters are designed for exactly this purpose. They let you control the exact flow of control and the content of the response sent back to the client.

Let's create an exception filter that is responsible for catching exceptions which are an instance of the HttpException class, and implementing custom response logic for them. To do this, we'll need to access the underlying platform Request and Response objects. We'll access the Request object so we can pull out the original url and include that in the logging information. We'll use the Response object to take direct control of the response that is sent, using the response.json() method.

@@filename(http-exception.filter)
import { ExceptionFilter, Catch, ArgumentsHost, HttpException } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Request, Response } from 'express';

@Catch(HttpException)
export class HttpExceptionFilter implements ExceptionFilter {
  catch(exception: HttpException, host: ArgumentsHost) {
    const ctx = host.switchToHttp();
    const response = ctx.getResponse<Response>();
    const request = ctx.getRequest<Request>();
    const status = exception.getStatus();

    response
      .status(status)
      .json({
        statusCode: status,
        timestamp: new Date().toISOString(),
        path: request.url,
      });
  }
}
@@switch
import { Catch, HttpException } from '@nestjs/common';

@Catch(HttpException)
export class HttpExceptionFilter {
  catch(exception, host) {
    const ctx = host.switchToHttp();
    const response = ctx.getResponse();
    const request = ctx.getRequest();
    const status = exception.getStatus();

    response
      .status(status)
      .json({
        statusCode: status,
        timestamp: new Date().toISOString(),
        path: request.url,
      });
  }
}

info Hint All exception filters should implement the generic ExceptionFilter<T> interface. This requires you to provide the catch(exception: T, host: ArgumentsHost) method with its indicated signature. T indicates the type of the exception.

The @Catch(HttpException) decorator binds the required metadata to the exception filter, telling Nest that this particular filter is looking for exceptions of type HttpException and nothing else. The @Catch() decorator may take a single parameter, or a comma-separated list. This lets you set up the filter for several types of exceptions at once.

Arguments host

Let's look at the parameters of the catch() method. The exception parameter is the exception object currently being processed. The host parameter is an ArgumentsHost object. ArgumentsHost is a powerful utility object that we'll examine further in the execution context chapter*. In this code sample, we use it to obtain a reference to the Request and Response objects that are being passed to the original request handler (in the controller where the exception originates). In this code sample, we've used some helper methods on ArgumentsHost to get the desired Request and Response objects. Learn more about ArgumentsHost here.

*The reason for this level of abstraction is that ArgumentsHost functions in all contexts (e.g., the HTTP server context we're working with now, but also Microservices and WebSockets). In the execution context chapter we'll see how we can access the appropriate underlying arguments for any execution context with the power of ArgumentsHost and its helper functions. This will allow us to write generic exception filters that operate across all contexts.

Binding filters

Let's tie our new HttpExceptionFilter to the CatsController's create() method.

@@filename(cats.controller)
@Post()
@UseFilters(new HttpExceptionFilter())
async create(@Body() createCatDto: CreateCatDto) {
  throw new ForbiddenException();
}
@@switch
@Post()
@UseFilters(new HttpExceptionFilter())
@Bind(Body())
async create(createCatDto) {
  throw new ForbiddenException();
}

info Hint The @UseFilters() decorator is imported from the @nestjs/common package.

We have used the @UseFilters() decorator here. Similar to the @Catch() decorator, it can take a single filter instance, or a comma-separated list of filter instances. Here, we created the instance of HttpExceptionFilter in place. Alternatively, you may pass the class (instead of an instance), leaving responsibility for instantiation to the framework, and enabling dependency injection.

@@filename(cats.controller)
@Post()
@UseFilters(HttpExceptionFilter)
async create(@Body() createCatDto: CreateCatDto) {
  throw new ForbiddenException();
}
@@switch
@Post()
@UseFilters(HttpExceptionFilter)
@Bind(Body())
async create(createCatDto) {
  throw new ForbiddenException();
}

info Hint Prefer applying filters by using classes instead of instances when possible. It reduces memory usage since Nest can easily reuse instances of the same class across your entire module.

In the example above, the HttpExceptionFilter is applied only to the single create() route handler, making it method-scoped. Exception filters can be scoped at different levels: method-scoped, controller-scoped, or global-scoped. For example, to set up a filter as controller-scoped, you would do the following:

@@filename(cats.controller)
@UseFilters(new HttpExceptionFilter())
export class CatsController {}

This construction sets up the HttpExceptionFilter for every route handler defined inside the CatsController.

To create a global-scoped filter, you would do the following:

@@filename(main)
async function bootstrap() {
  const app = await NestFactory.create(AppModule);
  app.useGlobalFilters(new HttpExceptionFilter());
  await app.listen(3000);
}
bootstrap();

warning Warning The useGlobalFilters() method does not set up filters for gateways or hybrid applications.

Global-scoped filters are used across the whole application, for every controller and every route handler. In terms of dependency injection, global filters registered from outside of any module (with useGlobalFilters() as in the example above) cannot inject dependencies since this is done outside the context of any module. In order to solve this issue, you can register a global-scoped filter directly from any module using the following construction:

@@filename(app.module)
import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { APP_FILTER } from '@nestjs/core';

@Module({
  providers: [
    {
      provide: APP_FILTER,
      useClass: HttpExceptionFilter,
    },
  ],
})
export class AppModule {}

info Hint When using this approach to perform dependency injection for the filter, note that regardless of the module where this construction is employed, the filter is, in fact, global. Where should this be done? Choose the module where the filter (HttpExceptionFilter in the example above) is defined. Also, useClass is not the only way of dealing with custom provider registration. Learn more here.

You can add as many filters with this technique as needed; simply add each to the providers array.

Catch everything

In order to catch every unhandled exception (regardless of the exception type), leave the @Catch() decorator's parameter list empty, e.g., @Catch().

import {
  ExceptionFilter,
  Catch,
  ArgumentsHost,
  HttpException,
  HttpStatus,
} from '@nestjs/common';

@Catch()
export class AllExceptionsFilter implements ExceptionFilter {
  catch(exception: unknown, host: ArgumentsHost) {
    const ctx = host.switchToHttp();
    const response = ctx.getResponse();
    const request = ctx.getRequest();

    const status =
      exception instanceof HttpException
        ? exception.getStatus()
        : HttpStatus.INTERNAL_SERVER_ERROR;

    response.status(status).json({
      statusCode: status,
      timestamp: new Date().toISOString(),
      path: request.url,
    });
  }
}

In the example above the filter will catch each exception thrown, regardless of its type (class).

Inheritance

Typically, you'll create fully customized exception filters crafted to fulfill your application requirements. However, there might be use-cases when you would like to simply extend the built-in default global exception filter, and override the behavior based on certain factors.

In order to delegate exception processing to the base filter, you need to extend BaseExceptionFilter and call the inherited catch() method.

@@filename(all-exceptions.filter)
import { Catch, ArgumentsHost } from '@nestjs/common';
import { BaseExceptionFilter } from '@nestjs/core';

@Catch()
export class AllExceptionsFilter extends BaseExceptionFilter {
  catch(exception: unknown, host: ArgumentsHost) {
    super.catch(exception, host);
  }
}
@@switch
import { Catch } from '@nestjs/common';
import { BaseExceptionFilter } from '@nestjs/core';

@Catch()
export class AllExceptionsFilter extends BaseExceptionFilter {
  catch(exception, host) {
    super.catch(exception, host);
  }
}

warning Warning Method-scoped and Controller-scoped filters that extend the BaseExceptionFilter should not be instantiated with new. Instead, let the framework instantiate them automatically.

The above implementation is just a shell demonstrating the approach. Your implementation of the extended exception filter would include your tailored business logic (e.g., handling various conditions).

Global filters can extend the base filter. This can be done in either of two ways.

The first method is to inject the HttpServer reference when instantiating the custom global filter:

async function bootstrap() {
  const app = await NestFactory.create(AppModule);

  const { httpAdapter } = app.get(HttpAdapterHost);
  app.useGlobalFilters(new AllExceptionsFilter(httpAdapter));

  await app.listen(3000);
}
bootstrap();

The second method is to use the APP_FILTER token as shown here.

First steps

In this set of articles, you'll learn the core fundamentals of Nest. To get familiar with the essential building blocks of Nest applications, we'll build a basic CRUD application with features that cover a lot of ground at an introductory level.

Language

We're in love with TypeScript, but above all - we love Node.js. That's why Nest is compatible with both TypeScript and pure JavaScript. Nest takes advantage of the latest language features, so to use it with vanilla JavaScript we need a Babel compiler.

We'll mostly use TypeScript in the examples we provide, but you can always switch the code snippets to vanilla JavaScript syntax (simply click to toggle the language button in the upper right hand corner of each snippet).

Prerequisites

Please make sure that Node.js (>= 10.13.0) is installed on your operating system.

Setup

Setting up a new project is quite simple with the Nest CLI. With npm installed, you can create a new Nest project with the following commands in your OS terminal:

$ npm i -g @nestjs/cli
$ nest new project-name

The project directory will be created, node modules and a few other boilerplate files will be installed, and a src/ directory will be created and populated with several core files.

src
app.controller.ts
app.module.ts
main.ts

Here's a brief overview of those core files:

app.controller.ts Basic controller sample with a single route.
app.module.ts The root module of the application.
main.ts The entry file of the application which uses the core function NestFactory to create a Nest application instance.

The main.ts includes an async function, which will bootstrap our application:

@@filename(main)

import { NestFactory } from '@nestjs/core';
import { AppModule } from './app.module';

async function bootstrap() {
  const app = await NestFactory.create(AppModule);
  await app.listen(3000);
}
bootstrap();
@@switch
import { NestFactory } from '@nestjs/core';
import { AppModule } from './app.module';

async function bootstrap() {
  const app = await NestFactory.create(AppModule);
  await app.listen(3000);
}
bootstrap();

To create a Nest application instance, we use the core NestFactory class. NestFactory exposes a few static methods that allow creating an application instance. The create() method returns an application object, which fulfills the INestApplication interface. This object provides a set of methods which are described in the coming chapters. In the main.ts example above, we simply start up our HTTP listener, which lets the application await inbound HTTP requests.

Note that a project scaffolded with the Nest CLI creates an initial project structure that encourages developers to follow the convention of keeping each module in its own dedicated directory.

Platform

Nest aims to be a platform-agnostic framework. Platform independence makes it possible to create reusable logical parts that developers can take advantage of across several different types of applications. Technically, Nest is able to work with any Node HTTP framework once an adapter is created. There are two HTTP platforms supported out-of-the-box: express and fastify. You can choose the one that best suits your needs.

platform-express Express is a well-known minimalist web framework for node. It's a battle tested, production-ready library with lots of resources implemented by the community. The @nestjs/platform-express package is used by default. Many users are well served with Express, and need take no action to enable it.
platform-fastify Fastify is a high performance and low overhead framework highly focused on providing maximum efficiency and speed. Read how to use it here.

Whichever platform is used, it exposes its own application interface. These are seen respectively as NestExpressApplication and NestFastifyApplication.

When you pass a type to the NestFactory.create() method, as in the example below, the app object will have methods available exclusively for that specific platform. Note, however, you don't need to specify a type unless you actually want to access the underlying platform API.

const app = await NestFactory.create<NestExpressApplication>(AppModule);

Running the application

Once the installation process is complete, you can run the following command at your OS command prompt to start the application listening for inbound HTTP requests:

$ npm run start

This command starts the app with the HTTP server listening on the port defined in the src/main.ts file. Once the application is running, open your browser and navigate to http://localhost:3000/. You should see the Hello World! message.

Guards

A guard is a class annotated with the @Injectable() decorator. Guards should implement the CanActivate interface.

Guards have a single responsibility. They determine whether a given request will be handled by the route handler or not, depending on certain conditions (like permissions, roles, ACLs, etc.) present at run-time. This is often referred to as authorization. Authorization (and its cousin, authentication, with which it usually collaborates) has typically been handled by middleware in traditional Express applications. Middleware is a fine choice for authentication, since things like token validation and attaching properties to the request object are not strongly connected with a particular route context (and its metadata).

But middleware, by its nature, is dumb. It doesn't know which handler will be executed after calling the next() function. On the other hand, Guards have access to the ExecutionContext instance, and thus know exactly what's going to be executed next. They're designed, much like exception filters, pipes, and interceptors, to let you interpose processing logic at exactly the right point in the request/response cycle, and to do so declaratively. This helps keep your code DRY and declarative.

info Hint Guards are executed after each middleware, but before any interceptor or pipe.

Authorization guard

As mentioned, authorization is a great use case for Guards because specific routes should be available only when the caller (usually a specific authenticated user) has sufficient permissions. The AuthGuard that we'll build now assumes an authenticated user (and that, therefore, a token is attached to the request headers). It will extract and validate the token, and use the extracted information to determine whether the request can proceed or not.

@@filename(auth.guard)
import { Injectable, CanActivate, ExecutionContext } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Observable } from 'rxjs';

@Injectable()
export class AuthGuard implements CanActivate {
  canActivate(
    context: ExecutionContext,
  ): boolean | Promise<boolean> | Observable<boolean> {
    const request = context.switchToHttp().getRequest();
    return validateRequest(request);
  }
}
@@switch
import { Injectable } from '@nestjs/common';

@Injectable()
export class AuthGuard {
  async canActivate(context) {
    const request = context.switchToHttp().getRequest();
    return validateRequest(request);
  }
}

The logic inside the validateRequest() function can be as simple or sophisticated as needed. The main point of this example is to show how guards fit into the request/response cycle.

Every guard must implement a canActivate() function. This function should return a boolean, indicating whether the current request is allowed or not. It can return the response either synchronously or asynchronously (via a Promise or Observable). Nest uses the return value to control the next action:

  • if it returns true, the request will be processed.
  • if it returns false, Nest will deny the request.

Execution context

The canActivate() function takes a single argument, the ExecutionContext instance. The ExecutionContext inherits from ArgumentsHost. We saw ArgumentsHost previously in the exception filters chapter. In the sample above, we are just using the same helper methods defined on ArgumentsHost that we used earlier, to get a reference to the Request object. You can refer back to the Arguments host section of the exception filters chapter for more on this topic.

By extending ArgumentsHost, ExecutionContext also adds several new helper methods that provide additional details about the current execution process. These details can be helpful in building more generic guards that can work across a broad set of controllers, methods, and execution contexts. Learn more about ExecutionContext here.

Role-based authentication

Let's build a more functional guard that permits access only to users with a specific role. We'll start with a basic guard template, and build on it in the coming sections. For now, it allows all requests to proceed:

@@filename(roles.guard)
import { Injectable, CanActivate, ExecutionContext } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Observable } from 'rxjs';

@Injectable()
export class RolesGuard implements CanActivate {
  canActivate(
    context: ExecutionContext,
  ): boolean | Promise<boolean> | Observable<boolean> {
    return true;
  }
}
@@switch
import { Injectable } from '@nestjs/common';

@Injectable()
export class RolesGuard {
  canActivate(context) {
    return true;
  }
}

Binding guards

Like pipes and exception filters, guards can be controller-scoped, method-scoped, or global-scoped. Below, we set up a controller-scoped guard using the @UseGuards() decorator. This decorator may take a single argument, or a comma-separated list of arguments. This lets you easily apply the appropriate set of guards with one declaration.

@@filename()
@Controller('cats')
@UseGuards(RolesGuard)
export class CatsController {}

info Hint The @UseGuards() decorator is imported from the @nestjs/common package.

Above, we passed the RolesGuard type (instead of an instance), leaving responsibility for instantiation to the framework and enabling dependency injection. As with pipes and exception filters, we can also pass an in-place instance:

@@filename()
@Controller('cats')
@UseGuards(new RolesGuard())
export class CatsController {}

The construction above attaches the guard to every handler declared by this controller. If we wish the guard to apply only to a single method, we apply the @UseGuards() decorator at the method level.

In order to set up a global guard, use the useGlobalGuards() method of the Nest application instance:

@@filename()
const app = await NestFactory.create(AppModule);
app.useGlobalGuards(new RolesGuard());

warning Notice In the case of hybrid apps the useGlobalGuards() method doesn't set up guards for gateways and micro services by default (see Hybrid application for information on how to change this behavior). For "standard" (non-hybrid) microservice apps, useGlobalGuards() does mount the guards globally.

Global guards are used across the whole application, for every controller and every route handler. In terms of dependency injection, global guards registered from outside of any module (with useGlobalGuards() as in the example above) cannot inject dependencies since this is done outside the context of any module. In order to solve this issue, you can set up a guard directly from any module using the following construction:

@@filename(app.module)
import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { APP_GUARD } from '@nestjs/core';

@Module({
  providers: [
    {
      provide: APP_GUARD,
      useClass: RolesGuard,
    },
  ],
})
export class AppModule {}

info Hint When using this approach to perform dependency injection for the guard, note that regardless of the module where this construction is employed, the guard is, in fact, global. Where should this be done? Choose the module where the guard (RolesGuard in the example above) is defined. Also, useClass is not the only way of dealing with custom provider registration. Learn more here.

Setting roles per handler

Our RolesGuard is working, but it's not very smart yet. We're not yet taking advantage of the most important guard feature - the execution context. It doesn't yet know about roles, or which roles are allowed for each handler. The CatsController, for example, could have different permission schemes for different routes. Some might be available only for an admin user, and others could be open for everyone. How can we match roles to routes in a flexible and reusable way?

This is where custom metadata comes into play (learn more here). Nest provides the ability to attach custom metadata to route handlers through the @SetMetadata() decorator. This metadata supplies our missing role data, which a smart guard needs to make decisions. Let's take a look at using @SetMetadata():

@@filename(cats.controller)
@Post()
@SetMetadata('roles', ['admin'])
async create(@Body() createCatDto: CreateCatDto) {
  this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
}
@@switch
@Post()
@SetMetadata('roles', ['admin'])
@Bind(Body())
async create(createCatDto) {
  this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
}

info Hint The @SetMetadata() decorator is imported from the @nestjs/common package.

With the construction above, we attached the roles metadata (roles is a key, while ['admin'] is a particular value) to the create() method. While this works, it's not good practice to use @SetMetadata() directly in your routes. Instead, create your own decorators, as shown below:

@@filename(roles.decorator)
import { SetMetadata } from '@nestjs/common';

export const Roles = (...roles: string[]) => SetMetadata('roles', roles);
@@switch
import { SetMetadata } from '@nestjs/common';

export const Roles = (...roles) => SetMetadata('roles', roles);

This approach is much cleaner and more readable, and is strongly typed. Now that we have a custom @Roles() decorator, we can use it to decorate the create() method.

@@filename(cats.controller)
@Post()
@Roles('admin')
async create(@Body() createCatDto: CreateCatDto) {
  this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
}
@@switch
@Post()
@Roles('admin')
@Bind(Body())
async create(createCatDto) {
  this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
}

Putting it all together

Let's now go back and tie this together with our RolesGuard. Currently, it simply returns true in all cases, allowing every request to proceed. We want to make the return value conditional based on the comparing the roles assigned to the current user to the actual roles required by the current route being processed. In order to access the route's role(s) (custom metadata), we'll use the Reflector helper class, which is provided out of the box by the framework and exposed from the @nestjs/core package.

@@filename(roles.guard)
import { Injectable, CanActivate, ExecutionContext } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Reflector } from '@nestjs/core';

@Injectable()
export class RolesGuard implements CanActivate {
  constructor(private reflector: Reflector) {}

  canActivate(context: ExecutionContext): boolean {
    const roles = this.reflector.get<string[]>('roles', context.getHandler());
    if (!roles) {
      return true;
    }
    const request = context.switchToHttp().getRequest();
    const user = request.user;
    return matchRoles(roles, user.roles);
  }
}
@@switch
import { Injectable, Dependencies } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Reflector } from '@nestjs/core';

@Injectable()
@Dependencies(Reflector)
export class RolesGuard {
  constructor(reflector) {
    this.reflector = reflector;
  }

  canActivate(context) {
    const roles = this.reflector.get('roles', context.getHandler());
    if (!roles) {
      return true;
    }
    const request = context.switchToHttp().getRequest();
    const user = request.user;
    return matchRoles(roles, user.roles);
  }
}

info Hint In the node.js world, it's common practice to attach the authorized user to the request object. Thus, in our sample code above, we are assuming that request.user contains the user instance and allowed roles. In your app, you will probably make that association in your custom authentication guard (or middleware).

warning Warning The logic inside the matchRoles() function can be as simple or sophisticated as needed. The main point of this example is to show how guards fit into the request/response cycle.

Refer to the Reflection and metadata section of the Execution context chapter for more details on utilizing Reflector in a context-sensitive way.

When a user with insufficient privileges requests an endpoint, Nest automatically returns the following response:

{
  "statusCode": 403,
  "message": "Forbidden resource",
  "error": "Forbidden"
}

Note that behind the scenes, when a guard returns false, the framework throws a ForbiddenException. If you want to return a different error response, you should throw your own specific exception. For example:

throw new UnauthorizedException();

Any exception thrown by a guard will be handled by the exceptions layer (global exceptions filter and any exceptions filters that are applied to the current context).

Interceptors

An interceptor is a class annotated with the @Injectable() decorator. Interceptors should implement the NestInterceptor interface.

Interceptors have a set of useful capabilities which are inspired by the Aspect Oriented Programming (AOP) technique. They make it possible to:

  • bind extra logic before / after method execution
  • transform the result returned from a function
  • transform the exception thrown from a function
  • extend the basic function behavior
  • completely override a function depending on specific conditions (e.g., for caching purposes)

Basics

Each interceptor implements the intercept() method, which takes two arguments. The first one is the ExecutionContext instance (exactly the same object as for guards). The ExecutionContext inherits from ArgumentsHost. We saw ArgumentsHost before in the exception filters chapter. There, we saw that it's a wrapper around arguments that have been passed to the original handler, and contains different arguments arrays based on the type of the application. You can refer back to the exception filters for more on this topic.

Execution context

By extending ArgumentsHost, ExecutionContext also adds several new helper methods that provide additional details about the current execution process. These details can be helpful in building more generic interceptors that can work across a broad set of controllers, methods, and execution contexts. Learn more about ExecutionContext here.

Call handler

The second argument is a CallHandler. The CallHandler interface implements the handle() method, which you can use to invoke the route handler method at some point in your interceptor. If you don't call the handle() method in your implementation of the intercept() method, the route handler method won't be executed at all.

This approach means that the intercept() method effectively wraps the request/response stream. As a result, you may implement custom logic both before and after the execution of the final route handler. It's clear that you can write code in your intercept() method that executes before calling handle(), but how do you affect what happens afterward? Because the handle() method returns an Observable, we can use powerful RxJS operators to further manipulate the response. Using Aspect Oriented Programming terminology, the invocation of the route handler (i.e., calling handle()) is called a Pointcut, indicating that it's the point at which our additional logic is inserted.

Consider, for example, an incoming POST /cats request. This request is destined for the create() handler defined inside the CatsController. If an interceptor which does not call the handle() method is called anywhere along the way, the create() method won't be executed. Once handle() is called (and its Observable has been returned), the create() handler will be triggered. And once the response stream is received via the Observable, additional operations can be performed on the stream, and a final result returned to the caller.

Aspect interception

The first use case we'll look at is to use an interceptor to log user interaction (e.g., storing user calls, asynchronously dispatching events or calculating a timestamp). We show a simple LoggingInterceptor below:

@@filename(logging.interceptor)
import { Injectable, NestInterceptor, ExecutionContext, CallHandler } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Observable } from 'rxjs';
import { tap } from 'rxjs/operators';

@Injectable()
export class LoggingInterceptor implements NestInterceptor {
  intercept(context: ExecutionContext, next: CallHandler): Observable<any> {
    console.log('Before...');

    const now = Date.now();
    return next
      .handle()
      .pipe(
        tap(() => console.log(`After... ${Date.now() - now}ms`)),
      );
  }
}
@@switch
import { Injectable } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Observable } from 'rxjs';
import { tap } from 'rxjs/operators';

@Injectable()
export class LoggingInterceptor {
  intercept(context, next) {
    console.log('Before...');

    const now = Date.now();
    return next
      .handle()
      .pipe(
        tap(() => console.log(`After... ${Date.now() - now}ms`)),
      );
  }
}

info Hint The NestInterceptor<T, R> is a generic interface in which T indicates the type of an Observable<T> (supporting the response stream), and R is the type of the value wrapped by Observable<R>.

warning Notice Interceptors, like controllers, providers, guards, and so on, can inject dependencies through their constructor.

Since handle() returns an RxJS Observable, we have a wide choice of operators we can use to manipulate the stream. In the example above, we used the tap() operator, which invokes our anonymous logging function upon graceful or exceptional termination of the observable stream, but doesn't otherwise interfere with the response cycle.

Binding interceptors

In order to set up the interceptor, we use the @UseInterceptors() decorator imported from the @nestjs/common package. Like pipes and guards, interceptors can be controller-scoped, method-scoped, or global-scoped.

@@filename(cats.controller)
@UseInterceptors(LoggingInterceptor)
export class CatsController {}

info Hint The @UseInterceptors() decorator is imported from the @nestjs/common package.

Using the above construction, each route handler defined in CatsController will use LoggingInterceptor. When someone calls the GET /cats endpoint, you'll see the following output in your standard output:

Before...
After... 1ms

Note that we passed the LoggingInterceptor type (instead of an instance), leaving responsibility for instantiation to the framework and enabling dependency injection. As with pipes, guards, and exception filters, we can also pass an in-place instance:

@@filename(cats.controller)
@UseInterceptors(new LoggingInterceptor())
export class CatsController {}

As mentioned, the construction above attaches the interceptor to every handler declared by this controller. If we want to restrict the interceptor's scope to a single method, we simply apply the decorator at the method level.

In order to set up a global interceptor, we use the useGlobalInterceptors() method of the Nest application instance:

const app = await NestFactory.create(AppModule);
app.useGlobalInterceptors(new LoggingInterceptor());

Global interceptors are used across the whole application, for every controller and every route handler. In terms of dependency injection, global interceptors registered from outside of any module (with useGlobalInterceptors(), as in the example above) cannot inject dependencies since this is done outside the context of any module. In order to solve this issue, you can set up an interceptor directly from any module using the following construction:

@@filename(app.module)
import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { APP_INTERCEPTOR } from '@nestjs/core';

@Module({
  providers: [
    {
      provide: APP_INTERCEPTOR,
      useClass: LoggingInterceptor,
    },
  ],
})
export class AppModule {}

info Hint When using this approach to perform dependency injection for the interceptor, note that regardless of the module where this construction is employed, the interceptor is, in fact, global. Where should this be done? Choose the module where the interceptor (LoggingInterceptor in the example above) is defined. Also, useClass is not the only way of dealing with custom provider registration. Learn more here.

Response mapping

We already know that handle() returns an Observable. The stream contains the value returned from the route handler, and thus we can easily mutate it using RxJS's map() operator.

warning Warning The response mapping feature doesn't work with the library-specific response strategy (using the @Res() object directly is forbidden).

Let's create the TransformInterceptor, which will modify each response in a trivial way to demonstrate the process. It will use RxJS's map() operator to assign the response object to the data property of a newly created object, returning the new object to the client.

@@filename(transform.interceptor)
import { Injectable, NestInterceptor, ExecutionContext, CallHandler } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Observable } from 'rxjs';
import { map } from 'rxjs/operators';

export interface Response<T> {
  data: T;
}

@Injectable()
export class TransformInterceptor<T> implements NestInterceptor<T, Response<T>> {
  intercept(context: ExecutionContext, next: CallHandler): Observable<Response<T>> {
    return next.handle().pipe(map(data => ({ data })));
  }
}
@@switch
import { Injectable } from '@nestjs/common';
import { map } from 'rxjs/operators';

@Injectable()
export class TransformInterceptor {
  intercept(context, next) {
    return next.handle().pipe(map(data => ({ data })));
  }
}

info Hint Nest interceptors work with both synchronous and asynchronous intercept() methods. You can simply switch the method to async if necessary.

With the above construction, when someone calls the GET /cats endpoint, the response would look like the following (assuming that route handler returns an empty array []):

{
  "data": []
}

Interceptors have great value in creating re-usable solutions to requirements that occur across an entire application. For example, imagine we need to transform each occurrence of a null value to an empty string ''. We can do it using one line of code and bind the interceptor globally so that it will automatically be used by each registered handler.

@@filename()
import { Injectable, NestInterceptor, ExecutionContext, CallHandler } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Observable } from 'rxjs';
import { map } from 'rxjs/operators';

@Injectable()
export class ExcludeNullInterceptor implements NestInterceptor {
  intercept(context: ExecutionContext, next: CallHandler): Observable<any> {
    return next
      .handle()
      .pipe(map(value => value === null ? '' : value ));
  }
}
@@switch
import { Injectable } from '@nestjs/common';
import { map } from 'rxjs/operators';

@Injectable()
export class ExcludeNullInterceptor {
  intercept(context, next) {
    return next
      .handle()
      .pipe(map(value => value === null ? '' : value ));
  }
}

Exception mapping

Another interesting use-case is to take advantage of RxJS's catchError() operator to override thrown exceptions:

@@filename(errors.interceptor)
import {
  Injectable,
  NestInterceptor,
  ExecutionContext,
  BadGatewayException,
  CallHandler,
} from '@nestjs/common';
import { Observable, throwError } from 'rxjs';
import { catchError } from 'rxjs/operators';

@Injectable()
export class ErrorsInterceptor implements NestInterceptor {
  intercept(context: ExecutionContext, next: CallHandler): Observable<any> {
    return next
      .handle()
      .pipe(
        catchError(err => throwError(new BadGatewayException())),
      );
  }
}
@@switch
import { Injectable, BadGatewayException } from '@nestjs/common';
import { throwError } from 'rxjs';
import { catchError } from 'rxjs/operators';

@Injectable()
export class ErrorsInterceptor {
  intercept(context, next) {
    return next
      .handle()
      .pipe(
        catchError(err => throwError(new BadGatewayException())),
      );
  }
}

Stream overriding

There are several reasons why we may sometimes want to completely prevent calling the handler and return a different value instead. An obvious example is to implement a cache to improve response time. Let's take a look at a simple cache interceptor that returns its response from a cache. In a realistic example, we'd want to consider other factors like TTL, cache invalidation, cache size, etc., but that's beyond the scope of this discussion. Here we'll provide a basic example that demonstrates the main concept.

@@filename(cache.interceptor)
import { Injectable, NestInterceptor, ExecutionContext, CallHandler } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Observable, of } from 'rxjs';

@Injectable()
export class CacheInterceptor implements NestInterceptor {
  intercept(context: ExecutionContext, next: CallHandler): Observable<any> {
    const isCached = true;
    if (isCached) {
      return of([]);
    }
    return next.handle();
  }
}
@@switch
import { Injectable } from '@nestjs/common';
import { of } from 'rxjs';

@Injectable()
export class CacheInterceptor {
  intercept(context, next) {
    const isCached = true;
    if (isCached) {
      return of([]);
    }
    return next.handle();
  }
}

Our CacheInterceptor has a hardcoded isCached variable and a hardcoded response [] as well. The key point to note is that we return a new stream here, created by the RxJS of() operator, therefore the route handler won't be called at all. When someone calls an endpoint that makes use of CacheInterceptor, the response (a hardcoded, empty array) will be returned immediately. In order to create a generic solution, you can take advantage of Reflector and create a custom decorator. The Reflector is well described in the guards chapter.

More operators

The possibility of manipulating the stream using RxJS operators gives us many capabilities. Let's consider another common use case. Imagine you would like to handle timeouts on route requests. When your endpoint doesn't return anything after a period of time, you want to terminate with an error response. The following construction enables this:

@@filename(timeout.interceptor)
import { Injectable, NestInterceptor, ExecutionContext, CallHandler, RequestTimeoutException } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Observable, throwError, TimeoutError } from 'rxjs';
import { catchError, timeout } from 'rxjs/operators';

@Injectable()
export class TimeoutInterceptor implements NestInterceptor {
  intercept(context: ExecutionContext, next: CallHandler): Observable<any> {
    return next.handle().pipe(
      timeout(5000),
      catchError(err => {
        if (err instanceof TimeoutError) {
          return throwError(new RequestTimeoutException());
        }
        return throwError(err);
      }),
    );
  };
};
@@switch
import { Injectable, RequestTimeoutException } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Observable, throwError, TimeoutError } from 'rxjs';
import { catchError, timeout } from 'rxjs/operators';

@Injectable()
export class TimeoutInterceptor {
  intercept(context, next) {
    return next.handle().pipe(
      timeout(5000),
      catchError(err => {
        if (err instanceof TimeoutError) {
          return throwError(new RequestTimeoutException());
        }
        return throwError(err);
      }),
    );
  };
};

After 5 seconds, request processing will be canceled. You can also add custom logic before throwing RequestTimeoutException (e.g. release resources).

Introduction

Nest (NestJS) is a framework for building efficient, scalable Node.js server-side applications. It uses progressive JavaScript, is built with and fully supports TypeScript (yet still enables developers to code in pure JavaScript) and combines elements of OOP (Object Oriented Programming), FP (Functional Programming), and FRP (Functional Reactive Programming).

Under the hood, Nest makes use of robust HTTP Server frameworks like Express (the default) and optionally can be configured to use Fastify as well!

Nest provides a level of abstraction above these common Node.js frameworks (Express/Fastify), but also exposes their APIs directly to the developer. This gives developers the freedom to use the myriad of third-party modules which are available for the underlying platform.

Philosophy

In recent years, thanks to Node.js, JavaScript has become the “lingua franca” of the web for both front and backend applications. This has given rise to awesome projects like Angular, React and Vue, which improve developer productivity and enable the creation of fast, testable, and extensible frontend applications. However, while plenty of superb libraries, helpers, and tools exist for Node (and server-side JavaScript), none of them effectively solve the main problem of - Architecture.

Nest provides an out-of-the-box application architecture which allows developers and teams to create highly testable, scalable, loosely coupled, and easily maintainable applications. The architecture is heavily inspired by Angular.

Installation

To get started, you can either scaffold the project with the Nest CLI, or clone a starter project (both will produce the same outcome).

To scaffold the project with the Nest CLI, run the following commands. This will create a new project directory, and populate the directory with the initial core Nest files and supporting modules, creating a conventional base structure for your project. Creating a new project with the Nest CLI is recommended for first-time users. We'll continue with this approach in First Steps.

$ npm i -g @nestjs/cli
$ nest new project-name

Alternatively, to install the TypeScript starter project with Git:

$ git clone https://github.com/nestjs/typescript-starter.git project
$ cd project
$ npm install
$ npm run start

Open your browser and navigate to http://localhost:3000/.

To install the JavaScript flavor of the starter project, use javascript-starter.git in the command sequence above.

You can also manually create a new project from scratch by installing the core and supporting files with npm (or yarn). In this case, of course, you'll be responsible for creating the project boilerplate files yourself.

$ npm i --save @nestjs/core @nestjs/common rxjs reflect-metadata

Middleware

Middleware is a function which is called before the route handler. Middleware functions have access to the request and response objects, and the next() middleware function in the application’s request-response cycle. The next middleware function is commonly denoted by a variable named next.

Nest middleware are, by default, equivalent to express middleware. The following description from the official express documentation describes the capabilities of middleware:

Middleware functions can perform the following tasks:
  • execute any code.
  • make changes to the request and the response objects.
  • end the request-response cycle.
  • call the next middleware function in the stack.
  • if the current middleware function does not end the request-response cycle, it must call next() to pass control to the next middleware function. Otherwise, the request will be left hanging.

You implement custom Nest middleware in either a function, or in a class with an @Injectable() decorator. The class should implement the NestMiddleware interface, while the function does not have any special requirements. Let's start by implementing a simple middleware feature using the class method.

@@filename(logger.middleware)
import { Injectable, NestMiddleware } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Request, Response } from 'express';

@Injectable()
export class LoggerMiddleware implements NestMiddleware {
  use(req: Request, res: Response, next: Function) {
    console.log('Request...');
    next();
  }
}
@@switch
import { Injectable } from '@nestjs/common';

@Injectable()
export class LoggerMiddleware {
  use(req, res, next) {
    console.log('Request...');
    next();
  }
}

Dependency injection

Nest middleware fully supports Dependency Injection. Just as with providers and controllers, they are able to inject dependencies that are available within the same module. As usual, this is done through the constructor.

Applying middleware

There is no place for middleware in the @Module() decorator. Instead, we set them up using the configure() method of the module class. Modules that include middleware have to implement the NestModule interface. Let's set up the LoggerMiddleware at the AppModule level.

@@filename(app.module)
import { Module, NestModule, MiddlewareConsumer } from '@nestjs/common';
import { LoggerMiddleware } from './common/middleware/logger.middleware';
import { CatsModule } from './cats/cats.module';

@Module({
  imports: [CatsModule],
})
export class AppModule implements NestModule {
  configure(consumer: MiddlewareConsumer) {
    consumer
      .apply(LoggerMiddleware)
      .forRoutes('cats');
  }
}
@@switch
import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { LoggerMiddleware } from './common/middleware/logger.middleware';
import { CatsModule } from './cats/cats.module';

@Module({
  imports: [CatsModule],
})
export class AppModule {
  configure(consumer) {
    consumer
      .apply(LoggerMiddleware)
      .forRoutes('cats');
  }
}

In the above example we have set up the LoggerMiddleware for the /cats route handlers that were previously defined inside the CatsController. We may also further restrict a middleware to a particular request method by passing an object containing the route path and request method to the forRoutes() method when configuring the middleware. In the example below, notice that we import the RequestMethod enum to reference the desired request method type.

@@filename(app.module)
import { Module, NestModule, RequestMethod, MiddlewareConsumer } from '@nestjs/common';
import { LoggerMiddleware } from './common/middleware/logger.middleware';
import { CatsModule } from './cats/cats.module';

@Module({
  imports: [CatsModule],
})
export class AppModule implements NestModule {
  configure(consumer: MiddlewareConsumer) {
    consumer
      .apply(LoggerMiddleware)
      .forRoutes({ path: 'cats', method: RequestMethod.GET });
  }
}
@@switch
import { Module, RequestMethod } from '@nestjs/common';
import { LoggerMiddleware } from './common/middleware/logger.middleware';
import { CatsModule } from './cats/cats.module';

@Module({
  imports: [CatsModule],
})
export class AppModule {
  configure(consumer) {
    consumer
      .apply(LoggerMiddleware)
      .forRoutes({ path: 'cats', method: RequestMethod.GET });
  }
}

info Hint The configure() method can be made asynchronous using async/await (e.g., you can await completion of an asynchronous operation inside the configure() method body).

Route wildcards

Pattern based routes are supported as well. For instance, the asterisk is used as a wildcard, and will match any combination of characters:

forRoutes({ path: 'ab*cd', method: RequestMethod.ALL });

The 'ab*cd' route path will match abcd, ab_cd, abecd, and so on. The characters ?, +, *, and () may be used in a route path, and are subsets of their regular expression counterparts. The hyphen ( -) and the dot (.) are interpreted literally by string-based paths.

warning Warning The fastify package uses the latest version of the path-to-regexp package, which no longer supports wildcard asterisks *. Instead, you must use parameters (e.g., (.*), :splat*).

Middleware consumer

The MiddlewareConsumer is a helper class. It provides several built-in methods to manage middleware. All of them can be simply chained in the fluent style. The forRoutes() method can take a single string, multiple strings, a RouteInfo object, a controller class and even multiple controller classes. In most cases you'll probably just pass a list of controllers separated by commas. Below is an example with a single controller:

@@filename(app.module)
import { Module, NestModule, MiddlewareConsumer } from '@nestjs/common';
import { LoggerMiddleware } from './common/middleware/logger.middleware';
import { CatsModule } from './cats/cats.module';
import { CatsController } from './cats/cats.controller.ts';

@Module({
  imports: [CatsModule],
})
export class AppModule implements NestModule {
  configure(consumer: MiddlewareConsumer) {
    consumer
      .apply(LoggerMiddleware)
      .forRoutes(CatsController);
  }
}
@@switch
import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { LoggerMiddleware } from './common/middleware/logger.middleware';
import { CatsModule } from './cats/cats.module';
import { CatsController } from './cats/cats.controller.ts';

@Module({
  imports: [CatsModule],
})
export class AppModule {
  configure(consumer) {
    consumer
      .apply(LoggerMiddleware)
      .forRoutes(CatsController);
  }
}

info Hint The apply() method may either take a single middleware, or multiple arguments to specify multiple middlewares.

Excluding routes

At times we want to exclude certain routes from having the middleware applied. We can easily exclude certain routes with the exclude() method. This method can take a single string, multiple strings, or a RouteInfo object identifying routes to be excluded, as shown below:

consumer
  .apply(LoggerMiddleware)
  .exclude(
    { path: 'cats', method: RequestMethod.GET },
    { path: 'cats', method: RequestMethod.POST },
    'cats/(.*)',
  )
  .forRoutes(CatsController);

info Hint The exclude() method supports wildcard parameters using the path-to-regexp package.

With the example above, LoggerMiddleware will be bound to all routes defined inside CatsController except the three passed to the exclude() method.

Functional middleware

The LoggerMiddleware class we've been using is quite simple. It has no members, no additional methods, and no dependencies. Why can't we just define it in a simple function instead of a class? In fact, we can. This type of middleware is called functional middleware. Let's transform the logger middleware from class-based into functional middleware to illustrate the difference:

@@filename(logger.middleware)
import { Request, Response } from 'express';

export function logger(req: Request, res: Response, next: Function) {
  console.log(`Request...`);
  next();
};
@@switch
export function logger(req, res, next) {
  console.log(`Request...`);
  next();
};

And use it within the AppModule:

@@filename(app.module)
consumer
  .apply(logger)
  .forRoutes(CatsController);

info Hint Consider using the simpler functional middleware alternative any time your middleware doesn't need any dependencies.

Multiple middleware

As mentioned above, in order to bind multiple middleware that are executed sequentially, simply provide a comma separated list inside the apply() method:

consumer.apply(cors(), helmet(), logger).forRoutes(CatsController);

Global middleware

If we want to bind middleware to every registered route at once, we can use the use() method that is supplied by the INestApplication instance:

const app = await NestFactory.create(AppModule);
app.use(logger);
await app.listen(3000);

Migration guide

This article provides a set of guidelines for migrating from Nest version 6 to version 7.

Custom route decorators

The Custom decorators API has been unified for all types of applications. Now, whether you're creating a GraphQL application or a REST API, the factory passed into the createParamDecorator() function will take the ExecutionContext (read more here) object as a second argument.

@@filename()
// Before
import { createParamDecorator } from '@nestjs/common';

export const User = createParamDecorator((data, req) => {
  return req.user;
});

// After
import { createParamDecorator, ExecutionContext } from '@nestjs/common';

export const User = createParamDecorator(
  (data: unknown, ctx: ExecutionContext) => {
    const request = ctx.switchToHttp().getRequest();
    return request.user;
  },
);
@@switch
// Before
import { createParamDecorator } from '@nestjs/common';

export const User = createParamDecorator((data, req) => {
  return req.user;
});

// After
import { createParamDecorator } from '@nestjs/common';

export const User = createParamDecorator((data, ctx) => {
  const request = ctx.switchToHttp().getRequest();
  return request.user;
});

Microservices

To avoid code duplication, the MicroserviceOptions interface has been removed from the @nestjs/common package. Therefore, now when you're creating a microservice (through either createMicroservice() or connectMicroservice() method), you should pass the type generic parameter to get code autocompletion.

@@filename()
// Before
const app = await NestFactory.createMicroservice(AppModule);

// After
const app = await NestFactory.createMicroservice<MicroserviceOptions>(AppModule);
@@switch
// Before
const app = await NestFactory.createMicroservice(AppModule);

// After
const app = await NestFactory.createMicroservice(AppModule);

info Hint The MicroserviceOptions interface is exported from the @nestjs/microservices package.

GraphQL

In the version 6 major release of NestJS, we introduced the code-first approach as a compatibility layer between the type-graphql package and the @nestjs/graphql module. Eventually, our team decided to reimplement all the features from scratch due to a lack of flexibility. To avoid numerous breaking changes, the public API is backward-compatible and may resemble type-graphql.

In order to migrate your existing application, simply rename all the type-graphql imports to the @nestjs/graphql. If you used more advanced features, you might need to also:

  • use Type (imported from @nestjs/common) instead of ClassType (imported from type-graphql)
  • move methods that require @Args() from object types (classes annotated with @ObjectType() decorator) under resolver classes (and use @ResolveField() decorator instead of @Field())

Terminus

In the version 7 major release of @nestjs/terminus, a new simplified API has been introduced to run health checks. The previously required peer dependency @godaddy/terminus has been removed, which allows us to integrate our health checks automatically into Swagger! Read more about the removal of @godaddy/terminus here.

For most users, the biggest change will be the removal of the TerminusModule.forRootAsync function. With the next major version, this function will be completely removed. To migrate to the new API, you will need to create a new controller, which will handle your health checks.

@@filename()
// Before
@Injectable()
export class TerminusOptionsService implements TerminusOptionsFactory {
  constructor(
    private dns: DNSHealthIndicator,
  ) {}

  createTerminusOptions(): TerminusModuleOptions {
    const healthEndpoint: TerminusEndpoint = {
      url: '/health',
      healthIndicators: [
        async () => this.dns.pingCheck('google', 'https://google.com'),
      ],
    };
    return {
      endpoints: [healthEndpoint],
    };
  }
}

@Module({
  imports: [
    TerminusModule.forRootAsync({
      useClass: TerminusOptionsService
    })
  ]
})
export class AppModule { }

// After
@Controller('health')
export class HealthController {
  constructor(
    private health: HealthCheckService,
    private dns: DNSHealthIndicator,
  ) { }

  @Get()
  @HealthCheck()
  healthCheck() {
    return this.health.check([
      async () => this.dns.pingCheck('google', 'https://google.com'),
    ]);
  }
}

@Module({
  imports: [
    TerminusModule
  ]
})
export class AppModule { }

@@switch

// Before
@Injectable()
@Dependencies(DNSHealthIndicator)
export class TerminusOptionsService {
  constructor(
    private dns,
  ) {}

  createTerminusOptions() {
    const healthEndpoint = {
      url: '/health',
      healthIndicators: [
        async () => this.dns.pingCheck('google', 'https://google.com'),
      ],
    };
    return {
      endpoints: [healthEndpoint],
    };
  }
}

@Module({
  imports: [
    TerminusModule.forRootAsync({
      useClass: TerminusOptionsService
    })
  ]
})
export class AppModule { }

// After
@Controller('/health')
@Dependencies(HealthCheckService, DNSHealthIndicator)
export class HealthController {
  constructor(
    private health,
    private dns,
  ) { }

  @Get('/')
  @HealthCheck()
  healthCheck() {
    return this.health.check([
      async () => this.dns.pingCheck('google', 'https://google.com'),
    ])
  }
}

@Module({
  controllers: [
    HealthController
  ],
  imports: [
    TerminusModule
  ]
})
export class AppModule { }

warning Warning If you have set a Global Prefix in your Nest application and you have not used the useGlobalPrefix Terminus option, the URL of your health check will change. Make sure to update the reference to that URL, or use the legacy Terminus API until nestjs/nest#963 is fixed.

If you are forced to use the legacy API, you can also disable deprecation messages for the time being.

TerminusModule.forRootAsync({
  useFactory: () => ({
    disableDeprecationWarnings: true,
    endpoints: [
      // ...
    ]
  })
}

You should enable shutdown hooks in your main.ts file. The Terminus integration will listen on POSIX signals such as SIGTERM (see the Application shutdown chapter for more information). When enabled, the health check route(s) will automatically respond with a Service Unavailable (503) HTTP error response when the server is shutting down.

With the removal of @godaddy/terminus, you will need to update your import statements to use @nestjs/terminus instead. Most notable is the import of the HealthCheckError.

@@filename(custom.health)
// Before
import { HealthCheckError } from '@godaddy/terminus';
// After
import { HealthCheckError } from '@nestjs/terminus';

Once you have fully migrated, make sure you uninstall @godaddy/terminus.

npm uninstall --save @godaddy/terminus

HTTP exceptions body

Previously, the generated response bodies for the HttpException class and other exceptions derived from it (e.g., BadRequestException or NotFoundException) were inconsistent. In the latest major release, these exception responses will follow the same structure.

/*
 * Sample outputs for "throw new ForbiddenException('Forbidden resource')"
 */

// Before
{
  "statusCode": 403,
  "message": "Forbidden resource"
}

// After
{
  "statusCode": 403,
  "message": "Forbidden resource",
  "error": "Forbidden"
}

Validation errors schema

In past releases, the ValidationPipe threw an array of the ValidationError objects returned by the class-validator package. Now, ValidationPipe will map errors to a list of plain strings representing error messages.

// Before
{
  "statusCode": 400,
  "error": "Bad Request",
  "message": [
    {
      "target": {},
      "property": "email",
      "children": [],
      "constraints": {
        "isEmail": "email must be an email"
      }
    }
  ]
}

// After
{
  "statusCode": 400,
  "message": ["email must be an email"],
  "error": "Bad Request"
}

If you prefer the previous approach, you can restore it by setting the exceptionFactory function:

new ValidationPipe({
  exceptionFactory: errors => new BadRequestException(errors),
});

Implicit type conversion (ValidationPipe)

With the auto-transformation option enabled (transform: true), the ValidationPipe will now perform conversion of primitive types. In the following example, the findOne() method takes one argument which represents an extracted id path parameter:

@Get(':id')
findOne(@Param('id') id: number) {
  console.log(typeof id === 'number'); // true
  return 'This action returns a user';
}

By default, every path parameter and query parameter comes over the network as a string. In the above example, we specified the id type as a number (in the method signature). Therefore, the ValidationPipe will try to automatically convert a string identifier to a number.

Microservice channels (bidirectional communication)

To enable the request-response message type, Nest creates two logical channels - one is responsible for transferring the data while the other waits for incoming responses. For some underlying transports, such as NATS, this dual-channel support is provided out-of-the-box. For others, Nest compensates by manually creating separate channels.

Let's say that we have a single message handler @MessagePattern('getUsers'). In the past, Nest built two channels from this pattern: getUsers_ack (for requests) and getUsers_res (for responses). With version 7, this naming scheme changes. Now Nest will build getUsers (for requests) and getUsers.reply (for responses) instead. Also, specifically for the MQTT transport strategy, the response channel would be getUsers/reply (to avoid conflicts with topic wildcards).

Deprecations

All deprecations (from Nest version 5 to version 6) have been finally removed (e.g., the deprecated @ReflectMetadata decorator).

Node.js

This release drops support for Node v8. We strongly recommend using the latest LTS version.

Modules

A module is a class annotated with a @Module() decorator. The @Module() decorator provides metadata that Nest makes use of to organize the application structure.

Each application has at least one module, a root module. The root module is the starting point Nest uses to build the application graph - the internal data structure Nest uses to resolve module and provider relationships and dependencies. While very small applications may theoretically have just the root module, this is not the typical case. We want to emphasize that modules are strongly recommended as an effective way to organize your components. Thus, for most applications, the resulting architecture will employ multiple modules, each encapsulating a closely related set of capabilities.

The @Module() decorator takes a single object whose properties describe the module:

providers the providers that will be instantiated by the Nest injector and that may be shared at least across this module
controllers the set of controllers defined in this module which have to be instantiated
imports the list of imported modules that export the providers which are required in this module
exports the subset of providers that are provided by this module and should be available in other modules which import this module

The module encapsulates providers by default. This means that it's impossible to inject providers that are neither directly part of the current module nor exported from the imported modules. Thus, you may consider the exported providers from a module as the module's public interface, or API.

Feature modules

The CatsController and CatsService belong to the same application domain. As they are closely related, it makes sense to move them into a feature module. A feature module simply organizes code relevant for a specific feature, keeping code organized and establishing clear boundaries. This helps us manage complexity and develop with SOLID principles, especially as the size of the application and/or team grow.

To demonstrate this, we'll create the CatsModule.

@@filename(cats/cats.module)
import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { CatsController } from './cats.controller';
import { CatsService } from './cats.service';

@Module({
  controllers: [CatsController],
  providers: [CatsService],
})
export class CatsModule {}

info Hint To create a module using the CLI, simply execute the $ nest g module cats command.

Above, we defined the CatsModule in the cats.module.ts file, and moved everything related to this module into the cats directory. The last thing we need to do is import this module into the root module (the AppModule, defined in the app.module.ts file).

@@filename(app.module)
import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { CatsModule } from './cats/cats.module';

@Module({
  imports: [CatsModule],
})
export class AppModule {}

Here is how our directory structure looks now:

src
cats
dto
create-cat.dto.ts
interfaces
cat.interface.ts
cats.service.ts
cats.controller.ts
cats.module.ts
app.module.ts
main.ts

Shared modules

In Nest, modules are singletons by default, and thus you can share the same instance of any provider between multiple modules effortlessly.

Every module is automatically a shared module. Once created it can be reused by any module. Let's imagine that we want to share an instance of the CatsService between several other modules. In order to do that, we first need to export the CatsService provider by adding it to the module's exports array, as shown below:

@@filename(cats.module)
import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { CatsController } from './cats.controller';
import { CatsService } from './cats.service';

@Module({
  controllers: [CatsController],
  providers: [CatsService],
  exports: [CatsService]
})
export class CatsModule {}

Now any module that imports the CatsModule has access to the CatsService and will share the same instance with all other modules that import it as well.

Module re-exporting

As seen above, Modules can export their internal providers. In addition, they can re-export modules that they import. In the example below, the CommonModule is both imported into and exported from the CoreModule, making it available for other modules which import this one.

@Module({
  imports: [CommonModule],
  exports: [CommonModule],
})
export class CoreModule {}

Dependency injection

A module class can inject providers as well (e.g., for configuration purposes):

@@filename(cats.module)
import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { CatsController } from './cats.controller';
import { CatsService } from './cats.service';

@Module({
  controllers: [CatsController],
  providers: [CatsService],
})
export class CatsModule {
  constructor(private catsService: CatsService) {}
}
@@switch
import { Module, Dependencies } from '@nestjs/common';
import { CatsController } from './cats.controller';
import { CatsService } from './cats.service';

@Module({
  controllers: [CatsController],
  providers: [CatsService],
})
@Dependencies(CatsService)
export class CatsModule {
  constructor(catsService) {
    this.catsService = catsService;
  }
}

However, module classes themselves cannot be injected as providers due to circular dependency .

Global modules

If you have to import the same set of modules everywhere, it can get tedious. Unlike in Nest, Angular providers are registered in the global scope. Once defined, they're available everywhere. Nest, however, encapsulates providers inside the module scope. You aren't able to use a module's providers elsewhere without first importing the encapsulating module.

When you want to provide a set of providers which should be available everywhere out-of-the-box (e.g., helpers, database connections, etc.), make the module global with the @Global() decorator.

import { Module, Global } from '@nestjs/common';
import { CatsController } from './cats.controller';
import { CatsService } from './cats.service';

@Global()
@Module({
  controllers: [CatsController],
  providers: [CatsService],
  exports: [CatsService],
})
export class CatsModule {}

The @Global() decorator makes the module global-scoped. Global modules should be registered only once, generally by the root or core module. In the above example, the CatsService provider will be ubiquitous, and modules that wish to inject the service will not need to import the CatsModule in their imports array.

info Hint Making everything global is not a good design decision. Global modules are available to reduce the amount of necessary boilerplate. The imports array is generally the preferred way to make the module's API available to consumers.

Dynamic modules

The Nest module system includes a powerful feature called dynamic modules. This feature enables you to easily create customizable modules that can register and configure providers dynamically. Dynamic modules are covered extensively here. In this chapter, we'll give a brief overview to complete the introduction to modules.

Following is an example of a dynamic module definition for a DatabaseModule:

@@filename()
import { Module, DynamicModule } from '@nestjs/common';
import { createDatabaseProviders } from './database.providers';
import { Connection } from './connection.provider';

@Module({
  providers: [Connection],
})
export class DatabaseModule {
  static forRoot(entities = [], options?): DynamicModule {
    const providers = createDatabaseProviders(options, entities);
    return {
      module: DatabaseModule,
      providers: providers,
      exports: providers,
    };
  }
}
@@switch
import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { createDatabaseProviders } from './database.providers';
import { Connection } from './connection.provider';

@Module({
  providers: [Connection],
})
export class DatabaseModule {
  static forRoot(entities = [], options?) {
    const providers = createDatabaseProviders(options, entities);
    return {
      module: DatabaseModule,
      providers: providers,
      exports: providers,
    };
  }
}

info Hint The forRoot() method may return a dynamic module either synchronously or asynchronously (i.e., via a Promise).

This module defines the Connection provider by default (in the @Module() decorator metadata), but additionally - depending on the entities and options objects passed into the forRoot() method - exposes a collection of providers, for example, repositories. Note that the properties returned by the dynamic module extend (rather than override) the base module metadata defined in the @Module() decorator. That's how both the statically declared Connection provider and the dynamically generated repository providers are exported from the module.

If you want to register a dynamic module in the global scope, set the global property to true.

{
  global: true,
  module: DatabaseModule,
  providers: providers,
  exports: providers,
}

warning Warning As mentioned above, making everything global is not a good design decision.

The DatabaseModule can be imported and configured in the following manner:

import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { DatabaseModule } from './database/database.module';
import { User } from './users/entities/user.entity';

@Module({
  imports: [DatabaseModule.forRoot([User])],
})
export class AppModule {}

If you want to in turn re-export a dynamic module, you can omit the forRoot() method call in the exports array:

import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { DatabaseModule } from './database/database.module';
import { User } from './users/entities/user.entity';

@Module({
  imports: [DatabaseModule.forRoot([User])],
  exports: [DatabaseModule],
})
export class AppModule {}

The Dynamic modules chapter covers this topic in greater detail, and includes a working example.

Pipes

A pipe is a class annotated with the @Injectable() decorator. Pipes should implement the PipeTransform interface.

Pipes have two typical use cases:

  • transformation: transform input data to the desired form (e.g., from string to integer)
  • validation: evaluate input data and if valid, simply pass it through unchanged; otherwise, throw an exception when the data is incorrect

In both cases, pipes operate on the arguments being processed by a controller route handler. Nest interposes a pipe just before a method is invoked, and the pipe receives the arguments destined for the method and operates on them. Any transformation or validation operation takes place at that time, after which the route handler is invoked with any (potentially) transformed arguments.

Nest comes with a number of built-in pipes that you can use out-of-the-box. You can also build your own custom pipes. In this chapter, we'll introduce the built-in pipes and show how to bind them to route handlers. We'll then examine several custom-built pipes to show how you can build one from scratch.

info Hint Pipes run inside the exceptions zone. This means that when a Pipe throws an exception it is handled by the exceptions layer (global exceptions filter and any exceptions filters that are applied to the current context). Given the above, it should be clear that when an exception is thrown in a Pipe, no controller method is subsequently executed. This gives you a best-practice technique for validating data coming into the application from external sources at the system boundary.

Built-in pipes

Nest comes with six pipes available out-of-the-box:

  • ValidationPipe
  • ParseIntPipe
  • ParseBoolPipe
  • ParseArrayPipe
  • ParseUUIDPipe
  • DefaultValuePipe

They're exported from the @nestjs/common package.

Let's take a quick look at using ParseIntPipe. This is an example of the transformation use case, where the pipe ensures that a method handler parameter is converted to a JavaScript integer (or throws an exception if the conversion fails). Later in this chapter, we'll show a simple custom implementation for a ParseIntPipe. The example techniques below also apply to the other built-in transformation pipes (ParseBoolPipe, ParseArrayPipe and ParseUUIDPipe, which we'll refer to as the Parse* pipes in this chapter).

Binding pipes

To use a pipe, we need to bind an instance of the pipe class to the appropriate context. In our ParseIntPipe example, we want to associate the pipe with a particular route handler method, and make sure it runs before the method is called. We do so with the following construct, which we'll refer to as binding the pipe at the method parameter level:

@Get(':id')
async findOne(@Param('id', ParseIntPipe) id: number) {
  return this.catsService.findOne(id);
}

This ensures that one of the following two conditions is true: either the parameter we receive in the findOne() method is a number (as expected in our call to this.catsService.findOne()), or an exception is thrown before the route handler is called.

For example, assume the route is called like:

GET localhost:3000/abc

Nest will throw an exception like this:

{
  "statusCode": 400,
  "message": "Validation failed (numeric string is expected)",
  "error": "Bad Request"
}

The exception will prevent the body of the findOne() method from executing.

In the example above, we pass a class (ParseIntPipe), not an instance, leaving responsibility for instantiation to the framework and enabling dependency injection. As with pipes and guards, we can instead pass an in-place instance. Passing an in-place instance is useful if we want to customize the built-in pipe's behavior by passing options:

@Get(':id')
async findOne(
  @Param('id', new ParseIntPipe({ errorHttpStatusCode: HttpStatus.NOT_ACCEPTABLE }))
  id: number,
) {
  return this.catsService.findOne(id);
}

Binding the other transformation pipes (all of the Parse* pipes) works similarly. These pipes all work in the context of validating route parameters, query string parameters and request body values.

For example with a query string parameter:

@Get()
async findOne(@Query('id', ParseIntPipe) id: number) {
  return this.catsService.findOne(id);
}

Here's an example of using the ParseUUIDPipe to parse a string parameter and validate if it is a UUID.

@@filename()
@Get(':uuid')
async findOne(@Param('uuid', new ParseUUIDPipe()) uuid: string) {
  return this.catsService.findOne(uuid);
}
@@switch
@Get(':uuid')
@Bind(Param('uuid', new ParseUUIDPipe()))
async findOne(uuid) {
  return this.catsService.findOne(uuid);
}

info Hint When using ParseUUIDPipe() you are parsing UUID in version 3, 4 or 5, if you only require a specific version of UUID you can pass a version in the pipe options.

Above we've seen examples of binding the various Parse* family of built-in pipes. Binding validation pipes is a little bit different; we'll discuss that in the following section.

info Hint Also, see Validation techniques for extensive examples of validation pipes.

Custom pipes

As mentioned, you can build your own custom pipes. While Nest provides a robust built-in ParseIntPipe and ValidationPipe, let's build simple custom versions of each from scratch to see how custom pipes are constructed.

We start with a simple ValidationPipe. Initially, we'll have it simply take an input value and immediately return the same value, behaving like an identity function.

@@filename(validation.pipe)
import { PipeTransform, Injectable, ArgumentMetadata } from '@nestjs/common';

@Injectable()
export class ValidationPipe implements PipeTransform {
  transform(value: any, metadata: ArgumentMetadata) {
    return value;
  }
}
@@switch
import { Injectable } from '@nestjs/common';

@Injectable()
export class ValidationPipe {
  transform(value, metadata) {
    return value;
  }
}

info Hint PipeTransform<T, R> is a generic interface that must be implemented by any pipe. The generic interface uses T to indicate the type of the input value, and R to indicate the return type of the transform() method.

Every pipe must implement the transform() method to fulfill the PipeTransform interface contract. This method has two parameters:

  • value
  • metadata

The value parameter is the currently processed method argument (before it is received by the route handling method), and metadata is the currently processed method argument's metadata. The metadata object has these properties:

export interface ArgumentMetadata {
  type: 'body' | 'query' | 'param' | 'custom';
  metatype?: Type<unknown>;
  data?: string;
}

These properties describe the currently processed argument.

type Indicates whether the argument is a body @Body(), query @Query(), param @Param(), or a custom parameter (read more here).
metatype Provides the metatype of the argument, for example, String. Note: the value is undefined if you either omit a type declaration in the route handler method signature, or use vanilla JavaScript.
data The string passed to the decorator, for example @Body('string'). It's undefined if you leave the decorator parenthesis empty.

warning Warning TypeScript interfaces disappear during transpilation. Thus, if a method parameter's type is declared as an interface instead of a class, the metatype value will be Object.

Schema based validation

Let's make our validation pipe a little more useful. Take a closer look at the create() method of the CatsController, where we probably would like to ensure that the post body object is valid before attempting to run our service method.

@@filename()
@Post()
async create(@Body() createCatDto: CreateCatDto) {
  this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
}
@@switch
@Post()
async create(@Body() createCatDto) {
  this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
}

Let's focus in on the createCatDto body parameter. Its type is CreateCatDto:

@@filename(create-cat.dto)
export class CreateCatDto {
  name: string;
  age: number;
  breed: string;
}

We want to ensure that any incoming request to the create method contains a valid body. So we have to validate the three members of the createCatDto object. We could do this inside the route handler method, but doing so is not ideal as it would break the single responsibility rule (SRP).

Another approach could be to create a validator class and delegate the task there. This has the disadvantage that we would have to remember to call this validator at the beginning of each method.

How about creating validation middleware? This could work, but unfortunately it's not possible to create generic middleware which can be used across all contexts across the whole application. This is because middleware is unaware of the execution context, including the handler that will be called and any of its parameters.

This is, of course, exactly the use case for which pipes are designed. So let's go ahead and refine our validation pipe.

Object schema validation

There are several approaches available for doing object validation in a clean, DRY way. One common approach is to use schema-based validation. Let's go ahead and try that approach.

The Joi library allows you to create schemas in a straightforward way, with a readable API. Let's build a validation pipe that makes use of Joi-based schemas.

Start by installing the required package:

$ npm install --save @hapi/joi
$ npm install --save-dev @types/hapi__joi

In the code sample below, we create a simple class that takes a schema as a constructor argument. We then apply the schema.validate() method, which validates our incoming argument against the provided schema.

As noted earlier, a validation pipe either returns the value unchanged, or throws an exception.

In the next section, you'll see how we supply the appropriate schema for a given controller method using the @UsePipes() decorator. Doing so makes our validation pipe re-usable across contexts, just as we set out to do.

@@filename()
import { PipeTransform, Injectable, ArgumentMetadata, BadRequestException } from '@nestjs/common';
import { ObjectSchema } from '@hapi/joi';

@Injectable()
export class JoiValidationPipe implements PipeTransform {
  constructor(private schema: ObjectSchema) {}

  transform(value: any, metadata: ArgumentMetadata) {
    const { error } = this.schema.validate(value);
    if (error) {
      throw new BadRequestException('Validation failed');
    }
    return value;
  }
}
@@switch
import { Injectable, BadRequestException } from '@nestjs/common';

@Injectable()
export class JoiValidationPipe {
  constructor(schema) {
    this.schema = schema;
  }

  transform(value, metadata) {
    const { error } = this.schema.validate(value);
    if (error) {
      throw new BadRequestException('Validation failed');
    }
    return value;
  }
}

Binding validation pipes

Earlier, we saw how to bind transformation pipes (like ParseIntPipe and the rest of the Parse* pipes).

Binding validation pipes is also very straightforward.

In this case, we want to bind the pipe at the method call level. In our current example, we need to do the following to use the JoiValidationPipe:

  1. Create an instance of the JoiValidationPipe
  2. Pass the context-specific Joi schema in the class constructor of the pipe
  3. Bind the pipe to the method

We do that using the @UsePipes() decorator as shown below:

@@filename()
@Post()
@UsePipes(new JoiValidationPipe(createCatSchema))
async create(@Body() createCatDto: CreateCatDto) {
  this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
}
@@switch
@Post()
@Bind(Body())
@UsePipes(new JoiValidationPipe(createCatSchema))
async create(createCatDto) {
  this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
}

info Hint The @UsePipes() decorator is imported from the @nestjs/common package.

Class validator

warning Warning The techniques in this section require TypeScript, and are not available if your app is written using vanilla JavaScript.

Let's look at an alternate implementation for our validation technique.

Nest works well with the class-validator library. This powerful library allows you to use decorator-based validation. Decorator-based validation is extremely powerful, especially when combined with Nest's Pipe capabilities since we have access to the metatype of the processed property. Before we start, we need to install the required packages:

$ npm i --save class-validator class-transformer

Once these are installed, we can add a few decorators to the CreateCatDto class. Here we see a significant advantage of this technique: the CreateCatDto class remains the single source of truth for our Post body object (rather than having to create a separate validation class).

@@filename(create-cat.dto)
import { IsString, IsInt } from 'class-validator';

export class CreateCatDto {
  @IsString()
  name: string;

  @IsInt()
  age: number;

  @IsString()
  breed: string;
}

info Hint Read more about the class-validator decorators here.

Now we can create a ValidationPipe class that uses these annotations.

@@filename(validation.pipe)
import { PipeTransform, Injectable, ArgumentMetadata, BadRequestException } from '@nestjs/common';
import { validate } from 'class-validator';
import { plainToClass } from 'class-transformer';

@Injectable()
export class ValidationPipe implements PipeTransform<any> {
  async transform(value: any, { metatype }: ArgumentMetadata) {
    if (!metatype || !this.toValidate(metatype)) {
      return value;
    }
    const object = plainToClass(metatype, value);
    const errors = await validate(object);
    if (errors.length > 0) {
      throw new BadRequestException('Validation failed');
    }
    return value;
  }

  private toValidate(metatype: Function): boolean {
    const types: Function[] = [String, Boolean, Number, Array, Object];
    return !types.includes(metatype);
  }
}

warning Notice Above, we have used the class-transformer library. It's made by the same author as the class-validator library, and as a result, they play very well together.

Let's go through this code. First, note that the transform() method is marked as async. This is possible because Nest supports both synchronous and asynchronous pipes. We make this method async because some of the class-validator validations can be async (utilize Promises).

Next note that we are using destructuring to extract the metatype field (extracting just this member from an ArgumentMetadata) into our metatype parameter. This is just shorthand for getting the full ArgumentMetadata and then having an additional statement to assign the metatype variable.

Next, note the helper function toValidate(). It's responsible for bypassing the validation step when the current argument being processed is a native JavaScript type (these can't have validation decorators attached, so there's no reason to run them through the validation step).

Next, we use the class-transformer function plainToClass() to transform our plain JavaScript argument object into a typed object so that we can apply validation. The reason we must do this is that the incoming post body object, when deserialized from the network request, does not have any type information (this is the way the underlying platform, such as Express, works). Class-validator needs to use the validation decorators we defined for our DTO earlier, so we need to perform this transformation to treat the incoming body as an appropriately decorated object, not just a plain vanilla object.

Finally, as noted earlier, since this is a validation pipe it either returns the value unchanged, or throws an exception.

The last step is to bind the ValidationPipe. Pipes can be parameter-scoped, method-scoped, controller-scoped, or global-scoped. Earlier, with our Joi-based validation pipe, we saw an example of binding the pipe at the method level. In the example below, we'll bind the pipe instance to the route handler @Body() decorator so that our pipe is called to validate the post body.

@@filename(cats.controller)
@Post()
async create(
  @Body(new ValidationPipe()) createCatDto: CreateCatDto,
) {
  this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
}

Parameter-scoped pipes are useful when the validation logic concerns only one specified parameter.

Global scoped pipes

Since the ValidationPipe was created to be as generic as possible, we can realize it's full utility by setting it up as a global-scoped pipe so that it is applied to every route handler across the entire application.

@@filename(main)
async function bootstrap() {
  const app = await NestFactory.create(AppModule);
  app.useGlobalPipes(new ValidationPipe());
  await app.listen(3000);
}
bootstrap();

warning Notice In the case of hybrid apps the useGlobalPipes() method doesn't set up pipes for gateways and micro services. For "standard" (non-hybrid) microservice apps, useGlobalPipes() does mount pipes globally.

Global pipes are used across the whole application, for every controller and every route handler.

Note that in terms of dependency injection, global pipes registered from outside of any module (with useGlobalPipes() as in the example above) cannot inject dependencies since the binding has been done outside the context of any module. In order to solve this issue, you can set up a global pipe directly from any module using the following construction:

@@filename(app.module)
import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { APP_PIPE } from '@nestjs/core';

@Module({
  providers: [
    {
      provide: APP_PIPE,
      useClass: ValidationPipe,
    },
  ],
})
export class AppModule {}

info Hint When using this approach to perform dependency injection for the pipe, note that regardless of the module where this construction is employed, the pipe is, in fact, global. Where should this be done? Choose the module where the pipe (ValidationPipe in the example above) is defined. Also, useClass is not the only way of dealing with custom provider registration. Learn more here.

Transformation use case

Validation isn't the only use case for custom pipes. At the beginning of this chapter, we mentioned that a pipe can also transform the input data to the desired format. This is possible because the value returned from the transform function completely overrides the previous value of the argument.

When is this useful? Consider that sometimes the data passed from the client needs to undergo some change - for example converting a string to an integer - before it can be properly handled by the route handler method. Furthermore, some required data fields may be missing, and we would like to apply default values. Transformation pipes can perform these functions by interposing a processing function between the client request and the request handler.

Here's a simple ParseIntPipe which is responsible for parsing a string into an integer value. (As noted above, Nest has a built-in ParseIntPipe that is more sophisticated; we include this as a simple example of a custom transformation pipe).

@@filename(parse-int.pipe)
import { PipeTransform, Injectable, ArgumentMetadata, BadRequestException } from '@nestjs/common';

@Injectable()
export class ParseIntPipe implements PipeTransform<string, number> {
  transform(value: string, metadata: ArgumentMetadata): number {
    const val = parseInt(value, 10);
    if (isNaN(val)) {
      throw new BadRequestException('Validation failed');
    }
    return val;
  }
}
@@switch
import { Injectable, BadRequestException } from '@nestjs/common';

@Injectable()
export class ParseIntPipe {
  transform(value, metadata) {
    const val = parseInt(value, 10);
    if (isNaN(val)) {
      throw new BadRequestException('Validation failed');
    }
    return val;
  }
}

We can then bind this pipe to the selected param as shown below:

@@filename()
@Get(':id')
async findOne(@Param('id', new ParseIntPipe()) id) {
  return this.catsService.findOne(id);
}
@@switch
@Get(':id')
@Bind(Param('id', new ParseIntPipe()))
async findOne(id) {
  return this.catsService.findOne(id);
}

Another useful transformation case would be to select an existing user entity from the database using an id supplied in the request:

@@filename()
@Get(':id')
findOne(@Param('id', UserByIdPipe) userEntity: UserEntity) {
  return userEntity;
}
@@switch
@Get(':id')
@Bind(Param('id', UserByIdPipe))
findOne(userEntity) {
  return userEntity;
}

We leave the implementation of this pipe to the reader, but note that like all other transformation pipes, it receives an input value (an id) and returns an output value (a UserEntity object). This can make your code more declarative and DRY by abstracting boilerplate code out of your handler and into a common pipe.

Providing defaults

Parse* pipes expect a parameter's value to be defined. They throw an exception upon receiving null or undefined values. To allow an endpoint to handle missing querystring parameter values, we have to provide a default value to be injected before the Parse* pipes operate on these values. The DefaultValuePipe serves that purpose. Simply instantiate a DefaultValuePipe in the @Query() decorator before the relevant Parse* pipe, as shown below:

@@filename()
@Get()
async findAll(
  @Query('activeOnly', new DefaultValuePipe(false), ParseBoolPipe) activeOnly: boolean,
  @Query('page', new DefaultValuePipe(0), ParseIntPipe) page: number,
) {
  return this.catsService.findAll({ activeOnly, page });
}

The built-in ValidationPipe

As a reminder, you don't have to build a generic validation pipe on your own since the ValidationPipe is provided by Nest out-of-the-box. The built-in ValidationPipe offers more options than the sample we built in this chapter, which has been kept basic for the sake of illustrating the mechanics of a custom-built pipe. You can find full details, along with lots of examples here.

Support

Nest is an MIT-licensed open source project with its ongoing development made possible thanks to the support by the community. This framework is a result of the long road, full of sleepless nights, working after hours, and busy weekends.

How can you help?

Nest doesn't have a large company that sits behind and is continuously paying for hours spent on the development. I fully rely on the goodness ❤️ of the people. However, I would love to make this framework even more powerful, to be fully focused on delivering you great solutions that make coding process enjoyable: In order to help me, I run few supporting platforms:

If you fell in love with Nest, or you run a business which is using Nest, consider sponsoring its development to ensure that the project which your product relies on is actively maintained and improved. Also, your support could help me to work more on content that benefits whole Nest community, writing either educational blog posts or recording videos.

Contributing to Nest

We would love for you to contribute to Nest and help make it even better than it is today! As a contributor, here are the guidelines we would like you to follow:

Got a Question or Problem?

Do not open issues for general support questions as we want to keep GitHub issues for bug reports and feature requests. You've got much better chances of getting your question answered on Stack Overflow where the questions should be tagged with tag nestjs.

Stack Overflow is a much better place to ask questions since:

  • questions and answers stay available for public viewing so your question / answer might help someone else
  • Stack Overflow's voting system assures that the best answers are prominently visible.

To save your and our time, we will systematically close all issues that are requests for general support and redirect people to Stack Overflow.

If you would like to chat about the question in real-time, you can reach out via our gitter channel.

Found a Bug?

If you find a bug in the source code, you can help us by submitting an issue to our GitHub Repository. Even better, you can submit a Pull Request with a fix.

Missing a Feature?

You can request a new feature by submitting an issue to our GitHub Repository. If you would like to implement a new feature, please submit an issue with a proposal for your work first, to be sure that we can use it. Please consider what kind of change it is:

  • For a Major Feature, first open an issue and outline your proposal so that it can be discussed. This will also allow us to better coordinate our efforts, prevent duplication of work, and help you to craft the change so that it is successfully accepted into the project. For your issue name, please prefix your proposal with [discussion], for example "[discussion]: your feature idea".
  • Small Features can be crafted and directly submitted as a Pull Request.

Submission Guidelines

Submitting an Issue

Before you submit an issue, please search the issue tracker, maybe an issue for your problem already exists and the discussion might inform you of workarounds readily available.

Unfortunately, we are not able to investigate / fix bugs without a minimal reproduction, so if we don't hear back from you we are going to close an issue that don't have enough info to be reproduced.

You can file new issues by filling out our new issue form.

Submitting a Pull Request (PR)

Before you submit your Pull Request (PR) consider the following guidelines:

  1. Search GitHub for an open or closed PR that relates to your submission. You don't want to duplicate effort.
  1. Fork the nestjs/nest repo.

  2. Make your changes in a new git branch:

    git checkout -b my-fix-branch master
  3. Create your patch, including appropriate test cases.

  4. Follow our Coding Rules.

  5. Run the full Nest test suite (see common scripts), and ensure that all tests pass.

  6. Commit your changes using a descriptive commit message that follows our commit message conventions. Adherence to these conventions is necessary because release notes are automatically generated from these messages.

    git commit -a

    Note: the optional commit -a command line option will automatically "add" and "rm" edited files.

  7. Push your branch to GitHub:

    git push origin my-fix-branch
  8. In GitHub, send a pull request to nestjs:master.

  • If we suggest changes then:

    • Make the required updates.

    • Re-run the Nest test suites to ensure tests are still passing.

    • Rebase your branch and force push to your GitHub repository (this will update your Pull Request):

      git rebase master -i
      git push -f

That's it! Thank you for your contribution!

After your pull request is merged

After your pull request is merged, you can safely delete your branch and pull the changes from the main (upstream) repository:

  • Delete the remote branch on GitHub either through the GitHub web UI or your local shell as follows:

    git push origin --delete my-fix-branch
  • Check out the master branch:

    git checkout master -f
  • Delete the local branch:

    git branch -D my-fix-branch
  • Update your master with the latest upstream version:

    git pull --ff upstream master

Coding Rules

To ensure consistency throughout the source code, keep these rules in mind as you are working:

  • All features or bug fixes must be tested by one or more specs (unit-tests).

Commit Message Guidelines

We have very precise rules over how our git commit messages can be formatted. This leads to more readable messages that are easy to follow when looking through the project history. But also, we use the git commit messages to generate the Nest change log.

Commit Message Format

Each commit message consists of a header, a body and a footer. The header has a special format that includes a type, a scope and a subject:

<type>(<scope>): <subject>
<BLANK LINE>
<body>
<BLANK LINE>
<footer>

The header is mandatory and the scope of the header is optional.

Any line of the commit message cannot be longer 100 characters! This allows the message to be easier to read on GitHub as well as in various git tools.

Footer should contain a closing reference to an issue if any.

Samples: (even more samples)

docs(changelog) update change log to beta.5
bugfix(@nestjs/core) need to depend on latest rxjs and zone.js

The version in our package.json gets copied to the one we publish, and users need the latest of these.

Revert

If the commit reverts a previous commit, it should begin with revert: , followed by the header of the reverted commit. In the body it should say: This reverts commit <hash>., where the hash is the SHA of the commit being reverted.

Type

Must be one of the following:

  • build: Changes that affect the build system or external dependencies (example scopes: gulp, broccoli, npm)
  • ci: Changes to our CI configuration files and scripts (example scopes: Travis, Circle, BrowserStack, SauceLabs)
  • docs: Documentation only changes
  • feature: A new feature
  • bugfix: A bug fix
  • perf: A code change that improves performance
  • refactor: A code change that neither fixes a bug nor adds a feature
  • style: Changes that do not affect the meaning of the code (white-space, formatting, missing semi-colons, etc)
  • test: Adding missing tests or correcting existing tests

Subject

The subject contains succinct description of the change:

  • use the imperative, present tense: "change" not "changed" nor "changes"
  • don't capitalize first letter
  • no dot (.) at the end

Body

Just as in the subject, use the imperative, present tense: "change" not "changed" nor "changes". The body should include the motivation for the change and contrast this with previous behavior.

Footer

The footer should contain any information about Breaking Changes and is also the place to reference GitHub issues that this commit Closes.

Breaking Changes should start with the word BREAKING CHANGE: with a space or two newlines. The rest of the commit message is then used for this.

A detailed explanation can be found in this document.

Nest Logo

A progressive Node.js framework for building efficient and scalable server-side applications.

NPM Version Package License NPM Downloads Travis Linux Coverage Discord Backers on Open Collective Sponsors on Open Collective

Description

This project is built on top of the Angular CLI. It uses the Dgeni documentation generator to compile source documentation in markdown format into the published format. The Repository contains docs.nestjs.com source code, the official Nest documentation.

Installing

Install project dependencies and start a local server with the following terminal commands:

$ npm install
$ npm run start

Navigate to http://localhost:4200/.

All pages are written in markdown and located in the content directory.

Build

Run npm run build to build the project. The build artifacts will be stored in the dist/ directory.

To run build in watch mode, run npm run build:watch. Any content changes will be recompiled and rebuilt, and the content served at http://localhost:4200/.

Use npm run build:prod for a production build.

Support

Nest is an MIT-licensed open source project. It can grow thanks to the sponsors and support by the amazing backers. If you'd like to join them, please read more here.

Stay in touch

License

Nest is MIT licensed.

Libraries

Many applications need to solve the same general problems, or re-use a modular component in several different contexts. Nest has a few ways of addressing this, but each works at a different level to solve the problem in a way that helps meet different architectural and organizational objectives.

Nest modules are useful for providing an execution context that enables sharing components within a single application. Modules can also be packaged with npm to create a reusable library that can be installed in different projects. This can be an effective way to distribute configurable, re-usable libraries that can be used by different, loosely connected or unafilliated organizations (e.g., by distributing/installing 3rd party libraries).

For sharing code within closely organized groups (e.g., within company/project boundaries), it can be useful to have a more lightweight approach to sharing components. Monorepo's have arisen as a construct to enable that, and within a monorepo, a library provides a way to share code in an easy, lightweight fashion. In a Nest monorepo, using libraries enables easy assembly of applications that share components. In fact, this encourages decomposition of monolithic applications and development processes to focus on building and composing modular components.

Nest libraries

A Nest library is a Nest project that differs from an application in that it cannot run on its own. A library must be imported into a containing application in order for its code to execute. The built-in support for libraries described in this section is only available for monorepos (standard mode projects can achieve similar functionality using npm packages).

For example, an organization may develop an AuthModule that manages authentication by implementing company policies that govern all internal applications. Rather than build that module separately for each application, or physically packaging the code with npm and requiring each project to install it, a monorepo can define this module as a library. When organized this way, all consumers of the library module can see an up-to-date version of the AuthModule as it is committed. This can have significant benefits for coordinating component development and assembly, and simplifying end-to-end testing.

Creating libraries

Any functionality that is suitable for re-use is a candidate for being managed as a library. Deciding what should be a library, and what should be part of an application, is an architectural design decision. Creating libraries involves more than simply copying code from an existing application to a new library. When packaged as a library, the library code must be decoupled from the application. This may require more time up front and force some design decisions that you may not face with more tightly coupled code. But this additional effort can pay off when the library can be used to enable more rapid application assembly across multiple applications.

To get started with creating a library, run the following command:

nest g library my-library

When you run the command, the library schematic prompts you for a prefix (AKA alias) for the library:

What prefix would you like to use for the library (default: @app)?

This creates a new project in your workspace called my-library. A library-type project, like an application-type project, is generated into a named folder using a schematic. Libraries are managed under the libs folder of the monorepo root. Nest creates the libs folder the first time a library is created.

The files generated for a library are slightly different from those generated for an application. Here is the contents of the libs folder after executing the command above:

libs
my-library
src
my-library.service.ts
my-library.module.ts
index.ts
tsconfig.lib.json

The nest-cli.json file will have a new entry for the library under the "projects" key:

...
{
    "my-library": {
      "type": "library",
      "root": "libs/my-library",
      "entryFile": "index",
      "sourceRoot": "libs/my-library/src",
      "compilerOptions": {
        "tsConfigPath": "libs/my-library/tsconfig.lib.json"
      }
}
...

There are two differences in nest-cli.json metadata between libraries and applications:

  • the "type" property is set to "library" instead of "application"
  • the "entryFile" property is set to "index" instead of "main"

These differences key the build process to handle libraries appropriately. For example, a library exports its functions through the index.js file.

As with application-type projects, libraries each have their own tsconfig.lib.json file that extends the root (monorepo-wide) tsconfig.json file. You can modify this file, if necessary, to provide library-specific compiler options.

You can build the library with the CLI command:

nest build my-library

Using libraries

With the automatically generated configuration files in place, using libraries is straightforward. How would we import MyLibraryService from the my-library library into the my-project application?

First, note that using library modules is the same as using any other Nest module. What the monorepo does is manage paths in a way that importing libraries and generating builds is now transparent. To use MyLibraryService, we need to import its declaring module. We can modify my-project/src/app.module.ts as follows to import MyLibraryModule.

import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { AppController } from './app.controller';
import { AppService } from './app.service';
import { MyLibraryModule } from '@app/my-library';

@Module({
  imports: [MyLibraryModule],
  controllers: [AppController],
  providers: [AppService],
})
export class AppModule {}

Notice above that we've used a path alias of @app in the ES module import line, which was the prefix we supplied with the nest g library command above. Under the covers, Nest handles this through tsconfig path mapping. When adding a library, Nest updates the global (monorepo) tsconfig.json file's "paths" key like this:

"paths": {
    "@app/my-library": [
        "libs/my-library/src"
    ],
    "@app/my-library/*": [
        "libs/my-library/src/*"
    ]
}

So, in a nutshell, the combination of the monorepo and library features has made it easy and intuitive to include library modules into applications.

This same mechanism enables building and deploying applications that compose libraries. Once you've imported the MyLibraryModule, running nest build handles all the module resolution automatically and bundles the app along with any library dependencies, for deployment. The default compiler for a monorepo is webpack, so the resulting distribution file is a single file that bundles all of the transpiled JavaScript files into a single file. You can also switch to tsc as described here.

Overview

The Nest CLI is a command-line interface tool that helps you to initialize, develop, and maintain your Nest applications. It assists in multiple ways, including scaffolding the project, serving it in development mode, and building and bundling the application for production distribution. It embodies best-practice architectural patterns to encourage well-structured apps.

Installation

Note: In this guide we describe using npm to install packages, including the Nest CLI. Other package managers may be used at your discretion. With npm, you have several options available for managing how your OS command line resolves the location of the nest CLI binary file. Here, we describe installing the nest binary globally using the -g option. This provides a measure of convenience, and is the approach we assume throughout the documentation. Note that installing any npm package globally leaves the responsibility of ensuring they're running the correct version up to the user. It also means that if you have different projects, each will run the same version of the CLI. A reasonable alternative is to use the npx program (or similar features with other package managers) to ensure that you run a managed version of the Nest CLI. We recommend you consult the npx documentation and/or your DevOps support staff for more information.

Install the CLI globally using the npm install -g command (see the Note above for details about global installs).

$ npm install -g @nestjs/cli

Basic workflow

Once installed, you can invoke CLI commands directly from your OS command line through the nest executable. See the available nest commands by entering the following:

$ nest --help

Get help on an individual command using the following construct. Substitute any command, like new, add, etc., where you see generate in the example below to get detailed help on that command:

$ nest generate --help

To create, build and run a new basic Nest project in development mode, go to the folder that should be the parent of your new project, and run the following commands:

$ nest new my-nest-project
$ cd my-nest-project
$ npm run start:dev

In your browser, open http://localhost:3000 to see the new application running. The app will automatically recompile and reload when you change any of the source files.

Project structure

When you run nest new, Nest generates a boilerplate application structure by creating a new folder and populating an initial set of files. You can continue working in this default structure, adding new components, as described throughout this documentation. We refer to the project structure generated by nest new as standard mode. Nest also supports an alternate structure for managing multiple projects and libraries called monorepo mode.

Aside from a few specific considerations around how the build process works (essentially, monorepo mode simplifies build complexities that can sometimes arise from monorepo-style project structures), and built-in library support, the rest of the Nest features, and this documentation, apply equally to both standard and monorepo mode project structures. In fact, you can easily switch from standard mode to monorepo mode at any time in the future, so you can safely defer this decision while you're still learning about Nest.

You can use either mode to manage multiple projects. Here's a quick summary of the differences:

Feature Standard Mode Monorepo Mode
Multiple projects Separate file system structure Single file system structure
node_modules & package.json Separate instances Shared across monorepo
Default compiler tsc webpack
Compiler settings Specified separately Monorepo defaults that can be overridden per project
Config files like tslint.json, .prettierrc, etc. Specified separately Shared across monorepo
nest build and nest start commands Target defaults automatically to the (only) project in the context Target defaults to the default project in the monorepo
Libraries Managed manually, usually via npm packaging Built-in support, including path management and bundling

Read the sections on Workspaces and Libraries for more detailed information to help you decide which mode is most suitable for you.

CLI command syntax

All nest commands follow the same format:

nest commandOrAlias requiredArg [optionalArg] [options]

For example:

$ nest new my-nest-project --dry-run

Here, new is the commandOrAlias. The new command has an alias of n. my-nest-project is the requiredArg. If a requiredArg is not supplied on the command line, nest will prompt for it. Also, --dry-run has an equivalent short-hand form -d. With this in mind, the following command is the equivalent of the above:

$ nest n my-nest-project -d

Most commands, and some options, have aliases. Try running nest new --help to see these options and aliases, and to confirm your understanding of the above constructs.

Command overview

Run nest <command> --help for any of the following commands to see command-specific options.

See usage for detailed descriptions for each command.

Command Alias Description
new n Scaffolds a new standard mode application with all boilerplate files needed to run.
generate g Generates and/or modifies files based on a schematic.
build Compiles an application or workspace into an output folder.
start Compiles and runs an application (or default project in a workspace).
add Imports a library that has been packaged as a nest library, running its install schematic.
update u Update @nestjs dependencies in the package.json "dependencies" list to their @latest version.
info i Displays information about installed nest packages and other helpful system info.

Nest CLI and scripts

This section provides additional background on how the nest command interacts with compilers and scripts to help DevOps personnel manage the development environment.

A Nest application is a standard TypeScript application that needs to be compiled to JavaScript before it can be executed. There are various ways to accomplish the compilation step, and developers/teams are free to choose a way that works best for them. With that in mind, Nest provides a set of tools out-of-the-box that seek to do the following:

  • Provide a standard build/execute process, available at the command line, that "just works" with reasonable defaults.
  • Ensure that the build/execute process is open, so developers can directly access the underlying tools to customize them using native features and options.
  • Remain a completely standard TypeScript/Node.js framework, so that the entire compile/deploy/execute pipeline can be managed by any external tools that the development team chooses to use.

This goal is accomplished through a combination of the nest command, a locally installed TypeScript compiler, and package.json scripts. We describe how these technologies work together below. This should help you understand what's happening at each step of the build/execute process, and how to customize that behavior if necessary.

The nest binary

The nest command is an OS level binary (i.e., runs from the OS command line). This command actually encompasses 3 distinct areas, described below. We recommend that you run the build (nest build) and execution (nest start) sub-commands via the package.json scripts provided automatically when a project is scaffolded (see typescript starter if you wish to start by cloning a repo, instead of running nest new).

Build

nest build is a wrapper on top of the standard tsc compiler (for standard projects) or the webpack compiler (for monorepos). It does not add any other compilation features or steps except for handling tsconfig-paths out of the box. The reason it exists is that most developers, especially when starting out with Nest, do not need to adjust compiler options (e.g., tsconfig.json file) which can sometimes be tricky.

See the nest build documentation for more details.

Execution

nest start simply ensures the project has been built (same as nest build), then invokes the node command in a portable, easy way to execute the compiled application. As with builds, you are free to customize this process as needed, either using the nest start command and its options, or completely replacing it. The entire process is a standard TypeScript application build and execute pipeline, and you are free to manage the process as such.

See the nest start documentation for more details.

Generation

The nest generate commands, as the name implies, generate new Nest projects, or components within them.

Package scripts

Running the nest commands at the OS command level requires that the nest binary be installed globally. This is a standard feature of npm, and outside of Nest's direct control. One consequence of this is that the globally installed nest binary is not managed as a project dependency in package.json. For example, two different developers can be running two different versions of the nest binary. The standard solution for this is to use package scripts so that you can treat the tools used in the build and execute steps as development dependencies.

When you run nest new, or clone the typescript starter, Nest populates the new project's package.json scripts with commands like build and start. It also installs the underlying compiler tools (such as typescript) as dev dependencies.

You run the build and execute scripts with commands like:

$ npm run build

and

$ npm run start

These commands use npm's script running capabilities to execute nest build or nest start using the locally installed nest binary. By using these built-in package scripts, you have full dependency management over the Nest CLI commands*. This means that, by following this recommended usage, all members of your organization can be assured of running the same version of the commands.

*This applies to the build and start commands. The nest new and nest generate commands aren't part of the build/execute pipeline, so they operate in a different context, and do not come with built-in package.json scripts.

For most developers/teams, it is recommended to utilize the package scripts for building and executing their Nest projects. You can fully customize the behavior of these scripts via their options (--path, --webpack, --webpackPath) and/or customize the tsc or webpack compiler options files (e.g., tsconfig.json) as needed. You are also free to run a completely custom build process to compile the TypeScript (or even to execute TypeScript directly with ts-node).

Backward compatibility

Because Nest applications are pure TypeScript applications, previous versions of the Nest build/execute scripts will continue to operate. You are not required to upgrade them. You can choose to take advantage of the new nest build and nest start commands when you are ready, or continue running previous or customized scripts.

Migration

While you are not required to make any changes, you may want to migrate to using the new CLI commands instead of using tools such as tsc-watch or ts-node. In this case, simply install the latest version of the @nestjs/cli, both globally and locally:

$ npm install -g @nestjs/cli
$ cd  /some/project/root/folder
$ npm install -D @nestjs/cli

You can then replace the scripts defined in package.json with the following ones:

"build": "nest build",
"start": "nest start",
"start:dev": "nest start --watch",
"start:debug": "nest start --debug --watch",

CLI command reference

nest new

Creates a new (standard mode) Nest project.

$ nest new <name> [options]
$ nest n <name> [options]
Description

Creates and initializes a new Nest project. Prompts for package manager.

  • Creates a folder with the given <name>
  • Populates the folder with configuration files
  • Creates sub-folders for source code (/src) and end-to-end tests (/test)
  • Populates the sub-folders with default files for app components and tests
Arguments
Argument Description
<name> The name of the new project
Options
Option Description
--dry-run Reports changes that would be made, but does not change the filesystem.
Alias: -d
--skip-git Skip git repository initialization.
Alias: -g
--skip-install Skip package installation.
Alias: -s
--package-manager [package-manager] Specify package manager. Use npm or yarn. Package manager must be installed globally.
Alias: -p
--language [language] Specify programming language (TS or JS).
Alias: -l
--collection [collectionName] Specify schematics collection. Use package name of installed npm package containing schematic.
Alias: -c

nest generate

Generates and/or modifies files based on a schematic

$ nest generate <schematic> <name> [options]
$ nest g <schematic> <name> [options]
Arguments
Argument Description
<schematic> The schematic or collection:schematic to generate. See the table below for the available schematics.
<name> The name of the generated component.
Schematics
Name Alias Description
app Generate a new application within a monorepo (converting to monorepo if it's a standard structure).
library lib Generate a new library within a monorepo (converting to monorepo if it's a standard structure).
class cl Generate a new class.
controller co Generate a controller declaration.
decorator d Generate a custom decorator.
filter f Generate a filter declaration.
gateway ga Generate a gateway declaration.
guard gu Generate a guard declaration.
interface Generate an interface.
interceptor in Generate an interceptor declaration.
middleware mi Generate a middleware declaration.
module mo Generate a module declaration.
pipe pi Generate a pipe declaration.
provider pr Generate a provider declaration.
resolver r Generate a resolver declaration.
service s Generate a service declaration.
Options
Option Description
--dry-run Reports changes that would be made, but does not change the filesystem.
Alias: -d
--project [project] Project that element should be added to.
Alias: -p
--flat Do not generate a folder for the element.
--collection [collectionName] Specify schematics collection. Use package name of installed npm package containing schematic.
Alias: -c
--spec Enforce spec files generation (default)
--no-spec Disable spec files generation

nest build

Compiles an application or workspace into an output folder.

$ nest build <name> [options]
Arguments
Argument Description
<name> The name of the project to build.
Options
Option Description
--path [path] Path to tsconfig file.
Alias -p
--config [path] Path to nest-cli configuration file.
Alias -c
--watch Run in watch mode (live-reload)
Alias -w
--webpack Use webpack for compilation.
--webpackPath Path to webpack configuration.
--tsc Force use tsc for compilation.

nest start

Compiles and runs an application (or default project in a workspace).

$ nest start <name> [options]
Arguments
Argument Description
<name> The name of the project to run.
Options
Option Description
--path [path] Path to tsconfig file.
Alias -p
--config [path] Path to nest-cli configuration file.
Alias -c
--watch Run in watch mode (live-reload)
Alias -w
--preserveWatchOutput Keep outdated console output in watch mode instead of clearing the screen. (tsc watch mode only)
--watchAssets Run in watch mode (live-reload), watching non-TS files (assets). See Assets for more details.
--debug [hostport] Run in debug mode (with --inspect flag)
Alias -d
--webpack Use webpack for compilation.
--webpackPath Path to webpack configuration.
--tsc Force use tsc for compilation.
--exec [binary] Binary to run (default: node).
Alias -e

nest add

Imports a library that has been packaged as a nest library, running its install schematic.

$ nest add <name> [options]
Arguments
Argument Description
<name> The name of the library to import.

nest update

Updates @nestjs dependencies in the package.json "dependencies" list to their @latest version.

Options
Option Description
--force Do upgrade instead of update
Alias -f
--tag Update to tagged version (use @latest, @<tag>, etc)
Alias -t

nest info

Displays information about installed nest packages and other helpful system info. For example:

 _   _             _      ___  _____  _____  _     _____
| \ | |           | |    |_  |/  ___|/  __ \| |   |_   _|
|  \| |  ___  ___ | |_     | |\ `--. | /  \/| |     | |
| . ` | / _ \/ __|| __|    | | `--. \| |    | |     | |
| |\  ||  __/\__ \| |_ /\__/ //\__/ /| \__/\| |_____| |_
\_| \_/ \___||___/ \__|\____/ \____/  \____/\_____/\___/

[System Information]
OS Version : macOS High Sierra
NodeJS Version : v8.9.0
YARN Version : 1.5.1
[Nest Information]
microservices version : 6.0.0
websockets version : 6.0.0
testing version : 6.0.0
common version : 6.0.0
core version : 6.0.0

Workspaces

Nest has two modes for organizing code:

  • standard mode: useful for building individual project-focused applications that have their own dependencies and settings, and don't need to optimize for sharing modules, or optimizing complex builds. This is the default mode.
  • monorepo mode: this mode treats code artifacts as part of a lightweight monorepo, and may be more appropriate for teams of developers and/or multi-project environments. It automates parts of the build process to make it easy to create and compose modular components, promotes code re-use, makes integration testing easier, makes it easy to share project-wide artifacts like tslint rules and other configuration policies, and is easier to use than alternatives like github submodules. Monorepo mode employs the concept of a workspace, represented in the nest-cli.json file, to coordinate the relationship between the components of the monorepo.

It's important to note that virtually all of Nest's features are independent of your code organization mode. The only affect of this choice is how your projects are composed and how build artifacts are generated. All other functionality, from the CLI to core modules to add-on modules work the same in either mode.

Also, you can easily switch from standard mode to monorepo mode at any time, so you can delay this decision until the benefits of one or the other approach become more clear.

Standard mode

When you run nest new, a new project is created for you using a built-in schematic. Nest does the following:

  1. Create a new folder, corresponding to the name argument you provide to nest new
  2. Populate that folder with default files corresponding to a minimal base-level Nest application. You can examine these files at the typescript-starter repository.
  3. Provide additional files such as nest-cli.json, package.json and tsconfig.json that configure and enable various tools for compiling, testing and serving your application.

From there, you can modify the starter files, add new components, add dependencies (e.g., npm install), and otherwise develop your application as covered in the rest of this documentation.

Monorepo mode

To enable monorepo mode, you start with a standard mode structure, and add projects. A project can be a full application (which you add to the workspace with the command nest generate app) or a library (which you add to the workspace with the command nest generate library). We'll discuss the details of these specific types of project components below. The key point to note now is that it is the act of adding a project to an existing standard mode structure that converts it to monorepo mode. Let's look at an example.

If we run:

nest new my-project

We've constructed a standard mode structure, with a folder structure that looks like this:

src
app.controller.ts
app.service.ts
app.module.ts
main.ts
node_modules
nest-cli.json
package.json
tsconfig.json
tslint.json

We can convert this to a monorepo mode structure as follows:

cd my-project
nest generate app my-app

At this point, nest converts the existing structure to a monorepo mode structure. This results in a few important changes. The folder structure now looks like this:

apps
my-app
src
app.controller.ts
app.service.ts
app.module.ts
main.ts
tsconfig.app.json
my-project
src
app.controller.ts
app.service.ts
app.module.ts
main.ts
tsconfig.app.json
nest-cli.json
package.json
tsconfig.json
tslint.json

The generate app schematic has reorganized the code - moving each application project under the apps folder, and adding a project-specific tsconfig.app.json file in each project's root folder. Our original my-project app has become the default project for the monorepo, and is now a peer with the just-added my-app, located under the apps folder. We'll cover default projects below.

error Warning The conversion of a standard mode structure to monorepo only works for projects that have followed the canonical Nest project structure. Specifically, during conversion, the schematic attempts to relocate the src and test folders in a project folder beneath the apps folder in the root. If a project does not use this structure, the conversion will fail or produce unreliable results.

Workspace projects

A monorepo uses the concept of a workspace to manage its member entities. Workspaces are composed of projects. A project may be either:

  • an application: a full Nest application including a main.ts file to bootstrap the application. Aside from compile and build considerations, an application-type project within a workspace is functionally identical to an application within a standard mode structure.
  • a library: a library is a way of packaging a general purpose set of features (modules, providers, controllers, etc.) that can be used within other projects. A library cannot run on its own, and has no main.ts file. Read more about libraries here.

All workspaces have a default project (which should be an application-type project). This is defined by the top-level "root" property in the nest-cli.json file, which points at the root of the default project (see CLI properties below for more details). Usually, this is the standard mode application you started with, and later converted to a monorepo using nest generate app. When you follow these steps, this property is populated automatically.

Default projects are used by nest commands like nest build and nest start when a project name is not supplied.

For example, in the above monorepo structure, running

$ nest start

will start up the my-project app. To start my-app, we'd use:

$ nest start my-app

Applications

Application-type projects, or what we might informally refer to as just "applications", are complete Nest applications that you can run and deploy. You generate an application-type project with nest generate app.

This command automatically generates a project skeleton, including the standard src and test folders from the typescript starter. Unlike standard mode, an application project in a monorepo does not have any of the package dependency (package.json) or other project configuration artifacts like .prettierrc and tslint.json. Instead, the monorepo-wide dependencies and config files are used.

However, the schematic does generate a project-specific tsconfig.app.json file in the root folder of the project. This config file automatically sets appropriate build options, including setting the compilation output folder properly. The file extends the top-level (monorepo) tsconfig.json file, so you can manage global settings monorepo-wide, but override them if needed at the project level.

Libraries

As mentioned, library-type projects, or simply "libraries", are packages of Nest components that need to be composed into applications in order to run. You generate a library-type project with nest generate library. Deciding what belongs in a library is an architectural design decision. We discuss libraries in depth in the libraries chapter.

CLI properties

Nest keeps the metadata needed to organize, build and deploy both standard and monorepo structured projects in the nest-cli.json file. Nest automatically adds to and updates this file as you add projects, so you usually do not have to think about it or edit its contents. However, there are some settings you may want to change manually, so it's helpful to have an overview understanding of the file.

After running the steps above to create a monorepo, our nest-cli.json file looks like this:

{
  "collection": "@nestjs/schematics",
  "sourceRoot": "apps/my-project/src",
  "monorepo": true,
  "root": "apps/my-project",
  "compilerOptions": {
    "webpack": true,
    "tsConfigPath": "apps/my-project/tsconfig.app.json"
  },
  "projects": {
    "my-project": {
      "type": "application",
      "root": "apps/my-project",
      "entryFile": "main",
      "sourceRoot": "apps/my-project/src",
      "compilerOptions": {
        "tsConfigPath": "apps/my-project/tsconfig.app.json"
      }
    },
    "my-app": {
      "type": "application",
      "root": "apps/my-app",
      "entryFile": "main",
      "sourceRoot": "apps/my-app/src",
      "compilerOptions": {
        "tsConfigPath": "apps/my-app/tsconfig.app.json"
      }
    }
  }
}

The file is divided into sections:

  • a global section with top-level properties controlling standard and monorepo-wide settings
  • a top level property ("projects") with metadata about each project. This section is present only for monorepo-mode structures.

The top-level properties are as follows:

  • "collection": points at the collection of schematics used to generate components; you generally should not change this value
  • "sourceRoot": points at the root of the source code for the single project in standard mode structures, or the default project in monorepo mode structures
  • "compilerOptions": a map with keys specifying compiler options and values specifying the option setting; see details below
  • "generateOptions": a map with keys specifying global generate options and values specifying the option setting; see details below
  • "monorepo": (monorepo only) for a monorepo mode structure, this value is always true
  • "root": (monorepo only) points at the project root of the default project

Global compiler options

These properties specify the compiler to use as well as various options that affect any compilation step, whether as part of nest build or nest start, and regardless of the compiler, whether tsc or webpack.

Property Name Property Value Type Description
webpack boolean If true, use webpack compiler. If false or not present, use tsc. In monorepo mode, the default is true (use webpack), in standard mode, the default is false (use tsc). See below for details.
tsConfigPath string (monorepo only) Points at the file containing the tsconfig.json settings that will be used when nest build or nest start is called without a project option (e.g., when the default project is built or started).
webpackConfigPath string Points at a webpack options file. If not specified, Nest looks for the file webpack.config.js. See below for more details.
deleteOutDir boolean If true, whenever the compiler is invoked, it will first remove the compilation output directory (as configured in tsconfig.json, where the default is ./dist).
assets array Enables automatically distributing non-TypeScript assets whenever a compilation step begins (asset distribution does not happen on incremental compiles in --watch mode). See below for details.
watchAssets boolean If true, run in watch-mode, watching all non-TypeScript assets. (For more fine-grained control of the assets to watch, see Assets section below).

Global generate options

These properties specify the default generate options to be used by the nest generate command.

Property Name Property Value Type Description
spec boolean or object If the value is boolean, a value of true enables spec generation by default and a value of false disables it. A flag passed on the CLI command line overrides this setting, as does a project-specific generateOptions setting (more below). If the value is an object, each key represents a schematic name, and the boolean value determines whether the default spec generation is enabled / disabled for that specific schematic.

The following example uses a boolean value to specify that spec file generation should be disabled by default for all projects:

{
  "generateOptions": {
    "spec": false
  },
  ...
}

In the following example, spec file generation is disabled only for service schematics (e.g., nest generate service...):

{
  "generateOptions": {
    "spec": {
      "service": false
    }
  },
  ...
}

error Warning When specifying the spec as an object, the key for the generation schematic does not currently support automatic alias handling. This means that specifying a key as for example service: false and trying to generate a service via the alias s, the spec would still be generated. To make sure both the normal schematic name and the alias work as intended, specify both the normal command name as well as the alias, as seen below.

{
  "generateOptions": {
    "spec": {
      "service": false,
      "s": false
    }
  },
  ...
}

Project-specific generate options

In addition to providing global generate options, you may also specify project-specific generate options. The project specific generate options follow the exact same format as the global generate options, but are specified directly on each project.

Project-specific generate options override global generate options.

{
  "projects": {
    "cats-project": {
      "generateOptions": {
        "spec": {
          "service": false
        }
      },
      ...
    }
  },
  ...
}

notice Notice The order of precedence for generate options is as follows. Options specified on the CLI command line take precedence over project-specific options. Project-specific options override global options.

Specified compiler

The reason for the different default compilers is that for larger projects (e.g., more typical in a monorepo) webpack can have significant advantages in build times and in producing a single file bundling all project components together. If you wish to generate individual files, set "webpack" to false, which will cause the build process to use tsc.

Webpack options

The webpack options file can contain standard webpack configuration options. For example, to tell webpack to bundle node_modules (which are excluded by default), add the following to webpack.config.js:

module.exports = {
  externals: [],
};

Since the webpack config file is a JavaScript file, you can even expose a function that takes default options and returns a modified object:

module.exports = function (options) {
  return {
    ...options,
    externals: [],
  };
};

Assets

TypeScript compilation automatically distributes compiler output (.js and .d.ts files) to the specified output directory. It can also be convenient to distribute non-TypeScript files, such as .graphql files, images, .html files and other assets. This allows you to treat nest build (and any initial compilation step) as a lightweight development build step, where you may be editing non-TypeScript files and iteratively compiling and testing.

The value of the assets key should be an array of elements specifying the files to be distributed. The elements can be simple strings with glob-like file specs, for example:

"assets": ["**/*.graphql"],
"watchAssets": true,

For finer control, the elements can be objects with the following keys:

  • "include": glob-like file specifications for the assets to be distributed
  • "exclude": glob-like file specifications for assets to be excluded from the include list
  • "outDir": a string specifying the path (relative to the root folder) where the assets should be distributed. Defaults to the same output directory configured for compiler output.
  • "watchAssets": boolean; if true, run in watch mode watching specified assets

For example:

"assets": [
  { "include": "**/*.graphql", "exclude": "**/omitted.graphql", "watchAssets": true },
]

error Warning Setting watchAssets in a top-level compilerOptions property overrides any watchAssets settings within the assets property.

Project properties

This element exists only for monorepo-mode structures. You generally should not edit these properties, as they are used by Nest to locate projects and their configuration options within the monorepo.

Who is using Nest?

We are proudly helping various companies building their products at scale. If you are using Nest and would you like to be listed here, see this thread. We are willing to put your logo here!

Companies

According to our knowledge, all the following companies have built awesome projects on top of our framework:

Global prefix

To set a prefix for every route registered in an HTTP application, use the setGlobalPrefix() method of the INestApplication instance.

const app = await NestFactory.create(AppModule);
app.setGlobalPrefix('v1');

HTTP adapter

Occasionally, you may want to access the underlying HTTP server, either within the Nest application context or from the outside.

Every native (platform-specific) HTTP server/library (e.g., Express and Fastify) instance is wrapped in an adapter. The adapter is registered as a globally available provider that can be retrieved from the application context, as well as injected into other providers.

Outside application context strategy

To get a reference to the HttpAdapter from outside of the application context, call the getHttpAdapter() method.

@@filename()
const app = await NestFactory.create(ApplicationModule);
const httpAdapter = app.getHttpAdapter();

In-context strategy

To get a reference to the HttpAdapterHost from within the application context, inject it using the same technique as any other existing provider (e.g., using constructor injection).

@@filename()
export class CatsService {
  constructor(private adapterHost: HttpAdapterHost) {}
}
@@switch
@Dependencies(HttpAdapterHost)
export class CatsService {
  constructor(adapterHost) {
    this.adapterHost = adapterHost;
  }
}

info Hint The HttpAdapterHost is imported from the @nestjs/core package.

The HttpAdapterHost is not an actual HttpAdapter. To get the actual HttpAdapter instance, simply access the httpAdapter property.

const adapterHost = app.get(HttpAdapterHost);
const httpAdapter = adapterHost.httpAdapter;

The httpAdapter is the actual instance of the HTTP adapter used by the underlying framework. It is an instance of either ExpressAdapter or FastifyAdapter (both classes extend AbstractHttpAdapter).

The adapter object exposes several useful methods to interact with the HTTP server. However, if you want to access the library instance (e.g., the Express instance) directly, call the getInstance() method.

const instance = httpAdapter.getInstance();

Hybrid application

A hybrid application is one that both listens for HTTP requests, as well as makes use of connected microservices. The INestApplication instance can be connected with INestMicroservice instances through the connectMicroservice() method.

const app = await NestFactory.create(AppModule);
const microservice = app.connectMicroservice({
  transport: Transport.TCP,
});

await app.startAllMicroservicesAsync();
await app.listen(3001);

To connect multiple microservice instances, issue the call to connectMicroservice() for each microservice:

const app = await NestFactory.create(AppModule);
// microservice #1
const microserviceTcp = app.connectMicroservice<MicroserviceOptions>({
  transport: Transport.TCP,
  options: {
    port: 3001,
  },
});
// microservice #2
const microserviceRedis = app.connectMicroservice<MicroserviceOptions>({
  transport: Transport.REDIS,
  options: {
    url: 'redis://localhost:6379',
  },
});

await app.startAllMicroservicesAsync();
await app.listen(3001);

Sharing configuration

By default a hybrid application will not inherit global pipes, interceptors, guards and filters configured for the main (HTTP-based) application. To inherit these configuration properties from the main application, set the inheritAppConfig property in the second argument (an optional options object) of the connectMicroservice() call, as follow:

const microservice = app.connectMicroservice(
  {
    transport: Transport.TCP,
  },
  { inheritAppConfig: true },
);

HTTPS

To create an application that uses the HTTPS protocol, set the httpsOptions property in the options object passed to the create() method of the NestFactory class:

const httpsOptions = {
  key: fs.readFileSync('./secrets/private-key.pem'),
  cert: fs.readFileSync('./secrets/public-certificate.pem'),
};
const app = await NestFactory.create(ApplicationModule, {
  httpsOptions,
});
await app.listen(3000);

If you use the FastifyAdapter, create the application as follows:

const app = await NestFactory.create<NestFastifyApplication>(
  ApplicationModule,
  new FastifyAdapter({ https: httpsOptions }),
);

Multiple simultaneous servers

The following recipe shows how to instantiate a Nest application that listens on multiple ports (for example, on a non-HTTPS port and an HTTPS port) simultaneously.

const httpsOptions = {
  key: fs.readFileSync('./secrets/private-key.pem'),
  cert: fs.readFileSync('./secrets/public-certificate.pem'),
};

const server = express();
const app = await NestFactory.create(
  ApplicationModule,
  new ExpressAdapter(server),
);
await app.init();

http.createServer(server).listen(3000);
https.createServer(httpsOptions, server).listen(443);

info Hint The ExpressAdapter is imported from the @nestjs/platform-express package. The http and https packages are native Node.js packages.

Warning This recipe does not work with GraphQL Subscriptions.

Request lifecycle

Nest applications handle requests and produce responses in a sequence we refer to as the request lifecycle. With the use of middleware, pipes, guards, and interceptors, it can be challenging to track down where a particular piece of code executes during the request lifecycle, especially as global, controller level, and route level components come into play. In general, a request flows through middleware to guards, then to interceptors, then to pipes and finally back to interceptors on the return path (as the response is generated).

Middleware

Middleware is executed in a particular sequence. First, Nest runs globally bound middleware (such as middleware bound with app.use) and then it runs module bound middleware, which are determined on paths. Middleware are run sequentially in the order they are bound, similar to the way middleware in Express works. In the case of middleware bound across different modules, the middleware bound to the root module will run first, and then middleware will run in the order that the modules are added to the imports array.

Guards

Guard execution starts with global guards, then proceeds to controller guards, and finally to route guards. As with middleware, guards run in the order in which they are bound. For example:

@UseGuards(Guard1, Guard2)
@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {
  constructor(private catsService: CatsService) {}

  @UseGuards(Guard3)
  @Get()
  getCats(): Cats[] {
    return this.catsService.getCats();
  }
}

Guard1 will execute before Guard2 and both will execute before Guard3.

info Hint When speaking about globally bound vs controller or locally bound, the difference is where the guard (or other component is bound). If you are using app.useGlobalGuard() or providing the component via a module, it is globally bound. Otherwise, it is bound to a controller if the decorator precedes a controller class, or to a route if the decorator proceeds a route declaration.

Interceptors

Interceptors, for the most part, follow the same pattern as guards, with one catch: as interceptors return RxJS Observables, the observables will be resolved in a first in last out manner. So inbound requests will go through the standard global, controller, route level resolution, but the response side of the request (i.e., after returning from the controller method handler) will be resolved from route to controller to global. Also, any errors thrown by pipes, controllers, or services can be read in the catchError operator of an interceptor.

Pipes

Pipes follow the standard global to controller to route bound sequence, with the same first in first out in regards to the @usePipes() parameters. However, at a route parameter level, if you have multiple pipes running, they will run in the order of the last parameter with a pipe to the first. This also applies to the route level and controller level pipes. For example, if we have the following controller:

@UsePipes(GeneralValidationPipe)
@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {
  constructor(private catsService: CatsService) {}

  @UsePipes(RouteSpecificPipe)
  @Patch(':id')
  updateCat(
    @Body() body: UpdateCatDTO,
    @Param() params: UpdateCatParams,
    @Query() query: UpdateCatQuery,
  ) {
    return this.catsService.updateCat(body, params, query);
  }
}

then the GeneralValidationPipe will run for the query, then the params, and then the body objects before moving on to the RouteSpecificPipe, which follows the same order. If any parameter-specific pipes were in place, they would run (again, from the last to first parameter) after the controller and route level pipes.

Filters

Filters are the only component that do not resolve global first. Instead, filters resolve from the lowest level possible, meaning execution starts with any route bound filters and proceeding next to controller level, and finally to global filters. Note that exceptions cannot be passed from filter to filter; if a route level filter catches the exception, a controller or global level filter cannot catch the same exception. The only way to achieve an effect like this is to use inheritance between the filters.

info Hint Filters are only executed if any uncaught exception occurs during the request process. Caught exceptions, such as those caught with a try/catch will not trigger Exception Filters to fire. As soon as an uncaught exception is encountered, the rest of the lifecycle is ignored and the request skips straight to the filter.

Summary

In general, the request lifecycle looks like the following:

  1. Incoming request
  2. Globally bound middleware
  3. Module bound middleware
  4. Global guards
  5. Controller guards
  6. Route guards
  7. Global interceptors (pre-controller)
  8. Controller interceptors (pre-controller)
  9. Route interceptors (pre-controller)
  10. Global pipes
  11. Controller pipes
  12. Route pipes
  13. Route parameter pipes
  14. Controller (method handler)
  15. Service (if exists)
  16. Route interceptor (post-request)
  17. Controller interceptor (post-request)
  18. Global interceptor (post-request)
  19. Exception filters (route, then controller, then global)
  20. Server response

Asynchronous providers

At times, the application start should be delayed until one or more asynchronous tasks are completed. For example, you may not want to start accepting requests until the connection with the database has been established. You can achieve this using asynchronous providers.

The syntax for this is to use async/await with the useFactory syntax. The factory returns a Promise, and the factory function can await asynchronous tasks. Nest will await resolution of the promise before instantiating any class that depends on (injects) such a provider.

{
  provide: 'ASYNC_CONNECTION',
  useFactory: async () => {
    const connection = await createConnection(options);
    return connection;
  },
}

info Hint Learn more about custom provider syntax here.

Injection

Asynchronous providers are injected to other components by their tokens, like any other provider. In the example above, you would use the construct @Inject('ASYNC_CONNECTION').

Example

The TypeORM recipe has a more substantial example of an asynchronous provider.

Circular dependency

A circular dependency occurs when two classes depend on each other. For example, class A needs class B, and class B also needs class A. Circular dependencies can arise in Nest between modules and between providers.

While circular dependencies should be avoided where possible, you can't always do so. In such cases, Nest enables resolving circular dependencies between providers in two ways. In this chapter, we describe using forward referencing as one technique, and using the ModuleRef class to retrieve a provider instance from the DI container as another.

We also describe resolving circular dependencies between modules.

Forward reference

A forward reference allows Nest to reference classes which aren't yet defined using the forwardRef() utility function. For example, if CatsService and CommonService depend on each other, both sides of the relationship can use @Inject() and the forwardRef() utility to resolve the circular dependency. Otherwise Nest won't instantiate them because all of the essential metadata won't be available. Here's an example:

@@filename(cats.service)
@Injectable()
export class CatsService {
  constructor(
    @Inject(forwardRef(() => CommonService))
    private commonService: CommonService,
  ) {}
}
@@switch
@Injectable()
@Dependencies(forwardRef(() => CommonService))
export class CatsService {
  constructor(commonService) {
    this.commonService = commonService;
  }
}

info Hint The forwardRef() function is imported from the @nestjs/common package.

That covers one side of the relationship. Now let's do the same with CommonService:

@@filename(common.service)
@Injectable()
export class CommonService {
  constructor(
    @Inject(forwardRef(() => CatsService))
    private catsService: CatsService,
  ) {}
}
@@switch
@Injectable()
@Dependencies(forwardRef(() => CatsService))
export class CommonService {
  constructor(catsService) {
    this.catsService = catsService;
  }
}

warning Warning The order of instantiation is indeterminate. Make sure your code does not depend on which constructor is called first.

ModuleRef class alternative

An alternative to using forwardRef() is to refactor your code and use the ModuleRef class to retrieve a provider on one side of the (otherwise) circular relationship. Learn more about the ModuleRef utility class here.

Module forward reference

In order to resolve circular dependencies between modules, use the same forwardRef() utility function on both sides of the modules association. For example:

@@filename(common.module)
@Module({
  imports: [forwardRef(() => CatsModule)],
})
export class CommonModule {}

Custom providers

In earlier chapters, we touched on various aspects of Dependency Injection (DI) and how it is used in Nest. One example of this is the constructor based dependency injection used to inject instances (often service providers) into classes. You won't be surprised to learn that Dependency Injection is built in to the Nest core in a fundamental way. So far, we've only explored one main pattern. As your application grows more complex, you may need to take advantage of the full features of the DI system, so let's explore them in more detail.

DI fundamentals

Dependency injection is an inversion of control (IoC) technique wherein you delegate instantiation of dependencies to the IoC container (in our case, the NestJS runtime system), instead of doing it in your own code imperatively. Let's examine what's happening in this example from the Providers chapter.

First, we define a provider. The @Injectable() decorator marks the CatsService class as a provider.

@@filename(cats.service)
import { Injectable } from '@nestjs/common';
import { Cat } from './interfaces/cat.interface';

@Injectable()
export class CatsService {
  private readonly cats: Cat[] = [];

  findAll(): Cat[] {
    return this.cats;
  }
}
@@switch
import { Injectable } from '@nestjs/common';

@Injectable()
export class CatsService {
  constructor() {
    this.cats = [];
  }

  findAll() {
    return this.cats;
  }
}

Then we request that Nest inject the provider into our controller class:

@@filename(cats.controller)
import { Controller, Get } from '@nestjs/common';
import { CatsService } from './cats.service';
import { Cat } from './interfaces/cat.interface';

@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {
  constructor(private catsService: CatsService) {}

  @Get()
  async findAll(): Promise<Cat[]> {
    return this.catsService.findAll();
  }
}
@@switch
import { Controller, Get, Bind, Dependencies } from '@nestjs/common';
import { CatsService } from './cats.service';

@Controller('cats')
@Dependencies(CatsService)
export class CatsController {
  constructor(catsService) {
    this.catsService = catsService;
  }

  @Get()
  async findAll() {
    return this.catsService.findAll();
  }
}

Finally, we register the provider with the Nest IoC container:

@@filename(app.module)
import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { CatsController } from './cats/cats.controller';
import { CatsService } from './cats/cats.service';

@Module({
  controllers: [CatsController],
  providers: [CatsService],
})
export class AppModule {}

What exactly is happening under the covers to make this work? There are three key steps in the process:

  1. In cats.service.ts, the @Injectable() decorator declares the CatsService class as a class that can be managed by the Nest IoC container.

  2. In cats.controller.ts, CatsController declares a dependency on the CatsService token with constructor injection:

  constructor(private catsService: CatsService)
  1. In app.module.ts, we associate the token CatsService with the class CatsService from the cats.service.ts file. We'll see below exactly how this association (also called registration) occurs.

When the Nest IoC container instantiates a CatsController, it first looks for any dependencies*. When it finds the CatsService dependency, it performs a lookup on the CatsService token, which returns the CatsService class, per the registration step (#3 above). Assuming SINGLETON scope (the default behavior), Nest will then either create an instance of CatsService, cache it, and return it, or if one is already cached, return the existing instance.

*This explanation is a bit simplified to illustrate the point. One important area we glossed over is that the process of analyzing the code for dependencies is very sophisticated, and happens during application bootstrapping. One key feature is that dependency analysis (or "creating the dependency graph"), is transitive. In the above example, if the CatsService itself had dependencies, those too would be resolved. The dependency graph ensures that dependencies are resolved in the correct order - essentially "bottom up". This mechanism relieves the developer from having to manage such complex dependency graphs.

Standard providers

Let's take a closer look at the @Module() decorator. In app.module, we declare:

@Module({
  controllers: [CatsController],
  providers: [CatsService],
})

The providers property takes an array of providers. So far, we've supplied those providers via a list of class names. In fact, the syntax providers: [CatsService] is short-hand for the more complete syntax:

providers: [
  {
    provide: CatsService,
    useClass: CatsService,
  },
];

Now that we see this explicit construction, we can understand the registration process. Here, we are clearly associating the token CatsService with the class CatsService. The short-hand notation is merely a convenience to simplify the most common use-case, where the token is used to request an instance of a class by the same name.

Custom providers

What happens when your requirements go beyond those offered by Standard providers? Here are a few examples:

  • You want to create a custom instance instead of having Nest instantiate (or return a cached instance of) a class
  • You want to re-use an existing class in a second dependency
  • You want to override a class with a mock version for testing

Nest allows you to define Custom providers to handle these cases. It provides several ways to define custom providers. Let's walk through them.

Value providers: useValue

The useValue syntax is useful for injecting a constant value, putting an external library into the Nest container, or replacing a real implementation with a mock object. Let's say you'd like to force Nest to use a mock CatsService for testing purposes.

import { CatsService } from './cats.service';

const mockCatsService = {
  /* mock implementation
  ...
  */
};

@Module({
  imports: [CatsModule],
  providers: [
    {
      provide: CatsService,
      useValue: mockCatsService,
    },
  ],
})
export class AppModule {}

In this example, the CatsService token will resolve to the mockCatsService mock object. useValue requires a value - in this case a literal object that has the same interface as the CatsService class it is replacing. Because of TypeScript's structural typing, you can use any object that has a compatible interface, including a literal object or a class instance instantiated with new.

Non-class-based provider tokens

So far, we've used class names as our provider tokens (the value of the provide property in a provider listed in the providers array). This is matched by the standard pattern used with constructor based injection, where the token is also a class name. (Refer back to DI Fundamentals for a refresher on tokens if this concept isn't entirely clear). Sometimes, we may want the flexibility to use strings or symbols as the DI token. For example:

import { connection } from './connection';

@Module({
  providers: [
    {
      provide: 'CONNECTION',
      useValue: connection,
    },
  ],
})
export class AppModule {}

In this example, we are associating a string-valued token ('CONNECTION') with a pre-existing connection object we've imported from an external file.

warning Notice In addition to using strings as token values, you can also use JavaScript symbols.

We've previously seen how to inject a provider using the standard constructor based injection pattern. This pattern requires that the dependency be declared with a class name. The 'CONNECTION' custom provider uses a string-valued token. Let's see how to inject such a provider. To do so, we use the @Inject() decorator. This decorator takes a single argument - the token.

@@filename()
@Injectable()
export class CatsRepository {
  constructor(@Inject('CONNECTION') connection: Connection) {}
}
@@switch
@Injectable()
@Dependencies('CONNECTION')
export class CatsRepository {
  constructor(connection) {}
}

info Hint The @Inject() decorator is imported from @nestjs/common package.

While we directly use the string 'CONNECTION' in the above examples for illustration purposes, for clean code organization, it's best practice to define tokens in a separate file, such as constants.ts. Treat them much as you would symbols or enums that are defined in their own file and imported where needed.

Class providers: useClass

The useClass syntax allows you to dynamically determine a class that a token should resolve to. For example, suppose we have an abstract (or default) ConfigService class. Depending on the current environment, we want Nest to provide a different implementation of the configuration service. The following code implements such a strategy.

const configServiceProvider = {
  provide: ConfigService,
  useClass:
    process.env.NODE_ENV === 'development'
      ? DevelopmentConfigService
      : ProductionConfigService,
};

@Module({
  providers: [configServiceProvider],
})
export class AppModule {}

Let's look at a couple of details in this code sample. You'll notice that we define configServiceProvider with a literal object first, then pass it in the module decorator's providers property. This is just a bit of code organization, but is functionally equivalent to the examples we've used thus far in this chapter.

Also, we have used the ConfigService class name as our token. For any class that depends on ConfigService, Nest will inject an instance of the provided class (DevelopmentConfigService or ProductionConfigService) overriding any default implementation that may have been declared elsewhere (e.g., a ConfigService declared with an @Injectable() decorator).

Factory providers: useFactory

The useFactory syntax allows for creating providers dynamically. The actual provider will be supplied by the value returned from a factory function. The factory function can be as simple or complex as needed. A simple factory may not depend on any other providers. A more complex factory can itself inject other providers it needs to compute its result. For the latter case, the factory provider syntax has a pair of related mechanisms:

  1. The factory function can accept (optional) arguments.
  2. The (optional) inject property accepts an array of providers that Nest will resolve and pass as arguments to the factory function during the instantiation process. The two lists should be correlated: Nest will pass instances from the inject list as arguments to the factory function in the same order.

The example below demonstrates this.

@@filename()
const connectionFactory = {
  provide: 'CONNECTION',
  useFactory: (optionsProvider: OptionsProvider) => {
    const options = optionsProvider.get();
    return new DatabaseConnection(options);
  },
  inject: [OptionsProvider],
};

@Module({
  providers: [connectionFactory],
})
export class AppModule {}
@@switch
const connectionFactory = {
  provide: 'CONNECTION',
  useFactory: (optionsProvider) => {
    const options = optionsProvider.get();
    return new DatabaseConnection(options);
  },
  inject: [OptionsProvider],
};

@Module({
  providers: [connectionFactory],
})
export class AppModule {}

Alias providers: useExisting

The useExisting syntax allows you to create aliases for existing providers. This creates two ways to access the same provider. In the example below, the (string-based) token 'AliasedLoggerService' is an alias for the (class-based) token LoggerService. Assume we have two different dependencies, one for 'AliasedLoggerService' and one for LoggerService. If both dependencies are specified with SINGLETON scope, they'll both resolve to the same instance.

@Injectable()
class LoggerService {
  /* implementation details */
}

const loggerAliasProvider = {
  provide: 'AliasedLoggerService',
  useExisting: LoggerService,
};

@Module({
  providers: [LoggerService, loggerAliasProvider],
})
export class AppModule {}

Non-service based providers

While providers often supply services, they are not limited to that usage. A provider can supply any value. For example, a provider may supply an array of configuration objects based on the current environment, as shown below:

const configFactory = {
  provide: 'CONFIG',
  useFactory: () => {
    return process.env.NODE_ENV === 'development' ? devConfig : prodConfig;
  },
};

@Module({
  providers: [configFactory],
})
export class AppModule {}

Export custom provider

Like any provider, a custom provider is scoped to its declaring module. To make it visible to other modules, it must be exported. To export a custom provider, we can either use its token or the full provider object.

The following example shows exporting using the token:

@@filename()
const connectionFactory = {
  provide: 'CONNECTION',
  useFactory: (optionsProvider: OptionsProvider) => {
    const options = optionsProvider.get();
    return new DatabaseConnection(options);
  },
  inject: [OptionsProvider],
};

@Module({
  providers: [connectionFactory],
  exports: ['CONNECTION'],
})
export class AppModule {}
@@switch
const connectionFactory = {
  provide: 'CONNECTION',
  useFactory: (optionsProvider) => {
    const options = optionsProvider.get();
    return new DatabaseConnection(options);
  },
  inject: [OptionsProvider],
};

@Module({
  providers: [connectionFactory],
  exports: ['CONNECTION'],
})
export class AppModule {}

Alternatively, export with the full provider object:

@@filename()
const connectionFactory = {
  provide: 'CONNECTION',
  useFactory: (optionsProvider: OptionsProvider) => {
    const options = optionsProvider.get();
    return new DatabaseConnection(options);
  },
  inject: [OptionsProvider],
};

@Module({
  providers: [connectionFactory],
  exports: [connectionFactory],
})
export class AppModule {}
@@switch
const connectionFactory = {
  provide: 'CONNECTION',
  useFactory: (optionsProvider) => {
    const options = optionsProvider.get();
    return new DatabaseConnection(options);
  },
  inject: [OptionsProvider],
};

@Module({
  providers: [connectionFactory],
  exports: [connectionFactory],
})
export class AppModule {}

Dynamic modules

The Modules chapter covers the basics of Nest modules, and includes a brief introduction to dynamic modules. This chapter expands on the subject of dynamic modules. Upon completion, you should have a good grasp of what they are and how and when to use them.

Introduction

Most application code examples in the Overview section of the documentation make use of regular, or static, modules. Modules define groups of components like providers and controllers that fit together as a modular part of an overall application. They provide an execution context, or scope, for these components. For example, providers defined in a module are visible to other members of the module without the need to export them. When a provider needs to be visible outside of a module, it is first exported from its host module, and then imported into its consuming module.

Let's walk through a familiar example.

First, we'll define a UsersModule to provide and export a UsersService. UsersModule is the host module for UsersService.

import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { UsersService } from './users.service';

@Module({
  providers: [UsersService],
  exports: [UsersService],
})
export class UsersModule {}

Next, we'll define an AuthModule, which imports UsersModule, making UsersModule's exported providers available inside AuthModule:

import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { AuthService } from './auth.service';
import { UsersModule } from '../users/users.module';

@Module({
  imports: [UsersModule],
  providers: [AuthService],
  exports: [AuthService],
})
export class AuthModule {}

These constructs allow us to inject UsersService in, for example, the AuthService that is hosted in AuthModule:

import { Injectable } from '@nestjs/common';
import { UsersService } from '../users/users.service';

@Injectable()
export class AuthService {
  constructor(private usersService: UsersService) {}
  /*
    Implementation that makes use of this.usersService
  */
}

We'll refer to this as static module binding. All the information Nest needs to wire together the modules has already been declared in the host and consuming modules. Let's unpack what's happening during this process. Nest makes UsersService available inside AuthModule by:

  1. Instantiating UsersModule, including transitively importing other modules that UsersModule itself consumes, and transitively resolving any dependencies (see Custom providers).
  2. Instantiating AuthModule, and making UsersModule's exported providers available to components in AuthModule (just as if they had been declared in AuthModule).
  3. Injecting an instance of UsersService in AuthService.

Dynamic module use case

With static module binding, there's no opportunity for the consuming module to influence how providers from the host module are configured. Why does this matter? Consider the case where we have a general purpose module that needs to behave differently in different use cases. This is analogous to the concept of a "plugin" in many systems, where a generic facility requires some configuration before it can be used by a consumer.

A good example with Nest is a configuration module. Many applications find it useful to externalize configuration details by using a configuration module. This makes it easy to dynamically change the application settings in different deployments: e.g., a development database for developers, a staging database for the staging/testing environment, etc. By delegating the management of configuration parameters to a configuration module, the application source code remains independent of configuration parameters.

The challenge is that the configuration module itself, since it's generic (similar to a "plugin"), needs to be customized by its consuming module. This is where dynamic modules come into play. Using dynamic module features, we can make our configuration module dynamic so that the consuming module can use an API to control how the configuration module is customized at the time it is imported.

In other words, dynamic modules provide an API for importing one module into another, and customizing the properties and behavior of that module when it is imported, as opposed to using the static bindings we've seen so far.

Config module example

We'll be using the basic version of the example code from the configuration chapter for this section. The completed version as of the end of this chapter is available as a working example here.

Our requirement is to make ConfigModule accept an options object to customize it. Here's the feature we want to support. The basic sample hard-codes the location of the .env file to be in the project root folder. Let's suppose we want to make that configurable, such that you can manage your .env files in any folder of your choosing. For example, imagine you want to store your various .env files in a folder under the project root called config (i.e., a sibling folder to src). You'd like to be able to choose different folders when using the ConfigModule in different projects.

Dynamic modules give us the ability to pass parameters into the module being imported so we can change its behavior. Let's see how this works. It's helpful if we start from the end-goal of how this might look from the consuming module's perspective, and then work backwards. First, let's quickly review the example of statically importing the ConfigModule (i.e., an approach which has no ability to influence the behavior of the imported module). Pay close attention to the imports array in the @Module() decorator:

import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { AppController } from './app.controller';
import { AppService } from './app.service';
import { ConfigModule } from './config/config.module';

@Module({
  imports: [ConfigModule],
  controllers: [AppController],
  providers: [AppService],
})
export class AppModule {}

Let's consider what a dynamic module import, where we're passing in a configuration object, might look like. Compare the difference in the imports array between these two examples:

import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { AppController } from './app.controller';
import { AppService } from './app.service';
import { ConfigModule } from './config/config.module';

@Module({
  imports: [ConfigModule.register({ folder: './config' })],
  controllers: [AppController],
  providers: [AppService],
})
export class AppModule {}

Let's see what's happening in the dynamic example above. What are the moving parts?

  1. ConfigModule is a normal class, so we can infer that it must have a static method called register(). We know it's static because we're calling it on the ConfigModule class, not on an instance of the class. Note: this method, which we will create soon, can have any arbitrary name, but by convention we should call it either forRoot() or register().
  2. The register() method is defined by us, so we can accept any input arguments we like. In this case, we're going to accept a simple options object with suitable properties, which is the typical case.
  3. We can infer that the register() method must return something like a module since its return value appears in the familiar imports list, which we've seen so far includes a list of modules.

In fact, what our register() method will return is a DynamicModule. A dynamic module is nothing more than a module created at run-time, with the same exact properties as a static module, plus one additional property called module. Let's quickly review a sample static module declaration, paying close attention to the module options passed in to the decorator:

@Module({
  imports: [DogsService],
  controllers: [CatsController],
  providers: [CatsService],
  exports: [CatsService]
})

Dynamic modules must return an object with the exact same interface, plus one additional property called module. The module property serves as the name of the module, and should be the same as the class name of the module, as shown in the example below.

info Hint For a dynamic module, all properties of the module options object are optional except module.

What about the static register() method? We can now see that its job is to return an object that has the DynamicModule interface. When we call it, we are effectively providing a module to the imports list, similar to the way we would do so in the static case by listing a module class name. In other words, the dynamic module API simply returns a module, but rather than fix the properties in the @Modules decorator, we specify them programmatically.

There are still a couple of details to cover to help make the picture complete:

  1. We can now state that the @Module() decorator's imports property can take not only a module class name (e.g., imports: [UsersModule]), but also a function returning a dynamic module (e.g., imports: [ConfigModule.register(...)]).
  2. A dynamic module can itself import other modules. We won't do so in this example, but if the dynamic module depends on providers from other modules, you would import them using the optional imports property. Again, this is exactly analogous to the way you'd declare metadata for a static module using the @Module() decorator.

Armed with this understanding, we can now look at what our dynamic ConfigModule declaration must look like. Let's take a crack at it.

import { DynamicModule, Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { ConfigService } from './config.service';

@Module({})
export class ConfigModule {
  static register(): DynamicModule {
    return {
      module: ConfigModule,
      providers: [ConfigService],
      exports: [ConfigService],
    };
  }
}

It should now be clear how the pieces tie together. Calling ConfigModule.register(...) returns a DynamicModule object with properties which are essentially the same as those that, until now, we've provided as metadata via the @Module() decorator.

info Hint Import DynamicModule from @nestjs/common.

Our dynamic module isn't very interesting yet, however, as we haven't introduced any capability to configure it as we said we would like to do. Let's address that next.

Module configuration

The obvious solution for customizing the behavior of the ConfigModule is to pass it an options object in the static register() method, as we guessed above. Let's look once again at our consuming module's imports property:

import { Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { AppController } from './app.controller';
import { AppService } from './app.service';
import { ConfigModule } from './config/config.module';

@Module({
  imports: [ConfigModule.register({ folder: './config' })],
  controllers: [AppController],
  providers: [AppService],
})
export class AppModule {}

That nicely handles passing an options object to our dynamic module. How do we then use that options object in the ConfigModule? Let's consider that for a minute. We know that our ConfigModule is basically a host for providing and exporting an injectable service - the ConfigService - for use by other providers. It's actually our ConfigService that needs to read the options object to customize its behavior. Let's assume for the moment that we know how to somehow get the options from the register() method into the ConfigService. With that assumption, we can make a few changes to the service to customize its behavior based on the properties from the options object. (Note: for the time being, since we haven't actually determined how to pass it in, we'll just hard-code options. We'll fix this in a minute).

import { Injectable } from '@nestjs/common';
import * as dotenv from 'dotenv';
import * as fs from 'fs';
import { EnvConfig } from './interfaces';

@Injectable()
export class ConfigService {
  private readonly envConfig: EnvConfig;

  constructor() {
    const options = { folder: './config' };

    const filePath = `${process.env.NODE_ENV || 'development'}.env`;
    const envFile = path.resolve(__dirname, '../../', options.folder, filePath);
    this.envConfig = dotenv.parse(fs.readFileSync(envFile));
  }

  get(key: string): string {
    return this.envConfig[key];
  }
}

Now our ConfigService knows how to find the .env file in the folder we've specified in options.

Our remaining task is to somehow inject the options object from the register() step into our ConfigService. And of course, we'll use dependency injection to do it. This is a key point, so make sure you understand it. Our ConfigModule is providing ConfigService. ConfigService in turn depends on the options object that is only supplied at run-time. So, at run-time, we'll need to first bind the options object to the Nest IoC container, and then have Nest inject it into our ConfigService. Remember from the Custom providers chapter that providers can include any value not just services, so we're fine using dependency injection to handle a simple options object.

Let's tackle binding the options object to the IoC container first. We do this in our static register() method. Remember that we are dynamically constructing a module, and one of the properties of a module is its list of providers. So what we need to do is define our options object as a provider. This will make it injectable into the ConfigService, which we'll take advantage of in the next step. In the code below, pay attention to the providers array:

import { DynamicModule, Module } from '@nestjs/common';
import { ConfigService } from './config.service';

@Module({})
export class ConfigModule {
  static register(options): DynamicModule {
    return {
      module: ConfigModule,
      providers: [
        {
          provide: 'CONFIG_OPTIONS',
          useValue: options,
        },
        ConfigService,
      ],
      exports: [ConfigService],
    };
  }
}

Now we can complete the process by injecting the 'CONFIG_OPTIONS' provider into the ConfigService. Recall that when we define a provider using a non-class token we need to use the @Inject() decorator as described here.

import * as dotenv from 'dotenv';
import * as fs from 'fs';
import { Injectable, Inject } from '@nestjs/common';
import { EnvConfig } from './interfaces';

@Injectable()
export class ConfigService {
  private readonly envConfig: EnvConfig;

  constructor(@Inject('CONFIG_OPTIONS') private options) {
    const filePath = `${process.env.NODE_ENV || 'development'}.env`;
    const envFile = path.resolve(__dirname, '../../', options.folder, filePath);
    this.envConfig = dotenv.parse(fs.readFileSync(envFile));
  }

  get(key: string): string {
    return this.envConfig[key];
  }
}

One final note: for simplicity we used a string-based injection token ('CONFIG_OPTIONS') above, but best practice is to define it as a constant (or Symbol) in a separate file, and import that file. For example:

export const CONFIG_OPTIONS = 'CONFIG_OPTIONS';

Example

A full example of the code in this chapter can be found here.

Execution context

Nest provides several utility classes that help make it easy to write applications that function across multiple application contexts (e.g., Nest HTTP server-based, microservices and WebSockets application contexts). These utilities provide information about the current execution context which can be used to build generic guards, filters, and interceptors that can work across a broad set of controllers, methods, and execution contexts.

We cover two such classes in this chapter: ArgumentsHost and ExecutionContext.

ArgumentsHost class

The ArgumentsHost class provides methods for retrieving the arguments being passed to a handler. It allows choosing the appropriate context (e.g., HTTP, RPC (microservice), or WebSockets) to retrieve the arguments from. The framework provides an instance of ArgumentsHost, typically referenced as a host parameter, in places where you may want to access it. For example, the catch() method of an exception filter is called with an ArgumentsHostinstance.

ArgumentsHost simply acts as an abstraction over a handler's arguments. For example, for HTTP server applications (when @nestjs/platform-express is being used), the host object encapsulates Express's [request, response, next] array, where request is the request object, response is the response object, and next is a function that controls the application's request-response cycle. On the other hand, for GraphQL applications, the host object contains the [root, args, context, info] array.

Current application context

When building generic guards, filters, and interceptors which are meant to run across multiple application contexts, we need a way to determine the type of application that our method is currently running in. Do this with the getType() method of ArgumentsHost:

if (host.getType() === 'http') {
  // do something that is only important in the context of regular HTTP requests (REST)
} else if (host.getType() === 'rpc') {
  // do something that is only important in the context of Microservice requests
} else if (host.getType<GqlContextType>() === 'graphql') {
  // do something that is only important in the context of GraphQL requests
}

info Hint The GqlContextType is imported from the @nestjs/graphql package.

With the application type available, we can write more generic components, as shown below.

Host handler arguments

To retrieve the array of arguments being passed to the handler, one approach is to use the host object's getArgs() method.

const [req, res, next] = host.getArgs();

You can pluck a particular argument by index using the getArgByIndex() method:

const request = host.getArgByIndex(0);
const response = host.getArgByIndex(1);

In these examples we retrieved the request and response objects by index, which is not typically recommended as it couples the application to a particular execution context. Instead, you can make your code more robust and reusable by using one of the host object's utility methods to switch to the appropriate application context for your application. The context switch utility methods are shown below.

/**
 * Switch context to RPC.
 */
switchToRpc(): RpcArgumentsHost;
/**
 * Switch context to HTTP.
 */
switchToHttp(): HttpArgumentsHost;
/**
 * Switch context to WebSockets.
 */
switchToWs(): WsArgumentsHost;

Let's rewrite the previous example using the switchToHttp() method. The host.switchToHttp() helper call returns an HttpArgumentsHost object that is appropriate for the HTTP application context. The HttpArgumentsHost object has two useful methods we can use to extract the desired objects. We also use the Express type assertions in this case to return native Express typed objects:

const ctx = host.switchToHttp();
const request = ctx.getRequest<Request>();
const response = ctx.getResponse<Response>();

Similarly WsArgumentsHost and RpcArgumentsHost have methods to return appropriate objects in the microservices and WebSockets contexts. Here are the methods for WsArgumentsHost:

export interface WsArgumentsHost {
  /**
   * Returns the data object.
   */
  getData<T>(): T;
  /**
   * Returns the client object.
   */
  getClient<T>(): T;
}

Following are the methods for RpcArgumentsHost:

export interface RpcArgumentsHost {
  /**
   * Returns the data object.
   */
  getData<T>(): T;

  /**
   * Returns the context object.
   */
  getContext<T>(): T;
}

ExecutionContext class

ExecutionContext extends ArgumentsHost, providing additional details about the current execution process. Like ArgumentsHost, Nest provides an instance of ExecutionContext in places you may need it, such as in the canActivate() method of a guard and the intercept() method of an interceptor. It provides the following methods:

export interface ExecutionContext extends ArgumentsHost {
  /**
   * Returns the type of the controller class which the current handler belongs to.
   */
  getClass<T>(): Type<T>;
  /**
   * Returns a reference to the handler (method) that will be invoked next in the
   * request pipeline.
   */
  getHandler(): Function;
}

The getHandler() method returns a reference to the handler about to be invoked. The getClass() method returns the type of the Controller class which this particular handler belongs to. For example, in an HTTP context, if the currently processed request is a POST request, bound to the create() method on the CatsController, getHandler() returns a reference to the create() method and getClass() returns the CatsController type (not instance).

const methodKey = ctx.getHandler().name; // "create"
const className = ctx.getClass().name; // "CatsController"

The ability to access references to both the current class and handler method provides great flexibility. Most importantly, it gives us the opportunity to access the metadata set through the @SetMetadata() decorator from within guards or interceptors. We cover this use case below.

Reflection and metadata

Nest provides the ability to attach custom metadata to route handlers through the @SetMetadata() decorator. We can then access this metadata from within our class to make certain decisions.

@@filename(cats.controller)
@Post()
@SetMetadata('roles', ['admin'])
async create(@Body() createCatDto: CreateCatDto) {
  this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
}
@@switch
@Post()
@SetMetadata('roles', ['admin'])
@Bind(Body())
async create(createCatDto) {
  this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
}

info Hint The @SetMetadata() decorator is imported from the @nestjs/common package.

With the construction above, we attached the roles metadata (roles is a metadata key and ['admin'] is the associated value) to the create() method. While this works, it's not good practice to use @SetMetadata() directly in your routes. Instead, create your own decorators, as shown below:

@@filename(roles.decorator)
import { SetMetadata } from '@nestjs/common';

export const Roles = (...roles: string[]) => SetMetadata('roles', roles);
@@switch
import { SetMetadata } from '@nestjs/common';

export const Roles = (...roles) => SetMetadata('roles', roles);

This approach is much cleaner and more readable, and is strongly typed. Now that we have a custom @Roles() decorator, we can use it to decorate the create() method.

@@filename(cats.controller)
@Post()
@Roles('admin')
async create(@Body() createCatDto: CreateCatDto) {
  this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
}
@@switch
@Post()
@Roles('admin')
@Bind(Body())
async create(createCatDto) {
  this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
}

To access the route's role(s) (custom metadata), we'll use the Reflector helper class, which is provided out of the box by the framework and exposed from the @nestjs/core package. Reflector can be injected into a class in the normal way:

@@filename(roles.guard)
@Injectable()
export class RolesGuard {
  constructor(private reflector: Reflector) {}
}
@@switch
@Injectable()
@Dependencies(Reflector)
export class CatsService {
  constructor(reflector) {
    this.reflector = reflector;
  }
}

info Hint The Reflector class is imported from the @nestjs/core package.

Now, to read the handler metadata, use the get() method.

const roles = this.reflector.get<string[]>('roles', context.getHandler());

The Reflector#get method allows us to easily access the metadata by passing in two arguments: a metadata key and a context (decorator target) to retrieve the metadata from. In this example, the specified key is 'roles' (refer back to the roles.decorator.ts file above and the SetMetadata() call made there). The context is provided by the call to context.getHandler(), which results in extracting the metadata for the currently processed route handler. Remember, getHandler() gives us a reference to the route handler function.

Alternatively, we may organize our controller by applying metadata at the controller level, applying to all routes in the controller class.

@@filename(cats.controller)
@Roles('admin')
@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {}
@@switch
@Roles('admin')
@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {}

In this case, to extract controller metadata, we pass context.getClass() as the second argument (to provide the controller class as the context for metadata extraction) instead of context.getHandler():

@@filename(roles.guard)
const roles = this.reflector.get<string[]>('roles', context.getClass());
@@switch
const roles = this.reflector.get('roles', context.getClass());

Given the ability to provide metadata at multiple levels, you may need to extract and merge metadata from several contexts. The Reflector class provides two utility methods used to help with this. These methods extract both controller and method metadata at once, and combine them in different ways.

Consider the following scenario, where you've supplied 'roles' metadata at both levels.

@@filename(cats.controller)
@Roles('user')
@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {
  @Post()
  @Roles('admin')
  async create(@Body() createCatDto: CreateCatDto) {
    this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
  }
}
@@switch
@Roles('user')
@Controller('cats')
export class CatsController {}
  @Post()
  @Roles('admin')
  @Bind(Body())
  async create(createCatDto) {
    this.catsService.create(createCatDto);
  }
}

If your intent is to specify 'user' as the default role, and override it selectively for certain methods, you would probably use the getAllAndOverride() method.

const roles = this.reflector.getAllAndOverride<string[]>('roles', [
  context.getHandler(),
  context.getClass(),
]);

A guard with this code, running in the context of the create() method, with the above metadata, would result in roles containing ['admin'].

To get metadata for both and merge it (this method merges both arrays and objects), use the getAllAndMerge() method:

const roles = this.reflector.getAllAndMerge<string[]>('roles', [
  context.getHandler(),
  context.getClass(),
]);

This would result in roles containing ['user', 'admin'].

For both of these merge methods, you pass the metadata key as the first argument, and an array of metadata target contexts (i.e., calls to the getHandler() and/or getClass()) methods) as the second argument.

Lifecycle Events

A Nest application, as well as every application element, has a lifecycle managed by Nest. Nest provides lifecycle hooks that give visibility into key lifecycle events, and the ability to act (run registered code on your module, injectable or controller) when they occur.

Lifecycle sequence

The following diagram depicts the sequence of key application lifecycle events, from the time the application is bootstrapped until the node process exits. We can divide the overall lifecycle into three phases: initializing, running and terminating. Using this lifecycle, you can plan for appropriate initialization of modules and services, manage active connections, and gracefully shutdown your application when it receives a termination signal.

Lifecycle events

Lifecycle events happen during application bootstrapping and shutdown. Nest calls registered lifecycle hook methods on modules, injectables and controllers at each of the following lifecycle events (shutdown hooks need to be enabled first, as described below). As shown in the diagram above, Nest also calls the appropriate underlying methods to begin listening for connections, and to stop listening for connections.

In the following table, onModuleDestroy, beforeApplicationShutdown and onApplicationShutdown are only triggered if you explicitly call app.close() or if the process receives a special system signal (such as SIGTERM) and you have correctly called enableShutdownHooks at application bootstrap (see below Application shutdown part).

Lifecycle hook method Lifecycle event triggering the hook method call
onModuleInit() Called once the host module's dependencies have been resolved.
onApplicationBootstrap() Called once all modules have been initialized, but before listening for connections.
onModuleDestroy()* Called after a termination signal (e.g., SIGTERM) has been received.
beforeApplicationShutdown()* Called after all onModuleDestroy() handlers have completed (Promises resolved or rejected);
once complete (Promises resolved or rejected), all existing connections will be closed (app.close() called).
onApplicationShutdown()* Called after connections close (app.close() resolves.

* For these events, if you're not calling app.close() explicitly, you must opt-in to make them work with system signals such as SIGTERM. See Application shutdown below.

warning Warning The lifecycle hooks listed above are not triggered for request-scoped classes. Request-scoped classes are not tied to the application lifecycle and their lifespan is unpredictable. They are exclusively created for each request and automatically garbage-collected after the response is sent.

Usage

Each lifecycle hook is represented by an interface. Interfaces are technically optional because they do not exist after TypeScript compilation. Nonetheless, it's good practice to use them in order to benefit from strong typing and editor tooling. To register a lifecycle hook, implement the appropriate interface. For example, to register a method to be called during module initialization on a particular class (e.g., Controller, Provider or Module), implement the OnModuleInit interface by supplying an onModuleInit() method, as shown below:

@@filename()
import { Injectable, OnModuleInit } from '@nestjs/common';

@Injectable()
export class UsersService implements OnModuleInit {
  onModuleInit() {
    console.log(`The module has been initialized.`);
  }
}
@@switch
import { Injectable } from '@nestjs/common';

@Injectable()
export class UsersService {
  onModuleInit() {
    console.log(`The module has been initialized.`);
  }
}

Asynchronous initialization

Both the OnModuleInit and OnApplicationBootstrap hooks allow you to defer the application initialization process (return a Promise or mark the method as async and await an asynchronous method completion in the method body).

@@filename()
async onModuleInit(): Promise<void> {
  await this.fetch();
}
@@switch
async onModuleInit() {
  await this.fetch();
}

Application shutdown

The onModuleDestroy(), beforeApplicationShutdown() and onApplicationShutdown() hooks are called in the terminating phase (in response to an explicit call to app.close() or upon receipt of system signals such as SIGTERM if opted-in). This feature is often used with Kubernetes to manage containers' lifecycles, by Heroku for dynos or similar services.

Shutdown hook listeners consume system resources, so they are disabled by default. To use shutdown hooks, you must enable listeners by calling enableShutdownHooks():

import { NestFactory } from '@nestjs/core';
import { AppModule } from './app.module';

async function bootstrap() {
  const app = await NestFactory.create(AppModule);

  // Starts listening for shutdown hooks
  app.enableShutdownHooks();

  await app.listen(3000);
}
bootstrap();

warning warning Due to inherent platform limitations, NestJS has limited support for application shutdown hooks on Windows. You can expect SIGINT to work, as well as SIGBREAK and to some extent SIGHUP - read more. However SIGTERM will never work on Windows because killing a process in the task manager is unconditional, "i.e., there's no way for an application to detect or prevent it". Here's some relevant documentation from libuv to learn more about how SIGINT, SIGBREAK and others are handled on Windows. Also, see Node.js documentation of Process Signal Events

info Info enableShutdownHooks consumes memory by starting listeners. In cases where you are running multiple Nest apps in a single Node process (e.g., when running parallel tests with Jest), Node may complain about excessive listener processes. For this reason, enableShutdownHooks is not enabled by default. Be aware of this condition when you are running multiple instances in a single Node process.

When the application receives a termination signal it will call any registered onModuleDestroy(), beforeApplicationShutdown(), then onApplicationShutdown() methods (in the sequence described above) with the corresponding signal as the first parameter. If a registered function awaits an asynchronous call (returns a promise), Nest will not continue in the sequence until the promise is resolved or rejected.

@@filename()
@Injectable()
class UsersService implements OnApplicationShutdown {
  onApplicationShutdown(signal: string) {
    console.log(signal); // e.g. "SIGINT"
  }
}
@@switch
@Injectable()
class UsersService implements OnApplicationShutdown {
  onApplicationShutdown(signal) {
    console.log(signal); // e.g. "SIGINT"
  }
}

Module reference

Nest provides the ModuleRef class to navigate the internal list of providers and obtain a reference to any provider using its injection token as a lookup key. The ModuleRef class also provides a way to dynamically instantiate both static and scoped providers. ModuleRef can be injected into a class in the normal way:

@@filename(cats.service)
@Injectable()
export class CatsService {
  constructor(private moduleRef: ModuleRef) {}
}
@@switch
@Injectable()
@Dependencies(ModuleRef)
export class CatsService {
  constructor(moduleRef) {
    this.moduleRef = moduleRef;
  }
}

info Hint The ModuleRef class is imported from the @nestjs/core package.

Retrieving instances

The ModuleRef instance (hereafter we'll refer to it as the module reference) has a get() method. This method retrieves a provider, controller, or injectable (e.g., guard, interceptor, etc.) that exists (has been instantiated) in the current module using its injection token/class name.

@@filename(cats.service)
@Injectable()
export class CatsService implements OnModuleInit {
  private service: Service;
  constructor(private moduleRef: ModuleRef) {}

  onModuleInit() {
    this.service = this.moduleRef.get(Service);
  }
}
@@switch
@Injectable()
@Dependencies(ModuleRef)
export class CatsService {
  constructor(moduleRef) {
    this.moduleRef = moduleRef;
  }

  onModuleInit() {
    this.service = this.moduleRef.get(Service);
  }
}

warning Warning You can't retrieve scoped providers (transient or request-scoped) with the get() method. Instead, use the technique described below. Learn how to control scopes here.

To retrieve a provider from the global context (for example, if the provider has been injected in a different module), pass the {{ '{' }} strict: false {{ '}' }} option as a second argument to get().

this.moduleRef.get(Service, { strict: false });

Resolving scoped providers

To dynamically resolve a scoped provider (transient or request-scoped), use the resolve() method, passing the provider's injection token as an argument.

@@filename(cats.service)
@Injectable()
export class CatsService implements OnModuleInit {
  private transientService: TransientService;
  constructor(private moduleRef: ModuleRef) {}

  async onModuleInit() {
    this.transientService = await this.moduleRef.resolve(TransientService);
  }
}
@@switch
@Injectable()
@Dependencies(ModuleRef)
export class CatsService {
  constructor(moduleRef) {
    this.moduleRef = moduleRef;
  }

  async onModuleInit() {
    this.transientService = await this.moduleRef.resolve(TransientService);
  }
}

The resolve() method returns a unique instance of the provider, from its own DI container sub-tree. Each sub-tree has a unique context identifier. Thus, if you call this method more than once and compare instance references, you will see that they are not equal.

@@filename(cats.service)
@Injectable()
export class CatsService implements OnModuleInit {
  constructor(private moduleRef: ModuleRef) {}

  async onModuleInit() {
    const transientServices = await Promise.all([
      this.moduleRef.resolve(TransientService),
      this.moduleRef.resolve(TransientService),
    ]);
    console.log(transientServices[0] === transientServices[1]); // false
  }
}
@@switch
@Injectable()
@Dependencies(ModuleRef)
export class CatsService {
  constructor(moduleRef) {
    this.moduleRef = moduleRef;
  }

  async onModuleInit() {
    const transientServices = await Promise.all([
      this.moduleRef.resolve(TransientService),
      this.moduleRef.resolve(TransientService),
    ]);
    console.log(transientServices[0] === transientServices[1]); // false
  }
}

To generate a single instance across multiple resolve() calls, and ensure they share the same generated DI container sub-tree, you can pass a context identifier to the resolve() method. Use the ContextIdFactory class to generate a context identifier. This class provides a create() method that returns an appropriate unique identifier.

@@filename(cats.service)
@Injectable()
export class CatsService implements OnModuleInit {
  constructor(private moduleRef: ModuleRef) {}

  async onModuleInit() {
    const contextId = ContextIdFactory.create();
    const transientServices = await Promise.all([
      this.moduleRef.resolve(TransientService, contextId),
      this.moduleRef.resolve(TransientService, contextId),
    ]);
    console.log(transientServices[0] === transientServices[1]); // true
  }
}
@@switch
@Injectable()
@Dependencies(ModuleRef)
export class CatsService {
  constructor(moduleRef) {
    this.moduleRef = moduleRef;
  }

  async onModuleInit() {
    const contextId = ContextIdFactory.create();
    const transientServices = await Promise.all([
      this.moduleRef.resolve(TransientService, contextId),
      this.moduleRef.resolve(TransientService, contextId),
    ]);
    console.log(transientServices[0] === transientServices[1]); // true
  }
}

info Hint The ContextIdFactory class is imported from the @nestjs/core package.

Getting current sub-tree

Occasionally, you may want to resolve an instance of a request-scoped provider within a request context. Let's say that CatsService is request-scoped and you want to resolve the CatsRepository instance which is also marked as a request-scoped provider. In order to share the same DI container sub-tree, you must obtain the current context identifier instead of generating a new one (e.g., with the ContextIdFactory.create() function, as shown above). To obtain the current context identifier, start by injecting the request object using @Inject() decorator.

@@filename(cats.service)
@Injectable()
export class CatsService {
  constructor(
    @Inject(REQUEST) private request: Record<string, unknown>,
  ) {}
}
@@switch
@Injectable()
@Dependencies(REQUEST)
export class CatsService {
  constructor(request) {
    this.request = request;
  }
}

info Hint Learn more about the request provider here.

Now, use the getByRequest() method of the ContextIdFactory class to create a context id based on the request object, and pass this to the resolve() call:

const contextId = ContextIdFactory.getByRequest(this.request);
const catsRepository = await this.moduleRef.resolve(CatsRepository, contextId);

Instantiating custom classes dynamically

To dynamically instantiate a class that wasn't previously registered as a provider, use the module reference's create() method.

@@filename(cats.service)
@Injectable()
export class CatsService implements OnModuleInit {
  private catsFactory: CatsFactory;
  constructor(private moduleRef: ModuleRef) {}

  async onModuleInit() {
    this.catsFactory = await this.moduleRef.create(CatsFactory);
  }
}
@@switch
@Injectable()
@Dependencies(ModuleRef)
export class CatsService {
  constructor(moduleRef) {
    this.moduleRef = moduleRef;
  }

  async onModuleInit() {
    this.catsFactory = await this.moduleRef.create(CatsFactory);
  }
}

This technique enables you to conditionally instantiate different classes outside of the framework container.

Platform agnosticism

Nest is a platform-agnostic framework. This means you can develop reusable logical parts that can be used across different types of applications. For example, most components can be re-used without change across different underlying HTTP server frameworks (e.g., Express and Fastify), and even across different types of applications (e.g., HTTP server frameworks, Microservices with different transport layers, and Web Sockets).

Build once, use everywhere

The Overview section of the documentation primarily shows coding techniques using HTTP server frameworks (e.g., apps providing a REST API or providing an MVC-style server-side rendered app). However, all those building blocks can be used on top of different transport layers (microservices or websockets).

Furthermore, Nest comes with a dedicated GraphQL module. You can use GraphQL as your API layer interchangeably with providing a REST API.

In addition, the application context feature helps to create any kind of Node.js application - including things like CRON jobs and CLI apps - on top of Nest.

Nest aspires to be a full-fledged platform for Node.js apps that brings a higher-level of modularity and reusability to your applications. Build once, use everywhere!

Injection scopes

For people coming from different programming language backgrounds, it might be unexpected to learn that in Nest, almost everything is shared across incoming requests. We have a connection pool to the database, singleton services with global state, etc. Remember that Node.js doesn't follow the request/response Multi-Threaded Stateless Model in which every request is processed by a separate thread. Hence, using singleton instances is fully safe for our applications.

However, there are edge-cases when request-based lifetime may be the desired behavior, for instance per-request caching in GraphQL applications, request tracking, and multi-tenancy. Injection scopes provide a mechanism to obtain the desired provider lifetime behavior.

Provider scope

A provider can have any of the following scopes:

DEFAULT A single instance of the provider is shared across the entire application. The instance lifetime is tied directly to the application lifecycle. Once the application has bootstrapped, all singleton providers have been instantiated. Singleton scope is used by default.
REQUEST A new instance of the provider is created exclusively for each incoming request. The instance is garbage-collected after the request has completed processing.
TRANSIENT Transient providers are not shared across consumers. Each consumer that injects a transient provider will receive a new, dedicated instance.

info Hint Using singleton scope is recommended for most use cases. Sharing providers across consumers and across requests means that an instance can be cached and its initialization occurs only once, during application startup.

Usage

Specify injection scope by passing the scope property to the @Injectable() decorator options object:

import { Injectable, Scope } from '@nestjs/common';

@Injectable({ scope: Scope.REQUEST })
export class CatsService {}

Similarly, for custom providers, set the scope property in the long-hand form for a provider registration:

{
  provide: 'CACHE_MANAGER',
  useClass: CacheManager,
  scope: Scope.TRANSIENT,
}

info Hint Import the Scope enum from @nestjs/common

warning Notice Gateways should not use request-scoped providers because they must act as singletons. Each gateway encapsulates a real socket and cannot be instantiated multiple times.

Singleton scope is used by default, and need not be declared. If you do want to declare a provider as singleton scoped, use the Scope.DEFAULT value for the scope property.

Controller scope

Controllers can also have scope, which applies to all request method handlers declared in that controller. Like provider scope, the scope of a controller declares its lifetime. For a request-scoped controller, a new instance is created for each inbound request, and garbage-collected when the request has completed processing.

Declare controller scope with the scope property of the ControllerOptions object:

@Controller({
  path: 'cats',
  scope: Scope.REQUEST,
})
export class CatsController {}

Scope hierarchy

Scope bubbles up the injection chain. A controller that depends on a request-scoped provider will, itself, be request-scoped.

Imagine the following dependency graph: CatsController <- CatsService <- CatsRepository. If CatsService is request-scoped (and the others are default singletons), the CatsController will become request-scoped as it is dependent on the injected service. The CatsRepository, which is not dependent, would remain singleton-scoped.

Request provider

In an HTTP server-based application (e.g., using @nestjs/platform-express or @nestjs/platform-fastify), you may want to access a reference to the original request object when using request-scoped providers. You can do this by injecting the REQUEST object.

import { Injectable, Scope, Inject } from '@nestjs/common';
import { REQUEST } from '@nestjs/core';
import { Request } from 'express';

@Injectable({ scope: Scope.REQUEST })
export class CatsService {
  constructor(@Inject(REQUEST) private request: Request) {}
}

Because of underlying platform/protocol differences, you access the inbound request slightly differently for Microservice or GraphQL applications. In GraphQL applications, you inject CONTEXT instead of REQUEST:

import { Injectable, Scope, Inject } from '@nestjs/common';
import { CONTEXT } from '@nestjs/graphql';

@Injectable({ scope: Scope.REQUEST })
export class CatsService {
  constructor(@Inject(CONTEXT) private context) {}
}

You then configure your context value (in the GraphQLModule) to contain request as its property.

Performance

Using request-scoped providers will have an impact on application performance. While Nest tries to cache as much metadata as possible, it will still have to create an instance of your class on each request. Hence, it will slow down your average response time and overall benchmarking result. Unless a provider must be request-scoped, it is strongly recommended that you use the default singleton scope.

Testing

Automated testing is considered an essential part of any serious software development effort. Automation makes it easy to repeat individual tests or test suites quickly and easily during development. This helps ensure that releases meet quality and performance goals. Automation helps increase coverage and provides a faster feedback loop to developers. Automation both increases the productivity of individual developers and ensures that tests are run at critical development lifecycle junctures, such as source code control check-in, feature integration, and version release.

Such tests often span a variety of types, including unit tests, end-to-end (e2e) tests, integration tests, and so on. While the benefits are unquestionable, it can be tedious to set them up. Nest strives to promote development best practices, including effective testing, so it includes features such as the following to help developers and teams build and automate tests. Nest:

  • automatically scaffolds default unit tests for components and e2e tests for applications
  • provides default tooling (such as a test runner that builds an isolated module/application loader)
  • provides integration with Jest and Supertest out-of-the-box, while remaining agnostic to testing tools
  • makes the Nest dependency injection system available in the testing environment for easily mocking components

As mentioned, you can use any testing framework that you like, as Nest doesn't force any specific tooling. Simply replace the elements needed (such as the test runner), and you will still enjoy the benefits of Nest's ready-made testing facilities.

Installation

To get started, first install the required package:

$ npm i --save-dev @nestjs/testing

Unit testing

In the following example, we test two classes: CatsController and CatsService. As mentioned, Jest is provided as the default testing framework. It serves as a test-runner and also provides assert functions and test-double utilities that help with mocking, spying, etc. In the following basic test, we manually instantiate these classes, and ensure that the controller and service fulfill their API contract.

@@filename(cats.controller.spec)
import { CatsController } from './cats.controller';
import { CatsService } from './cats.service';

describe('CatsController', () => {
  let catsController: CatsController;
  let catsService: CatsService;

  beforeEach(() => {
    catsService = new CatsService();
    catsController = new CatsController(catsService);
  });

  describe('findAll', () => {
    it('should return an array of cats', async () => {
      const result = ['test'];
      jest.spyOn(catsService, 'findAll').mockImplementation(() => result);

      expect(await catsController.findAll()).toBe(result);
    });
  });
});
@@switch
import { CatsController } from './cats.controller';
import { CatsService } from './cats.service';

describe('CatsController', () => {
  let catsController;
  let catsService;

  beforeEach(() => {
    catsService = new CatsService();
    catsController = new CatsController(catsService);
  });

  describe('findAll', () => {
    it('should return an array of cats', async () => {
      const result = ['test'];
      jest.spyOn(catsService, 'findAll').mockImplementation(() => result);

      expect(await catsController.findAll()).toBe(result);
    });
  });
});

info Hint Keep your test files located near the classes they test. Testing files should have a .spec or .test suffix.

Because the above sample is trivial, we aren't really testing anything Nest-specific. Indeed, we aren't even using dependency injection (notice that we pass an instance of CatsService to our catsController). This form of testing - where we manually instantiate the classes being tested - is often called isolated testing as it is independent from the framework. Let's introduce some more advanced capabilities that help you test applications that make more extensive use of Nest features.

Testing utilities

The @nestjs/testing package provides a set of utilities that enable a more robust testing process. Let's rewrite the previous example using the built-in Test class:

@@filename(cats.controller.spec)
import { Test } from '@nestjs/testing';
import { CatsController } from './cats.controller';
import { CatsService } from './cats.service';

describe('CatsController', () => {
  let catsController: CatsController;
  let catsService: CatsService;

  beforeEach(async () => {
    const moduleRef = await Test.createTestingModule({
        controllers: [CatsController],
        providers: [CatsService],
      }).compile();

    catsService = moduleRef.get<CatsService>(CatsService);
    catsController = moduleRef.get<CatsController>(CatsController);
  });

  describe('findAll', () => {
    it('should return an array of cats', async () => {
      const result = ['test'];
      jest.spyOn(catsService, 'findAll').mockImplementation(() => result);

      expect(await catsController.findAll()).toBe(result);
    });
  });
});
@@switch
import { Test } from '@nestjs/testing';
import { CatsController } from './cats.controller';
import { CatsService } from './cats.service';

describe('CatsController', () => {
  let catsController;
  let catsService;

  beforeEach(async () => {
    const moduleRef = await Test.createTestingModule({
        controllers: [CatsController],
        providers: [CatsService],
      }).compile();

    catsService = moduleRef.get(CatsService);
    catsController = moduleRef.get(CatsController);
  });

  describe('findAll', () => {
    it('should return an array of cats', async () => {
      const result = ['test'];
      jest.spyOn(catsService, 'findAll').mockImplementation(() => result);

      expect(await catsController.findAll()).toBe(result);
    });
  });
});

The Test class is useful for providing an application execution context that essentially mocks the full Nest runtime, but gives you hooks that make it easy to manage class instances, including mocking and overriding. The Test class has a createTestingModule() method that takes a module metadata object as its argument (the same object you pass to the @Module() decorator). This method returns a TestingModule instance which in turn provides a few methods. For unit tests, the important one is the compile() method. This method bootstraps a module with its dependencies (similar to the way an application is bootstrapped in the conventional main.ts file using NestFactory.create()), and returns a module that is ready for testing.

info Hint The compile() method is asynchronous and therefore has to be awaited. Once the module is compiled you can retrieve any static instance it declares (controllers and providers) using the get() method.

TestingModule inherits from the module reference class, and therefore its ability to dynamically resolve scoped providers (transient or request-scoped). Do this with the resolve() method (the get() method can only retrieve static instances).

const moduleRef = await Test.createTestingModule({
  controllers: [CatsController],
  providers: [CatsService],
}).compile();

catsService = await moduleRef.resolve(CatsService);

warning Warning The resolve() method returns a unique instance of the provider, from its own DI container sub-tree. Each sub-tree has a unique context identifier. Thus, if you call this method more than once and compare instance references, you will see that they are not equal.

info Hint Learn more about the module reference features here.

Instead of using the production version of any provider, you can override it with a custom provider for testing purposes. For example, you can mock a database service instead of connecting to a live database. We'll cover overrides in the next section, but they're available for unit tests as well.

End-to-end testing

Unlike unit testing, which focuses on individual modules and classes, end-to-end (e2e) testing covers the interaction of classes and modules at a more aggregate level -- closer to the kind of interaction that end-users will have with the production system. As an application grows, it becomes hard to manually test the end-to-end behavior of each API endpoint. Automated end-to-end tests help us ensure that the overall behavior of the system is correct and meets project requirements. To perform e2e tests we use a similar configuration to the one we just covered in unit testing. In addition, Nest makes it easy to use the Supertest library to simulate HTTP requests.

@@filename(cats.e2e-spec)
import * as request from 'supertest';
import { Test } from '@nestjs/testing';
import { CatsModule } from '../../src/cats/cats.module';
import { CatsService } from '../../src/cats/cats.service';
import { INestApplication } from '@nestjs/common';

describe('Cats', () => {
  let app: INestApplication;
  let catsService = { findAll: () => ['test'] };

  beforeAll(async () => {
    const moduleRef = await Test.createTestingModule({
      imports: [CatsModule],
    })
      .overrideProvider(CatsService)
      .useValue(catsService)
      .compile();

    app = moduleRef.createNestApplication();
    await app.init();
  });

  it(`/GET cats`, () => {
    return request(app.getHttpServer())
      .get('/cats')
      .expect(200)
      .expect({
        data: catsService.findAll(),
      });
  });

  afterAll(async () => {
    await app.close();
  });
});
@@switch
import * as request from 'supertest';
import { Test } from '@nestjs/testing';
import { CatsModule } from '../../src/cats/cats.module';
import { CatsService } from '../../src/cats/cats.service';
import { INestApplication } from '@nestjs/common';

describe('Cats', () => {
  let app: INestApplication;
  let catsService = { findAll: () => ['test'] };

  beforeAll(async () => {
    const moduleRef = await Test.createTestingModule({
      imports: [CatsModule],
    })
      .overrideProvider(CatsService)
      .useValue(catsService)
      .compile();

    app = moduleRef.createNestApplication();
    await app.init();
  });

  it(`/GET cats`, () => {
    return request(app.getHttpServer())
      .get('/cats')
      .expect(200)
      .expect({
        data: catsService.findAll(),
      });
  });

  afterAll(async () => {
    await app.close();
  });
});

In this example, we build on some of the concepts described earlier. In addition to the compile() method we used earlier, we now use the createNestApplication() method to instantiate a full Nest runtime environment. We save a reference to the running app in our app variable so we can use it to simulate HTTP requests.

We simulate HTTP tests using the request() function from Supertest. We want these HTTP requests to route to our running Nest app, so we pass the request() function a reference to the HTTP listener that underlies Nest (which, in turn, may be provided by the Express platform). Hence the construction request(app.getHttpServer()). The call to request() hands us a wrapped HTTP Server, now connected to the Nest app, which exposes methods to simulate an actual HTTP request. For example, using request(...).get('/cats') will initiate a request to the Nest app that is identical to an actual HTTP request like get '/cats' coming in over the network.

In this example, we also provide an alternate (test-double) implementation of the CatsService which simply returns a hard-coded value that we can test for. Use overrideProvider() to provide such an alternate implementation. Similarly, Nest provides methods to override guards, interceptors, filters and pipes with theoverrideGuard(), overrideInterceptor(), overrideFilter(), and overridePipe() methods respectively.

Each of the override methods returns an object with 3 different methods that mirror those described for custom providers:

  • useClass: you supply a class that will be instantiated to provide the instance to override the object (provider, guard, etc.).
  • useValue: you supply an instance that will override the object.
  • useFactory: you supply a function that returns an instance that will override the object.

Each of the override method types, in turn, returns the TestingModule instance, and can thus be chained with other methods in the fluent style. You should use compile() at the end of such a chain to cause Nest to instantiate and initialize the module.

The compiled module has several useful methods, as described in the following table:

createNestApplication() Creates and returns a Nest application (INestApplication instance) based on the given module. Note that you must manually initialize the application using the init() method.
createNestMicroservice() Creates and returns a Nest microservice (INestMicroservice instance) based on the given module.
get() Retrieves a static instance of a controller or provider (including guards, filters, etc.) available in the applica