Setting up a Hapi.js App that sends work to a Node.js AWS Worker via SQS

First I created a project for the node.js web application.

$ npm init
This utility will walk you through creating a package.json file.
It only covers the most common items, and tries to guess sane defaults.

See `npm help json` for definitive documentation on these fields
and exactly what they do.

Use `npm install &pkg& --save` afterwards to install a package and
save it as a dependency in the package.json file.

Press ^C at any time to quit.
name: (testing-aws-sqs-site)
version: (0.0.0) 0.0.1
description: This project that will feed data to the queue for the AWS SQS sample.
entry point: (index.js) server.js
test command: mocha
git repository: (
keywords: aws, sqs, elastic, elastic beanstalk, queue, worker
author: Adron Hall
license: (ISC) Apache 2.0

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AWS Cloud

Setting up an AWS SQS Queue for Use With Node.js Beanstalk Worker Instances

Before diving straight in, I’m going to outline the specific goals and what I am using to accomplish these goals. The goal is to have a simple web application, that will get some element of data posted to a queue. The queue will then have data that a worker service needs to then process. As I step through each of these requirements I’ll determine the actual push and pull mechanisms that will get the job done.

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Getting in Some Code Stylings, Looking Good for the Code Dance

In every language there are opinions about how to format code. With JavaScript, the community abounds with opinions about how the code should look, how variables are declared, whether there should be semi-colons to end each statement, spaces before or after parenthesis, and more than I care to list in a simply worded paragraph like this. Recently the team at Deconstructed sat down to determine what our ongoing code style format would be and how we can enforce it.

The first thing we did was figure out what we could use for enforcement of the coding style. Milan (@milanloveless) quickly discovered node-jscs per suggestion from Adam Ulvi (@s5fs). He implemented that code as follows.

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More on Using the Nools DSL and Engine…

Nools Objects

In the helloworld.nools object there is a single object defined called Message. This object has two elements defined; the text property and the constructor. The specific object definition is shown below.

define Message {
    text : '',
    constructor : function(message){
        this.text = message;

This object can now be referred to by name throughout the nools file. The other way to reference this object is to call the getDefined function from the flow object that is being used in code processing the business rules. In the nools language any javascript has can be put inside the define blog. By defining the constructor as shown, it overrides the default constructor behavior. Continue reading


Learning “nools” Rules Engine

Recently I sat down to work up a solution around a rules engine. There were a few things I noticed right off.

  1. When there is a request to implement or build a rules engine it is very often (I’m guessing a solid 40-60% of the time) reasoned that there is a need solely based on a lack of understanding around what the problem space is that actually needs a solution. The simple assumption, is 40-60% of the time somebody says “let’s implement a rules engine to solve these unknown problems” really translates to “we really don’t know much about this domain so let’s implement something arbitrary as a stop gap”.
  2. Implementing a business rules engine can quickly become a “support the user” scenario for the developers that implement the rules engine. This is a situation in which the developers actually have to help the people writing the rules to be processed. This is not an ideal situation at all, generally developers supporting users writing rules is a quick way to ensure burn out, misappropriation of skills and turnover.
  3. Many developers will, without hesitation, spout out “are you sure you want to implement a rules engine?” and then follow that up with “let’s discuss your actual problem” with that leading to “are you sure you want to implement a rules engine?”. Other developers upon hearing that one will implement a rules engine immediately respond with, “shit, I’m out.”

At this point I realized I had X, Y and Z reason to use it and would just have to persevere with all of the threats that are inclusive of implementing a rules engine. Sometimes one just has to step into the realm of scary and get it done.

So here’s what I dug up. I’m really not sure about the name of this project, as it appears to be some sort of odd usage, so whatever, but it is indeed called nools (github repo). Nools is a business rules engine based on the Rete Algorithm, something that is helpful to read up on when implementing. The main deployment for nools is to a Node.js server, but I’ve read that it is prospectively deployable in most browsers too.
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Framework: Strongloop’s Loopback

Recently I did a series for New Relic on three frameworks, both for APIs and web apps. I titled it “Evaluating Node.js Frameworks: hapi.js, Restify, and Geddy” and it is available via the New Relic Blog. To check out those frameworks give that blog entry a read, then below I’ve added one more framework to the list, Strongloop’s Loopback.

Strength: Very feature-rich generation of models, data structures and related enterprise-type needs. Solid enterprise-style API framework library.
Weakness: Complexity could be cumbersome unless it is needed. Not an immediate first choice for a startup going after lean and clean.
Great for: Enterprise API Services.

When I dove into StrongLoop, I immediately got the feel that I was using a fairly polished package of software. When installing with ‘sudo npm install -g strongloop’ I could easily see the other packages that are installed. But instead of the normal Node.js display of additional dependencies that are installed, the StrongLoop install displayed a number of additional options with a shiny ASCII logo.
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Coding on & Orchestrate.js & Orchestrate.NET

First context, then I’ll dive in.


Orchestrate is a service that provides a simple API to access a multitude of database types all in one location. Key value, graph or events, some of the database types I’ve been using, are but a few they’ve already made available. There are many more on the way. Having these databases available via an API instead of needing to go through the arduous process of setting up and maintaining each database for each type of data structure is a massive time saver! On top of having a clean API and solid database platform and infrastructure Orchestrate has a number of client drivers that provide easy to use wrappers. These client drivers are available for a number of languages. Below I’ve written about two of these that I’ve been involved with in some way over the last couple of months.


This library I’m currently using for a demonstration application built against the services (follow us on twitter ya! @BeDeconstructed), a startup I’m co-founding. I’m not sure exactly what the app will be, but being .NET it’ll be something enterprisey. Because: .NET is Enterprise! For more on this project check out the Blog.

Some of the latest updates with this library.

But there’s still a bit of work to do for the library, so consider this a call out for anybody that has a cycle they’d like to throw in on the project, let us know. We’d happily take a few more pull requests!  The main two things we’d like to have done real soon are…


With the latest fixes, additions and updates the orchestrate.js client driver is getting more feature rich by the day. In addition @housejester has created an orchestrate-brain project for Hubot that uses Orchestrate.js. If you’re not familiar with Hubot, but sure to check out the company robot that can dramatically improve and reduce employee efficiency! Keep an eye on that project for more great things, or create a Hubot to keep a robotic eye on the project.

Here are a few key things to note that have been added to help in day-to-day coding on the project.

  • The travis.yml file has been added for the Travis Continuous Integration build. This build runs against node.js v0.10 and v0.8.
  • Testing is done with mocha, expect.js and nock. To get the tests up and running, clone the repo and then build with the make file. The tests will run in tdd format.
  • Promises are provided via the kew library.

If you’re opening up the project in WebStorm, it’s great to setup the mocha tests with the integrated mocha testing as shown below. After you’ve cloned the project and run ‘npm install’ then follow these steps to add the Mocha testing to the project. We’ve already setup exclusions in the .gitignore for the .idea directory and files that WebStorm uses.

First add a configuration by clicking on Edit Configurations.

Edit Configurations

Edit Configurations

Next click on the + to add a new configuration to run. Select the Mocha option from the list of configurations.

Mocha & Other Configurations in WebStorm

Mocha & Other Configurations in WebStorm

On the next screen set a name for the configuration. Set the test directory to the path for the test directory in the project. Then finally set the User interface option for Mocha to TDD instead of the default BDD.

Edit Configuration Dialog

Edit Configuration Dialog

Last but not least run the tests and you’ll see the list of green lights light up the display with positive results.

Test Build

Test Build