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Middy 1.0.0 is here

April 26, 2020#serverless, #node-js, #javascriptcomments

— Published by Luciano Mammino

Middy, the Node.js middleware framework for AWS Lambda, has finally graduated to 1.0.0! A long awaited milestone for the project.

In this post we will discuss what middy is and what are the main features of this first stable release.

What is middy

If you are hearing about middy for the first time, middy is a middleware framework for AWS Lambda written in Node.js.

Middy has the goal to simplify the way you write Lambda code, essentially by providing a convenient middleware abstraction (similar to the ones you find in frameworks such as Express or Fastify). A middleware framework can simplify code re-use, testing and avoid code duplication. Middy also provides a collection of middlewares that can be installed and configured to fullfil very common use cases (authentication, authorization, caching, data validation, deserialization and serialization, etc.).

Just to give you a feeling of what using middy looks like, here’s a snippet of code:

// import core
const middy = require('@middy/core')

// import some middlewares
const jsonBodyParser = require('@middy/http-json-body-parser')
const httpErrorHandler = require('@middy/http-error-handler')
const validator = require('@middy/validator')

// This is your common handler, in no way different than what 
// you are used to doing every day in AWS Lambda
const processPayment = async (event, context) => {
  // we don't need to deserialize the body ourself as 
  // a middleware will be used to do that
  const {
    creditCardNumber,
    expiryMonth,
    expiryYear,
    cvc,
    nameOnCard,
    amount
  } = event.body

  // do stuff with this data ...
  // e.g. send it to a payment gateway and record the transaction

  return { result: 'success', message: 'payment processed correctly'}
}

// Notice that in the handler you only added base business logic (no deserilization,
// validation or error handler), we will add the rest with middlewares
const inputSchema = {
  type: 'object',
  properties: {
    body: {
      type: 'object',
      properties: {
        creditCardNumber: {
          type: 'string',
          minLength: 12,
          maxLength: 19,
          pattern: '\d+'
        },
        expiryMonth: {
          type: 'integer',
          minimum: 1,
          maximum: 12
        },
        expiryYear: {
          type: 'integer',
          minimum: 2020,
          maximum: 2027
        },
        cvc: {
          type: 'string',
          minLength: 3,
          maxLength: 4,
          pattern: '\d+'
        },
        nameOnCard: { type: 'string' },
        amount: { type: 'number' }
      },
      // Insert here all required event properties
      required: ['creditCardNumber']
    }
  }
}

// Let's "middyfy" our handler, then we will be able to attach middlewares to it
const handler = middy(processPayment)
  .use(jsonBodyParser()) // parses the request body when it's a JSON and converts it to an object
  .use(validator({inputSchema})) // validates the input
  .use(httpErrorHandler()) // handles common http errors and returns proper responses

module.exports = { handler }

From the example above, you can see that middy helps you to keep the handler code (the core of your lambda function) as clean as possible. Your handler is now free from having to handle all sorts of pre and post conditions such as data serialization and validation. Managing these pre and post-conditions can be done with the help of default of custom middlewares and those middlewares can easily be reused across different lambdas as needed.

This is nothing new if you come from frameworks such as Express or Fastify, but surprisingly, this is yet not so common in Lambda-land and middy is the first (and one of the very few) frameworks that offers you this capability in this context.

The best feature of middy is that, since it focuses only on the code layer, you can use it with any other infrastructure-level tool you commonly use, including Terraform, Cloudformation, SAM and the Serverless Framework. The integration is seamless, just install and use the library in your code (as you do with any other external dependency from npm).

Middy is not so new (in open source terms). It has been around for almost 3 years receiving contributions from more 50 different people, it has almost 1500 GitHub stars (please give it some more if you are reading this 😇) and 5 digits downloads per week. Not impressive numbers, but, in my humble opinion, these are numbers good enough to demostrate that there is interest and maturity around the project.

If you want to find out more about middy from a technical perspective, check out the official website at middy.org.js.

What’s in the 1.0.0

The main change in version 1.0.0 is that now the core and the official middlewares are distributed in separated NPM packages. This allows you to install only the packages you actually need, which helps with keeping your lambdas slim and allow them to bootstrap fast.

Other interesting changes are new official middlewares, bug fixes and a number of improvements in terms of features, stability and usability.

You can read the full list of changes in the release page on GitHub.

If you are already using middy version 0.x, you can read the dedicated migration guide.

The community behind middy

I am personally quite impressed and honoured about all the contributions spontaneously provided by the growing community around middy. I want to personally thank you and celebrate all the people that contributed to the project with the following video (click on the picture to see the full video on Youtube).

Middy contribution graph evolution

Thank you!

What’s next for middy

This is the hard question for me. The community is definitely asking for a number of interesting things like:

  • Better integration with TypeScript (#203, #300, #316, #373, #506)
  • Better (and more clear) support for promises and Async/Await (#392, #414)
  • Better documentation (#173)

All in all, my feeling is that the framework can still be improved a hell of a lot in terms of usability.

Follow the list of issues on GitHub to find out what are the common topics and feel free to open new issues if you want to suggest new features or improvements.

Looking for help

Here’s the moment where I am to be honest with myself…

As a maintainer of the project I don’t feel like I did a great job to make this project progress. I limited myself to doing code reviews and merge feature requests quite passively. I have been lacking vision and initiative to be able to steer the project forward and bring it to the next stage.

The truth is that I haven’t been as involved with serverless as I used to be in the last 2 years. I have probably been lacking perspective and I lost pace with the evolution of serverless and Lambda, so it’s hard for me to be proactive and have a solid vision for the project.

I want to shed some light on some people that helped carry the project forward and I want to give them a special thank you (in no particular order):

If you use middy, don’t be shy and please show yourself on GitHub. I created a new repository just to foster conversations at github.com/middyjs/discuss. Open an issue just to say hello and tell us how and why you are using middy and what you would like to see happening next.

I’d love to be able to create a more cohesive community and possibly to pass the torch to a group of people that is actively involved in serverless and that can drive the project forward better than I am currently doing.

Alternatives to middy

In case you don’t like middy or you just want to explore possible alternatives, these are some of the alternatives I know about:

Feel free to suggest me other alternatives in the comments and I’ll happily add them to the article.

Closing notes

That’s it. I feel quite happy and relieved to know that we finally reached this milestone and I look forward to seeing what’s next for the project.

All the best and please let me know in the comments what do you think.

Regards

PS: thanks to @theburningmonk, @StefanoAbalsamo, @PadraigOBrien and @quasi_modal for feedback and reviews.

Found a typo or something that can be improved?
In the spirit of Open Source, you can contribute to this article by submitting a PR on GitHub

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