Node Architecture

Node Architecture

Most functions of Madoc are implemented in a NodeJS-based backend. A PM2 instance runs 3 processes:

  • server.js - the main server process
  • worker.js - the background worker process (2+ instances)
  • scheduler.js - the queue process

The main server is built using Koa (opens in a new tab) with lots of custom middleware to handle authentication, body parsing, error handling and internationalisation.

  • Slonik (opens in a new tab) is used as the database driver, which is a thin wrapper around the pg driver. This is used to connect to a Postgres database. Slonik promotes writing SQL directly, rather than using an ORM.
  • BullMQ (opens in a new tab) is used for the queueing system, which is backed by Redis. This is used for background tasks, such as importing IIIF resources or dispatching events from the Tasks API.
  • PM2 (opens in a new tab) is used to manage the processes, and to provide a simple way to manage the logs and restart the processes. It also allows us to run multiple instances of the worker process, which is useful for scaling the background tasks.

There are 2 main entry points for the server, an HTTP request coming from the browser, or a background task triggered by the BullMQ queue.

HTTP Route

export const exampleRouter: RouteMiddleware = async context => {
  // Ensure the user has the correct scope from the JWT. This is always
  // the first thing in the route handler.
  const { siteId, id: userId } = userWithScope(context, ['site.admin']);
  // We have access to params, query and body from the request.
  const resourceId =;
  const body = context.requestBody;
  const query = context.query;
  // We can use the database connection to run queries.
  // Errors thrown are caught by the error handler middleware.
  const resource = await
    sql`select * from example where id = ${resourceId}`
  // Or access any of the configured repositories in the context.
  const site = await context.siteManager.getSiteById(siteId);
  // Finally we can return a response.
  context.response.body = { test: 'example-route', resource };
  context.response.status = 200;

Task handler

The tasks handler can only make requests through the API. This is because the task handler is run in a separate process to the main server, and so does not have access to the database connection.

// Events that will be handled
const taskEvents = ['madoc-ts.created', ``];
export const jobHandler = async (name: string, taskId: string, api) => {
  switch (name) {
    case 'created': {
      // Fetches and sets the status to 'accepted'
      const task = await api.acceptTask(taskId);
      // Do something with the task, maybe update the tasks state.
      // ...
      // Update the task to 'completed'
      await api.updateTask(taskId, { status: 3 });

Database repository

For new database tables, we can create a repository to handle the queries. This is a simple wrapper around the Slonik connection, which allows us to write queries in a more readable way. Although this leads to quite a lot of boilerplate, it does mean that we can write SQL directly, and we can also use the type system to ensure that we are passing the correct parameters and mapping the results correctly.

export class ExampleRepository extends BaseRepository {
  // Keep all the queries and mutations in one place at the top of the class.
  static queries = {
    getThingById: (id: string) => sql<ThingRow>`
      select * from example where id = ${id}
    listThings: () => sql<ThingRow>`
      select * from example
  static mutations = {
    createThing: (id: string, name: string) => sql`
      insert into example (id, name) values (${id}, ${name})
  // Map the results to a type. This should also be typed.
  static mapThing(row: ThingRow): Thing {
    return {
      otherField: row.other_field,
  async getThingById(id: string) {
    return ExampleRepository.mapThing(
  async listThings() {
    const things = await this.connection.many(ExampleRepository.queries.listThings());
  async createThing(id: string, name: string) {
    await this.connection.query(ExampleRepository.mutations.createThing(id, name));