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express-request-proxy

Advanced streaming http request proxy middleware for Express with support for custom routes, caching, and response transforms.

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express-request-proxy

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High performance streaming http request reverse proxy for Express based on the request http client. Supports caching, custom routes, server-side injection of sensitive keys, authentication, and response transformations.

Usage

Server Code

var redis = require('redis');
var requestProxy = require('express-request-proxy');

require('redis-streams')(redis);

app.get('/api/:resource/:id', requestProxy({
    cache: redis.createClient(),
    cacheMaxAge: 60,
    url: "https://someapi.com/api/:resource/:id",
    query: {
      secret_key: process.env.SOMEAPI_SECRET_KEY
    },
    headers: {
        'X-Custom-Header': process.env.SOMEAPI_CUSTOM_HEADER
    }
}));

Client Code

$.ajax({
    url: '/api/widgets/' + widgetId,
    statusCode: {
      200: function(data) {
        console.log(data);
      },
      404: function() {
        console.log("cannot find widget");
      }
    }
});

Options

url

String representing the url of the remote endpoint to proxy to. Can contain named route parameters. Query parameters can be appended with the query option. This is the only required option.

params

An object containing properties to substitute for named route parameters in the remote URL. Named parameters are declared using the same conventions as Express routes, i.e. /pathname/:param1/:param2. The path portion of the url is parsed using the path-to-regexp module. Defaults to {}.

query

An object of parameters to be appended to the querystring of the specified url. This is a good way to append sensitive parameters that are stored as environment variables on the server avoiding the need to expose them to the client. Any parameters specified here will override an identically named parameter in the url or on the incoming request to the proxy. Defaults to {}.

headers

An object of HTTP headers to be appended to the request to the remote url. This is also a good way to inject sensitive keys stored in environment variables. See the http basic auth section for example usage.

cache

Cache object that conforms to the node_redis API. Can set to false at an endpoint level to explicitly disable caching for certain APIs. See Cache section below for more details.

cacheMaxAge

The duration to cache the API response. If an API response is returned from the cache, a max-age http header will be included with the remaining TTL.

ensureAuthenticated

Ensure that there is a valid logged in user in order to invoke the proxy. See the Ensure Authenticated section below for details.

userAgent

The user agent string passed as a header in the http call to the remote API. Defaults to "express-api-proxy".

cacheHttpHeader

Name of the http header returned in the proxy response with the value "hit" or "miss". Defaults to "Express-Request-Proxy-Cache".

HTTP Basic Auth

For http endpoints protected by HTTP Basic authentication, a username and password should be sent in the form username:password which is then base64 encoded.

var usernamePassword = process.env.SOMEAPI_USERNAME + ":"
    + process.env.SOMEAPI_PASSSWORD;

app.post("/api/:resource", requestProxy({
    cache: redis.createClient(),
    cacheMaxAge: 60,
    url: "https://someapi.com/api/:resource",
    headers: {
        Authorization: "Basic " + new Buffer(usernamePassword).toString('base64')
    }
}));

Logged-In User Properties

Sometimes it's necessary to pass attributes of the current logged in user (on the server) into the request to the remote endpoint as headers, query params, etc. Rather than passing environment variables, simply specify the desired user properties.

app.all("/api/protected/:resource", requestProxy({
  url: "http://remoteapi.com/api",
  query: {
    access_token: req.user.accessToken
  }
}));

This assumes that prior middleware has set the req.user property, which was perhaps stored in session state.

Caching

For remote endpoints whose responses do not change frequently, it is often desirable to cache responses at the proxy level. This avoids repeated network round-trip latency and can skirt rate limits imposed by the API provider.

The object provided to the cache option is expected to implement a subset of the node_redis interface, specifically the get, set, setex, exists, del, and ttl commands. The node_redis package can be used directly, other cache stores require a wrapper module that adapts to the redis interface.

As an optimization, two additional functions, readStream and writeThrough must be implemented on the cache object to allow direct piping of the API responses into and out of the cache. This avoids buffering the entire API response in memory. For node_redis, the redis-streams package augments the RedisClient with these two functions. Simply add the following line to your module before the proxy middleware is executed:

var redis = require('redis');

require('redis-streams')(redis);
// After line above, calls to redis.createClient will return enhanced
// object with readStream and writeThrough functions.

app.get('/proxy/:route', requestProxy({
    cache: redis.createClient(),
    cacheMaxAge: 300, // cache responses for 5 minutes
    url: 'https://someapi.com/:route'
}));

Only GET requests are subject to caching, for all other methods the cacheMaxAge is ignored.

Caching Headers

If an API response is served from the cache, the max-age header will be set to the remaining TTL of the cached object. The proxy cache trumps any HTTP headers such as Last-Modified, Expires, or ETag, so these get discarded. Effectively the proxy takes over the caching behavior from the origin for the duration that it exists there.

Ensure Authenticated

It's possible restrict proxy calls to authenticated users via the ensureAuthenticated option.

app.all('/proxy/protected', requestProxy({
    url: 'https://someapi.com/sensitive',
    ensureAuthenticated: true
}));

The proxy does not perform authentication itself, that task is delegated to other middleware that executes earlier in the request pipeline which sets the property req.ext.isAuthenticated. If ensureAuthenticated is true and req.ext.isAuthenticated !== true, a 401 (Unauthorized) HTTP response is returned before ever executing the remote request.

Note that this is different than authentication that might be enforced by the remote API itself. That's handled by injecting headers or query params as discussed above.

Wildcard routes

Sometimes you want to configure one catch-all proxy route that will forward on all path segments starting from the *. The example below will proxy a request to GET /api/widgets/12345 to GET https://remoteapi.com/api/v1/widgets/12345 and POST /api/users to POST https://remoteapi.com/api/v1/users.

app.all('/api/*', requestProxy({
  url: 'https://remoteapi.com/api/v1/*',
  query: {
    apikey: 'xxx'
  }
}));

Transforms

The proxy supports transforming the API response before piping it back to the caller. Transforms are functions which return a Node.js transform stream. The through2 package provides a lightweight wrapper that makes transforms easier to implement.

Here's a trivial transform function that simply appends some text

module.exports = function(options) {
  return {
    name: 'appender',
    transform: function() {
      return through2(function(chunk, enc, cb) {
        this.push(chunk);
        cb();
      }, function(cb) {
        this.push(options.appendText);
        cb();
      });
    }
  };
}

If the transform needs to change the Content-Type of the response, a contentType property can be declared on the transform function that the proxy will recognize and set the header accordingly.

module.exports = function() {
  return {
    name: 'appender',
    contentType: 'application/json',
    transform: function() {
      return through2(...)
    }
  };
}

See the markdown-transform for a real world example. For transforming HTML responses, the trumpet package, with it's streaming capabilities, is a natural fit.

Here's how you could request a GitHub README.md as html:

var markdownTransform = require('markdown-transform');

app.get('/:repoOwner/:repoName/readme', requestProxy({
  url: 'https://raw.githubusercontent.com/:repoOwner/:repoName/master/README.md',
  transforms: [markdownTransform({highlight: true})]
}));

License

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0.

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