How to organize large Node.js projects

What are some good ways to organize large Node.js projects?

For example, an app making use of both express.js and This would include both application logical structure as well as filesystem.

Currently, I’m finding myself shoving a ton of code into a single master js file and placing code into a giant global object, and it feels naughty.

A Beginners Example

I like the originally checked from @david-ellis and you should study it in depth to understand it as it is a good one. However, I would have liked it more simplified for the beginners wanting to see a straight forward example. Here’s what I would have liked to have seen someone show me.

Let’s give a typical scenario where you are using express and you have a lot of routes listed on your app.js file. Its contents would look something like this:


// ... startup code omitted above
app.get('/', function(req, res) {
res.render('index', { title : 'home' });
app.get('/contactus', function(req, res) {
res.render('contactus', { title : 'contact us' });
app.get('/anotherpage', function(req, res) {
res.render('anotherpage', { title : 'another page' });
// and so on...

You can imagine if you have 50 routes, this file can get quite out of hand. It would be nice to remove some of this clutter out of the app.js file.

What you would do is create a “controllers” folder in your app so your structure would now look like this:


Create a file within “/controllers” named “index.js” then put the following code.


module.exports.set = function(app) {
// copy your routes listed in your app.js directly into here

Cut and paste your route listings from your “app.js” file and place them into the “/controllers/index.js” file.

On your app.js file, remove your routes and in place of them do the following.


// remove your routes and replace with this code
var controllers = require('./controllers');

Now if you wanted to have your “/controllers/index.js” file also be split up, let’s add one more example so you can see how Node.js really acts like a Russian Doll in how its code can be organized.

Within “/controllers” add one more file “accounts.js” and place the following within it.


module.exports.set = function(app) {
// put more app route listings here

Now within your “/controllers/index.js file, put a reference to “account.js”


var account = require('./account.js');
module.exports.set = function(app) {
// your routes here
// let "account.js" set other routes

As you can imagine, you can keep breaking things up into smaller and smaller parts and put more folders within folders and reference with “require” if you like. You can use the same concept for “/lib” or library files. “node_modules” is already doing this.

That is just one of many reasons node.js is very enjoyable to program with.

Manageable Express 4 Routing example

Here’s another post I responded to about express 4 routes that relates to this.

Rest with Express.js nested router