A connect based middleware to support local development against a remote backend.

Usage no npm install needed!

<script type="module">
  import appserver from '';



A connect based middleware to support local development against a remote backend.


This module can operate in two different modes. First as a stand-alone application that is able to serve files from some configured directories. Second mode is via a node module that can be loaded into some existing node project.


You can install this module globally to make it available as a stand-alone command:

npm install -g appserver

After that, you can run appserver --help in a terminal to get this help:

$ appserver --help                                                                                                                                                            :(
Usage: appserver [OPTION]... [PATH]...

  -h,      --help           print this help message and exit
  -m PATH, --manifests=PATH add manifests from the specified path (default:
                            the "manifests" subdirectory of every file path)
           --path=PATH      absolute path of the UI (default: /appsuite)
  -p PORT, --port=PORT      listen on PORT (default: 8337)
  -s URL,  --server=URL     use an existing server as fallback
  -v TYPE, --verbose=TYPE   print more information depending on TYPE:
                            local: local files, remote: remote files,
                            proxy: forwarded URLs, all: shortcut for all three
  -z PATH, --zoneinfo=PATH  use timezone data from the specified path
                            (default: /usr/share/zoneinfo/)

Files are searched in each PATH in order and requested from the server if not
found. If no paths are specified, the default is /var/www/appsuite/.

Those defaults will only be used for the CLI version. This is because the appserver CLI has it’s roots within the OX appsuite project.


Read more about the CLI options in detail:


Enables verbose output. During normal operation, appserver only writes errors to its console. By specifying this option one or more times, additional output can be enabled, depending on the value of each option:

  • local: The name of every read local file is written to standard output.
  • local:error: The name of files that have not been found locally are written to standard output (good for debugging missing files).
  • remote: The URL of every request for missing local files is written to standard output.
  • proxy: The URL of every client request which is forwarded as-is is written to standard output.
  • all: This is just a shortcut for -v local -v remote -v proxy.

Output lines belonging to the same client request are grouped together and separated from the next request by an empty line.


Specifies the path to the zoneinfo database. On POSIX systems, the default of /usr/share/zoneinfo/ should always work. Even on systems without the database everything should just work if --server is specified, since any missing files will be fetched from the remote server. This option may still be useful when debugging time zone problems caused by different versions of the zoneinfo database.

As a node module


Example usage with grunt-contrib-connect

An example of how to use this module with grunt-contrib-connect, see this snippet from our Gruntfile.js:

    var appserver = require('appserver');

    grunt.config('connect', {
        server: {
            options: {
                port: 8337,
                base: ['build/'],
                livereload: true,
                middleware: function (connect, options, middlewares) {
                    var config = grunt.config().local.appserver;
                    if (config.server === '') {
                        grunt.log.error('Server not specified in grunt/local.conf.json');
                        grunt.log.writeln('Hint: If this is a new setup you may want to copy the file grunt/local.conf.defaults.json to grunt/local.conf.json and change its values according to your setup.');
              'Please adjust your local.conf.json');

                    config.prefixes = (config.prefixes || []).concat([options.base, options.base + '/apps/']);
                    config.manifests = (config.manifests || []).concat(options.base + '/manifests/');
                    config =;

                    return middlewares;


This project uses grunt as a task-runner during development. In order to get started, run:

npm install

This will install the development dependencies needed, to get you started.

Then you can run

grunt watch

to start the watch task that will run all tasks needed if a certain file changes.