Build stronger, leaner backends with HipThrusTS

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HipThrusTS Web API Framework

Build stronger, leaner backends with HipThrusTS

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WHO is HipThrusTS for?


  • Are building a node.js web API that:
    • has a data model
    • serves users you can't entirely trust, and therefore:
      • should prevent unauthorized access of resources (e.g. ownership-based, role-based, etc.)
      • should protect manipulation of protected fields on individual resources (e.g. foreign keys, primary keys)
      • should prevent protected data leakage
  • Agree with the core assumption of this framework - that every request handler that's secure has 5 mandatory concerns to fulfull:
    1. sanitizing its inputs
    2. authorizing access
    3. gathering data
    4. doing something (this is where lower-level frameworks leave you to dump everything)
    5. sanitizing its response to prevent data leakage
    • Note that you can always make any of these concerns a no-op explicitly, but when using HipThrusTS, that takes effort and is easy to identify during code review when it happens.
  • Value DRYness and separation of concerns

Chances are if your API is going to be on the internet, that's you.

tl;dr Examples

What does a common CRUD-like PUT handler look like?

One can be written entirely declaratively with only configuration and zero actual code like below.

// thing.controller.ts
import {
  // generates express handler from HT class
  // chains several HT mixins
  // CRUD "update" mixin
} from 'hipthrusts';
import {
  // implements sanitizeParams, sanitizeBody, and
  // sanitizeResponse using HTPipe and HT mongoose
  // helpers using partial versions of your schemas
  // implements attachData, and finalAuthorize using HTPipe
  // and HT user helpers
  // implements preAuth
} from './thing.model.ts';

thingRouter.put('/:id', hipExpressHandlerFactory(
  HTPipe( // Chains several mixins

What about the stuff above that's configured in a different file like UpdateSanitizers and AuthorizeThingOwner?

It's also as simple as configuring the helpers!

// thing.model.ts
// ...
import {
  // HT mongoose helper
  // HT controller-model adapter
  // mixin for adding local instance-scoped variable
  // via a projection function
  // mixin for implementing required final authorization
} from 'hipthrusts';

// A schema definition with a private and editable field
const ThingSchemaObj = {
  internalField: Number, // Yay I'm not editable!
  editableField: String,

// Define the shape of params for when addressing a single
// Thing by ID
const ThingByIdParamFactory = DocumentFactoryFrom({
  id: { type: mongoose.Types.ObjectId, required: true },
// Define the derived schema for fields the owner is able to modify
const ThingOwnerEditableFactory = DocumentFactoryFrom(
  dtoSchemaObj(ThingSchemaObj, 'editableField')
// Define the shape of the response to prevent leakage
// relevant to other examples
const ThingUpdateResponseFactory = DocumentFactoryFrom(
  dtoSchemaObj(ThingSchemaObj, '_id')

export const UpdateSanitizers = HTPipe(

// Define a base authorization class to be extended/mixed
// for any endpoints for an "owner" to use
// also provides the "thing" itself on the "this.thing" property
export const AuthThingOwner = HTPipe(
    (params: { id: string }) => Promise.resolve(params.id),
  WithAttached('thingId', findByIdAndRequire(ThingModel), 'thing'),
  WithAttached('thing', fromWrappedInstanceMethod('isOwner'), 'isThingOwner'),
  FinalAuthorizeWith('user_user', 'isThingOwner')
export const UpdatePreauth = WithPreAuth(HasRole(['thingAuthor']));
// Now you can apply these to any handlers that need ownership

What if I need a less CRUDdy, more custom business-operation-like PUT handler?

Easy peasy... Let's say you want to do something similar to the above, but instead of doing a blind update, you do some custom thing with an additional custom authorization. You can customize as much or as little as you like imperatively...

thingRouter.put('custom-operation/:id', hipExpressHandlerFactory(
  class BusinessOpByOwner extends HTPipe(
  )(HTBase) {
    async finalAuthorize() {
      if (super.finalAuthorize) {
        if ((await super.finalAuthorize()) !== true) {
          return false;
        if(await thing.someAuthorizationMethod() !== true) {
          return false;
        return true;
    async doWork() {
      await thing.doCustomThing();

As an alternative, if any of the above is reusable, you can use the helpers to make mixins out of the above two and use them declaratively instead too.

What if I want to customize EVERY lifecycle stage?

As an example, the original example's helpers and pipes generate a class a little like below that could have been implemented manually like so:

class OwnerUpdateThingById implements AnyHipThrustable {
  public params: { id: string };
  public body: { editableField: string };

  public thingId: string;
  public thing: Thing;

  sanitizeParams(unsafeParams) {
    if (typeof unsafeParams.id !== 'string') {
      throw Boom.BadRequest('Nice try buddy');
    return { id: unsafeParams.id };
  sanitizeBody(unsafeBody) {
    if (typeof unsafeBody.editableField !== 'string') {
      throw Boom.BadRequest('Nice try buddy');
    return { editableField: unsafeBody.editableField };
  preAuthorize() {
    return this.user.role === 'thingAuthor';
  async attachData() {
    this.thingId = this.params.id;
    this.thing = await ThingModel.findById(this.thingId);
    if (!this.thing) {
      throw Boom.NotFound();
  async finalAuthorize() {
    if (
      this.user &&
      this.thing &&
      this.user._id &&
      this.thing._user &&
      this.thing._user.toString() === this.thing._id.toString()
    ) {
      return true;
    return false;
  async doWork() {
    await this.thing.save();
    return { unsafeResponse: this.thing };
  sanitizeResponse(unsafeResponse) {
    return { _id: unsafeResponse._id };
thingRouter.put('/:id', hipExpressHandlerFactory(OwnerUpdateThingById));

Wow! What are the future plans for extensibility?

Things can be even MORE declarative - at an even higher level of abstraction than the declarative helpers, one can define:

  • resource addressers
  • principal-to-resource authorizers
  • operations

Then, a factory can take a tuple of the 3 above, and automatically generate entire handlers. Help out :).

HipThrusTS Philosophy

  • A request handler must be SECURE by default. HipThrusTS will only accept a handler if all security concerns are provided.
  • Request handlers should be SIMPLE and small - route handler should be easy to review, and shouldn't need anything fancy like dependency injection or too much indirection.
  • DRYness and reusability should be maximized.
    • Several request handlers need to ensure ownership? Specify it once.
    • Several requests need to sanitize inputs the same way? Specify it once.
    • Helpers are even provided for common scenarios (e.g. role-based pre-authorization, ownership-based authorization, assignee-based authorization, data population, sanitization...).
  • TYPESCRIPT and JAVASCRIPT friendly! \o/
  • HTTP status codes should make sense by default depending on where uncaught exceptions are thrown, and shouldn't reveal any potentially sensitive information.
  • All the benefits should NOT come at any expense when compared to dumping all the concerns in a single middleware - for example, context can be shared among the lifecycle stages.
  • Separation of concerns should be encouraged architecturally. You'll find that by using HipThrusTS, you'll naturally end up with thinner controllers that delegate more appropriately.
  • Delegate as much as possible to other packages that do their job well and are already being used.
    • An ODM/ORM like mongoose is incredibly good at validation of objects against a defined schema, and shouldn't be reinvented.
    • HTTP frameworks like express, hapi, fastify, restify, whatevertheeffcomesnextify, etc. do their job just fine - some might be faster, some might be cleaner and more feature-rich and helpful with things like authentication (I'm lookin' at you, hapi :P). But there's no need for HipThrusTS to get in the way of whichever you choose.
    • Speaking of authentication, that's also a concern that's pretty well taken care of, so there's no need to get in the way of whatever a project uses. A thin adapter is used just once and you can forget about it thereafter.
  • Handlers should be as declarative as possible
  • Extensibility should allow building any kinds of authorization models

HipThrusTS Architecture

Request Handler

Remember the five concerns above? At the lowest level (which you CAN but shouldn't need to work with), a HipThrusTS request handler must fulfill its contract by providing the following:

  • sanitizeParams(unsafeParams: any): TParamsSafe;
    • This method should accept the parameters on the URL and return a sanitized representation.
  • sanitizeBody(unsafeBody: any): TBodySafe;
    • This method should accept the body and return a sanitized representation.
  • preAuthorize(): boolean;
    • This synchronous method is for any authorization that can be done before any database operations need to be done.
  • attachData?(): Promise;
    • This async method is for gathering any data needed (optional).
  • finalAuthorize(): Promise;
    • This async method is for any authorization that needs to be done after data is gathered.
  • doWork(): Promise<HipWorkResponse>;
    • Perform the actual work this endpoint should, and return the endpoint's response before sanitization.
  • sanitizeResponse(unsafeResponse: TResBodyUnsafeInput): any;
    • Sanitize the response appropriate for this particular user or security principal (i.e. hide fields they shouldn't see like passwords or security tokens).

This contract is fulfilled via any class that implements the HipThrustable interface, which contains the above as its instance methods.

At this point you might be asking a few questions, so let's interrupt this overview with a quick interview between you and HipThrusts:


  • You: You telling me I have to write 5 functions instead of one?

  • HT: Yeah but that's where the inheritance and mixins and helpers help you! Given an API, you'll probably have just a few different authorizations based on the various ways the security principal / user relates to the data examples might include anonymous, owner, teacher, assignee, etc. Using the helpers, you'll define classes for each of these needed, and that will generally take care of preAuthorize, attachData, and FinalAuthorize. All that's left for each type of request is input/output sanitization and doWork(). Often even those can be grouped too! See the practical example below.

  • You: My API isn't very CRUD-focused, and my methods do very specific out-of-the-ordinary things. Will you get in my way?

    • HT: Nope. You can use as much or as little of me as you want. If your specific goals mean every doWork() should be custom-written without extra layers of abstraction, you can still benefit from the security benefits.
  • You: Well what about all that data I made you gather for authorization purposes? I don't want to have to get it again! Won't splitting my code up make me unable to share much-needed context among the different concerns?

    • HT: Lucky for you, everything you get HipThrusTS to gather for prior stages of the lifecycle becomes exposed to you! It's just like if you were to write all 5 concerns into one big nasty hard-to-review single express middleware. As a bonus, if you're using typescript, it will even be typed properly!
  • You: What? How?

    • HT: I got you cuz.
  • You: Come on - do you want me to use you or not?

    • HT: Okay okay. HipThrusTS exploits typescript/ES6 classes very differently than the other high-level frameworks like NestJS and FoalTS. Contrast their mapping between programming constructs and duties to mine:

Other OO Web Frameworks

  • Class: Entire controller that groups a set of related response handlers (same collection, etc)
  • Instance method: One specific response handler callback (similar to a single express middleware)
  • Instance: Meaningless - the class is essentially a singleton, so "this" is shared by ALL requests


  • Class: A description of a SINGLE ENDPOINT's response handler's lifecycle stages
  • Instance method: One of the lifecycle stages mentioned above (preAuth, doWork, etc.)
  • Instance: A single actual request/response that's individually instantiated for every request!

Because of this (pun totally intended), "this" is shared by all the mandatory stages of a single request's lifecycle, and that's where context shared among lifecycle stages lives. "this" is the new local middleware function scope! You can have your cake (well-defined mandatory concerns), and eat it (keep a cohesive shared context) too.

As far as I can tell, HipThrusTS is the first node.js web API framework using this architecture.


In fact, there's no reason you can't use HipThrusTS on top of any of those! PRs are welcome from anyone who would like to write the wrappers ;).

...interview continued below...

  • You: Wow! I think I love you

    • HT: I love code review
  • You: That didn't go as planned - let's see some code then

    • HT: My pleasure

Current High-Level Plans

(i.e. things you can help with)

  • Take the class factories to the next level by:
    • implementing special-purpose HipThrusTS-aware mixins
    • supporting a pipeable syntax similar to rxjs's pipeable operators instead of the current onion syntax
  • Create helpers for basic CRUD operations.
  • Better documentation, semantics, and tests.
  • Create a starter
  • Support "meta-handlers" for people that don't share my philosophy that separate authorizations warrant separate URLs.
  • Create a "recipes" layer on top of the declarative layer to spit out multiple handlers so one can simply declare
    • "I have a 'thing'
    • with 'owners' defined like this, 'creaters' defined like this, 'readers' defined like this.
    • There's a "turn-knob" operation that does this
    • Owners should be able to modify, creaters should be able to create, knob-turners should be able to turn-knobs, and readers should be able to read.".
  • Support frameworks other than express.
  • Support ODM/ORMs other than mongoose.

Why the name "HipThrusTS"

It's a pun. Hip thrusts are a great excercise invented by Dr. Bret Contreras, PHD for strengthening the glute muscles. This library is made for strengthening your digital back-end, so it seemed like an appropriate name. He was kind enough to give permission to use the name. He's one of the world's leading experts in sport science, so check out his website and follow him anywhere you can if fitness is one of your interests.