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var pockets = require("pockets")

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pockets v0.5.4

Implicit-magic asynchronous and nested DI containers


build-status Builds don't pass without 100% test coverage

Can't remember where you left something in your app? Check your pockets.

Warning: pockets implements magical implicit behaviour by parsing function arguments. Just in case that turns you off.


Pockets hold named values, which may be computed asynchronously. New pockets are created by calling pocket():

var assert = require('assert');
var pocket = require('./');
var p = pocket();

You put values into the pocket using .value:

p.value('config', { db: 'sqlite3://:memory:' });

... and get them back out with .get:

p.get('config').then(function (config) {
  assert.deepEqual(config, { db: 'sqlite3://:memory:' })

As you might have noticed, .get returns a promise. It can also be supplied with a node-style callback:

p.get('config', function (err, config) {
  if (err) throw err;
  assert.deepEqual(config, { db: 'sqlite3://:memory:' });

So far, so boring. To make this a little more interesting, let's set a lazy value:

p.value('database', function (config) {
  return {url: config.db, query: function () {}};

p.get('database').then(function (db) {
  assert.equal(db.url, 'sqlite3://:memory:');

When we call p.get('database'), the pocket will call the function we provided to obtain a value for the name 'database'. This also shows the first bit of implicit behaviour: because the function requires a parameter named config, the pocket will pass the resolved value of pocket.get('config') to the function.

Result Caching

Values created by lazy functions are cached, so the function will only be evaluated once. Consider this example:

var apply = require('lie-apply');

var invocationCount = 0;

p.value('sideEffectingValue', function () {
  return {value: invocationCount};

apply(assertions, p.get('sideEffectingValue'), p.get('sideEffectingValue'));

function assertions (v1, v2) {
  assert.strictEqual(v1, v2); // These are the exact same object.
  assert.strictEqual(invocationCount, 1);

If you want to evaluate code that depends on lazy values without caching the result, use (config, database) {
  return config.db === database.url;

You can think of .run as being a way to "enter" the pocket and .then as the way to bring a value back out with you.

Minimal Interface

An important property of pockets is that none of the functions we're writing depend on them. They're just a normal functions that accept parameters and return a value or promise (or take a callback). In a larger application these functions would be defined in separate modules that can be tested in isolation without having to use pockets at all.

Furthermore, we write very little .then(...) or callback boilerplate in our functions, because pockets takes care of sequencing the dependencies for us.

Pockets in pockets (in pockets in pockets)

One can "nest" a new pocket in an existing pocket, and values defined for these "child" pockets can have their dependencies fulfilled by the parent:

var parent = pocket();
var child = parent.pocket();

parent.value('one', 1);
child.get('one').then(assert.equal.bind(null, 1));

This indirect dependency resolution is one-way, allowing you to create isolated scopes:

child.value('two', function (one) { return one + one });

parent.get('two').catch(function (err) {
  assert.equal(err.message, 'No provider for "two"');

This can be particularly useful for implementing a "unit-of-work" pattern for web servers, where every request can have an isolated pocket that extends an application-wide pocket with request-specific data.

Using Node-style callback functions

If you're not a fan of promises, all of the asynchronous parts of pockets also support node-style callbacks. For example, you can pass a callback to .get or .run, and you can register lazy values with node-style callbacks using .nodeValue:

p.nodeValue('currentUser', function (session, Users, callback) {
  Users.findById(session.userId, callback);

In the above example the sessionData and userModel parameters will be resolved by the pocket and the error or value passed to the callback will be used to resolve the value for currentUser.

Experimental Magic: Function Names as Value Names

Let's create a new pocket and write our previous example using even more clever implicit behaviour:

p = pocket()
  .value('config', { db: 'sqlite3://:memory:' })
  .value(function createDatabase (config) {
    return anyDB.createPool(config.db);
  .value(function loadUserModel (database) {
    return UserModel.initializeTables(database);

We've created lazy values for the names 'database' and 'usermodel' by using named functions. We could have also called the functions getDatabase and createUserModel, or even database and UsErMoDeL because names are canonicalized when adding/retrieving objects to/from a pocket. This feature is considered experimental: and may be removed in a future release if it turns out nobody likes it.


Names are canonicalized when registering or retrieving objects from a pocket. The canonicalization process consists of the following steps:

  1. The name is lower-cased
  2. The prefixes get, load, and create are removed if present.
  3. Any non-word characters (underscores, dollar-signs, etc.) are also removed.


I got the idea for pockets from talking to @ehd about different ways of doing "promise-based middleware".




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