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an MVC framework for Node

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Sane defaults and a simple structure, scaling as your application grows.

Matador is a clean, organized framework for Node.js architected to suit MVC enthusiasts. It gives you a well-defined development environment with flexible routing, easy controller mappings, and basic request filtering. It’s built on open source libraries such as SoyNode for view rendering, Klass for its inheritance model, Valentine for functional development, and connect.js to give a bundle of other Node server related helpers.


Get the CLI

$ npm install matador -g

Create an app

$ matador init my-app
$ cd my-app && npm install matador

Start your app

$ node server.js

Dancing with the Bulls

Build on your app

// app/config/routes.js
'/hello/:name': { 'get': 'Home.hello' }

// app/controllers/HomeController.js
hello: function (request, response, name) {
  response.send('hello ' + name)

View Rendering

Uses SoyNode to render Closure Templates.

// app/controllers/HomeController.js
this.render(response, 'index', {
  title: 'Hello Bull Fighters'
<!-- app/views/ -->

{namespace views.layout}

 * Renders the index page.
 * @param title Title of the page.
{template .layout autoescape="contextual"}
  <!DOCTYPE html>
      <meta http-equiv='Content-type' content='text/html; charset=utf-8'>
      <link rel='stylesheet' href='/css/main.css' type='text/css'>
      {$ij.bodyHtml |noAutoescape}

{namespace views.index}

 * Renders a welcome message.
 * @param title Title of the page
{template .welcome}
  <h1>Welcome to {$title}</h1>
  (rendered with Closure Templates)

Request Filtering

// app/controllers/ApplicationController.js
module.exports = function (app, config) {
  return app.controllers.Base.extend(function () {
    this.addBeforeFilter('private', this.requireAuth)
    requireAuth: function (callback) {
      if (this.request.cookies.authed) return callback(null)
  , private: function () {
      this.end('This is private')
  , welcome: function () {


The app/config/routes.js file is where you specify an array of tuples indicating where incoming requests will map to a controller and the appropriate method. If no action is specified, it defaults to 'index' as illustrated below:

module.exports = function (app) {
  return {
    '/': 'Home' // maps to ./HomeController.js => index
  , '/admin': '' // maps to ./admin/AdminController.js => show

You can also specify method names to routes:

module.exports = function (app) {
  return {
    '/posts': {
      'get': 'Posts.index', // maps to PostsController.js => #index
      'post': 'Posts.create' // maps to PostsController.js => #create

Matador has support for anonymous controllers or other endpoints. This is useful when mounting third-party apps, such as Passport.js:

module.exports = function (app) {
  return {
    '/hello': function (req, res) {

How can I organize my Models?

By default, Models are thin with just a Base and Application Model in place. You can give them some meat, for example, and embed Mongo Schemas. See the following as a brief illustration:

// app/models/ApplicationModel.js
module.exports = function (app, config) {
  return app.getModel('Base', true).extend(function () {
    this.mongo = require('mongodb')
    this.mongoose = require('mongoose')
    this.Schema = this.mongoose.Schema

Then create, for example, a UserModel.js that extended it...

module.exports = function (app, config) {
  return app.getModel('Application', true).extend(function () {
    this.DBModel = this.mongoose.model('User', new this.Schema({
        name: { type: String, required: true, trim: true }
      , email: { type: String, required: true, lowercase: true, trim: true }
    create: function (name, email, callback) {
      var user = new this.DBModel({
          name: name
        , email: email
  , find: function (id, callback) {
      this.DBModel.findById(id, callback)

This provides a proper abstraction between controller logic and how your models interact with a database then return data back to controllers.

Take special note that models do not have access to requests or responses, as they rightfully shouldn't.

Model & Controller Inheritance

The inheritance model Matador uses is built with Klass, and is exposed via a global Class variable (not all globals are bad). Class comes in two flavors where by constructors can be set via an initialize method, or a function reference, and by default (in the scaffold), Matador uses the function reference style so that you may benefit from the auto-initialization of super classes, and there is no need to call this.supr() in your constructors.

It is also possible to use Node.js's own inheritance via the 'util' module.


The Valentine module is included as a simple tool giving you type checking, functional iterators, and some other nice utilities that often get used in applications of any size. It is exposed globally as v. It is used liberally in the Matador router, thus feel free to take advantage of its existence as well.


$ matador controller [name]
$ matador model [name]

Contributing & Development

Questions, pull requests, bug reports are all welcome. Submit them here on Github. When submitting pull requests, please run through the linter to conform to the framework style

$ npm install -d
$ npm run-script lint


Obviously, Dustin Senos & Dustin Diaz


Copyright 2012 Obvious Corporation

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0: