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Rill is supported in all recent versions of nodejs and modern browsers including IE10. It allows you to create an isomorphic/universal web application that will share the majority of your apps code between the client and the server. This means quick page loads with server side rendering and a blazing fast client side experience with JavaScript enhancement.


A Rill application is an object containing an array of middleware functions which are composed and executed in a stack-like manner upon request. Rill is similar to other nodejs frameworks such as Express, Hapi and Koa with one important distinction; It can run in the browser.

Rill comes with many essential utilities for building modern web applications. This includes: Routing, redirection, cookies, and more. Typically a universal rendering solution will also be used such as @rill/react or @rill/html which allow full page applications to work seamlessly on the server and in the browser.

// Modules
import Rill from 'rill'

// CommonJS
const Rill = require('rill')

// Creating an application (new optional).
const app = new Rill()

app.listen({ port, host, backlog, tls }, callback)

A Rill application is not a 1-to-1 representation of a HTTP server. One or more Rill applications may be mounted together to form larger applications and you can even listen to multiple ports with a single HTTP server.

All arguments to listen are optional and will work similarly to the native http#listen.

listen will start an HTTPS server if the tls option is provided. The tls options are the same as nodes TLS module.

The ip, port and backlog options are forwarded to Server#listen(). These are simply ignored in the browser.

The following is a useless Rill application bound to port 3000:

app.listen({ port: 3000 })

Or we can start a HTTPS server with the same API.

var options = {
  key: fs.readFileSync('test/fixtures/keys/agent2-key.pem'),
  cert: fs.readFileSync('test/fixtures/keys/agent2-cert.pem')

app.listen({ port: 8000, tls: options })


Return a callback function suitable for the http.createServer() method to handle a request. You may also use this callback function to mount your rill app in a Connect/Express app.

This means you can spin up the same application as both HTTP and HTTPS or on multiple addresses:

// For universal use you can use @rill/http(s) instead of nodes http module.


The current middleware stack for the application as an array.


Simple syntactic sugar for middleware that wish do more than just add to the stack. This is useful for modifying/extending Rill and for other complex plugins.

app.setup((myapp)=> {
  myapp === app // myapp is just a reference to the existing app.
  myapp.customMethod = ... // Set custom methods on the rill instance.
  myapp.use(customMiddleware) // Setup extra middleware/routes/etc.


Add the given middleware function to this application. See Middleware for more information. In Rill you can also mount other applications.

// Simple logging middleware.
app.use(async ({ req, res }, next)=> {
  const start = new Date

  // Rill uses promises for control flow.
  // ES2016 async functions work great as well!
  await next()

  const ms = new Date - start
  console.log(`${req.method} ${req.url} - ${ms}`)

Add a middleware that will only be ran if a path string is matched. Rill uses the same path matching library as Express and some other node frameworks. You can test out your own path regular expressions here.

// Match request for the route path.'/', ...)

// Params will also be provided under req.params
// For example using /api/user'/api/:resource', ({ req })=>
  req.params.resource === 'user'

app|METHOD|([path], function|application...)`

Add a middleware that will only be ran if an optional path string is matched and the request has the used method.

// Match all get requests.

// Match request for the route path and uses the GET method.
app.get('/', ...)

// Even mount routers for a more modular experience.
  rill().get('/v1', ...) // matches `/api/v1`
), function|application...)

Adds middleware that will only be ran if a hostname is matched. The hostname may use the same regular expression strings used in the other routing methods. You can test out your own hostname regular expressions here.

// Match request for a specific host.'', ...)

// Subdomain matches will also be provided under req.subdomains
// For example using'', { req })=>
  res.subdomains.resource === 'user'
  res.subdomains == ['api', 'user']

Error Handling

Rill defers error handling to the promises used within Rill middleware. In rill the next middleware will always return a promise.

// async functions not required.
app.use(async (ctx, next)=> {
  try {
    await next()
  } catch (error) {
    // Catch errors later on in the stack.
    log.error('server error', err)