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App Configuration

feathers-configuration allows you to load default and environment specific JSON and/or JS configuration files and environment variables and set them on your application. In a generated application the config/default.json and config/production.json files are set up with feathers-configuration automatically.

Here is what it does:

  • Given a NODE_CONFIG_DIR environment variable it will load a default.json in that path, the default here is ./config.
  • When the NODE_ENV is not development, also try to load <NODE_ENV>.json in that path and merge both configurations (with <NODE_ENV>.json taking precedence)
  • Go through each configuration value and sets it on the application (via app.set(name, value)).
    • If the value is a valid environment variable (e.v. NODE_ENV), use its value instead
    • If the value start with ./ or ../ turn it to an absolute path relative to the configuration file path
    • If the value starts with a \, do none of the above two


The feathers-configuration module is an app configuration function that takes a root directory (usually something like __dirname in your application) and the configuration folder (set to config by default):

const feathers = require('feathers');
const configuration = require('feathers-configuration')

// Use the current folder as the root and look configuration up in `settings`
const app = feathers().configure(configuration(__dirname, 'settings'))


In config/default.json we want to use the local development environment and default MongoDB connection string:

  "frontend": "../public",
  "host": "localhost",
  "port": 3030,
  "mongodb": "mongodb://localhost:27017/myapp",
  "templates": "../templates"

In config/production.js we are going to use environment variables (e.g. set by Heroku) and use public/dist to load the frontend production build:

module.exports = {
  "frontend": "./public/dist",
  "host": "",
  "port": "PORT",
  "mongodb": "MONGOHQ_URL"

Now it can be used in our app.js like this:

const feathers = require('feathers');
const configuration = require('feathers-configuration')

const app = feathers()


If you now run

node app
// -> path/to/app/public
// -> localhost
// -> 3030
// -> mongodb://localhost:27017/myapp
// -> path/to/templates

Or via custom environment variables by setting them in config/custom-environment-variables.json:

  "port": "PORT",
  "mongodb": "MONGOHQ_URL"
PORT=8080 MONGOHQ_URL=mongodb://localhost:27017/production NODE_ENV=production node app
// -> path/to/app/public/dist
// ->
// -> 8080
// -> mongodb://localhost:27017/production
// -> path/to/templates

You can prevent interpolation of environment variables by prefacing the value with \

"authentication": {
  "local": {
    "entity": "\\USER",
    "usernameField": "\\USERNAME",

You can also override these variables with arguments. Read more about how with node-config

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