Middleman.js Project Open Sourced

We’re on a roll this week, and it’s only Monday! Yesterday Chris Saylor introduced Mongounit. Today I am going to show you another open source project we’ve written called Middleman.js

Middleman is a javascript library that can be used in a browser or as a node.js module. It allows you to hook into the execution of any function to apply prefiltering to that function’s arguments; globally change the function’s execution context; pipe that function’s arguments to several others; or, overload the function to behave differently. It does all this for you seamlessly, so you can simply call the original function as you normally would.


For a practical example we need to start with some assumptions: You have a new mobile project that communicates with a RESTful server API. After a few weeks of development some project requirements change and now every ajax url must start with /api.

  1. You don’t want to manually find every ajax call in the project and prepend the url strings with /api.
  2. You don’t want to force your team to remember to do this as you develop.
  3. You want to implement this new requirement as seamlessly as possible.

jQuery’s powerful ajax methods are well known, but let’s say you’re working with a more simplified library like Zepto.js which was built for mobile. Middleman.js can solve this problem with just a few lines:


You can call $.ajax as you normally would. The filter method will be executed first, and the array args that is returned by the filter method will be passed to the original $.ajax method as parameters.

Object references are passed by value in Javascript, which is why you don’t see me doing anything with the ajaxSettings variable after I’ve modified it’s url property. See this for more details.


In the previous example, Middleman will use the lib object for context when executing the ajax method (in this case Zepto.js). However, Middleman can also take an optional context parameter that will be used instead, like this:

Notice that the context of the stringify method became Array. Had I passed context : Object, instead, the output would have been [object Array] instead of a,b,c,d. You’ve probably seen this kind of behavior in other popular libraries like Underscore.js’s _.bind method.

Final word

Currently there is no way to disable Middleman’s meddling once you’ve called the map function. We’re planning to incorporate an internal registery in a future release that will allow you to inspect the Middleman object to see what methods have been overloaded, and also make it easy for Middleman to flip it’s filters on or off at a granular level.

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