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Application Lifecycle

This guide outlines the lifecycle of the backend side of a Zeroth application, as the frontend lifecycle is just standard Angular 2.


Like the frontend, bootstrapping the application happens both in the main.ts section of the project, and in the core module. The core handles the loading, registration and bootstrapping of both core components and the components that are defined in the application.

To kick off the server, the entry javascript file will require the exported bootstrap() function. In production, this file would be the ./lib/server/server/bootstrap.js file. In development, this bootstrapping is handle by the cli, as it extends the capabilities of the before start to allow the webpack dev sever to run and the file watchers to start detecting changes.

1. Configuration

When first loaded, the dotenv library looks for a .env file in the current working directory, and exports all variables to process.env. For more info, see the Configuration Section of the guide

2. Entity Registration

Next, all of the entities of the application are loaded. In your main.ts file, this will look something like

import * as models from '../common/models';
import * as controllers from './controllers';
import * as seeders from './seeders';
import * as migrations from './migrations';

let loadClasses = [
  models, controllers, seeders, migrations

While this just looks like a naive retrieval of entities to load, what is actually happening is more complex as each of those entities have class decorators, which cause registration of the classes to the central EntityRegistry. In addition, any method or property decorators register their metadata against the static class (Remember the class has no instances yet; it is simply a class definition).

3. Provider Registration

Next, all providers are defined. This is akin to the provider definition in the frontend, and actually has the same interface with the one exception that the providers can be promises.

In the apps main.ts, this would appear as follows:

let providers: ProviderDefinition[] = [
  {provide: UserStore, useClass: UserDatabaseStore},
  {provide: Logger, useClass: ConsoleLogger},

Sometimes it can be unclear what should be registered in the provider definitions and what should be in the loadClasses array. A general rule of thumb is that if a class uses an entity decorator like @Model, @Controller etc, then it only needs to be imported into the loadClasses array. All of the entity decorators are bootstrapped and registered with the injector separately, so they do not need to be in the providers array. You would only want to explicitly provide a decorated entity if you are substituting an implementation, or have some funky factory requirements.

4. Bootstrap

The bootstrapping is in itself a multi-phase process. The core exports a bootstrap function, which is invoked with the entities and providers defined above.

  1. The bootstrapping is deferred until all provider promises have resolved. If any are rejected, bootstrapping is aborted.
  2. Specialist bootstrappers for each Entity type (models, migrations, seeders, controllers) retrieve the injectable instances from the core registry and when appropriate, resolve them with the ReflectiveInjector
  3. A new injector instance is created using the passed providers and newly resolved entities
  4. Any logs that have been buffered up to this point are output with the newly resolved concrete Logger implementation
  5. The specialist bootstrappers are invoked one-by-one to prepare or run the entities. The order is:
    1. Models - Their property definitions are registered with the ORM
    2. Service - Their initialize methods are called and further bootstrapping is deferred until all promises resolve
    3. Migrations - Migrations are run
    4. Seeders - Seeders are run
    5. Controllers - controller routes & methods are registered with the underlying Server instance
  6. Any passed afterBootstrap function is invoked.
  7. Finally, when all bootstrappers are finished, the underlying Server, Logger and Injector instances are returned to the invoking bootstrap file

5. Server start

The final step - with the bootstrap completed and an instance of Server in hand, all that needs to happen is start the server running. In the bootstrap.ts file this looks like the following:

import 'reflect-metadata';
import bootstrap from './main';

export default bootstrap().then(({server, logger}) => {
  return server.start().then(() => {
    logger.source('server').info('Server running at:', server.getHost());


Once that start promise is resolved, the server can start taking http connections.



When there is an incoming http connection, the following process occurs:

  1. The Server instance matches the URL to get the appropriate controller method to invoke
  2. A new request and response are created
  3. The request and response are passed into the matched call stack, which includes all middleware and the actual controller method
  4. The call stack is invoked in order, with any rejected promises or thrown Errors causing the stack to abort and handling to defer to the error handler.
  5. On successful resolution of the call stack, the response is dispatched to the Server to handle sending back to the client.

Remote Sessions

All Zeroth applications have remote connection capabilities provided by the RemoteCli service. When a connection is established using the CLI, depending on the task that is executed, define commands can interact with the running server.


Queues and Cron have not yet been implemented.