Azure Functions: Version 4 of the Node.js programming model is in preview
Published Mar 27 2023 10:09 AM 22K Views
Microsoft

We’re excited to announce that version 4 of the Node.js programming model is currently in preview! This programming model is part of Azure Function’s larger effort to provide a more flexible and intuitive experience for all supported languages. If you follow news from Functions closely or happen to use Python as well, you may have heard about the release of the new programming model for Python last fall. During that time, we were working on a similar effort for Node.js. The experience we ship today is a culmination of feedback we received from JavaScript and TypeScript developers through GitHub, surveys, and user studies, as well as suggestions from internal Node.js experts working closely with customers.

 

What’s improved in the V4 model?

 

In this section, we highlight several key improvements made in the V4 programming model.

 

Flexible folder structure 

 

The existing V3 model requires that each trigger be in its own directory, with its own function.json file. This strict structure can make it hard to manage if an app has many triggers. And if you’re a Durable Functions user, having your orchestration, activity, and client functions in different directories decreases code readability, because you have to switch between directories to look at the components of one logical unit. The V4 model removes the strict directory structure and gives users the flexibility to organize triggers in ways that makes sense to their Function app. For example, you can have multiple related triggers in one file or have triggers in separate files that are grouped in one directory.

 

Furthermore, you no longer need to keep a function.json file for each trigger you have in the V4 model as bindings are configured in code! See the HTTP example in the next section and the Durable Functions example in the “More Examples” section.

 

Define function in code

 

The V4 model uses an app object as the entry point for registering functions instead of function.json files. For example, to register an HTTP trigger responding to a GET request, you can call app.http() or app.get() which was modeled after other Node.js frameworks like Express.js that also support app.get(). The following shows what has changed when writing an HTTP trigger in the V4 model:

 

V3 V4
module.exports = async function (context, req) {
  context.log('HTTP function processed a request');

  const name = req.query.name
    || req.body
    || 'world';

  context.res = {
    body: `Hello, ${name}!`
  };
};
const { app } = require("@azure/functions");

app.http('helloWorld1', {
  methods: ['GET', 'POST'],
  handler: async (request, context) => {
    context.log('Http function processed request');

    const name = request.query.get('name') 
      || await request.text() 
      || 'world';

    return { body: `Hello, ${name}!` };
  }
});
{
  "bindings": [
    {
      "authLevel": "anonymous",
      "type": "httpTrigger",
      "direction": "in",
      "name": "req",
      "methods": [
        "get",
        "post"
      ]
    },
    {
      "type": "http",
      "direction": "out",
      "name": "res"
    }
  ]
}
:stareyes: Nothing :stareyes:

 

Trigger configuration like methods and authLevel that were specified in a function.json file before are moved to the code itself in V4. We also set several defaults for you, which is why you don't see authLevel or an output binding in the V4 example.

 

New HTTP Types

 

In the V4 model, we’ve adjusted the HTTP request and response types to be a subset of the fetch standard instead of types unique to Azure Functions. We use Node.js's undici package, which follows the fetch standard and is currently being integrated into Node.js core.

 

HttpRequest - body

V3 V4
// returns a string, object, or Buffer
const body = request.body;
// returns a string
const body = request.rawBody;
// returns a Buffer
const body = request.bufferBody;
// returns an object representing a form
const body = await request.parseFormBody();
const body = await request.text();
const body = await request.json();
const body = await request.formData();
const body = await request.arrayBuffer();
const body = await request.blob();

 

HttpResponse – status

V3

V4

 

context.res.status(200);

context.res = { status: 200}
context.res = { statusCode: 200 };

return { status: 200};
return { statusCode: 200 };
return { status: 200 };

 

To see how other properties like header, query parameters, etc. have changed, see our developer guide.

 

Better IntelliSense

 

If you're not familiar with IntelliSense, it covers the features in your editor like autocomplete and documentation directly while you code. We're big fans of IntelliSense and we hope you are too because it was a priority for us from the initial design stages. The V4 model supports IntelliSense for JavaScript for the first time, and improves on the IntelliSense for TypeScript that already existed in V3. Here are a few examples:

 

lilyma_1-1679352183743.png

 

lilyma_2-1679352183748.png

 

More Examples

 

NOTE: One of the priorities of the V4 programming model is to ensure parity between JavaScript and TypeScript support. You can use either language to write all the examples in this article, but we only show one language for the sake of article length.

 

Timer (TypeScript)

 

A timer trigger that runs every 5 minutes:

 

import { app, InvocationContext, Timer } from '@azure/functions';

export async function timerTrigger1(myTimer: Timer, context: InvocationContext): Promise<void> {
    context.log('Timer function processed request.');
}

app.timer('timerTrigger1', {
    schedule: '0 */5 * * * *',
    handler: timerTrigger1,
});

 

Durable Functions (TypeScript)

 

Like in the V3 model, you need the durable-functions package in addition to @azure/functions to write Durable Functions in the V4 model. The example below shows one of the common patterns Durable Functions is useful for – function chaining. In this case, we’re executing a sequence of (simple) functions in a particular order.

 

import { app, HttpHandler, HttpRequest, HttpResponse, InvocationContext } from '@azure/functions';
import * as df from 'durable-functions';
import { ActivityHandler, OrchestrationContext, OrchestrationHandler } from 'durable-functions';

// Replace with the name of your Durable Functions Activity
const activityName = 'hello';

const orchestrator: OrchestrationHandler = function* (context: OrchestrationContext) {
    const outputs = [];
    outputs.push(yield context.df.callActivity(activityName, 'Tokyo'));
    outputs.push(yield context.df.callActivity(activityName, 'Seattle'));
    outputs.push(yield context.df.callActivity(activityName, 'Cairo'));

    return outputs;
};
df.app.orchestration('durableOrchestrator1', orchestrator);

const helloActivity: ActivityHandler = (input: string): string => {
    return `Hello, ${input}`;
};
df.app.activity(activityName, { handler: helloActivity });

const httpStart: HttpHandler = async (request: HttpRequest, context: InvocationContext): Promise<HttpResponse> => {
    const client = df.getClient(context);
    const body: unknown = await request.text();
    const instanceId: string = await client.startNew(request.params.orchestratorName, { input: body });

    context.log(`Started orchestration with ID = '${instanceId}'.`);

    return client.createCheckStatusResponse(request, instanceId);
};

app.http('durableOrchestrationStart1', {
    route: 'orchestrators/{orchestratorName}',
    extraInputs: [df.input.durableClient()],
    handler: httpStart,
});

 

In Lines 8-16, we set up and register an orchestration function. In the V4 model, instead of registering the orchestration trigger in function.json, you simply do it through the app object on the durable-functions module (here df). Similar logic applies to the activity (Lines 18-21), client (Lines 23-37), and Entity functions. This means you no longer have to manage multiple function.json files just to get a simple Durable Functions app working! 

 

Lines 23-37 set up and register a client function to start the orchestration. To do that, we pass in an input object from the durable-functions module to the extraInputs array to register the function. Like in the V3 model, we obtain the Durable Client using df.getClient() to execute orchestration management operations like starting a new orchestration. We use an HTTP trigger in this example, but you could use any trigger supported by Azure Functions such as a timer trigger or Service Bus trigger.

 

Refer to this example to see how to write a Durable Entity with the V4 model.

 

How to get started

 

Check out our Quickstarts to get started:

See our Developer Guide to learn more about the V4 model. We’ve also created an upgrade guide to help migrate existing V3 apps to V4.

 

Please give the V4 model a try and let us know your thoughts so we can enhance the experience further in the General Availability release!

 

If you have questions and/or suggestions, please feel free to drop an issue in our GitHub repo. As this is an open-source project, like most in Azure Functions, we also welcome any PR contributions from the community :smile:

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‎Apr 06 2023 03:05 PM
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