Setup routes in Node.js with Express.js and Jade with controllers, models, and views


I like the structure of Model View Controller (MVC) and I wanted to apply it to my Node.js projects.

I’ve written previous articles about Node using Jade Templates with Express, but I didn’t go into much details about code organization; let’s do that now.

MVC implementation with Node.js

Structure wise, here is my preference:

  • /
    • config
    • controllers
    • models
    • public
      • css
    • views
      • controllerName
        • index.jade
  • app.js
  • routes.js

In the above structure, I create one file per controller, model, and a sub folder in the views directory to hold my Jade jQuery template.

App.js and Route.js Setup

Example app.js setup

var express = require(‘express’);

var app = module.exports = express.createServer();

var config = require(‘./config/config’);

// Configuration, defaults to jade as the view engine
app.set(‘views’, __dirname + ‘/views’);
app.set(‘view engine’, ‘jade’);
app.use(express.static(__dirname + ‘/public’));

app.configure(‘development’, function(){
app.use(express.errorHandler({ dumpExceptions: true, showStack: true }));

app.listen(80, function(){
console.log(“Express server listening on port 80”);
}); = app;
routes = require(‘./routes’);

The above code sets up Express and Jade as the templating engine, initializes the web server and loads the routes.js file.

Example routes.js setup

app =;

/* require your controllers here */
var homeController = require(‘./controllers/home’);
var userController = require(‘./controllers/user’);

app.get(‘/’, homeController.index);

app.get(‘/users’, userController.index);
app.get(‘/users/detail’, userController.detail);

This instantiates two controllers: home and user. Then one route is created for / that calls the index function in the home controller and two routes are created for the user controller: index and detail.

Hopefully this is a good structure to get you started with using MVC, Express.js, and Jade templates.

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By Jamie

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