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The LoopBack bootstrapper, loopback-boot, performs application initialization (also called bootstrapping). When an application starts, the bootstrapper:

  • Configures data sources.
  • Defines custom models
  • Configures models and attaches models to data-sources.
  • Configures application settings
  • Runs boot scripts in the /server/boot directory.

The loopback-boot module exports a boot() function that initializes an application. For example, from the standard scaffolded server.js script:

var loopback = require('loopback');
var boot = require('loopback-boot');
var app = module.exports = loopback();
// ...
boot(app, __dirname, function(err) {
  if (err) throw err;
  // start the server if `$ node server.js`
  if (require.main === module)

See loopback-boot API docs for details. 

Using boot scripts

Use boot scripts to perform custom initialization in addition to that performed by the LoopBack bootstrapper. When an application starts, LoopBack loads all the scripts in the server/boot directory. By default, LoopBack loads boot scripts in alphabetical order. You can customize the boot script load order using the options argument of boot(). See Boot script loading order for details.

Predefined boot scripts

The application generator creates the following boot scripts:

  • /server/boot/root.js binds loopback.status() middleware at the root endpoint (“/”) to provide basic status information.
  • /server/boot/authentication.js - enables authentication for the application by calling app.enableAuth().

Earlier versions

Prior to generator-loopback v. 1.12, the application generator created two additional boot scripts, but this functionality is now handled in middleware:

  • explorer.js - Enables API Explorer
  • rest-api.js - Exposes the application’s models over REST using middleware.

API Connect

The API Connect LoopBack generator does not create the authentication.js boot script that enables authentication. To enable user model authentication you must add this script (or the equivalent) yourself.

Using the boot script generator

In addition to the predefined boot scripts, you can define custom boot scripts to perform your own logic when an application starts.

Use the boot script generator, to quickly generate boot script templates. Depending on how you respond to the generator’s prompts, it will generate a template for either a synchronous or asynchronous boot script:

Synchronous boot script template

module.exports = function(app) {

Comments are omitted here for brevity.

Asynchronous boot script template

module.exports = function(app, cb) {
  process.nextTick(cb); // Remove if you pass `cb` to an async function yourself

Simply add to the function the code you want to execute at boot time.

Synchronous and asynchronous boot scripts

LoopBack supports both synchronous and asynchronous boot scripts. The type to use depends on the nature of the task. Use asynchronous boot scripts for tasks for which you don’t want to block program execution, such as database requests or network operations. 

Both types of boot script must export a function that contains the actions of the script. The signature of this function is similar for both types of boot scripts, but asynchronous boot script functions take an additional callback argument.

Bootstrap function arguments

module.exports = function(app, [callback]) {
Name Type Required Description
app Object Yes

The application context object. Provides a handle the the application, so (for example) you can get model objects:

var User = app.models.User;
callback Function Only for asynchronous boot scripts Call the callback function when your application logic is done.

Asynchronous boot scripts

An asynchronous boot script must export a function that takes two arguments:

  1. The application object, app. This object enables you to access system-defined variables and configurations. 
  2. A callback function that enables you to time your response according to your application logic.

For example, this boot script prints “hello world” and triggers the callback function after three seconds (3000 milliseconds).


module.exports = function(app, callback) {
  setTimeout(function() {
    console.log('Hello world');
  }, 3000);

If you add this boot script to an application, it will display “Hello world” to the console when it starts.

Synchronous boot scripts

A synchronous boot script must export a function that takes one argument, the application object, app. This object enables you to access system-defined variables and configurations. 

For example, this boot script retrieves the names of all models registered with the application and displays them to the console. 


module.exports = function(app) {
  var modelNames = Object.keys(app.models);
  var models = [];
  modelNames.forEach(function(m) {
    var modelName = app.models[m].modelName;
    if (models.indexOf(modelName) === -1) {
  console.log('Models:', models);

If you add this boot script to an “empty” application, you will see this:


Models: ['User', 'AccessToken', 'ACL', 'RoleMapping', 'Role']

Boot script loading order

LoopBack executes boot scripts in alphabetical order by file name, so the easiest way to specify loading order for boot scripts is by their file names. For example, you could name boot scripts 01-your-first-script.js02-your-second-script.js, and so forth. This ensures LoopBack loads scripts in the order you want. For example before default boot scripts in /server/boot

You can also specify the loading order with options to the boot() function call in /server/server.js. Replace the default scaffolded function call:


boot(app, __dirname);

With something like this:

bootOptions = { "appRootDir": __dirname, 
                "bootScripts" : [ "/full/path/to/boot/script/first.js", "//full/path/to/boot/script/second.js", ... ]
boot(app, bootOptions);

Then the application will then execute scripts in the order specified in the bootScripts array. Specify the full directory path to each script.

You can also specify a relative directory path.

If desired, you can also specify one or more directories in the bootDirs property, and the application will run scripts in that directory in alphabetical order after those specified in bootScripts but before those in the /server/boot directory.