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Gustavo Bueno
Gustavo Bueno

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Starting with the NestJS Framework: A Beginner's Guide to Production-Ready Applications

NestJS is a progressive Node.js framework for building efficient and scalable server-side applications. It's built with TypeScript and combines elements of Object-Oriented Programming (OOP), Functional Programming (FP), and Functional Reactive Programming (FRP). This article aims to guide beginners through the foundational concepts of NestJS, culminating in the deployment of a production-ready application.

Setting Up Your Development Environment

  1. Install Node.js and npm: Ensure you have Node.js and npm installed. They are crucial for managing backend dependencies.
  2. Install NestJS CLI: Use npm to install the NestJS CLI globally. This tool helps in creating, managing, and maintaining your NestJS applications.
npm i -g @nestjs/cli
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  1. Create a New Project: Initialize a new project using the NestJS CLI.
nest new project-name
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Understanding NestJS Core Concepts

  1. Controllers: Controllers handle incoming requests and return responses to the client. They are defined with the @Controller() decorator.
  2. Providers and Services: Providers are a fundamental concept in NestJS. Services, marked with @Injectable(), are a type of provider that contain business logic.
  3. Modules: Modules organize your code into separate units. Each application has at least one module, the root module.
  4. Middleware: Middleware functions handle requests and responses, similar to Express middleware.
  5. Exception Filters: They handle exceptions that occur during the execution of request processing.
  6. Pipes: Pipes perform data transformation or validation.
  7. Guards: Guards handle authentication and authorization.
  8. Interceptors: Interceptors add extra logic to incoming requests or outgoing responses.

Building a Basic Application

  1. Create a Simple REST API: Start by building a simple CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) API. This involves creating controllers and services for handling data.
  2. Connect to a Database: Integrate a database, like PostgreSQL or MongoDB, using TypeORM or Mongoose.
  3. Implement Authentication: Use Passport.js for implementing authentication strategies.
  4. Validation and Error Handling: Implement DTOs (Data Transfer Objects) for validation and use exception filters for error handling.

Testing Your Application

  1. Unit Testing: NestJS supports Jest for unit testing. Test individual components in isolation.
  2. End-to-End Testing: Use tools like Supertest to perform end-to-end testing.

Preparing for Production

  1. Environment Configuration: Use configuration files to manage different settings for development, staging, and production environments.
  2. Logging: Implement a logging mechanism to track errors and other important events.
  3. Security Best Practices: Implement security best practices, such as rate limiting, CORS, and helmet.
  4. Performance Optimization: Use techniques like caching and efficient database querying.
  5. Documentation: Document your API using tools like Swagger.


  1. Containerization: Containerize your application using Docker for consistent deployment environments.
  2. CI/CD Pipeline: Set up a CI/CD pipeline with tools like Jenkins or GitLab CI for automated testing and deployment.
  3. Choose a Hosting Provider: Deploy your application on platforms like AWS, Heroku, or Google Cloud Platform.

NestJS offers a robust platform for building scalable server-side applications. By understanding its core concepts and following best practices, beginners can effectively develop and deploy production-ready applications. Remember, the key to mastering NestJS lies in continual practice and staying updated with the framework's evolving ecosystem.

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