Looking to migrate your application to AdonisJS 6? Checkout our migration guide!

Announcing AdonisJS v6

Harminder Virk

Alright, sit tight, as this will be a long article. The work for v6 started with the goal of moving to ESM and improving the IoC container to be simple and have fewer responsibilities.

But we have touched almost every part of the framework, smoothing out many rough edges, fixing some long pending issues, and rewriting some packages from scratch.

Are you looking to migrate your applications from v5 to v6? Check out the migration-to-v6.adonisjs.com website for a complete list of breaking changes.

Also, we have created a migration CLI that can handle the majority of migration work for you.

Before we move forward, I will give a huge shoutout to everyone who sponsored me on GitHub. Your financial support helped me stay focused and make this release possible.

Moving to ESM

ESM (ECMAScript Modules) vs CJS (CommonJS) might be a topic of debate among many JavaScript developers. But we are not here to discuss the merits and drawbacks of one or the other.

We went with ESM because it is part of the spec. Yes, CJS might live the entirety of this universe, but the fact that a project using CJS cannot easily import ESM modules is a big enough pain point for us.

Many prolific authors (whom we rely on) already started moving their packages to ESM. As a result, if we keep the AdonisJS source code in CJS, we cannot use the latest versions of their packages, which may also contain several security fixes.

Starting from v6, every new AdonisJS application will use TypeScript and ESM. Yes, you can still install and use packages written in CJS, as ESM allows that.

Stop relying on TypeScript compiler hooks

I am not a fan of hacking into tools, primarily when the code is written for public consumption. However, with AdonisJS v5, we hook into the TypeScript compiler API and rewrite the imports prefixed with the @ioc keyword to IoC container lookup calls.

For example, if you write the following import.

import Route from '@ioc:Adonis/Core/Route'

We will compile it to

const Route = global[Symbol.for('ioc.use')]('Adonis/Core/Route')

There are two problems with the above transformation.

  • We rely on the official compiler API. As a result, we cannot use other JIT tools like ESBuild or SWC written in other faster languages.
  • We have to inject a global IoC container variable to resolve the module from the container.

Do not worry if you do not understand the container usage in this example. We have removed all this magic, and imports in v6 are regular JavaScript imports.

If you have been using AdonisJS v5 for a long time, wonder what happened to @ioc prefixed imports. Remember, there were better ways to resolve dependencies from the container. We have found a much simpler way to resolve container dependencies in the form of container services.

Type-safe routes and controllers binding

Earlier, we used magic strings to bind a controller to a route. For example, This is how the route + controller usage looks in v5.

Route.get('posts', 'PostsController.index')

The 'PostsController.index' is a magic string because, for TypeScript, it has no real meaning and cannot detect and report errors.

Starting from v6, we no longer recommend using magic strings. You can directly import controllers and bind them on a route by reference. For example:

import PostsController from '#controllers/posts_controller'
router.get('posts', [PostsController, 'index'])

However, there was one nice thing about magic strings. They allowed us to import the controllers lazily. Since controllers import the rest of the codebase, importing them within the routes file impacts the application's boot time.

In v6, you can lazily import a controller by wrapping it inside a function and using dynamic import.

You can detect and automatically convert controller imports to a lazy import using our ESLint plugin.

import PostsController from '#controllers/posts_controller'
const PostsController = () => import('#controllers/posts_controller')
router.get('posts', [PostsController, 'index'])

Type-safe named middleware reference

In AdonisJS v5, you reference the named middleware defined inside the start/kernel.ts file on a route as a string. For example:

auth: () => import('App/Middleware/Auth')
.get('/me', () => {})
// Passing options
.get('/me', () => {})

Since we are referencing the middleware as a string and passing the options as a string, there is no type-safety.

Starting from v6, the named middleware are defined by reference using the middleware collection exported from the start/kernel.ts file.

export const middleware = router.named({
auth: () => import('#middleware/auth_middleware')
import { middleware } from '#start/kernel'
.get('/', () => {})
// Passing options
.get('/', () => {})
guards: ['web', 'api']

Type-safe AdonisRC file

We have moved from a JSON-based RCFile (.adonisrc.json) to a TypeScript-based RCFile (adonisrc.ts).

This change allows us to directly import service providers, commands, and preload files instead of defining their import path as strings.

As a result, TypeScript can detect and report broken imports. Also, you can have better IntelliSense when modifying the values in the RCFile.

Type-safe Event emitter

To make the event emitter type-safe, we define a list of known events as a TypeScript interface, and from thereon, the emitter API only allows dispatching and listening for known events.

interface EventsList {
'user:registered': User,
'http:request_completed': {
duration: [number, number],
ctx: HttpContext

The ability to define an events list as an interface also exists with the older version of AdonisJS.

However, with v6, you can also define events as classes. Class-based events encapsulate the event identifier and the event data within the same class. The class constructor serves as the identifier, and an instance of the class holds the event data. For example:

import type User from '#models/user'
import { BaseEvent } from '@adonisjs/core/events'
export default class UserRegistered extends BaseEvent {
constructor(public user: User) {}
import emitter from '@adonisjs/core/services/emitter'
import UserRegistered from '#events/user_registered'
emitter.on(UserRegistered, function (event) {
import UserRegistered from '#events/user_registered'
const user = new User()

You can learn about class-based events in the documentation.

Vite integration for bundling frontend assets

Vite has become the de facto standard for building frontend applications. With this release, we ship an official integration for using Vite inside AdonisJS applications.

Also, we no longer recommend using Webpack Encore for new projects. However, we will continue to maintain this package for existing v5 applications.

New scaffolding system and codemods API

The scaffolding system and codemods API are used by the package creators to configure a package or by Ace commands to scaffold a resource.

We have written an in-depth guide on the same that you must read to learn more about it.

New validation library

The current validation module of AdonisJS has served us well, but it desperately needs some improvements. Right now:

  • It lacks a union data type. There is no way to validate a field as a string or a number.

  • The API to create custom rules is rough. We have witnessed many individuals struggling to create custom rules.

  • The state of the package codebase was not great. It made it harder for us to make big changes confidently. A significant rewrite was needed.

Finally, we developed a framework agnostic validation library called VineJS. VineJS will be the official validation system for AdonisJS v6.

VineJS is much faster than the version used in V5, and it's also more comprehensive. It makes it easy to create custom rules and schema types and validate complex schemas.

You can learn more about VineJS in our introduction live stream. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdBt0s8NA4I

What happens to the old validator?

We will maintain the old validator (without bringing any features) you can use while migrating apps to v6. However, we recommend using VineJS for new applications.

New and more Framework agnostic packages

Lately, we have decided to extract/create more framework-agnostic packages (wherever possible) with their dedicated documentation websites.

As a result, we are happy to announce that you can use the following packages with any Node.js framework of your choice.

  • Japa - A backend focused testing framework for Node.js.

  • Edge - In the age of complex frontend libraries and frameworks, Edge embraces old-school server-side rendering. Edge is a simple, Modern, and batteries-included template engine for Node.js.

  • VineJS - VineJS is a data validation library for the Node.js runtime. It is at least 9 times faster than Zod and Yup.

  • Bento Cache - Bentocache is a robust multi-tier caching library for the Node.js runtime.

  • Verrou - Verrou is a library for managing locks in a Node.js application.

Improved documentation

There were some lapses in AdonisJS's documentation. For example, topics like IoC Container and Service providers were undocumented. Also, some of the guides should have been more comprehensive.

With AdonisJS v6, we have spent significant time covering all the framework aspects within the documentation. Following are some of the newly added topics.

Better testing experience

We keep testing as one of the top priorities of the framework. Not only do we pre-configure a testing environment for your applications, but we also ensure the core APIs for the framework are testing-friendly.

Starting from v6, we ship:

Changes to the folder structure

While 80% of the folder structure of a v6 application remains the same, we move from PascalCase to snake_case for naming files and folders.

Why snake_case? - Last year, I documented the rules and conventions I follow when writing code. I briefly talk about the reasons behind opting for snake_case.

The snake_case naming convention is part of the official starter kits. However, you have the freedom to create and use custom starter kits with the naming conventions of your choice.

The rest 20% of folder structure changes include:

  • Move entry point files to the bin folder. You will no longer see server.ts and test.ts inside the application's root. These files are now inside the bin directory.

  • Remove the .adonisrc.json file in favor of the adonisrc.ts file. Learn more.

  • Rename the contracts directory to types.

  • Move the Controllers directory outside the Http directory. As a result, there is no Http directory in a v6 app. Controllers live directly inside the app directory.

  • Move the env.ts file from the project root to the start directory.

MJML support and additional mail transports

The @adonisjs/mail package now bundles additional transports for Resend and the Brevo mail services. Additionally, it contributes the @mjml Edge tag to write email content using the MJML markup language.

The contents of the following template will be auto-compiled to HTML on the fly when sending the email. Learn more

Hello World!

Sunsetting packages

The following packages are no longer used with a brand new AdonisJS v6 application.

  • Remove @adonisjs/encore in favor of Vite. However, the package is compatible with v6 and can be used until you decide to move to Vite.

  • Remove @adonisjs/validator in favor of VineJS. However, the package is compatible with v6 and can be used until you decide to move to VineJS.

  • Remove @adonisjs/sink in favor of the new scaffolding system and code mods API. No longer support v6 applications.

  • Remove @adonisjs/require-ts in favor of TSNode + SWC. No longer support v6 applications.

  • Remove @adonisjs/view in favor of directly using Edge.js. No longer support v6 applications.

Other changes

Following is the list of additional notable changes in the v6 release.

  • Support loading additional dot-env files other than the .env file. Learn more

  • The @adonisjs/logger package uses the latest version of Pino and supports defining multiple loggers. Learn more

  • Support for experimental partitioned and priority cookie options.

  • Remove support for serving static files from the framework core in favor of the new @adonisjs/static package.

  • Remove support for CORS from the framework core in favor of the new @adonisjs/cors package.

Ready to get started

Head to the official documentation to learn more about AdonisJS and create a new project. Or check out the Let's Learn AdonisJS 6 course from Tom at Adocasts.