Deploying your existing StrongLoop application to IBM Bluemix

If you are not familiar with StrongLoop, you may need to check my previous post:

Deploying StrongLoop applications in Bluemix is tricky and requires you to do some modifications to your application. This post discusses the steps required to deploy a StrongLoop application that uses MongoDB to IBM Bluemix.

1. Create your StrongLoop Application in Bluemix

Before deploying your local Strongloop application in IBM Bluemix, make sure to create a Bluemix “StrongLoop Arc” application from the Bluemix Boilerplates as shown below.
StrongLoop Arc App

Then create and bind a MongoDB Service to your created StrongLoop application in IBM Bluemix.
Bind MongoDB to Bluemix app

Then download the application starter code from "Start Coding" page, extract the zip file, and then get the manifest.yml file which is as follows in my case.

- path: .
  memory: 512M
  instances: 1
  name: iReport
  host: iReport
  disk_quota: 1024M
  - iReport-MongoDB

Copy the manifest.yml file to your local StrongLoop application’s directory.

2. Use VCAP_APP_HOST and VCAP_APP_PORT inside server.js file

In server.js file under the server directory, make sure to Use process.env.VCAP_APP_HOST and process.env.VCAP_APP_PORT as shown in the code below.

boot(app, __dirname, function(err) {
  if (err) throw err;
  //Use Bluemix host and port ...  
  var host = process.env.VCAP_APP_HOST || 'localhost';
  var port = process.env.VCAP_APP_PORT || 1337;
  app.set('host', host);
  app.set('port', port);  

  // start the server if `$ node server.js`
  if (require.main === module)

3. Use the “start” attribute in package.json

If you do not use the "start" attribute in your package.json file, you may face the following exception when pushing your application to IBM Bluemix.

[App/0]  ERR npm ERR! Linux 3.19.0-25-generic
[App/0]  ERR npm ERR! argv "/home/vcap/app/vendor/node/bin/node" "/home/vcap/app/vendor/node/bin/npm" "start"
[App/0]  ERR npm ERR! node v0.12.7
[App/0]  ERR npm ERR! npm  v2.11.3
[App/0]  ERR npm ERR! missing script: start
[App/0]  ERR npm ERR! 
[App/0]  ERR npm ERR! If you need help, you may report this error at:
[App/0]  ERR npm ERR!     <>
[App/0]  ERR npm ERR! Please include the following file with any support request:
[App/0]  ERR npm ERR!     /home/vcap/app/npm-debug.log
[DEA/14] ERR Instance (index 0) failed to start accepting connections

This is my package.json file which uses the "start" attribute as follows.

  "name": "iReport-Services",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "scripts": {
    "pretest": "jshint .",
    "start": "node server/server.js"
  "dependencies": {
    "compression": "^1.0.3",
    "cors": "^2.5.2",
    "loopback": "^2.22.0",
    "loopback-boot": "^2.6.5",
    "loopback-component-explorer": "^2.1.0",
    "loopback-connector-mongodb": "^1.13.0",
    "loopback-datasource-juggler": "^2.39.0",
    "serve-favicon": "^2.0.1"
  "devDependencies": {
    "jshint": "^2.5.6"
  "repository": {
    "type": "",
    "url": ""
  "description": "iReport-Services"

4. Update datasources.json file under the application’s server directory

Under the server directory, there is a file called datasources.json which holds the application’s data source configurations, edit this file to point your application to the Bluemix MongoDB instead of your old MongoDB.

Below is my datasources.json file.

  "iReport-db": {
    "connector": "mongodb",
    "url": "mongodb://xxx"

You can get the "url" attribute from the MongoDB Bluemix configuration as shown in the screenshot below.
Bluemix MongoDB

After doing the previous steps, you can finally, cf push [your local strongloop application] to IBM Bluemix,

These are all the steps you need to do in order to have your StrongLoop application up-and-running in Bluemix, Enjoy!

This entry was posted in Bluemix, Node.js and tagged , , , , , by Hazem Saleh. Bookmark the permalink.

About Hazem Saleh

Hazem Saleh has more than eleven years of experience in Cloud, Mobile and Open Source technologies. He worked as a software engineer, technical leader, application architect, and technical consultant for many clients around the world. He is an Apache PMC (Project Management Committee) member and a person who spent many years of his life writing open source software. Beside being the author of the "JavaScript Unit Testing" book, "JavaScript Mobile Application Development" book, "Pro JSF and HTML5" book and the co-author of the "Definitive guide to Apache MyFaces" book, Hazem is also an author of many technical articles, a developerWorks contributing author and a technical speaker in both local and international conferences such as ApacheCon North America, Geecon, JavaLand, JSFDays, CON-FESS Vienna and JavaOne. Hazem is an XIBMer, he worked in IBM for ten years. Now, He is working for Nickelodeon New York as a Mobile Architect. He is also an OpenGroup Master Certified Specialist.