The OpenHIM core application that provides logging and routing of http requests
Last updated a year ago by matty007 .
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OpenHIM Core Component

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The OpenHIM core component is responsible for providing a single entry-point into an HIE as well as providing the following key features:

  • Point of service client authentication and authorization
  • Persistence and audit logging of all messages that flow through the OpenHIM
  • Routing of messages to the correct service provider (be it an HIM orchestrator for further orchestration or the actual intended service provider)

To get started and to learn more about using the OpenHIM see the full documentation.

Some of the important information is repeated here, however, the the above documentation is much more comprehensive.

The OpenHIM Road Map is available on our wiki


Last 2 versions of NodeJS LTS will be supported

NodeJS (LTS) MongoDB
8.x >= 3.6 || <= 4.0
10.x >= 3.6 || <= 4.0

Getting started with the OpenHIM-core

Docker Compose

  1. Ensure that you have Docker and Docker Compose installed.
  2. Navigate to the docker-compose.yml file found in the /infrastructure directory.
  3. Execute the Docker Compose file to pull the docker images and start the services in a detached mode: docker-compose up -d
  4. Once the services have all started, you will be able to view the OpenHIM Console in your browser.

NPM Package

  1. Install the latest stable Node.js >=8.9 <9 || >=10.13 <10.15.1. The latest active LTS is recommended.
  2. Install and start a MongoDB instance v3.6 up to v4.0. Please refer to the requirements table for accurate versions to use.
  3. Install the OpenHIM-core package globally: npm install openhim-core -g, this will also install an openhim-core binary to your PATH.
  4. Start the server by executing openhim-core from anywhere.

To make use of your own custom configurations you can copy the default.json config file and override the default setting:

# edit default.json, then
openhim-core --conf=path/to/default.json

To specify the timezone in which the openhim services are used, change the utcOffset value in the default.json file. If the time-zone's offset value is not specified, the default server time will be used. This ensures that weekly and daily channel reports have the expected timestamps.

For more information about the config options, click here.

Note: one of the first things that you should do once the OpenHIM is up and running is setup a properly signed TLS certificate. You can do this through the OpenHIM console under 'Certificates' on the sidebar.

Developer guide

Clone the repository.

Ensure you have the following installed:

  • Node.js v8.x -> 10.x (not 10.15.1)
  • MongoDB (in Ubuntu run sudo apt install mongodb, in OSX using Homebrew, run brew update followed by brew install mongodb)

The OpenHIM core makes use of the Koa framework (async/awaits), which requires node version v7 or greater (not 10.15.1)

The easiest way to use the latest version of node is to install nvm. On Ubuntu, you can install using the install script but you have to add [[ -s $HOME/.nvm/ ]] && . $HOME/.nvm/ # This loads NVM to the end of your ~/.bashrc file as well.

Once nvm is installed, run the following:

nvm install 10

nvm alias default 10

The latest version of node 10 should now be installed and set as default. The next step is to get all the required dependencies using npm. Navigate to the directory where the openhim-core-js source is located and run the following:

npm install

Then build the project:

npm run build

In order to run the OpenHIM core server, MongoDB must be installed and running. Please refer to the requirements table for accurate versions to use.

To run the server, execute:

npm start (this runs node lib/server.js behind the scenes)

The server will by default start in development mode using the mongodb database 'openhim-development'. To start the server in production mode use the following:

NODE_ENV=production npm start

This starts the server with production defaults, including the use of the production mongodb database called 'openhim'.

This project uses mocha as a unit testing framework with should.js for assertions and sinon.js for spies and mocks. The tests can be run using npm test.

Pro tips:

  • npm run lint - ensure the code is lint free, this is also run before an npm test
  • npm link - will symlink you local working directory to the globally installed openhim-core module. Use this so you can use the global openhim-core binary to run your current work in progress. Also, if you build any local changes the server will automatically restart.
  • npm test -- --grep <regex> - will only run tests with names matching the regex.
  • npm test -- --inspect - enabled the node debugger while running unit tests. Add debugger statements and use node debug localhost:5858 to connect to the debugger instance.
  • npm test -- --bail - exit on first test failure.


All commits to the master branch will automatically trigger a build of the latest changes into a docker image on dockerhub.

Creating CentOS RPM package

The build process for the RPM package is based off this blog. The reason for using vagrant instead of docker is so that we can test the RPM package by running it as a service using SystemCtl - similar to how it will likely be used in a production environment. SystemCtl is not available out the box in docker containers.

Refer to this blog for a more detailed description of a possible work-around. This is not recommended since it is a hack. This is where vagrant comes in since it sets up an isolated VM.

  1. Setup environment

    Navigate to the infrastructure folder: infrastructure/centos

    Provision VM and automatically build RPM package:

    vagrant up

    or without automatic provisioning (useful if you prefer manual control of the process):

    vagrant up --no-provision
  2. [Optional] The Vagrant file provisions the VM with the latest source code from master and attempts to compile the RPM package for you. However in the event an error occurs, or if you prefer to have manual control over the process, then you'll need to do the following:

    • Remote into the VM: vagrant ssh
    • Download or sync all source code into VM.
    • Ensure all dependencies are installed.
    npm i && npm i speculate
    • Run speculate to generate the SPEC files needed to build the RPM package.
    npm run spec
    • Ensure the directory with the source code is linked to the rpmbuild directory - the folder RPMBUILD will use.
    ln -s ~/openhim-core ~/rpmbuild
    • Build RPM package.
    rpmbuild -bb ~/rpmbuild/SPECS/openhim-core.spec
  3. Install & Test package

    sudo yum install -y ~/rpmbuild/RPMS/x86_64/openhim-core-{current_version}.x86_64.rpm
    sudo systemctl start openhim-core
    curl https://localhost:8080/heartbeat -k

    Note: In order for openhim-core to run successfully, you'll need to point it to a valid instance of Mongo or install it locally:

    sudo yum install mongodb-org
    sudo service mongod start
  4. How to check the logs?

    sudo systemctl status openhim-core
    sudo tail -f -n 100 /var/log/messages
  5. If everything checks out then extract the RPM package by leaving the VM.

    Install Vagrant scp plugin:

    vagrant plugin install vagrant-scp

    Then copy the file from the VM:

    vagrant scp default:/home/vagrant/rpmbuild/RPMS/x86_64/{filename}.rpm .


You may view/add issues here:

To contribute code, please fork the repository and submit a pull request. The maintainers will review the code and merge it in if all is well.

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