Why Teo?

In this article, you'll learn about the motivation for Teo and how it compares to other server frameworks and database tools like ORMs and SQL query builders.

With the traditional web frameworks, developers need to declare each route, write a lot of boilerplate code to just hook things up. Commonly required features such as filtering, sorting and paging are not provided. Developers need to figure out a way to implement it. The more functions developers write, the more duplications developers would found. Debugging SQL queries or MongoDB aggregations are cumbersome and error prone.

In modern frontend development, implementing data types and interfaces from API response feels more like redeclare those model types with another language. These precious time can be saved.

Teo makes it easy for developers to setup web server with a declarative schema language. It also generates clients for different frontend languages and frameworks.


Teo's main goal is to make application developers more productive when working with web servers and databases. Here are a few examples of how Teo achieves this:

  • Effective schema language to write readable data schemas and server files
  • Powerful and readable logic with pipeline
  • Type safe query clients are automatically generated
  • Less boilerplate so developers can focus on the unique logics of their app
  • Auto completion in both server code and client code

The remaining parts of this page discuss how Teo compares to existing HTTP server frameworks, database tools and query languages.

Problems with other HTTP frameworks

Performance and development cost

Frameworks written in Ruby, Python and Node.js are not performant, but faster to develop than frameworks of compiling languages. Frameworks written in Go and Java are more performant but it's slow to develop. There aren't great ORMs in the ecosystem due to the traits of the languages. C++ has better performance, but almost each company that uses it has it's own frameworks and implementations.

Teo server core is written in Rust. Its performance excels those in Java and Go. Thanks to Teo schema language, developing a Teo app is even faster than scripting languages. This makes Teo almost a perfect choice for API development.

Low abstraction on the process

When an HTTP request comes, developers write code to find a matched route, validate arguments, perform some trasformations and set some default values. Then the code save the data into the database. After that, the code may perform some jobs like send out an email or start some service through message queues. This is quite the way how an HTTP request are handled. This process can be abstracted and reused. However, even gigantic frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Django don't handle this for you.

Teo abstract this into object modifications. Let's say, you want to send out an email when a new user is created. But how about creating users in a batch? With Teo, you write an @afterSave callback on the User model. When action createMany is triggered, this callback is called for each of them automatically. You don't even need to add another function handler or move those email sending code out.

Moderate learning curve

The HTTP frameworks are easy just for declaring a single route. How to handle and read from each requests are depending on how each framework is implemented. Passing data from the requests to the underlying ORMs takes effort. Errors are hard to handle.

Well, developers don't need to handle these cubersome stuffs with Teo. The convension of Teo HTTP requests are clean, neat and reasonable. With Teo, developers only care about the models, data and business logics. These models and logics are unique to each project.

Problems with other ORMs or query builders

Simple CRUD actions are complicated with query builders. Aggregations are complicated with traditional ORMs. Developers still need to learn their APIs in order to get something simple done. When developers are typing, they provide some level of intellicense but they don't auto complete how to organize the function calls to get developers' things done. Developers need to search within their documentation.

In conclusion, the problems are listed as:

  • Hard to use and understand
  • Slow development speed
  • Always search through their documentations to get things simple done
  • Limitations on complicated usage
  • Hard to maintain production code

Problems with other query languages

The high level abstration of HTTP requests is query language. Instead of each server has it's own way, a query language defines standard on how to send requests and get responses. GraphQL is one of them and it's popular. We use GraphQL as an example of other query languages.

Hard to write server end code

GraphQL doesn't implement the server. It's just a standard. Instead, developers need to follow it's standard to implement the server with community libraries. Community implemented libraries and plugins are differ in quality and maintainability. Developers need to select and organize them into their own projects.

Teo implements the server for you. Therefore, you don't need to worry about how to organize and architect the server. You only declare the models in the schema file, fields and callbacks which are related to the core of your transactions and business.

Performance issue

GraphQL has performance issue when a request nests too much levels. It fetches each relation to the database separately. GraphQL's field selection is not real field selection in most cases. The database query still has each field fetched.

Teo managed to fetch the requested resources in a single query to the underlying database. It's ultra performant.

Hard to write frontend code

With GraphQL, frontend developers need to create a lot of query files and strings in order to perform the requests. It's hard to write and hard to use.

With Teo, you can select any fields and include any relationships just like GraphQL but with plain JSON requests. Frontend query builders are not needed. It's easy to write and easy to debug.

Does Teo have limitations?

Teo is a web server, not an ORM mapper. With Teo, you can do input sanitization, validation and transformation. You can control which field can be seen or queried by which one. You can define permission rules on CRUD actions. Teo supports pipeline, custom URL prefix, action disabling and user sessions.

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Teo makes developer productive

Teo makes developer productive by introduced innovative concepts. To learn them, head to Concepts.