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Disabling the sails global

Kelvin Omereshone

With the sails global, you get a convenient access to the running Sails application instance and the plethora of useful methods and properties it exposes.

For example, in the sails global, you can access your helpers with sails.helpers.helperName().

You can also get access to captains-log the built-in lightweight logger for Sails using sails.log()

Though the sails global is automatically available to you out of the box in your sails app and it is both recommended and convenient to use, you might have a need to disable it for several reasons like…

  • multiple sails app instances need to exist at once, or…
  • using globals is not an option for you or your team.

With that said, let’s look at…

How to disable the sails global

It’s super trivial to disable the sails global. All that is required is that you open the config/globals.js file, and locate the line where it says:

sails: true

then change that line to read:

sails: false

And that’s it! The sails global has been disabled and is no longer available globally across your Sails application.

Ways to reference the running application instance

So now that we’ve lost access to the running Sails app instance by disabling the sails global, how can we still access this said instance, you may ask.

As with everything in sails, there is no shortage of options on how to access the running sails instance. Let’s look at other ways to access the it in the context of where you are in your Sails project.

In actions2 style actions

From Sails v1.0, actions2 are the de facto way to author actions.

You can access the running Sails app instance inside the fn method via one of the following:

  • this.sails
  • env.sails
  • this.req._sails

Note: env is available when you pass it as an argument to the fn method of the action.

Below is an example of accessing the sails app instance in an actions2 style action.

	fn: async(inputs, exits, env) {
    // this.sails
	this.sails.log("Accessing the Sails app instance via this")

    // env.sails
    env.sails.log("Accessing the Sails instance via env")

	// this.req._sails
	this.req._sails.log("Accessing the Sails instance via this.req")

In helpers

You might have already guessed it that since actions2 style actions and helpers follow the same authoring pattern, you can also access the running Sails app instance in the fn method of the helper via…

  • this.sails

In legacy actions and policies

As you may have noticed when we discussed about accessing the Sails instance in actions2 style actions, Sails also exposes the Sails app instance in the incoming request stream aka req . So in legacy actions and policies you get access to the Sails app instance via:

  • req._sails


The sails global is comes in handy in a lot of business logic you may want to write in a Sails application. In this article we saw that it’s possible to disable it being automatically available as a global across a Sails app.

We also saw other ways to access the running Sails app instance exposed by the sails global in different places across a Sails application.