The goal of this code lab is to create a server side API with Dart using the rpc package.
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README.md

README.md

Dart server-side Code Lab

The goal of this code lab is to create a server side API with Dart using the rpc package. We create a simple API with list of sessions and speakers from DevFest Istanbul 2015.

You will learn:

  • how to write applications in Dart
  • how to work on server-side with Dart's rpc package
  • how to use logger

Download the prepared project from Github and open it in editor. We prepared everything important for you. Project is divided into steps according to this Code Lab.

Try to run the application from step_5/ and see how it works. To be able to run it, you need to call pub get in the step_5 project folder. Then run the script bin/server.dart.

Step 1 - Let's prepare our API

We start with the folder step_0_start.

First explore the pubspec.yaml file in the project. All important metadata for project are present and the dependencies for rpc library are present:

  ...
dependencies:
  rpc: ^0.5.5
  http: '>=0.11.1 <0.12.0'
  crypto: '>=0.9.0 <0.10.0'
  _discoveryapis_commons: '>=0.1.0 <0.2.0'

Run pub get in the project folder.

DevFestApi class

We write a class for our Dart API. We name this class DevFestApi and store it into the file lib/server/api.dart.

library devfest_dart_code_lab.devfest_api;

class DevFestApi {
  // here will be contents of the class.
}

We use library rpc which is a library for creating RESTful server-side Dart APIs from the Dart team.

To be able to use it, we need to import it:

library devfest_dart_code_lab.devfest_api;

import 'package:rpc/rpc.dart';

class DevFestApi {
  // here will be contents of the class.
}

We need to provide annotation @ApiClass to our DevFestApi class to be able to say that it wraps our API. It is required to provide a version of the API.

@ApiClass(version: 'v1')
class DevFestApi {
  // here will be contents of the class.
}

Resource classes

Our API provides list of all speakers and sessions. These lists are contained in resource classes. We create two resource classes - SpeakersResource class and SessionsResource class in the api.dart.

@ApiClass(version: 'v1')
class DevFestApi {
  // here will be contents of the class.
}

class SpeakersResource {
  List _speakers;

  SpeakersResource() {
    _speakers = [];
  }
}

class SessionsResource {
  List _sessions;

  SessionsResource() {
    _sessions = [];  
  }
}  

These classes are instantiated in our DevFestApi class and the annotation @ApiResource needs to be provided to them.

@ApiClass(version: 'v1')
class DevFestApi {

  DevFestApi();

  @ApiResource()
  SpeakersResource speakersResource = new SpeakersResource();

  @ApiResource()
  SessionsResource sessionsResource = new SessionsResource();
}

Model

To be able to return list of all speakers and sessions, model classes need to be implemented. See the lib/model/model.dart file for the implementation.

Class Speaker and Session both have its attributes, default constructor and one named constructor Speaker.fromJson() and Session.fromJson(). This constructor will be later used for creating new Speaker and Session object from provided JSON - JSON is converted to Map and this Map is used in our named constructors to fill the attributes with values from it.

Finally the toString() method is implemented in both classes to get the nice String representation of every object.

Notice how a List of speakers is generated in Session.fromJson() constructor. For every speaker in session, the Speaker object is created and added to the List of speakers List<Speaker>.

Also note that List (or Map) in model classes needs to be typed or the rpc library will fail to parse the API.

class Speaker {
  int id;
  String name;
  String title;
  String company;
  String country;
  String bio;

  Speaker();

  Speaker.fromJson(Map map) {
    id = map["id"];
    name = map["name"];
    title = map["title"];
    company = map["company"];
    country = map["country"];
    bio = map["bio"];
  }

  String toString() => "name: $name,\n bio: $bio";
}

class Session {
  int id;
  String title;
  String description;
  String language;
  String complexity;
  List<Speaker> speakers = [];
  List<String> tags;

  Session();

  Session.fromJson(Map map) {
    id = map["id"];
    title = map["title"];
    description = map["description"];
    language = map["language"];
    complexity = map["complexity"];
    tags = map["tags"];
    if (map.containsKey("speakers")) {
      map["speakers"].forEach((Map speaker) {
        speakers.add(new Speaker.fromJson(speaker));
      });
    }
  }

  String toString() => "title: $title,\n description: $description";
}

API methods

Now we implement API methods for our resources. We implement GET, POST and DELETE methods fo speakers and sessions.

SpeakersResource API methods

We define methods:

  • getSpeakers() - returns a List of all speakers,
  • postSpeaker(Speaker speaker) - creates a new speaker, e.g. adds it to the List of speakers,
  • deleteSpeaker(String id) - deletes a speaker by id, e.g. finds it in the List by id and deletes it,
  • getSpeaker(String id) - returns speaker by id

All API methods have to have the @ApiMethod annotation to be able to be provided by the API. We need to specify the path which is used for this method in the annotation. Path supports also parameters (as you can see in getSpeaker() method). For the other methods than GET, the method has to be also specified in the annotation (in our example it is POST and DELETE).

Our API methods work with the model so we need to import it:

import '../model/model.dart';

Note that we provide model classes directly as a parameters/return types of the method - we don't need to use JSON because rpc library does this for us.

And also if the API method doesn't return anything, we need to provide a special return type VoidMessage and we return null;.

class SpeakersResource {
  List _speakers;

  SpeakersResource() {
    _speakers = [];
  }

  @ApiMethod(path: 'speakers')
  List<Speaker> getSpeakers() => _speakers;

  @ApiMethod(path: 'speakers', method: 'POST')
  Speaker postSpeaker(Speaker speaker) {
    if (speaker == null) {
      throw new ArgumentError("Speaker can't be null");
    }
    _speakers.add(speaker);
    return speaker;
  }

  @ApiMethod(path: 'speakers/{id}', method: 'DELETE')
  VoidMessage deleteSpeaker(String id) {
    Speaker speaker = _speakers
        .where((speaker) => speaker.id == int.parse(id))
        .toList()
        .first;
    _speakers.remove(speaker);
    return null;
  }

  @ApiMethod(path: 'speakers/{id}')
  Speaker getSpeaker(String id) {
    return _speakers
        .where((speaker) => speaker.id == int.parse(id))
        .toList()
        .first;
  }
}

SessionsResource API methods

SessionsResource class is similar to SpeakersResource class.

We define also similar methods:

  • getSessions()
  • postSession(Session session)
  • deleteSession(String id)
  • getSession(String id)
class SessionsResource {
  List _sessions;

  SessionsResource() {
    _sessions = [];
  }

  @ApiMethod(path: 'sessions')
  List<Session> getSessions() => _sessions;

  @ApiMethod(path: 'sessions', method: 'POST')
  Session postSession(Session session) {
    if (session == null) {
      throw new ArgumentError("Session can't be null");
    }
    _sessions.add(session);
    return session;
  }

  @ApiMethod(path: 'sessions/{id}', method: 'DELETE')
  VoidMessage deleteSession(String id) {
    Session session = _sessions
        .where((session) => session.id == int.parse(id))
        .toList()
        .first;
    _sessions.remove(session);
    return null;
  }

  @ApiMethod(path: 'sessions/{id}')
  Session getSession(String id) {
    return _sessions
    .where((session) => session.id == int.parse(id))
    .toList()
    .first;
  }
}

Now we have our API finished and the last thing we need to create is the server script. The script server.dart resides in the bin folder.

We need to create here the instance of ApiServer first. Then we use it to add an API by calling _apiServer.addApi(new DevFestApi()).

Now we create an instance of the HttpServer class and bind it to localhost:8080.

Server listens to the requests and uses default HTTP request handler which comes with the ApiServer class.

Also notice using a Logger to print info about server start into the console.

library devfest_server;

import 'dart:io';
import 'package:logging/logging.dart';
import 'package:rpc/rpc.dart';
import '../lib/server/api.dart';

final ApiServer apiServer = new ApiServer(prettyPrint: true);

main() async {
  Logger.root..level = Level.INFO..onRecord.listen(print);

  apiServer.addApi(new DevFestApi());
  HttpServer server = await HttpServer.bind(InternetAddress.ANY_IP_V4, 8080);
  server.listen(apiServer.httpRequestHandler);
  print('Server listening on http://${server.address.host}: ${server.port}');
}

Step 2 - Run the application

Run the bin/server.dart either from your IDE or from console with command:

dart bin/server.dart

Try our resources on localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/speakers and http://localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/sessions in the web browser. Our API returns empty lists because our lists in the API classes are empty.

We fill them in the next step.

Also notice the name devFestApi in the url. Why is it there? Our API class is named DevFestApi, so the API name is named according to this class in the camelCase style. But it is also possible to provide different name to the API class throught the @ApiClass annotation.

Step 3 - Fill lists with data

We are not using any database in this code lab so we need to provide the data in the code and load them into our lists after resource creation.

See the lib/utils/static_data.dart file.

Here is a list of two speakers and sessions for them. We will use these lists in our API resource class to initialize the List objects.

List<Speaker> speakers = [
  new Speaker()
    ..id = 14
    ..name = "Jana Moudrá"
    ..title = "Co-Founder"
    ..company = "Juicymo"
    ..country = "Czech Republic"
    ..bio =
        "GDE (Google Developer Expert) for Dart. Jana is a passionate developer and modern web and mobile technology evangelist. She is an event organiser for GDG Prague, where she arranges events for developers including public lectures, code labs and hackathons – covering a wide range of subjects including technologies Dart or Android. She loves to help other developers and spread the knowledge about these technologies. <br/><br/>Jana co-founded a company called Juicymo, where she works on juicy apps and products.",
  new Speaker()
    ..id = 15
    ..name = "Jakub Škvára"
    ..title = "Frontend engineer"
    ..company = "Shipito"
    ..country = "Czech Republic"
    ..bio =
        "Jakub is a member of GDG Prague and GDG ČVUT in Czech republic. He organised together with Jana Moudrá several Polymer and Dart code labs and a hackaton. He works as a frontend engineer for Shipito. Jakub is interested in modern Javascript frameworks, libraries and tools and loves clean code."
];

List<Session> sessions = [
  new Session()
    ..id = 115
    ..title = "Let's play Dart!"
    ..description =
        "Dart is a language for the web by Google which is object oriented with optional types. You can use Dart to build great apps for the client-side, server-side and command line. <br/><br/>Come to listen to my story why I love Dart and why it makes me so much productive!"
    ..language = "en"
    ..complexity = "Intermediate"
    ..speakers = [speakers[0]]
    ..tags = ["Web", "Dart"],
  new Session()
    ..id = 116
    ..title = "Polymer vs other libraries"
    ..description =
        "Most modern front-end JavaScript libraries provide support for component based development. Components help separate large applications into standalone building blocks with specified communication API. Let's compare Polymer elements with components from React, Angular."
    ..language = "en"
    ..complexity = "Intermediate"
    ..speakers = [speakers[1]]
    ..tags = ["Web", "Polymer"]
];

Now we need to initialize our lists in DevFestApi class. First we add an import into a DevFestApi class to lib/utils/static_data.dart.

import '../utils/static_data.dart';

We set the values of lists in constructors of the resource classes.

class SpeakersResource {
  List _speakers;

  SpeakersResource() {
    _speakers = speakers;
  }

  //other contents of the class
}

class SessionsResource {
  List _sessions;

  SessionsResource() {
    _sessions = sessions;
  }
  
  //other contents of the class
}

Stop current server and run it again. You should be able to see two speakers and two sesions.

Warning: If you see "Failed to create server socket" error, previous process might still be using port 8080. Use one of the following commands in the command line.

Mac or Linux:

lsof -i :8080

Windows:

netstat -ano

and then kill the process.

Step 4 - Test the API

Now we need to test that our API works. We have methods on paths:

  • GET localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/speakers
  • GET localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/speakers/{id}
  • GET localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/sessions
  • GET localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/sessions/{id}
  • DELETE localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/speakers/{id}
  • DELETE localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/sessions/{id}
  • POST localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/speakers
  • POST localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/sessions

{id} means that the id of a speaker or session is added.

###GET

Trying GET methods is easy because we can try it in the web browser. Try this in the web browser:

  • localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/speakers
  • localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/speakers/14
  • localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/sessions
  • localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/sessions/115

The ids correspond to ids of items in lists from lib/utils/static_data.dart.

Trying DELETE and POST methods is harder because we need to install either tool like curl or we can use some extension to Chrome (like Advanced REST client or Postman).

We can also test a GET method with curl:

curl http://localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/speakers
curl http://localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/sessions

DELETE

Try the DELETE methods and see how lists of our resources are now having only one element.

curl -X "DELETE" http://localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/speakers/14
curl -X "DELETE" http://localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/sessions/115

POST

With the POST request we need to also send the data in a format of JSON.

For Mac/Linux:

curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X "POST" -d '{"id":100,"name":"The test speaker"}' http://localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/speakers
curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X "POST" -d '{"id":500,"title":"The test session"}' http://localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/sessions

For Windows:

curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X "POST" -d "{\"id\":100,\"name\":\"The test speaker\"}" http://localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/speakers
curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X "POST" -d "{\"id\":500,\"title\":\"The test session\"}" http://localhost:8080/devFestApi/v1/sessions

Step 5 - Fill lists with data from JSON

Previous steps used the static data from lists in a lib/utils/static_data.dart. We don't use database in this code lab but we want to have still more then two items in our resources.

So we parse the prepared lib/sessions.json and lib/speakers.json which are generated from JSON files from official DevFest website and fill the lists with these data (original JSON had unnecessary tags for our purpose and speakers were only a list of ids).

This functionality is already implemented in lib/utils/json_loaders.dart. Take a look at the code. Code parses the JSON files for speakers and sessions and generates a List of objects (Speaker and Session) for them using the .toJson() constructor for every object.

And then we need to add an import to our DevFestApi class:

import '../utils/json_loaders.dart';

And use it in our resource constructors:

class SpeakersResource {
  List _speakers;

  SpeakersResource() {
    _speakers = loadSpeakersFromJson();
  }

  //other contents of the class
}

class SessionsResource {
  List _sessions;

  SessionsResource() {
    _sessions = loadSessionsFromJson();
  }
  
  //other contents of the class
}

Stop current server and run it again.

Resources