An example how to use "Sencha Touch" with "Service Stack".
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Live demo

Here is a live demo of this code. I am starting with the live demo as it is the first thing I look for in similer code projects.

Project summary

This code demonstrate how to use Sencha Touch 2 with Service Stack used as a REST web service.

The server side is the example ServiceStack.MovieRest – created by the ServiceStack team. I have used AppHarbor to host the server side.

The Sencha Touch app was built using Sencha Architect 2, a great product - you should give it a try. You don't have to use Sencha Architect to modify the code (you can use any text editor). I do recommend trying Sencha Architect 2 (you can download a 30-day trial), the main reason for building this code was to learn how to use Sencha Architect – and I found it be a great time saver.

A list of some of the things that this code demonstrates:

  • Working with a ServiceStack REST web service using Sencha Touch models and stores.
  • Working with a ServiceStack REST web service using Sencha Architect.
  • Changing the REST web service URL dynamically inside the Sencha Touch app.
  • Doing add, update, delete and clone REST record operations – with basic error handling.
  • The code supports cross domain XMLHttpRequest. (I needed to patch the ServiceStack.MovieRest to get this to work; my patches where committed to ServiceStack.MovieRest main repository in GitHub so don’t worry about it).
  • Custom rating field (with stars and such) - based on this code -

When developing this I found out more information about the way REST works, here is what I learned:

  • REST is a way to add, update and delete records on a web server using a web service.
  • REST uses HTTP verbs that I didn't know about, I am used to GET and POST, but REST uses also PUT and DELETE.
  • POST means "create a record".
  • PUT means "update record".
  • DELETE means "delete a record".
  • If you use XMLHttpRequest the way the browser works is to first contact the web server with an OPTION verb, then if it likes the response – only than it sends the REST verb (meaning POST, PUT and DELETE).
  • You can view the HTTP request using Fiddler.
  • The Chrome JavaScript console helps to see if the request fails.
  • The main reason my requests failed was that I worked "cross domain""cross site" – meaning my app had a different URL address root then the web service.
  • When requesting data using XMLHttpRequest the server needs to add the some response headers (same as it got when calling OPTIONS) to its HTTP result.
  • The default for more servers is not to have the needed response headers – meaning XMLHttpRequest fails. This is what I need to fix in the ServiceStack.MovieRest example.
  • You can read more about the "cross domain""cross site""HTTP access control (CORS)" and what response headers are needed here or search Google for: Access-Control-Allow-Methods or Access-Control-Allow-Origin or Access-Control-Allow-Headers.

General notes

  • When developing I tested this project using Google Chrome, so I am not sure about the behavior on mobile phones.
  • The Chrome JavaScript console is great, you can see the call stack, add break points, auto break on error, add watches and much much more.
  • It is a good idea not to "hardcode" the service URL in the proxies as it will be hard to maintain as the project gets more complicated, my project sets the service URL for the proxies at the app launch – you can use it as reference to achieve the same functionality.
  • Error handling for web operations is a must – as the service can fail.
  • Service Stack is a great framework to develop the server side of a web site.
  • Service Stack service can run on Linux – but people report about memory leaks in some cases when using Mono. They have a solution for it – to run ServiceStack as a daemon on Linux.