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Pintura is the JSGI-based RESTful JSON/JavaScript server middleware stack that provides the web interface for the Persevere 2.0 framework

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README.md

Pintura is a cross-platform server side JavaScript based REST architecture web framework using standards based HTTP client/server interaction with a focus on JSON formatted data. Pintura gives you out of the box RESTful HTTP/JSON interface to data, you can simply create data models and Pintura automatically provides an HTTP interface. Pintura consists of reusable CommonJS modules and JSGI middleware such that it can be used on any JSGI compliant JavaScript platform, but is tested on Node.js and Jack 0.3. Pintura forms the core of the Persevere 2.0 framework which is designed for rich Internet applications that rely heavily on Ajax-driven data communication from the browser. To learn more about features, capabilities, and philosophy of Pintura see the introduction to Pintura. The getting started with Pintura article provides a great starting point for using Pintura to build Persevere applications. Pintura is primarily composed of JSGI middleware components, and these components are described here.

Setup Pintura

One of the easiest way to get started with Pintura is start with the Persevere example app, which can be downloaded and started with Nodules. It is recommended that you install Pintura such that it is available in require statements under the "pintura" path. This can easily be done with a package mapping compliant module loader like Nodules by using a mapping in your package.json (and then Pintura will be automatically downloaded for you):

"mappings": {
    "pintura": "jar:http://github.com/kriszyp/pintura/zipball/master!/lib/"
}

You can then use "app" property from require("pintura/pintura") as a JSGI application. With jsgi-node you can start Pintura:

require("jsgi-node").start(require("pintura/pintura").app); 

Or with Jack:

exports.app = require("pintura/pintura").app;

You can see a more in-depth example of serving static files in combination with Pintura in the Persevere example app startup file.

Using Pintura

Persevere applications are generally built upon models, which act as classes for data. Perstore is the persistence library that is used by Persevere for defining models. Models defined with Perstore are automatically made accessible through HTTP by Pintura. A simple example of a model is:

var Model = require("perstore/model").Model,
    store = require("perstore/mongodb").MongoDB("Product");
Product = Model("Product",store, {
    properties: {
        name: String
        // we can define other properties, all 
    },
    // we can define handlers
    put: function(object, directives){
        object.updated = new Date();
        store.put(object, directives);
    }
}); 

HTTP/REST Basics

With Persevere we can automatically interact with this data model through standard HTTP requests:

  • GET /{model}/{id} - Gets the object with the given id from the model store.
  • PUT /{model}/{id} - Updates or creates object with the given id in the model store.
  • DELETE /{model}/{id} - Deletes the object with the given id from the model store.
  • POST /{model}/ - Creates or incrementally updates an object in model store.

Pintura converts HTTP requests to method calls on the model. When an HTTP request is received it is converted to a call to the model of the form:

{model}.{httpMethod}({id or body},metadata);

For example if a request is received:

GET /Product/33 

This will result in a call to the model like:

Product.get("33", metadata); 

For the model above, there is no "get" method defined, so the default "get" handler would be used, which delegates to the store to get the object by id. If we made a request like:

PUT /Product/33 

This would call the "put" handler defined in the model above. One can also query stores through HTTP. Requests of the form /{model}/?{query} are passed through to the model by calls to the "query" method on the model. Perstore provides query parsing capabilities and stores implement query execution (dependent on the capabilities of the DB). An example of a query:

GET /Product/?type=shoe&price=lt=20&sort(-rating)

Security

Persevere's facet-based security model forms the foundation of access control and is described in this article. Facets are used to define the different levels of access for models. Pintura's security configuration object can then be configured to define how users are authenticated and which facets or access levels each user is given. The security configuration object is available at require("pintura/pintura").config.security. The primary functions that can be overriden are:

  • authenticate(username, password) - The authenticate method allows you to define a custom authentication method and defaults to authenticating against the auto-generated User model. Should return a user object.
  • getAllowedFacets(user, request) - Allows you to define which facets are available for a given user. This should return an array of facets. By default this grants full access to everything (the require("pintura/security").FullAccess facet) for all users.
  • createUser(username, password) - This should create a new user for with the given credentials.
  • getUsername(user) - Should return the name of the given user.
  • {g|s}etUserClass - Retrieve or set the user class used to find users
  • {g|s}etAuthClass - Retrieve or set the authentication class used to find authentication tokens

Error Handling

Pintura includes middleware for catching errors and converting them to appropriate HTTP error status codes. The following uncaught errors (until the error middleware catches them) are translated:

  • URIError - 400
  • TypeError - 403
  • require("perstore/errors").NotFoundError - 404
  • require("perstore/errors").PreconditionFailed - 412
  • require("perstore/errors").AccessError - if user is authenticated 403, if not 401
  • require("perstore/errors").MethodNotAllowedError - 405
  • RangeError - 416
  • Other errors - 500 or if the error object has a "status" property, that will be used

Content Negotiation

One of the core concepts of the REST architecture is content negotiation which permits multiple views or representations of resources or objects. Providing content negotiation is a key functionality that Pintura provides. Pintura utilizes a set of media type handlers to find the best representation for serializing (or deserializing) data. Pintura comes with several media type handlers including:

  • json – JSON media handler
  • javascript – Similar to the JSON media handler, but will serialize to additional JavaScript specific types such as dates, NaN, functions, and other types that do not exist in JSON.
  • multipart-form-data and url-encoded – Used for parsing form data.
  • csv - Comma separated values
  • atom - Atom based view
  • html - A very simple HTML view of data.

To request a JSON view of data, include an Accept header in your HTTP request:

Accept: application/json

Accept headers can include multiple options and quality values. By default application/javascript is considered the highest quality represention by Pintura (it is basically the same as JSON but also can include date literals and special numeric types like NaN and Infinite).

Creating new media types is common way to extend Pintura with additional formats. To create a new media type handler, use the Media constructor from the "media" module. This constructor takes an object argument with four properties:

  • mediaType - The name of the media type.
  • quality - A numeric value indicating the quality of the media type (generally a number from 0 - 1).
  • serialize - A function that is called to serialize the data (JavaScript objects or arrays) to string output for the response.
  • deserialize - A function that is called to deserialize the request input data to JavaScript objects or arrays.

Paging/Range Requests

Pintura can handle requests for "pages" of data, query results with start and ending index limits, through Range headers. To request items 10 through 19 of a query, include a Range header:

GET /Product/?type=shoe
Range: items=10-19

The server will return a Content-Range header indicating the range returned and total count of the results.

Bulk Updates and Comet

Pintura utilizes the message/* category of media types for indicating a set of requests or messages. Normally each HTTP request triggers one action in the store in its own transaction, but a request with a content type of message/sub-type (usually message/json or message/javascript) will be treated as a set of requests that are all processed within one transaction. This allows you to do several updates with one HTTP request. For request with a set of messages, the body should be an array of objects, where each object can have the following properties (only "method" is required):

  • to - The id/path of the target object of the action. This is resolved relative to the path of the request URI.
  • method - The method to execute, can be "get", "put", "post", "subscribe", or any other method on the target store.
  • body - The body of the request; the main payload of data.
  • queryString - query string
  • id - A message id, any subsequent message with the same id should be ignored (allows for idempotent messages)
  • metadata - Any metadata needed for the request

For example, updating two objects could be done:

POST /Product/
Content-Type: message/json 
Accept: message/json

[
  {to:"2", method:"put", body:{name:"updated 2"}, id: 1},
  {to:"3", method:"put", body:{name:"updated 3"}, id: 2}
]

The message/* media type can also be used in Accept headers to indicate that a response with a set of messages should be returned. This should be used for bulk updates. A response will be an array of objects where each object may have the following properties:

  • from - The id/path of the object that was acted on
  • body - The body of the response
  • id - The id of the message that this message is in response to
  • type - The type of the action that was executed

An example response (for the requests above):

Content-Type: message/json

[
  {"from":"2", "body":{"name":"updated 2"}, "id": 1},
  {"from":"3", "body":{"name":"updated 3"}, "id": 2}
]

Real-Time/Comet

The message/* media type can also be useful for real-time notification of events, AKA comet. Stores and models that support notifications can return observable objects, typically through the "subscribe" method, to indicate that multiple events may be emitted that can later be delivered to the client. When message requests are observable instead of direct value, responses will not be sent to the client until there is a message ready to be sent. For example, to subscribe to all events that take place on /User/john:

POST /User/
Content-Type: message/json
Client-Id: 251ab4ac9312f
Accept: message/json

[
  {to:"john", method:"subscribe"}
]

The response to the client will be delayed until an event/message for /User/john occurs.

For maximum browser compatibility, typically long-polling is used for comet applications. However, there is always a time gap between responses and the next request from the browser. Consequently for continuous gap-free subscriptions, it can be highly useful to emulate a continuous connection or queue for messages. This can be done by including a Client-Id header. Clients can generate a random id, and repeated connect using the same client id. Between requests, any events (from subscriptions) will be pushed into a queue for the given client id until the next request.

The Client-Id header can be included in standard requests as well, allowing other operations to add event sources and subscriptions to the current client queue.

Some browsers support XHR streaming and do not require long-polling repeated reconnections. If you wish to use streaming, include a Streaming header:

Streaming: true

The response will continue indefinitely, sending new messages as they occur.

Cross domain support

Pintura includes support for cross-domain requests from the browser/JavaScript through JSONP, window.name, or CORS. To make a request with JSONP, you can do add a callback parameter

/Product/33?callback=my_callback

Sessions

Pintura provides session management through session middleware. This middleware adds a getSession(createIfNecessary, expires) method to the request object. There is also a statically accessible exported function for accessing sessions:

require("pintura/jsgi/session").getCurrentSession(createIfNecessary, expires)

The session object is a persistent object and therefore the save() method that must be called if any changes are made to the session object (that need to be persisted to future requests).

Cross-Site Request Forgery Protection

Pintura provides CSRF protection to safeguard against malicious attempts to change data from other websites. This protection means that requests must prove that they are from your (same-origin) page and are therefore authorized requests. XHR requests can be validated by including a Client-Id header (with any value) to prove that the request was generated through XHR. Non-XHR requests (such as form-based requests) can prove their same-origin validation by including the cookie value from the "pintura-session" in a "pintura-session" query parameter.

If a request is not provably same-origin, the request object will include a "crossSiteForgeable" property value of true to indicate that it should be regarded with suspicion.

JSON-RPC

Pintura supports JSON-RPC to call methods on objects. One can call a method on a persisted object by using the URL for the object, and JSON-RPC encoded request entity that describes the method invocation to make. For example:

POST /Product/33
Content-Type: application/json
Accept: application/json

{
  method:"addNote",
  params:["cool product"],
  id:"call1"
}

Pintura will then lookup the object with the id of "/Product/33" and call object.addNote("cool product"). The return value or thrown error from the call will be returned in a JSON-RPC response.

Homepage:

Source & Download:

Mailing list:

IRC:

Pintura is part of the Persevere project, and therefore is licensed under the AFL or BSD license. The Persevere project is administered under the Dojo foundation, and all contributions require a Dojo CLA.

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