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Node.js RESTHooks Demo

This is a simple proof of concept that demonstrates how to setup rest hook in a basic sails.js application. While the concept and examples are simple the same basic concept should be applicable with the complexities of your application domain.

The Layout

This project consists of two servers: the Contactly application that is the latest startup to attempt to corner the CRM market and a client application (client_app.js) that represents some application hosted somewhere else on the internets that someone wants to use to extend the Contactly application.


Running It

Running it assumes that you have node.js 0.10 or above instaled.

npm install
npm start

Visit http://localhost:1337 in a browser to view the web interface. You can also visit the RESTful API urls at:

Now from another terminal let's start up the client application that pretends to be an app that is extending our application via REST Hooks.

node client_app.js

Now if you visit the subscription endpoint again you should see that three subscriptions have been created (for create, update and delete).

$ curl -L http://localhost:1337/subscription                                                                                                          [17:23:52]
    "target": "http://localhost:3000/create",
    "event": "contact.create",
    "createdAt": "2013-08-25T00:23:51.900Z",
    "updatedAt": "2013-08-25T00:23:51.900Z",
    "id": 1
    "target": "http://localhost:3000/update",
    "event": "contact.update",
    "createdAt": "2013-08-25T00:23:51.904Z",
    "updatedAt": "2013-08-25T00:23:51.904Z",
    "id": 2
    "target": "http://localhost:3000/delete",
    "event": "contact.delete",
    "createdAt": "2013-08-25T00:23:51.906Z",
    "updatedAt": "2013-08-25T00:23:51.906Z",
    "id": 3

The client_app.js hosts its own http server with those three routes and on start it makes three calls to Contractly to subscribe to the corresponding events.

Now go poke around in the application and add a couple contacts. You should see something like this in the client_app server's console:

create                                                                                                                                              [17:23:54]
{ firstName: 'Jeffery',
  lastName: 'Lebowski',
  phoneNumber: '111-222-3333',
  emailAddress: '',
  createdAt: '2013-08-25T00:29:20.482Z',
  updatedAt: '2013-08-25T00:29:20.482Z',
  id: 1 }

Cleaning Up

Finally, the client application has a route that basically says "Okay, I'm done. Don't let me know of anymore contact updates!".

$ curl -L http://localhost:3000/remove-subscriptions                                                                                                  [17:31:30]

Of which the console for the client application will display:

deleting subscription 1
deleting subscription 2
deleting subscription 3

Now if you view the subscriptions in the service you'll see that no more subscriptions are active.

$ curl -L http://localhost:1337/subscription                                                                                                          [17:31:49]

And of course, poking around in the application at http://localhost:1337 we'll notice there is no longer any chatter in the console for the client application.

How We Do It

Sails provides the capability to hook into create, update and delete commands so we simply write a decorator that can hook into these dynamically and publish to resthook subscriptions whenever those actions occur on a model.

What You Should Do In Production

Obviously we cut a lot of corners in this demo to be very brief and to the point. For a production quality application it is recommended that you try to implement the following pieces.

  • Use proper validation and application security techniques
  • Implement a form of authentication (whether OAuth2, basic auth or API keys) to secure services exposed via REST hooks.
  • Limit the scope of what objects external services can subscribe to that are within their domain.

Also, while simply pushing notifications out asynchronously as we do in these examples, for a site with a heavy volume of traffic you may want to consider pushing model updates into a queue to a separate application to send the notifications out to subscribers. AMQP, Redis or even the queue-less ZeroMQ are all valid options here.


A simple node.js RESTHooks demo built upon the Sails Web Framework







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