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angular-restmod

Angular Restmod

Angular Restmod is open source software kindly sponsored by:

Supporter

(We need a sponsor for this library, please write to contact@platan.us if you want to help.)

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Restmod creates objects that you can use from within Angular to interact with your RESTful API.

Saving bikes on your serverside database would be as easy as:

var newBike = Bike.$build({ brand: 'Trek' });
newBike.model = '5200';
newBike.$save(); // bike is persisted sending a POST to /bikes 

It also supports collections, relations, lifecycle hooks, attribute renaming, side data loading and much more. Continue reading for a quick start, check this presentation for an overview or check the API Reference for more: http://platanus.github.io/angular-restmod

If you are working with Ruby on Rails, we recommend active_model_serializers for seamless integration.

Why Restmod?

Restmod brings Rails ActiveRecord's ease of use to the Angular Framework. It succesfuly combines Angular's encapsulated design with Active Record's opinionated style. There are other alternatives available though:

  • $resource: Might be enough for small projects, included as an Angular opt-in. It only provides a basic model type layer, with limited features.
  • Restangular: very complete library, but does not propose a model layer and does not support linked resource responses as seen on jsonapi.org.
  • angular-activerecord: Nice alternative to $resource, still very limited in its functionality.
  • ModelCore: Inspired in angular-activerecord, provides a more complete set of features but lacks testing.

Restmod its thoroughly tested against the same platforms as AngularJS using SauceLabs awesome OpenSauce service!

Getting Started

1. Get the code

You can get it straight from the repository

git clone git@github.com:platanus/angular-restmod.git

but we recommend you to use bower to retrieve the Restmod package

bower install angular-restmod --save

or if you prefer, a npm package is also available

npm install angular-restmod -d

2. Include it on your project

Make sure the restmod source is required in your code.

<script type="text/javascript" src="js/angular-restmod-bundle.min.js"></script>

Next, include angular module as one of your app's dependencies

module = angular.module('MyApp', ['restmod'])

REST API Integration

Restmod comes bundled with various (well, just one for now) predefined API-style-mixins to choose from depending on your backend configuration.

Check out the Style listing for more information. We are looking for contributors on this!!

If you dont set a base style a 'No API style base was included' warning will be generated, see the link above for more information.

If you still need to change some behaviour or if you want to create your own api style, the following configurations are available:

  • Common url prefix configuration
  • Primary key name configuration
  • Json root property configuration
  • Json metadata extraction
  • Json side data resolving for jsonapi.org style APIs (for apis using 'links')
  • Request customization
  • Url formatting options

Make sure you read the Api Integration FAQ before starting your API integration!

Basic usage

You begin by creating a new model using the restmod.model method. We recommend you to put each model on a separate factory. The first argument for model is the resource URL.

module.factory('Bike', function(restmod) {
    return restmod.model('/bikes');
});

The generated model type provides basic CRUD operations to interact with the API:

To retrieve an object by ID use $find, the returned object will be filled with the response data when the server response is received.

Let's say you have a REST API that responds JSON to a GET REQUEST on /bikes/1

{
    "id": 1,
    "brand": "Trek",
    "created_at": "2014-05-23"
}

Then, on your code you would call

bike = Bike.$find(1);

Right after this line executes, the bike object is an empty object. The bike object will be populated as soon as the API returns some data. This works great with Angular's way. Nevertheless, you can use $then to do something when data becomes available.

bike.$then(function() {
    expect(bike.brand).toBeDefined();
});

If you need to pass additional parameters to $find, you can use the second function argument.

bike = Bike.$find(1, { includeParts: true });

To reload an object use $fetch. WARNING: This will overwrite modified properties.

bike.$fetch();

If you only want to retrieve an object data if it hasn't been retrieved yet, use $resolve instead of $fetch:

bike.$resolve();

To mark an object as unresolved call $reset. You can hook to the before-resolve event to add some expiration logic for resolved objects, just call $reset inside the hook to force the object to be retrieved.

Remember to use $resolve().$asPromise() if you are returning inside a resolve function.

To retrieve an object collection $collection or $search can be used.

bikes = Bike.$search({ category: 'enduro' });
// same as 
bikes = Bike.$collection({ category: 'enduro' }); // server request not yet sent 
bikes.$refresh();

To reload a collection use $refresh. To append more results use $fetch.

bikes = Bike.$collection({ category: 'enduro' });
bikes.$refresh({ page: 1 }); // clear collection and load page 1 
bikes.$fetch({ page: 2 }); // page 2 is appended to page 1, usefull for infinite scrolls... 
bikes.$refresh({ page: 3 }); // collection is reset, page 3 is loaded on response 

To update an object, just modify the properties and call $save.

bike = Bike.$find(1);
bike.brand = 'Trek';
bike.$save();

To create a new object use $build and then call $save. This will send a POST request to the server.

var newBike = Bike.$build({ brand: 'Comencal' });
newBike.model = 'Meta';
newBike.$save(); // bike is persisted 

To patch an object, just modify the properties and call $save passing an array of properties to be patched as first argument.

bike = Bike.$find(1);
bike.brand = 'Trek';
bike.model = 'Slash';
bike.dim = { width: 10.0, height: 10.0 };
bike.$save(['brand', 'dim']); // will only send brand and dim (every sub property) 

To specify a single subproperty to be sent in patch, use dot notation:

bike = Bike.$find(1);
bike.brand = 'Trek';
bike.model = 'Slash';
bike.dim = { width: 10.0, height: 10.0 };
bike.$save(['dim.height']); // will only send dim.height 

Or use $create

var newBike = Bike.$create({ brand: 'Comencal', model: 'Meta' });

If called on a collection, $build and $create will return a collection-bound object that will be added when saved successfully.

newBike = bikes.$create({ brand: 'Comencal', model: 'Meta' });
// after server returns, the 'bikes' collection will contain 'newBike'. 

To show a non saved object on the bound collection use $reveal

var newBike = bikes.$create({ brand: 'Comencal', model: 'Meta' }).$reveal();
// 'newBike' is inmediatelly available at 'bikes' 

Finally, to destroy an object just call $destroy.

bike.$destroy();

As with $create, calling $destroy on a record bound to a collection will also remove it from the collection on server response.

All REST operations described above use $q promises that are fulfilled when the operation succeeds or fails. Take a look at the promises guide for more details on this.

Customizing model behaviour

When defining a model, you can pass a definition object

Bike = restmod.model('api/bikes').mix(
// This is the definition object: 
{
    createdAt: { encode: 'date' },
    owner: { belongsTo: 'User' }
}
);

The definition object allows you to:

  • Define relations between models
  • Customize an attribute's serialization and default values
  • Set model configuration variables.
  • Add custom methods
  • Add lifecycle hooks

Relations

Relations are defined like this:

Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    parts: { hasMany: 'Part' },
    owner: { belongsTo: 'User' }
});

There are four types of relations:

HasMany

Let's say you have the following 'Part' model:

module.factory('Part', function() {
    return restmod.model('/parts');
});

The HasMany relation allows you to access parts of a specific bike directly from a bike object. In other words, HasMany is a hierarchical relation between a model instance (bike) and a model collection (parts).

Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    parts: { hasMany: 'Part' }
});
 
bike = Bike.$new(1);  // no request are made to the server yet. 
parts = bike.parts.$fetch();  // sends a GET to /bikes/1/parts 

Note: this is not necessarily great modeling ... for instance, if you destroy a bike's part bike.parts[0].$destroy();, you will be sending a DELETE to the resource in /parts/:id. If this is not what you want, you should consider working with a resource that represents the relation between a bike and a Part.

Later on, after 'parts' has already been resolved,

parts[0].$fetch(); // updates the part at index 0. This will do a GET /parts/:id 

Calling $create on the collection will POST to the collection nested url.

var part = bike.parts.$create({ serialNo: 'XX123', category: 'wheels' }); // sends POST /bikes/1/parts 

If the child collection model is nested then all CRUD routes for the collection items are bound to the parent.

So if 'Part' was defined like:

restmod.model();

The example above would behave like this:

console.log(bike.parts[0].$url())
bike.parts[0].$fetch();

Will send GET to /bikes/1/parts/:id instead of /parts/:id

HasMany Options

The has many relation provides the following options for you to customize its behaviour:

  • path: will change the relative path used to fetch/create the records. Ex: { hasMany: 'Part', path: 'pieces' }
  • inverseOf: adds a property on the child object that points to the parent. Ex: { hasMany: 'Part', inverseOf: 'bike' }.
  • params: optional query string parameters to be used when fetching collection. Ex: { hasMany: 'Part', params: { foo: 'bar' } }.
  • hooks: you can also define hasMany relation hooks. Check the hooks advanced documentation for more information.

HasOne

This is a hierarchical relation between one model's instance and another model's instance. The child instance url is bound to the parent url. The child instance is created at the same time as the parent, so its available even if the parent is not resolved.

Let's say you have the following 'User' model:

module.factory('User', function() {
    return restmod.model('/users');
});

That relates to a 'Bike' through a hasOne relation:

Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    owner: { hasOne: 'User' }
});

Then a bike's owner data can then be retrieved just by knowing the bike primary key (id):

owner = Bike.$new(1).owner.$fetch();

will send GET /bikes/1/owner

Since the user resource has its own resource url defined:

owner.name = 'User';
owner.$save();

will send PUT /user/X.

If 'User' was to be defined like a nested resource:

module.factory('User', function() {
    return restmod.model();
});

Then calling:

owner.name = 'User';
owner.$save();

will send a PUT to /bikes/1/owner

HasOne Options

The has many relation provides the following options for you to customize its behaviour:

  • path: will change the relative path used to fetch/create the records. Ex: { hasOne: 'Part', path: 'pieces' }
  • inverseOf: adds a property on the child object that points to the parent. Ex: { hasOne: 'Part', inverseOf: 'bike' }.
  • hooks: you can also define hasOne relation hooks. Check the hooks advanced documentation for more information.

BelongsTo

This relation should be used in the following scenarios:

  1. The api resource references another resource by id:
{
    name: '...',
    brand: '...',
    owner_id: 20
}
  1. The api resource contanis another resource as an inline property and does not provide the same object as a nested url:
{
    name: '...',
    brand: '...',
    owner: {
        id: 20,
        user: 'extreme_rider_99'
    }
}

When applied, the referenced instance is not bound to the host's scope and is generated after server responds to a parent's $fetch.

Let's say you have the same 'User' model as before:

module.factory('User', function() {
    return restmod.model('/users');
});

That relates to a 'Bike' through a belongsTo relation this time:

Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    owner: { belongsTo: 'User', key: 'last_owner_id' } // default key would be 'owner_id' 
});

Also you have the following bike resource:

GET /bikes/1
 
{
    id: 1,
    brand: 'Transition',
    last_owner_id: 2
}

Then retrieving the resource:

bike = Bike.$find(1);

Will produce a bike object with its owner property initialized to a user with id=2, the owner property will only be available AFTER server response arrives.

Then calling

bike.owner.$fetch();

Will send a GET to /users/2 and populate the owner property with the user data.

This relation also support the child object data to come inlined in the parent object data. The inline property name can be optionally selected using the map attribute.

Lets redefine the Bike model as:

var Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    owner: { belongsTo: 'User', map: 'last_owner' } // map would default to *owner* 
});

And suppose that the last bike resource looks like:

GET /bikes/1
 
{
    id: 1,
    brand: 'Transition',
    last_owner: {
        id: 2
        name: 'Juanito'
    }
}

Then retrieving the bike resource:

var bike = Bike.$find(1);

Will produce a bike object with its owner property initialized to a user with id=2 and name=Juanito. As before, the owner property will only be available AFTER server response arrives.

Whenever the host object is saved, the reference primary key will be sent in the request using the selected foreign key.

So given the previous model definition, doing:

var bike = Bike.$create({ last_owner: User.$find(20) });

Will generate the following request:

POST /bikes
 
{
    owner_id: 20
}

BelongsToMany

This relation should be used in the following scenarios:

  1. The api resource references another resource by id:
{
    name: '...',
    brand: '...',
    parts_ids: [1,2]
}
  1. The api resource contains another resource as an inline property and does not provide the same object as a nested url:
{
    name: '...',
    brand: '...',
    parts: [
        { id: 1, user: 'handlebar' },
        { id: 2, user: 'wheel' }
    ]
}

When retrieved, the referenced instances will not be bound to the host's scope.

Let's say you have the following 'Part' definition:

module.factory('Part', function() {
    return restmod.model('/parts');
});

That relates to a 'Bike' through a belongsToMany relation this time:

Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    parts: { belongsToMany: 'Part', keys: 'part_keys' } // default key would be 'parts_ids' 
});

Also you have the following bike resource:

GET /bikes/1
 
{
    id: 1,
    brand: 'Transition',
    parts_keys: [1, 2]
}

Then retrieving the resource:

bike = Bike.$find(1);

Will produce a bike object with the parts property containing two Part objects with $pks set to 1 and 2 (but empty).

This relation also support the childs object data to come inlined in the hosts object data. The inline property name can be optionally selected using the map attribute.

Given the same Bike model as before, lets suppose now that the bike API resource looks like this:

And suppose that the last bike resource looks like:

GET /bikes/1
 
{
    id: 1,
    brand: 'Transition',
    parts: [
        { id: 1, user: 'handlebar' },
        { id: 2, user: 'wheel' }
    ]
}

Then retrieving the bike resource:

var bike = Bike.$find(1);

Will produce a bike object with the parts property containing two populated Part objects with $pks set to 1 and 2.

Whenever the host object is saved, the references primary keys will be sent in the request using the selected key.

So given the previous model definition, doing:

var bike = Bike.$create({ parts: [Part.$find(1), Part.$find(2)] });

Will generate the following request:

POST /bikes
 
{
    parts_keys: [1, 2] // remember we changed the keys property name before!
}

Serialization, masking and default values.

When you communicate with an API, some attribute types require special treatment (like a date, for instance)

Decode

You can specify a way of decoding an attribute when it arrives from the server.

Let's say you have defined a filter like this:

Angular.factory('DateParseFilter', function() {
    return function(_value) {
        date = new Date();
        date.setTime(Date.parse(_value));
        return date;
    }
})

then you use it as a standard decoder like this:

var Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    createdAt: {decode: 'date_parse' }
});

Encode

To specify a way of encoding an attribute before you send it back to the server: Just as with the previous example (decode), you use an Angular Filter. In this example we use the built in 'date' filter.

var Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    createdAt: {encode:'date', param:'yyyy-MM-dd'}
});

On both encode and decode you can use an inline function instead of the filter's name. It is also possible to bundle an encoder and decoder together using a Serializer object, check the API Reference for more.

Attribute masking

Following the Angular conventions, attributes that start with a '$' symbol are considered private and never sent to the server. Furthermore, you can define a mask that allows you to specify a more advanced behaviour for other attributes:

var Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    createdAt: { ignore: 'CU' }, // won't send on Create or Update 
    viewCount: { ignore: 'R' }, // won't load on Read (fetch) 
    opened: { ignore: true }, // will ignore in every request and response 
});

Default value

You can define default values for your attributes, both static and dynamic. Dynamic defaults are defined using a function that will be called on record creation.

var Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    wheels: { init: 2 }, // every new bike will have 2 wheels by default 
    createdAt: { init: function() {
     return new Date();
    }}
});

Explicit attribute mapping

You can explicitly tell restmod to map a given server attribute to one of the model's attributes:

var Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    created: { map: 'stats.created_at' }
});

Volatile attributes

You can define volatile attributes, volatile attributes will be deleted from record instance after being sent to server, this is usefull for things like passwords.

var User = restmod.model('/users').mix({
    password: { volatile: true } // make password volatile 
});

Nested properties

Sometimes you will need to specify behaviour for nested properties, this is done the same ways as with regular properties using the . symbol.

Given the following json response:

{
    "id": 1,
    "serialNo": {
        "issued": "2014-05-05"
    }
}

You can add a date decoder for the issued property using:

var Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    'serialNo.issued': { decode: 'date_parse' }
});

If the nested property is inside an array, you can reffer to it using the [] symbols.

So if the json response looks like this:

{
    "id": 1,
    "tags": [
        { "name": "endurow", "weight": 20 },
        { "name": "offroad", "weight": 5 }
    ]
}

You can add a mapping for the weight property to the size property using:

var Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    'tags[].size': { map: 'weight' }
});

Custom methods

A restmod object is composed of three main APIs, the Model static API, the record API and the collection API.

Each one of these APis can be extended using the $extend block in the object definition:

For example, the following will add the pedal method to every record.

var Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    $extend: {
        Record: {
            pedal: function() {
              this.strokes += 1;
            }
        }
    }
});

Even though the $extend block is the preferred method to extend a model, for small models it is also possible to directly define the method in the definition object:

var Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    'Record.pedal': function() {
      this.strokes += 1;
    }
});

In the last example the 'Record.' prefix could be omitted because by default methods are added to the record api.

The following API's are available for extension:

  • Model: the static api.
  • Record: model instances api.
  • Collection: model collection instance api.
  • Scope: Same as extending Model and Collection
  • Resource: Same as extending Record and+ Collection
  • List: special api implemented by any record list, including collections

So, to add a static method we would use:

var Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    $extend: {
        Model: {
            $searchByTeam: function(_team) {
              return this.$search({ team: _team });
            }
        }
    }
});

It is also posible to override an existing method, to refer to the overriden function use this.$super:

var Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    $extend: {
        Scope: {
            $search: function(_params) {
              return this.$super(angular.extend({ time: SomeService.currentTime() }, _params);
            }
        }
    }
});

Custom methods and Lists

A List namespace is provided for collections and lists, this enables the creation of chainable list methods.

For example, lets say you need to be able to filter a collection of records and then do something with the resulting list:

var Part = restmod.model('/parts').mix({
    $extend: {
        List: {
            filterByCategory: function(_category) {
                return this.$asList(function(_parts) {
                    return _.filter(_parts, function(_part) {
                        return _part.category == _category;
                    });
                });
            },
            filterByBrand: function(_brand) {
                return this.$asList(function(_parts) {
                    return _.filter(_parts, function(_part) {
                        return _part.brand == _brand;
                    });
                });
            },
            getTotalWeight: function(_category) {
                return _.reduce(this, function(sum, _part) {
                    return sum + _part.weight;
                };
            }
        }
    }
});

Now, since List methods are shared by both collections and lists, you can do:

Part.$search().filterByCategory('wheels').filterByBrand('SRAM').$then(function() {
    // use $then because the $asList method will honor promises. 
    scope.weight = this.getTotalWeight();
});

Hooks (callbacks)

Just like you do with ActiveRecord, you can add hooks on certain steps of the object lifecycle, hooks are added in the $hooks block of the object definition.

var Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix({
    $hooks: {
        'before-save': function() {
            this.partCount = this.parts.length;
        }
    }
});
 

Note that a hook can be defined for a type, a collection or a record. Also, hooks can also be defined for a given execution context using $decorate. Check the hooks advanced documentation.

Mixins

To ease up the definition of models, and keep things DRY, Restmod provides you with mixin capabilities. For example, say you already defined a Vehicle model as a factory:

Angular.factory('Vehicle', function() {
    return restmod.model('/vehicle').mix({
        createdAt: {encode:'date', param:'yyyy-MM-dd'}
    });
})

You can then define your Bike model that inherits from the Vehicle model, and also sets additional functionality.

var Bike = restmod.model('/bikes').mix('Vehicle', {
    pedal: function (){
        alert('pedaling')
    }
});
 

Some links:

REST api designs guidelines: https://github.com/interagent/http-api-design REST json api standard: http://jsonapi.org

Contributing

  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request

Check CONTRIBUTORS for more details

Credits

Thank you contributors!

Platanus

angular-restmod is maintained by platanus.

License

Angular Restmod is © 2015 platanus, spa. It is free software and may be redistributed under the terms specified in the LICENSE file.