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Write your first API with Deno

saswatamcode profile image Saswata Mukherjee ・7 min read

ICYMI, Deno v1.0 has been released!

But what is Deno?

Deno is a simple, modern and secure runtime for JavaScript and TypeScript that uses V8 and is built in Rust.

That's according to the official website.

​Ryan Dahl the original creator of Node.js (the popular server-side JavaScript runtime) announced Deno at JSConf EU 2018 in his talk "10 Things I Regret About Node.js". Deno is pretty similar to Node. Except that it's improved in many ways, since it was created to be a better implementation of Node.js. It has a ton of great features like security by default, TypeScript by default, ES modules and Golang-like package management.

If you're on twitter, you're probably already seen the influx of "x years of Deno experience" and "node, deno, oden, done..." jokes.

Getting Started

Alright, enough said, let's get playing with Deno.

We're going to be building a really simple REST API which lets us perform CRUD operations on a database of dogs!

Make sure you've installed deno correctly.

We're going to be using the Abc deno web framework along with MongoDB. We'll also be using Denv to manage our environment variables. Keep in mind, that there are a ton of other web frameworks like alosaur, oak, deno-express, pogo, servest that we can use but since deno is pretty new and I don't really have much of a preference yet, I'm using this one.

Make a new directory and create a file named server.ts. This will be our main file which will contain our router. We'll also import Denv and Abc and initialise an application.

import { Application, Context } from "https://deno.land/x/abc@v1.0.0-rc2/mod.ts";
import "https://deno.land/x/denv/mod.ts";

const app = new Application();

app
  .get("/hello", (c: Context) => {
    return "Hello, Abc!";
  })
  .start({ port: 8000 });

Now, if you've worked with node before, this'll look pretty familiar. Initially, we're importing Application and Context from the Abc module. We are basically initialising a new Abc application and then we're defining a route /hello with a callback function which will return "Hello, Abc!". The start method directs the application to start listening for requests at port 8000. Instead of request and response we have single argument c which is of type Context . Let's see this in action. To run our file we need to use the command deno run server.ts but if you run the file you're gonna get a bunch of errors. That's because deno is secure by default. It won't allow the application to access your system in any way. To allow it we need to add the --allow-read flag to allow Denv to read our .env file and --allow-net flag to give Abc access to our ports. Hence the command would be:

deno run --allow-read --allow-net server.ts

Now if you visit, localhost:8000 you should see "Hello, Abc!" printed on your screen.

Great! So let's add our database next.

Database(MongoDB)

We're going to be getting our database url and name from environment variables. So in your .env file add the following.

DB_NAME=deno_dogs
DB_HOST_URL=mongodb://localhost:27017

Now add the following in your config/db.ts file

import { init, MongoClient } from "https://deno.land/x/mongo@v0.6.0/mod.ts";

// Initialize the plugin
await init();

class Database {
  public client: MongoClient;
  constructor(public dbName: string, public url: string) {
    this.dbName = dbName;
    this.url = url;
    this.client = {} as MongoClient;
  }
  connect() {
    const client = new MongoClient();
    client.connectWithUri(this.url);
    this.client = client;
  }
  get getDatabase() {
    return this.client.database(this.dbName);
  }
}

const dbName = Deno.env.get("DB_NAME") || "deno_dogs";
const dbHostUrl = Deno.env.get("DB_HOST_URL") || "mongodb://localhost:27017";
const db = new Database(dbName, dbHostUrl);
db.connect();

export default db;

Let's break down what we wrote. Fortunately deno works with mongoDB and thus we can import that module. This will download a mongoDB plugin. The init() method initialises the plugin and we define our Database class. The class has a constructor which takes in the url and name of the db. The connect() method connects to the mongoDB instance and the getDatabase() method is a getter function. At the bottom of the file we define an instance of the class, db, and initialise it with the dbName and dbHostUrl which we fetch from the .env file. We also call the connect() method and export db.

Cool! Now let's write the controllers which will let us perform CRUD operations on our db.

Controllers

Inside the controllers/dogs.ts file add the following.

import {
  HandlerFunc,
  Context,
} from "https://deno.land/x/abc@v1.0.0-rc2/mod.ts";
import db from "../config/db.ts";

// DB collection made
const database = db.getDatabase;
const dogs = database.collection("dogs");

// Dog type defined
interface Dog {
  _id: {
    $oid: string;
  };
  name: string;
  breed: string;
  age: string;
}

export const createDog: HandlerFunc = async (c: Context) => {
  try {
    const body = await (c.body());
    if (!Object.keys(body).length) {
      return c.string("Request can't be empty", 400);
    }
    const { name, breed, age } = body;

    const insertedDog = await dogs.insertOne({
      name,
      breed,
      age,
    });

    return c.json(insertedDog, 201);
  } catch (error) {
    return c.json(error, 500);
  }
};

export const fetchAllDogs: HandlerFunc = async (c: Context) => {
  try {
    const fetchedDogs: Dog[] = await dogs.find();

    if (fetchedDogs) {
      const fetchedDogsList = fetchedDogs.length
        ? fetchedDogs.map((dog) => {
          const { _id: { $oid }, name, breed, age } = dog;
          return { id: $oid, name, breed, age };
        })
        : [];
      return c.json(fetchedDogsList, 200);
    }
  } catch (error) {
    return c.json(error, 500);
  }
};

export const fetchOneDog: HandlerFunc = async (c: Context) => {
  try {
    const { id } = c.params as { id: string };

    const fetchedDog = await dogs.findOne({ _id: { "$oid": id } });

    if (fetchedDog) {
      const { _id: { $oid }, name, breed, age } = fetchedDog;
      return c.json({ id: $oid, name, breed, age }, 200);
    }
    return c.string("Dog not found", 404);
  } catch (error) {
    return c.json(error, 500);
  }
};

export const updateDog: HandlerFunc = async (c: Context) => {
  try {
    const { id } = c.params as { id: string };

    const body = await (c.body()) as {
      name?: string;
      breed?: string;
      age?: string;
    };

    if (!Object.keys(body).length) {
      return c.string("Request can't be empty", 400);
    }

    const fetchedDog = await dogs.findOne({ _id: { "$oid": id } });

    if (fetchedDog) {
      const { matchedCount } = await dogs.updateOne(
        { _id: { "$oid": id } },
        { $set: body },
      );
      if (matchedCount) {
        return c.string("Dog updated successfully!", 204);
      }
      return c.string("Unable to update dog");
    }

    return c.string("Dog not found", 404);
  } catch (error) {
    return c.json(error, 500);
  }
};

export const deleteDog: HandlerFunc = async (c: Context) => {
  try {
    const { id } = c.params as { id: string };

    const fetchedDog = await dogs.findOne({ _id: { "$oid": id } });

    if (fetchedDog) {
      const deleteCount = await dogs.deleteOne({ _id: { "$oid": id } });

      if (deleteCount) {
        return c.string("Dog deleted successfully!", 204);
      }
      return c.string("Unable to delete dog");
    }

    return c.string("Dog not found", 404);
  } catch (error) {
    return c.json(error, 500);
  }
};

Alright so there's a lot happening here. First we're importing HandlerFunc and Context from the Abc module and db from our config/db.ts file. Then we call getDatabase() to get our "deno_dogs" db and define a collection "dogs" inside it. Next we define an interface Dog which has the properties of name, breed and age. With all that out of the way, let's move on to the functions.

Each function has a type of HandlerFunc and argument c which is of type Context . This lets us use this function as a callback for our routes. All the functions are almost similar so there isn't much to explain. We use c.body() to access our request body in case of createDog and updateDog. We return a json object or string via c.json() or c.string() along with HTTP codes in our return statements in all the above methods. We access url parameters via c.params in case of fetchOneDog, updateDog and deleteDog.

We also use the dogs object in our functions to manipulate our collection via methods like .insertOne({}), .find({}), .findOne({}), .updateOne({}) and deleteOne({}). All of these methods are wrapped in try-catch blocks for error handling.

Now with our controllers defined we can proceed to defining our routes.

Routes

In your server.ts file write the following.

import { Application } from "https://deno.land/x/abc@v1.0.0-rc2/mod.ts";
import "https://deno.land/x/denv/mod.ts";
import {
  createDog,
  fetchAllDogs,
  fetchOneDog,
  updateDog,
  deleteDog,
} from "./controllers/dogs.ts";

const app = new Application();

app
  .get("/dogs", fetchAllDogs)
  .post("/dogs", createDog)
  .get("/dogs/:id", fetchOneDog)
  .put("/dogs/:id", updateDog)
  .delete("/dogs/:id", deleteDog)
  .start({ port: 8000 });

As you can see, we've imported all our controller functions and assigned each of them a route and an HTTP method. Plain and simple.

We are done writing our REST API. All that's left is to run it! To do that type in the following into your terminal:

deno run --allow-write --allow-read --allow-plugin --allow-net --allow-env --unstable server.ts

We have a few new flags this time. The --allow-read/write flags are for Denv and mongoDB, as they need read/write access to your filesystem. The --allow-plugin flag allows the use of the mongoDB plugin and the --allow-env is for allowing usage of environment variables.

A lot of Deno APIs are not stable yet so some of them are marked as unstable. To use these "unstable" APIs we need to add the --unstable flag.

Use a tool like Postman and send a POST request to localhost:8000/dogs with the body as

{
  "name": "Cheddar",
  "breed": "Corgi",
  "age": 11
}

Send a GET request to the same url to see your dogs! Similarly try out all the other routes.

So there you go! Now you know how to write a REST API with Deno.

Here's the GitHub repo of the code.

Conclusion

Since there are a few bugs and also no explicit Code of Conduct for the project yet, I don't recommend using it for production just now. A CoC is an essential part of any open source project. However development is moving forward pretty quickly and this is one project to definitely keep an eye on!

For any queries reach out to my socials or GitHub!

Posted on May 19 by:

DSC KIIT

Developer Student Clubs(DSC) are university based community groups for students interested in Google developer technologies. DSC KIIT organises workshops and events to encourage community learning among the students of KIIT.

Discussion

markdown guide
 

Great post, thanks!

You dont have to expose db credentials, you can do it like this

just import --> import "deno.land/x/denv/mod.ts"; <-- to db.ts file

const dbName = Deno.env.get("DB_NAME") as string;
const dbHostUrl = Deno.env.get("DB_HOST_URL") as string;

 
 

After the first code snippet, I get an error:

└─ $ ▶ deno run --allow-read --allow-net server.ts
error: Uncaught NotFound: No such file or directory (os error 2)
    at unwrapResponse ($deno$/ops/dispatch_json.ts:43:11)
    at Object.sendAsync ($deno$/ops/dispatch_json.ts:98:10)
    at async Object.open ($deno$/files.ts:37:15)
    at async Object.readFile ($deno$/read_file.ts:13:16)
    at async load (https://deno.land/x/denv/mod.ts:19:15)
    at async https://deno.land/x/denv/mod.ts:29:1

Any thoughts on whats going wrong?

deno 1.0.1
v8 8.4.300
typescript 3.9.2
 
 

That was the solution! It seems we need an empty .env in the project dir. Thanks Nikola!

 

Looks like your denv module is missing. Maybe you weren't connected to the internet when you ran the program and Deno couldn't load the module. You need an active net connection to get the denv and abc modules.

 

Thanks Saswata. I removed the cache dir (~/.cache/deno) and executed the deno run command again. Got the same error alas. This time I was on a network cable (previously on wifi) and deno didn't report any errors during all download. I'm giving up I'm afraid. The message is not very clear and Google is not my friend in this instance.

 

Which deno version you used ? I use deno@1.0.0 to run your code will cause some problem.

 

For this article I have used:
deno 1.0.0
v8 8.4.300
typescript 3.9.2
If you have any further problems you can refer to the GitHub repo linked in the article!