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Kafka, AVRO and TypeScript?

edefritz profile image Eduard Gert Updated on ・4 min read

In this article I want to show a simple example of how you can produce and consume Kafka messages with the AVRO format using TypeScript/JavaScript and KafkaJS.

What is Kafka?

Apache Kafka is a very popular event streaming platform and used in a lot of companies right now. If you want to learn more about Kafka, check out the official website.

However, since the whole ecosystem is based on JVM (Java, Scala, Kotlin), I never really checked for clients in other languages.

Recently I was playing around with a project in TypeScript and since it would have been handy to stream the results directly into Kafka, I checked for a JavaScript client and found KafkaJS. And it even plays well with AVRO.

How to use it?

Here is a simple example for an AVRO producer and consumer.

Set up a new node project and install these two dependencies. The schema registry is required to work with AVRO schemas.

npm install kafkajs @kafkajs/confluent-schema-registry
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Configuring the Kafka connection

This example is in TypeScript but in JS it would work more or less in a similar way.
First import all the dependencies and configure all Kafka related settings.

import { Kafka } from "kafkajs";
import {
  SchemaRegistry,
  readAVSCAsync,
} from "@kafkajs/confluent-schema-registry";

const TOPIC = "my_topic";

// configure Kafka broker
const kafka = new Kafka({
  clientId: "some-client-id",
  brokers: ["localhost:29092"],
});

// If we use AVRO, we need to configure a Schema Registry
// which keeps track of the schema
const registry = new SchemaRegistry({
  host: "http://localhost:8085",
});

// create a producer which will be used for producing messages
const producer = kafka.producer();

const consumer = kafka.consumer({
  groupId: "group_id_1",
});

// declaring a TypeScript type for our message structure
declare type MyMessage = {
  id: string;
  value: number;
};
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Create an AVRO schema

Now we need to make sure we can encode messages in AVRO. Therefore we need to be able to read a schema from a file and register it in the schema registry.

This is how the schema in this example will look like. Pretty straightforward, two fields called id which is a string and value which is an integer.
Insert this to a file called schema.avsc, we will use the confluent-schema-registry package to read it and register the schema in the schema registry.

{
  "name": "example",
  "type": "record",
  "namespace": "com.my.company",
  "doc": "Kafka JS example schema",
  "fields": [
    {
      "name": "id",
      "type": "string"
    },
    {
      "name": "value",
      "type": "int"
    }
  ]
}
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Register an AVRO schema

Here is the function which we will use to read an AVRO schema from a file and register it in the schema registry.

// This will create an AVRO schema from an .avsc file
const registerSchema = async () => {
  try {
    const schema = await readAVSCAsync("./avro/schema.avsc");
    const { id } = await registry.register(schema);
    return id;
  } catch (e) {
    console.log(e);
  }
};
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Produce a message using the AVRO schema

This is how we can build a producer. Before pushing a message (of type MyMessage which we defined above) we will encode it using the AVRO schema from the registry.

// push the actual message to kafka
const produceToKafka = async (registryId: number, message: MyMessage) => {
  await producer.connect();

  // compose the message: the key is a string
  // the value will be encoded using the avro schema
  const outgoingMessage = {
    key: message.id,
    value: await registry.encode(registryId, message),
  };

  // send the message to the previously created topic
  await producer.send({
    topic: TOPIC,
    messages: [outgoingMessage],
  });

  // disconnect the producer
  await producer.disconnect();
};
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Create a Kafka topic

You can skip this if the topic is already present. Before we can produce a message, we need to have a topic. This function also checks if the topic is already present in case you run this multiple times.

// create the kafka topic where we are going to produce the data
const createTopic = async () => {
  try {
    const topicExists = (await kafka.admin().listTopics()).includes(TOPIC);
    if (!topicExists) {
      await kafka.admin().createTopics({
        topics: [
          {
            topic: TOPIC,
            numPartitions: 1,
            replicationFactor: 1,
          },
        ],
      });
    }
  } catch (error) {
    console.log(error);
  }
};
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Now we create our producer and consumer functions which publish an example message and consume it again.

const produce = async () => {
  await createTopic();
  try {
    const registryId = await registerSchema();
    // push example message
    if (registryId) {
      const message: MyMessage = { id: "1", value: 1 };
      await produceToKafka(registryId, message);
      console.log(`Produced message to Kafka: ${JSON.stringify(message)}`);
    }
  } catch (error) {
    console.log(`There was an error producing the message: ${error}`);
  }
};

async function consume() {
  await consumer.connect();

  await consumer.subscribe({
    topic: TOPIC,
    fromBeginning: true,
  });

  await consumer.run({
    eachMessage: async ({ topic, partition, message }) => {
      if (message.value) {
        const value: MyMessage = await registry.decode(message.value);
        console.log(value);
      }
    },
  });
}
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And finally we execute both functions one after another.

produce()
  .then(() => consume())
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The console should print something like:

Produced message to Kafka: {"id":"1","value":1}
Consumed message from Kafka: Example { id: '1', value: 1 }
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Demo repository with this code

I created a repository to demo this example. There is a docker-compose file which takes care of setting up a Kafka Broker and a Schema Registry.

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