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Demola Malomo for Hackmamba

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Going serverless with MongoDB Realm - React.js Version

Serverless architecture is a pattern of running and building applications and services without having to manage infrastructure. It involves the applications and services running on the server, but all the server management is done by a cloud provider.

This post will discuss building a fullstack user management application using MongoDB, MongoDB Realm, and React.js. At the end of this tutorial, we will learn how to create a database on MongoDB, serverless functions as our endpoints using MongoDB Realm and consume the endpoints in a React.js application.

MongoDB Realm is a development platform designed for building mobile, web, desktop, and IoT applications. It offers services like data synchronization, serverless functions, triggers, user authentication, e.t.c. We can build and maintain application on MongoDB Realm using any of the following:

  • Realm UI: a browser-based option to create and maintain application
  • Realm CLI: a CLI-based option to define and deploy applications
  • GitHub Deploy: use configuration files on Github to deploy applications from a Github repository
  • Admin API: an HTTP-based request to manage your applications.

In this post, we will be using Realm UI to build our applications.

You can code along by cloning this repository (main branch) here. If you prefer to view the complete code, checkout to the dev branch of this same repository.

In this tutorial, we will focus on implementations only. The project UI has already been set up with TailwindCSS.

You can check out the Vue.js version here.

Prerequisites

The following steps in this post require JavaScript and React.js experience. Experience with TypeScript isn’t a requirement, but it’s nice to have.

We also need a MongoDB account to host database the and create serverless functions. Signup is completely free.

Let’s code

Running the Project

To get started, we need to navigate to the project location, open our terminal and install project dependency as shown below:

npm install
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With that done, we can start a development server using the command below:

npm start
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Setting up MongoDB

To get started, we need to log in or sign up into our MongoDB account and follow the option that applies to us:

For a New Account (Sign Up)
First, we need to answer a few questions to help MongoDB help set up our account. Then click on Finish.

Setup MongoDB

Select Shared as the type of database.

Shared highlighted in red

Click on Create to setup a cluster. This might take sometime to setup.

Creating a cluster

Next, we need to create a user to access the database externally by inputting the Username, Password and then click on Create User. We also need to add our IP address to safely connect to the database by clicking on the Add My Current IP Address button. Then click on Finish and Close to save changes.

Create user
Add IP

On saving the changes, we should see a Database Deployments screen, as shown below:

cluster

For an Existing Account (Log In)
Click the project dropdown menu and click on the New Project button.

New Project

Enter the reactRealm as the project name, click on Next and then click Create Project

enter project name
create project

Click on Build a Database

Select Shared as the type of database.

Shared highlighted in red

Click on Create to setup a cluster. This might take sometime to setup.

Creating a cluster

Next, we need to create a user to access the database externally by inputting the Username, Password and then clicking on Create User. We also need to add our IP address to safely connect to the database by clicking on the Add My Current IP Address button. Then click on Finish and Close to save changes.

Create user
Add IP

On saving the changes, we should see a Database Deployments screen, as shown below:

cluster

Loading Sample Data

Next, we need to populate our database with users' sample data. To do this, click on the Browse Collections button

browse collection

Click on Add My Own Data, input reactRealmDB and reactRealmCol as the database and collection name, and click on Create.

add my own data
create

Next, we need to insert these sample data:

To do this, click on the Insert Document button, fill in the details above and click on Insert to save.

insert document
fill and insert

Collection with documents

Creating and configuring MongoDB Realm application

With our database populated, we need to create serverless functions to perform Create, Read, Update and Delete (CRUD) on our database. To do this, select the Realm tab, click on Build your own App. Then click on Create Realm Application to setup our application.

select app
create application

MongoDB Realm also ships with templates that we can use to build our application quickly. For this tutorial, we will be building from scratch.

Next, we need to setup permission and rules for our functions. To do this, close the popup guide click on Rules, select the reactRealmCol and click on Configure Collection.

configure collection

MongoDB Realm’s Save and Deploy
With that done, MongoDB Realm will show us a widget illustrating the concept of Save and Deploy.

save and deploy

When writing a serverless function, clicking on Save creates a development draft that we can test and play around with. At the same time, Deploy makes our changes public to be consumed by another application(React.js in our case).

Click on Next and then Got it to continue.

Next, we need to allow Read and Write permissions for our function and then Save.

read and write permissions

Next, navigate to the Authentication tab, click on Allow users to log in anonymously, toggle it on and Save Draft.

allow anonymous
save draft

MongoDB Realm also ships with several authentication options that we can explore. For this tutorial, we will be using the anonymous option.

Creating serverless functions on MongoDB Realm

Get All Users Serverless Function
With the configuration done, we can now create a serverless function that returns list of users. To do this, navigate to the Functions tab, click on Create New Function, and input getAllUsers as the function name

create new function
input function name

Next, select the Function Editor tab and modify the function to the following:

The snippet above does the following:

  • Create a collection variable to access the reactRealmDB database and reactRealmCol collection
  • Return the list of documents in the collection.

Next, we can test our function by clicking on Run button to see list of users.

running getAllUsers function

Finally, we need to copy any returned user’s _id and save it somewhere; we need it for the next function. Then click on Save Draft to create a deployment draft for our function.

copy id and save draft

Get A User Serverless Function
To do this, click on the Functions tab, click on Create New Function, and input getSingleUser as the function name

create new function
name function

Next, select the Function Editor tab and modify the function to the following:

The snippet above does the following:

  • Create a collection variable to access the reactRealmDB database and reactRealmCol collection
  • Return a single user by finding it by its _id. Because MongoDB saves documents in BSON, we need to parse the arg as BSON using the BSON.ObjectId.

To test our function, Navigate to the Console tab, replace the Hello world! in the exports function with the user’s _id we copied earlier and then click on Run.

testing getSingleUser

Finally, we need to save our function by clicking on the Save Draft button.

Edit A User Serverless Function
To do this, we need to follow the same steps as above.

First, click on the Functions tab, click on Create New Function, and input editUser as the function name.

editUser

Next, select the Function Editor tab and modify the function to the following:

The snippet above does the following:

  • Modify the function to accept id, name, location, and title arguments
  • Create a collection variable to access the reactRealmDB database and reactRealmCol collection
  • Create an updated variable that finds the document by _id, update the collection fields, and set a returnNewDocument flag to return the updated document.

Next, we can test our function by navigating to the Console tab, replace the Hello world! in the exports function with required arguments(_id, name, location, and title), click on Run, and then Save Draft.

editUser

Create A User Serverless Function
To do this, we need to follow the same steps as before.

First, click on the Functions tab, click on Create New Function, and input createUser as the function name.

createUser

Next, select the Function Editor tab and modify the function to the following:

The snippet above does the following:

  • Modify the function to accept name, location, and title arguments.
  • Create a collection variable to access the reactRealmDB database and reactRealmCol collection.
  • Create a new user by inserting the arguments and returning the user.

Next, we can test our function by navigating to the Console tab, replace the Hello world! in the exports function with required arguments(name, location, and title), click on Run, and then Save Draft.

createUser

Delete A User Serverless Function
To do this, we need to follow the same steps as before.

First, click on the Functions tab, click on Create New Function, and input deleteUser as the function name.

deleteUser

Next, select the Function Editor tab and modify the function to the following:

The snippet above does the following:

  • Modify the function to accept an argument.
  • Create a collection variable to access the reactRealmDB database and reactRealmCol collection.
  • Create a deleteUser variable for deleting by _id.

Next, we can test our function by navigating to the Console tab, replace the Hello world! in the exports function with the required argument, click on Run, and then Save Draft.

deleteUser

Deploying serverless functions

To start using the serverless functions in our application, we need to deploy them. To do this, click on the Review Draft & Deploy button, scroll down and then click on Deploy.

review draft & deploy
click on deploy

We should get a prompt showing the status of our deployment.

Finally! Integration with React.js

To integrate MongoDB Realm in our application, we need to install the dependencies with:

npm i realm-web
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realm-web is a library for accessing MongoDB Realm from a web-browser.

Setup an Environment Variable
First, we need to create a .env file in the project root directory, and in this file, add the snippet below:

REACT_APP_REALM_APP_ID=<your-realm-app-id>
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To get our Realm App ID, we need to click on the copy icon as shown below:

copy realm app id by clicking on the highlighted copy icon

Setup MongoDB Realm
Next, we need to create a utils folder in the src folder, and in this folder, create a mongo.client.ts file and add the code snippet below:

The snippet above does the following:

  • Import the required dependencies.
  • Create a variable to store the Realm App ID.
  • Create and export an instance of MongoDB Realm and pass the App ID. The bang! in front of REALM_APP_ID tells the compiler to relax the non-null constraint error(Meaning the parameter cannot be null or undefined)
  • Create and export the credential type we will be using for this app. We configure this authentication option earlier.

Get All Users
To get all users, we need to create an interface to describe the response properties. To do this, we need to create a models folder in the src folder, and in this folder, create a user.interface.ts file and add the code snippet below:

PS: The question mark in front of _id tells TypeScript that this property is optional since MongoDB automatically generates it.

Next, we need to modify App.tsx by updating it with the snippet below:

The snippet above does the following:

  • Import the IUser interface, app, and credentials.
  • Create state variables to manage the list of users.
  • Create a getUsers function inside the useEffect hook to authenticate our application using the credentials imported, get the list of users by accessing the getAllUsers serverless function we created earlier, and then update the users state. PS: The serverless function (getAllUsers in our case) called must be the same as the one defined on MongoDB Realm.
  • Update the mark-up to display the list of users.

Complete App.tsx

Create A User
To create a user, we must first modify App.tsx by creating a state variable to manage returned value when a user is created. We also need to add the state as dependency on the useEffect hook; so that when changes are made, it refreshes the page and load the latest list of users. Finally, we need to update the Modal component with the state function to update the value.

PS: TypeScript will complain about the *Modal.tsx* component not having the setUserValue property. We will fix this.

Next, navigate to the Modal.tsx file inside the components folder, update the interface, and create a user.

The snippet above does the following:

  • Import the required dependencies.
  • Modify the handleSubmit function to authenticate our application using the credentials imported. Create a user by accessing the createUser serverless function we created earlier, passing the required arguments (name, location, and title)and then updating the userValue and form state.

Edit A User
To edit a user, we must first modify App.tsx by creating a state variable to manage the _id of the user we want to edit. We also updated the onClick event to update the state variable and pass it as props to the Modal component.

Next, we need to populate our form when the Edit button is clicked. To do this, open Modal.tsx and update as shown below:

The snippet above does the following:

  • Import the required dependencies.
  • Modify the interface and props to include editingId
  • Use useEffect to conditionally check if it’s editing or creating, get the selected user details using the getSingleUser serverless function and then update the form values. The getSingleUser function also required us to convert editingId to string using BSON.ObjectID function.
  • Clean up the effect by updating the form state to an empty string.

Next, we need to update the handleSubmit function to include updating the user’s details by conditionally checking if it is an update action or not. Next, we need to call the editUser serverless function and pass in the required parameters. Finally, update the userValue, restore the form back to default and close the Modal component.

Complete Modal.tsx

Delete A User
To delete a user, we need to modify App.tsx by creating a handleDelete function as shown below:

The snippet above does the following:

  • Import the required dependencies.
  • Creates a handleDelete function that takes an id as an argument, authenticate our application using the credentials. Delete selected user using the deleteUser serverless function and update the userValue state.

Complete App.tsx

Finally, we can test our application by starting the development server and performing CRUD operations.

working application

Conclusion

This post discussed how to create a database on MongoDB, create and deploy serverless functions using MongoDB Realm and consume the endpoints in a React.js application.

You may find these resources helpful:

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