Page Contents

Introduction

AngularJS is an open-source JavaScript model–view–controller (MVC) framework for browser-based applications.

The LoopBack AngularJS SDK has three major components:

  • Auto-generated AngularJS services, compatible with ngResource.$resource, that provide client-side representation of the models and remote methods in the LoopBack server application.
  • The lb-ng command-line tool that generates Angular $resource services for your LoopBack application.
  • A Grunt plugin (grunt-loopback-sdk-angular), if you want to use Grunt instead of lb-ng.

The client is dynamic, in other words it automatically includes all the LoopBack models and methods you’ve defined. You don’t have to manually write any static code.

The SDK fits seamlessly into the workflow of a front-end developer:

  • The generated Angular objects and methods have ngdoc comments. Use an ngdoc viewer like Docular to view documentation of the client available to your AngularJS client.

  • If you wish, you can use the provided Grunt task to generate the client services script, which make it easy to include this file in an existing Grunt-based workflow (for example for bundling or “minification”).

How it works

The code generator (either the lb-ng tool or a Grunt task) loads your LoopBack server application, walks through all models, and generates code registering an AngularJS factory for each model. The factory creates an ngResource.$resource object, passing in a description of all public methods the model class exposes. This way the resource object provides an API very similar to that of your backend Model class.

The rest of the procedure is standard for AngularJS: configure your client app to include and load the lbServices module, and tell Angular’s injector which models to use in your code.

Generating Angular services

Use the LoopBack Angular command-line tool, lb-ng, to generate the Angular client library for your LoopBack application.

For example, if your application has the standard LoopBack project layout, then in the /client sub-directory, enter these commands:

$ mkdir js
$ lb-ng ../server/server.js js/lb-services.js

In this example:

../server/server.js is the relative path to the main LoopBack server script.

js/lb-services.js is the name and path to the JavaScript file that the tool generates.

The SDK also provides a tool to generate API documentation for the AngularJS services; see Generating Angular API docs for more information.

lb-ng command

The general syntax of the lb-ng command is:

lb-ng [options] path-to-server-script [path-to-generated-services]

ARGUMENTS:

path-to-server-script Relative path to the LoopBack application main script. In the standard project layout, <_app-dir_>/server/server.js. Required.

path-to-generated-services Relative path to the client JavaScript file to be generated containing the AngularJS $resource services. Optional; default is stdout.

OPTIONS:

-m, --module-name [_name_]   The name for generated Angular module. Default is “lbServices”.

-u, --url [_url_] URL of the REST API endpoint.

Using the SDK

The SDK creates $resource services that you can use in the same way as you would use hand-written ones. See the example  in the AngularJS $resource docs.

There is one service for each model class, with the same name as the model name (for example, User). On top of the standard get/save/query/remove methods, the service includes functions for calling every method exposed by the remote model (for example, User.login()).

Setup

Follow these steps to use the generated services inside your AngularJS application:

  1. Include js/lb-services.js in your index.html file

    <script src="js/lb-services.js"></script>

  2. Register the AngularJS module lbServices as a dependency of your app. Add 'lbServices' to the angular.module() call in  the main JavaScript file of your Angular (client) app, as follows:

    angular.module('my-app-module',
      ['ngRoute' /* etc */, 'lbServices', 'my-app.controllers'])
    
  3. To call a method on a model from your controller, add the model name as a dependency of the controller; for example:

    // access User model
    module.controller('LoginCtrl', function($scope, User, $location) {
      $scope.login = function() {
        $scope.loginResult = User.login($scope.credentials,
          function() {
            // success
          }, function(res) {
            // error
          });
    

Client configuration

You can configure some aspects of the generated services within the AngularJS client application using the  LoopBackResourceProvider object, as illustrated below. This object is available to configuration blocks only; for more information, see Module Loading & Dependencies in the AngularJS documentation.

app.js

angular.module('my-app-module')
  .config(function(LoopBackResourceProvider) {

    // Use a custom auth header instead of the default 'Authorization'
    LoopBackResourceProvider.setAuthHeader('X-Access-Token');

    // Change the URL where to access the LoopBack REST API server
    LoopBackResourceProvider.setUrlBase('http://api.example.com/');
  });

See LoopBackResourceProvider API docs for the list of all available options.

Model resource API

Angular’s $resource objects have a different API compared to LoopBack’s API on the server:

  • Method arguments are passed in an object (a key-value map), not positionally.
  • Methods accept two optional callbacks (a success callback and an error callback).
  • All methods return a special object populated with the response data once it arrives.
  • The returned object has a special property $promise that you can use for promise-based flow control.

See “Returns” section in $resource Usage docs for more information about the AngularJS API and  AngularJS client API docs for a reference of methods available on the built-in loopback models.

Example

Look at the method Product.find(filter, callback) to illustrate the differences.

On the server, one can write the following code to find all products named ‘Pen’:

server-code.js

Product.find({ 
    where: {
      name: 'Pen'
    }
  },
  function(err, list) { /*...*/ });

The AngularJS code to perform the same operation is:

angular-code.js

$scope.products = Product.find({
    filter: {
      where: {
        name: 'Pen'
      }
    }
  },
  function(list) { /* success */ },
  function(errorResponse) { /* error */ }
);

CRUD operations

The API for manipulating model instances is similar to the server-side Node API: it provides methods for standard create, read, update, and delete (CRUD) operations.

Create

The create method takes an object containing a key-value map of values for the model.

$scope.product = Product.create({ name: 'Pen' });

Read (querying)

You can fetch model data using the usual methods like find()findOne() or findById(). Just don’t forget to wrap the arguments in a key/value parameters map.

$scope.products = Product.find({
  filter: {
    limit: 10
  }
}); 
$scope.pen = Product.findOne({ 
  filter: {
    where: {
      name: 'Pen'
    }
  }
}); 
$scope.prod0 = Product.findById({
  id: 0
});

Refer to Querying data for a description of all query options. The AngularJS client expects the “Node syntax” of arguments, with the differences noted above.

Also, see Querying related models.

Update

After you obtain an instance of a Model resource using one of the query methods described above, persist changes back to the server by calling $save method:

$scope.product.price = 13.40;
$scope.product.$save();

Note that the method returns a promise and it also updates the model instance using the data returned by the server.

You can also perform a (partial) update with prototype$updateAttributes method:

$scope.product.price = 13.40;
Product.prototype$updateAttributes(
   {id:    $scope.product.id},
   {price: $scope.product.price}
);

Delete

Use deleteById() to remove a model instance with a given ID.

Product.deleteById({
    id: $scope.product.id
  })
  .$promise
  .then(function() {
    console.log('deleted');
  });

The AngularJS SDK provides convenient methods for accessing and manipulating related models.

For example, consider the two following model definitions:

common/models/products.json

{
  "name": "Product",
  "properties": { /* ... */ },
  "relations": {
    "category": {
      "type": "belongsTo",
      "model": "Category"
    }
  }
}

common/models/categories.json

{
  "name": "Category",
  "properties": { /* ... */ },
  "relations": {
    "products": {
      "type": "hasMany",
      "model": "Product"
    }
  }
}

The SDK creates a Category.products() method that can be used to list all products in a given category.

$scope.products = Category.products({
  id: $scope.category.id,
  filter: {
    where: { name: 'Pen' },
    limit: 10
  }
});

To create a new product in a given category, use Category.products.create():

$scope.newProduct = Category.products.create(
  {id:   $scope.category.id},
  {name: 'Pen'}
);

Last but not least, there is also a method to delete all related models (all products in a given category):

Category.products.destroyAll({ id: $scope.category.id });

Authentication

The SDK provides first-class support for authenticated requests.

Basic use is simple: Call User.login() with correct credentials and the SDK will handle everything else for you. It will store the access token provided in login response and send this token in all subsequent requests.

User.login({
  email: '[email protected]',
  password: 'passwd'
});

Other useful methods include User.isAuthenticated(), to determine if the current user is logged in, and User.getCurrentId(), to get the ID of the currently logged-in user.

Persisting the access token

By default, the AngularJS SDK stores the access token in the browser’s localStorage, so it is preserved across page reloads and browser (hybrid mobile app) restarts.

While this behavior is useful for hybrid mobile applications, traditional web applications typically need to store the token only for the duration of a browsing session, unless the user checked a “remember me” option. Fortunately this is easy to implement too: Just add rememberMe parameter to your User.login() call.

User.login({ rememberMe: $scope.rememberMe }, credentials);

Handling 401 Unauthorized

When there is no user logged in or the access token expires, requests to the LoopBack server fail with 401 errors. The application should install a global handler that will allow the user to login and repeat the action.

AngularJS provides HTTP interceptors that can be used to implement this feature.

// Inside app config block
$httpProvider.interceptors.push(function($q, $location, LoopBackAuth) {
  return {
    responseError: function(rejection) {
      if (rejection.status == 401) {
		//Now clearing the loopback values from client browser for safe logout...
        LoopBackAuth.clearUser();
        LoopBackAuth.clearStorage();
        $location.nextAfterLogin = $location.path();
        $location.path('/login');
      }
      return $q.reject(rejection);
    }
  };
});

// In the Login controller
User.login($scope.credentials, function() {
  var next = $location.nextAfterLogin || '/';
  $location.nextAfterLogin = null;
  $location.path(next);
});

The responseError interceptor saves the current location (line 6) and redirects to the login page (line 7). The login controller then redirects back to the previous page (lines 16-18) when the login was successful.

Tags: angularjs