Node API Requests & UI Mockup

How-To Reference

Happy 4th of July! To be honest it’s not a holiday I really celebrated living in the UK the last 5 years but I’m happy for the day off–more study time!

API Requests Using Node

Finished this topic in my bootcamp course which I started yesterday. Here are the main bits to remember:

Request is a node package which makes http requests, and can be used to call APIs:

npm install request --save

In the app.js file it needs to be required at the top, and then you can use a request function to call the API. This function returns a string (rather than the JSON or XML needed) so you also have to use the JavaScript built-in parse() function to get the right output. Then you can access the data you want by following the JSON object nesting pattern:

var request = require("request");

request("http://formatted.api.url", function(error, response, body) {
if (!error && response.statusCode == 200) {
var parsedData = JSON.parse(body);
console.log(parsedData["level1"]["level2"]["level3"]["dataIwant"]);
}
});

You can also send the data to a page instead of just logging it to the console. To do that replace the console.log() function with:

res.render("results", {data: data});

To pull in search terms from the user and plug these into the API’s request URL, you can use req.query.search where search is the name of the form element the user saw:

<form action="/results" method="GET">
<input type="text" name="search" placeholder="search term">
<input type="submit" name="submit">
</form>

Then include this term in the GET route that calls the API. The final route would then be:

app.get("/results", function(req, res) {
var searchTerm = req.query.search;
var concatUrl = "http://www.apiSource.com/?search=" + searchTerm;
request(concatUrl, function(error, response, body) {
if (!error && response.statusCode == 200) {
var data = JSON.parse(body);
res.render("results", { data: data });
}
});
});

Whew! Took a lot to get to this one after what I’m sure were some tiny typos which broke everything. Eventually got it running though!

Coding For Product, Coding Begins!

I am doing a workshop where I’m in a group of 3, building a fully-functional app from scratch in 5 weeks. Today I spent a lot of time doing an initial mockup of our UI. Lots of work on that and now I’m exhausted so will write more about the project another day!

Other Stuff

Awesome thing I learned: how to install multiple node packages at once from Terminal:

npm install --save express ejs request body-parser

Another awesome package I discovered (by necessity!!) is nodemon which keeps the server running and watches for changes. Saves a lot of quitting and restarting the server, especially when building a UI! It’s a global package (so only install once with npm install -g nodemon) and then in the terminal you can run nodemon app.js instead of node app.js to start it.

I will be using both of these a lot!!

Up Next

I still have several pages to mock up for our group project’s UI and that will be the priority since we present our progress every week.

In the bootcamp I briefly started databases but need to figure out the MongoDB local installation before I can go much further.

And still need to sort out my AWS mess.