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How to expose an API in rails

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What is an API Application?

Using Rails as an API means a user is provided a web application and also an accessible API. An Application Programming Interface (API) is a computing interface that defines interactions between multiple software intermediaries.

With the recent shift of developers moving towards client-side frameworks, there has been great development in the use of Rails to built back-end frameworks. Many developers are using their web application as API clients, which are then delivered with HTML and JavaScript, and can easily use the JSON methods of API.

Expose Rails API?

In Rails, it is suggested that you expose your models and APIs through RESTRepresentational state transfer is a software architectural style that defines a set of constraints to be used to create web services.. In this shot, we will demonstrate how a user can identify and make use of endpoints to expose features of models. Let’s see how:

1. Identifying resources

The first thing to do when building a REST API is to identify which resources will be exposed by your module.

Note: resources are not necessarily domain entities, although they may appear to be so.

Let’s take an example of an instance that manages a classroom. Some examples of resources that can be exposed are:

  1. students
  2. chairs
  3. tables
  4. board

2. Identifying methods

There are four main HTTP methods that can be used for this application:

  1. GET - Reads an existing resource.
  2. POST - Creates a new resource.
  3. PUT - Updates an existing resource.
  4. DELETE - Deletes an existing resource.

Add a new student through a POST on /students. Take a look at code below:

{
  "name": "Alex Williams",
  "student_ID": 22100110
}

This will result in the following JSON response:

{
  "id": 57498072,
   "name": "Alex Williams",
  "student_ID": 22100110
}

Similarly, calling a GET on /books/57498072 will result in the response, “JSON which will check the JSON id column and compare it with the column id: 57498072,” and yield the following result:

{
  "id": 57498072,
   "name": "Alex Williams",
  "student_ID": 22100110
}

3. Identifying JSON requirements

It is easier to create and parse data in this JSON format. For this purpose, we use the Bennu infrastructure. This Bennu infrastructure is useful as it provides a library used to conduct externalization. The following resources are used:

  1. JsonViewer - Given a particular domain object, it creates a JsonElement that represents that domain object.

  2. JsonCreator - Given a particular JSON object, it creates a new domain object.

  3. JsonUpdater - Given a particular JSON object, it updates an existing domain object.

  4. JsonAdapter - Implements the three interfaces above.

4. Implementation

After identifying required endpoints, a user should implement it on the server side. This is done by making use of domain information and producing JSON responses to endpoints. Moreover, the Bennu infrastructure provides the bennu-json library to further assist with our process.

In order to expose a particular endpoint, we use the BennuRestResource class provided by the Bennu infrastructure.

Take a look at the example below where a new ClassRoom class ic created using the BennuRestResource class. This will create a new folder of classroom, as defined in @path, which gives the user access control to the #admin and returns a created jsonElement.

public class ClassRoom extends BennuRestResource {

  @POST
  @Path("/classroom")
  @Produces(MediaType.APPLICATION_JSON)
  public String createOrder(JsonElement jsonElement) {
    accessControl("#admin");
    return create(jsonElement);
  }

  ...

}

RELATED TAGS

rails api
expose
rest api
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