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Version: 2.0 🚧

Server Adapters

Overview

ZenStack is a toolkit but not a framework. It doesn't come with its own web server. Instead, it provides a set of server adapters that "mount" APIs to the server of your choice.

Server adapters are framework-specific. ZenStack ships a @zenstackhq/server package that contains adapters for the most popular backend and full-stack frameworks:

Check out their respective documentation to learn more details.

As mentioned in the previous chapter, server adapters handle framework-specific request/response formats and transform them to the canonical form that the underlying API handlers understand. All server adapters share the following two initialization options:

  • handler

    The API handler to use. As mentioned in the previous chapter, ZenStack provides two built-in API handler implementations. If you don't specify this option, the default API handler is RPC.

    • RPC handler: @zenstackhq/server/api/rpc
    • RESTful handler: @zenstackhq/server/api/rest
  • getPrisma

    A callback function for getting a PrismaClient instance used for handling a CRUD request. The function is passed with a framework-specific request object. Although you can return a vanilla Prisma Client, you most likely should use an enhanced one to enforce access policies.

🛠️ Serving CRUD API

Let's see how we can automagically turn our ZModel schema into a web API without really coding it 🚀! We'll use Express for simplicity for now, but working with another framework is essentially the same.

1. Installing dependencies

First, install Express and the ZenStack server package:

npm install express @zenstackhq/server
npm install --save-dev @types/express tsx

2. Creating an Express app

Create a file main.ts with the following content:

main.ts
import express from 'express';

const app = express();

app.use(express.json());

app.get('/', (req, res) => {
res.json({ greet: 'Hello World!' });
});

app.listen(3000, () => console.log('🚀 Server ready at: http://localhost:3000'));

Start the server:

npx tsx --watch main.ts

Make a request in another terminal to verify everything is working:

curl http://localhost:3000

{ "greet": "Hello World!" }

3. Adding ZenStack server adapter (RPC flavor)

Let's create an express middleware and mount the CRUD API to the /api/rpc path. Replace main.ts with the following content:

main.ts
import { PrismaClient } from '@prisma/client';
import { ZenStackMiddleware } from '@zenstackhq/server/express';
import express from 'express';

const app = express();
app.use(express.json());

const prisma = new PrismaClient();
app.use('/api/rpc', ZenStackMiddleware({ getPrisma: () => prisma }));

app.listen(3000, () => console.log('🚀 Server ready at: http://localhost:3000'));
info

The ZenStackMiddleware server adapter uses RPC-flavor API by default.

We've configured the server adapter to use a vanilla Prisma Client for now for quick testing. By default, the server adapter uses RPC-style API. We can hit the endpoint to do a few tests now:

  • Find a List

    curl "http://localhost:3000/api/rpc/list/findFirst"
    {
    "data" : {
    "createdAt" : "2023-11-08T04:38:53.385Z",
    "id" : 1,
    "ownerId" : 1,
    "private" : false,
    "spaceId" : 1,
    "title" : "Grocery",
    "updatedAt" : "2023-11-09T04:52:57.987Z"
    },
    "meta" : { ... }
    }
  • Find a private List

    Note the parameter q is url-encoded {"where":{"private":true}}.

    curl "http://localhost:3000/api/rpc/list/findFirst?q=%7B%22where%22%3A%7B%22private%22%3Atrue%7D%7D"
    {
    "data" : {
    "createdAt" : "2023-11-11T02:34:29.880Z",
    "id" : 5,
    "ownerId" : 1,
    "private" : true,
    "spaceId" : 1,
    "title" : "Joey' List",
    "updatedAt" : "2023-11-11T02:34:29.880Z"
    },
    "meta" : { ...}
    }
  • Create a List

    curl -XPOST "http://localhost:3000/api/rpc/list/create" \
    -d '{"data":{"title":"Jobs to be done","owner":{"connect":{"id":2}},"space":{"connect":{"id":1}}}}' \
    -H 'Content-Type: application/json'
    {
    "data": {
    "id": 6,
    "createdAt": "2023-11-11T02:40:58.765Z",
    "updatedAt": "2023-11-11T02:40:58.765Z",
    "spaceId": 1,
    "ownerId": 2,
    "title": "Jobs to be done",
    "private": false
    },
    "meta": { ... }
    }

4. Making access policies work

To make access policies work, we need to create an enhanced Prisma Client, and to do that, we need to be able to get the current user from the request. Since we haven't implemented authentication yet, we'll use a special x-user-id header to simulate and pass the requesting user's ID. It's definitely not a secure implementation, but it's sufficient for demonstration. We'll hook up a real authentication system in Part IV.

Replace the content of main.ts with the following code:

main.ts
import { PrismaClient } from '@prisma/client';
import { enhance } from '@zenstackhq/runtime';
import { ZenStackMiddleware } from '@zenstackhq/server/express';
import express, { Request } from 'express';

const app = express();
app.use(express.json());

const prisma = new PrismaClient();

function getUser(req: Request) {
if (req.headers['x-user-id']) {
return { id: parseInt(req.headers['x-user-id'] as string) };
} else {
return undefined;
}
}

app.use('/api/rpc',
ZenStackMiddleware({
getPrisma: (req) => enhance(prisma, { user: getUser(req) })
})
);

app.listen(3000, () => console.log('🚀 Server ready at: http://localhost:3000'));

Now, if we hit the endpoint again without the x-user-id header, we'll get a null response:

curl "http://localhost:3000/api/rpc/list/findFirst"
{ "data" : null }

Add the header and request again. We should get back a result then:

curl "http://localhost:3000/api/rpc/list/findFirst" -H "x-user-id: 1"
{
"data": {
"id": 1,
"createdAt": "2023-11-08T04:38:53.385Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-11-09T04:52:57.987Z",
"spaceId": 1,
"ownerId": 1,
"title": "Grocery",
"private": false
},
"meta": { ... }
}

You can try other operations with different user identities. The service's behavior should be consistent with what we've seen in the REPL with the enhanced Prisma in Part I.

5. Trying Out The RESTful API Flavor

Let's mount a RESTful-flavor API under another path /api/rest. Add the following code to main.ts before the line of app.listen(...):

import RESTHandler from '@zenstackhq/server/api/rest';

app.use('/api/rest',
ZenStackMiddleware({
handler: RESTHandler({ endpoint: 'http://localhost:3000/api/rest' }),
getPrisma: (req) => enhance(prisma, { user: getUser(req) })
})
);

As you've seen above, we're using the same server adapter implementation and swapped the API handler. Now we can fetch the first List item by making a RESTful-style request.

info

The "-g" parameter passed to curl is for allowing square brackets in the URL.

curl -g 'http://localhost:3000/api/rest/list?page[limit]=1' -H "x-user-id: 1"
{
"data" : [
{
"attributes" : {
"createdAt" : "2023-11-08T04:38:53.385Z",
"ownerId" : 1,
"private" : false,
"spaceId" : 1,
"title" : "Grocery",
"updatedAt" : "2023-11-09T04:52:57.987Z"
},
"id" : 1,
"links" : { ... },
"relationships" : { ... },
"type" : "list"
}
],
"jsonapi" : {
"version" : "1.1"
},
"links" : { ... },
"meta" : { ... }
}
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