Easy Way to Understand the Loopback

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What is LoopBack ?

LoopBack is an award-winning, highly extensible, open-source NodeJS and TypeScript framework based on Express that enables you to create dynamic end-to-end REST APIs with little or no coding. It enables you to quickly create APIs and microservices composed of backend systems such as databases and SOAP or REST services.  

 LoopBack is a tool in the Microframeworks (Backend) category of a tech stack.  

LoopBack is an open-source tool with 13.3K GitHub stars and 1.2K GitHub forks. Here’s a link to LoopBack’s open-source repository on GitHub  

The diagram below demonstrates how LoopBack serves as a composition bridge between incoming requests and outgoing integrations. It also shows the different personas who are interested in various capabilities provided by Loopback. 

Why LoopBack ?

It enables you to quickly create APIs and microservices composed of backend systems such as databases and SOAP or REST services. 

Who uses LoopBack ?

Who uses LoopBack   41 companies reportedly use LoopBack in their tech stacks, including technology, Chipper, and Knawat

LoopBack Integrations !

NodeJS, TypeScript, GraphQL, ExpressJS, and StrongLoop are some of the popular tools that integrate with LoopBack. Here’s a list of all 5 tools that integrate with LoopBack. 

Pros of LoopBack

  1. Easy Database Migration  
  2.  Full Stack development  
  3.  Built-in models & features  
  4.  Very fast development  
  5. Code is modular & structured  
  6.  Great ORM with a lot of available connectors in the community  
  7.  Built-in user & access role feature  
  8.  Built-in API swagger 

Cons of LoopBack

  1. Monolithic architecture  
  2.  Steep learning curve  
  3.  Hard to use in huge and long-term projects  
  4.  The opinionated architecture may not serve all  
  5.  Less community strength than express    

How to use LoopBack – step by step instructions 

In this step, you will create a to-do-list application that tracks to-do items using an in-memory database. You will experience how you can create REST APIs with just 5 steps:  

Scaffold a LoopBack 4 application

  • Scaffold a LoopBack 4 application
  • Create the to-do model
  • Define the data source where the data is stored
  • Add a repository to bind the model and data source
  • Add a controller to expose REST API

Prerequisites 

Install NodeJS (version 10 or higher) if it is not already installed on your machine

Install Loopback 4 CLI  

To create a new project, run the CLI as follows and answer the prompts. 

Answer the prompts as follows: 

After your application is generated, you will have a folder structure like the following: 

Create the to-do model 

In this section, you will use the Loopback CLI to create a to-do model. To create the to-do list application, we need to create a to-do model that represents instances of a task on our to-do list. A model describes business domain objects and defines a list of properties with name, type, and other constraints.  

The to-do model has the following properties:  

  1.   id: a unique id  
  2.  title: a title  
  3. desc: a description that details the specific task to be accomplished   
  4.  is complete: a Boolean flag for whether we’ve completed the task  

We can use the lb4 model command and answer the prompts to generate the model for us. Press returns with an empty property name to generate the model. Follow these steps:  

And that’s it! You created the to-do model and described it in TypeScript in src/models/todo.model.ts. The update in index.ts adds the todo.model.ts to the list of exported models. 

Add a Data Source 

LoopBack uses data sources to connect to various sources of data, such as databases, APIs, message queues, and more. A data source in LoopBack 4 is a named configuration for a connector instance that represents data in an external system. The connector is used by legacy-juggler-bridge to power LoopBack 4 repositories for data operations. For more information about data sources in LoopBack, see DataSources

Create a data folder in the root of the application and add a new file called db.json containing an example database and copy and paste the JSON below. 

Add a Repository 

A repository represents a specialized service interface that provides strong-typed data access (for example, CRUD) operations of a domain model against the underlying database or service. Now run the lb4 repository command to create a repository for your to-do model using the dB data source from the previous step. The dB data source shows up by its class name DbDataSource from the list of available data sources. 

The src/repositories/index.ts file makes exporting artifacts central and also easier to import.

The newly created todo.repository.ts class has the necessary connections that are needed to perform CRUD operations for our to-do model. It leverages the to-do model definition and ‘DB’ data source configuration and retrieves the data source using Dependency Injection.

Next, we’ll need to build a controller to manage our incoming requests.

Add a Controller

In LoopBack 4, controllers handle the request-response lifecycle for your API. Each function on a controller can be addressed individually to handle an incoming request (like a POST request to /todos), perform business logic, and return a response. In this respect, controllers are the regions where most of your business logic will live!

The application is ready to run. Before that, let’s review the code in TodoController located in src/controllers/todo.controller.ts. We’ve got all of our artifacts now, and they are all automatically bound to our application so that LoopBack’s Dependency injection system can tie it all together for us! 

Put it all together 

Let’s try out our application! First, you’ll want to start the app. 

That’s it! You’ve just created your first LoopBack 4 application. You can use the API Explorer to browse your API and make requests!!

Conclusion 

We hope this blog helped you with LoopBack app development. If you are still not sure, you can ask our app developers. HypeTeq is always happy to help you!!

Stay tuned for more informative blogs like this…

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