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Visual Studio Live Chicago Recap: Building APIs with NodeJS on Microsoft Azure Websites

My first talk at VS Live Chicago this week (if you’re looking for my IoT talk, please click here) was based on a talk I started doing last year demonstrating fundamental unit testing techniques with NodeJS and Mocha. Since then, the code and the talk has evolved into a real API currently is early alpha at Neudesic.

In this session, we started with looking at the problem – and opportunity- with long, ugly URLs and how most URL minification APIs like bit.ly, tinyurl, etc. solve the problem today.

From there, we looked at why NodeJS is a great choice for building a Web API and proceeded to build the 3 key APIs required to fulfill the most fundamental features you’d expect from a URL shortening API including:

  • Shorten
    • When I submit a long, ugly URL to the create API, I should get back a neurl.
  • Redirect
    • When I submit a neurl to the submit API, my request should be automatically redirected.
  • Hits
    • When I submit a neurl to the hits API, I should get back the number of hits/redirects for that neurl.

With the API up an running on my laptop, we proceeded to create an Azure Website and push the Node app via my local Git repository, taking it live. All was not well unfortunately as initial testing of the Shorten API returned 500 errors. A quick look at the log dumps using the venerable Kudu console revealed the cause: The environment variable for the MongoDB connection string didn’t exist on the Azure Website deployment which was quickly remedied by adding the variable to the website from the Azure portal. Yes, this error was fully contrived, but Kudu is so cool.

With the API up and running, we exercised it a bit, verifying that the Redirect and Hits APIs were good to go and the scaled out the API from one to six instances with just a few clicks.

As the API continues to mature, I’ll update the talk to demonstrate how this level of indirection brought forth by virtualizing the actual URL (as with traditional services and APIs) introduces many opportunities to interact with the person consuming the API (all via URIs!) as they take the journey that starts with the click and ends with the final destination.

Without further ado, the code and more details on the talk can be found below.

Code: https://github.com/rickggaribay/neurl

Abstract: http://bit.ly/1iEEbNV 

Speaking of which, if you haven’t already, why not register for Visual Studio Live Redmond or Washington DC? Early bird discounts are currently available so join me to see where we can take this API from here! hhttp://bit.ly/vslive14

Print | posted on Friday, May 09, 2014 5:10 PM | Filed Under [ Speaking Events Azure NodeJS ]

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