AngularJS – Startup time environment configuration

Starting to learn a web framework, doesn’t matter which platform – Spring, AngularJS, Grails, Rails etc. is easy. But once you go past the elementary-school level status, a question always looms – how to accomplish tasks the framework-way versus the non-framework way?

A seemingly simple stuff like configuring environment properties at runtime (startup), took me through internals of AngularJS. For server-side folks, the technique is pretty standard: use any of .properties, .xml, .yaml and then apply a built-in framework feature. For eg. in Spring, you can using the @ConfigureProperties, for Grails, use the Config.groovy and the framework will automatically place it in grailsApplication, similar to what Rails does. But how do you do it for a purely client side application (ie ‘static’ site, that relies only on rest calls from some other server)?

AngularJS allows a Module.constant() method, where you can just specify a Javascript object and DI-it where-ever you want. Neat. But often the config values are environment specific. One of the very nice solutions is to use grunt-replace and simply provide the environment specific json at build time and grunt replaces the config values for that build. One may argue that this is the correct way to do, because it provides consistency and tracebality in CI.

But in some cases the values may not be known ahead before build and is known only at application startup. So the question is what is the AngularJS way of loading the configuration file at startup? Would have been nice to have AngularJs look for a config.json properties file at root and automatically load and inject it into a variable like $env.

Obviously, AngularJS offers so much stuff – constant, value, service, factory, provider. I thought I need to stick the $http somewhere and load the config.json file and set it to AngularJS constant or value. Then inject the constant to any controller or service.

1. Inject $http into Module.constant()

Will not work, constant accepts only an object and not services. At this point of time, it is useful to get familiar with config and run phases of AngularJS. This stackoverflow question explains succinctly.

2. Inject $http into Module.config()

Will not work. You cannot inject a AngularJS service into config. You can inject only a provider into config.

var envconfig = angular.module('envconfig', []);

envconfig.config(['$http', function($http) {
var envConfig = {
restUrl: 'http://localhost:8080/rest/api/'
};

$http.get('/config.json').onSuccess(function(data) {
envConfig = data;
});
}]);

So, how about injecting a provider into config, and let the provider use the $http ?

3. Inject $http into the provider

Will not work. You cannot inject a service ($http) directly into a provider, like this:

envconfig.provider('EnvConfig', function($http) {
});

Though you can use a service within the provider, like this:

envconfig.provider('EnvConfig', function() {
var envConfig = {
restUrl: 'http://localhost:8080/rest/api/'
};

var loadConfig = ['$http', function($http) {
$http.get('/config.json').success(function(data) {
envConfig = data;
});
return envConfig;
}];

//This $get, is kinda confusing - it does not return the provider, but it returns the "service".
//In our case, the "service" is the environment configuration object
//The $get is called automatically when AngularJS encounters a DI.
this.$get = loadConfig;
});

If you want to further configure the Provider, you can do this. Notice that the “Provider” suffix must be appended EnvConfig.

envconfig.config(['EnvConfigProvider', function(EnvConfigProvider) {
//Do something with EnvConfigProvider
}]);

While this almost works, there is a problem: $http is an asynchronous call, so its not guaranteed that the data will be returned with the values read from the config.json. Very likely the local envConfig will be returned always.

To get around you have to make $http a sync call, which is not possible. So we go deeper into the underlying framework of AngularJS – jQuery.

4. Load config.json synchronously

In the provider, you can do the following:

envconfig.provider("EnvConfig", function() {
this.$get = function() {
var q = jQuery.ajax({
type: 'GET', url: '/config.json', cache: false, async: false, contentType: 'application/json', dataType: 'json'
});
if (q.status === 200) {
angular.extend(envConfig, angular.fromJson(q.responseText));
}
return envConfig;
}];
});

Notice, that the q.responseText is a string and is converted to Json object using angular.fromJson(). Also by using angular.extend, you can merge the local envConfig with the target one – this allows you to keep some default values that you dont want to immediately expose.

5. How about profiles?

If you have multiple profiles in the config.json, you can simply use the following technique:

this.$get = ['$location', function($location) {
var profile = $location.search().profile || 'default';
var q = jQuery.ajax({
type: 'GET', url: '/config.json', cache: false, async: false, contentType: 'application/json', dataType: 'json'
});
if (q.status === 200) {
angular.extend(envConfig, angular.fromJson(q.responseText)[profile]);
}

return envConfig;
}];

And your config.json is like:

{
  "development": { "restUrl" : "http://devserver/rest/api" },
  "qa": { "restUrl" : "http://qaserver/rest/api" }
}

And then call your url as http://localhost:9000/index.html?profile=development

While adding profile query string may not be recommended for production, if you are testing your UI against several backend instances, this might just help.

Thoughts on SpringBoot

In its new avatar, Spring enters the opinionated frameworks marketspace, and finally takes the Sinatra/Scalatra/Ratpack/Dropwizard/Spark route, where embedded containers (ie no external server containers) will start dictating the future. Whats an opinionated framework anyway? Aint all frameworks opinionated? To me every piece of code is just as opinionated as the developer who wrote it. Here are my observations about SpringBoot, after having worked with it for about 6 weeks.

1. Build support for gradle (+)
SpringBoot apps can be built using both maven and gradle. But I believe Gradle will eventually dominate the world of buildscripts. So the sooner your team moves to gradle, better will be your quality of this life and perhaps, next life too. Are you listening, .Net?

2. Starter poms (+)
Remember your 500 line pom.xml, where the tag <dependency> occurs 25000 times? Say good bye and start using starter-poms. Combined with gradle, a typical build file is now about 30 lines.

3. Configurations (+/-)
Spring is among the last standing action heros of xml-based application configuration in jvm world. Super hit when introduced, but soon became a liability. Thankfully, many developers challenged the xml tag soup and created innovative web frameworks (Wicket, Play etc.). Those who work with the Spring-based framework Grails, may have not touched an xml for a good period of time. If Spring MVC developers are still stuck with Spring without adapting Grails, I fail to understand why (well except for business impositions).

Ironically, SpringBoot seems to have many opinions when it comes to configuration – it supports 3 flavors of bean configurations: xml, annotation and groovy dsl. Having worked with Grails and other non-xml based applications for the last few years, picking up SpringBoot was bit of a chore. Grails autowires beans by name, and when custom beans are required, there is this wonderful bean builder. For me, java annotations are no better than xml configuration. Xml configuration proliferates verbosity but annotations defeat the purpose of wiring objects separate from code. While it brings type-safety, it also lets you mix code, configuration and logic and I think its a total mess. Annotations are like antibiotics – good in small doses (@ToString, @RestController, @AutoClone etc.), too many side-effects with overdose – building whole applications using annotations is @NotMyStyleOfTea.

A typical SpringBoot application has many many annotations – @EnableAutoConfiguration, @Configuration, @ComponentScan, @Conditional etc. Sometimes you end up with more annotations than the code itself and its not intuitive which is doing what when how. SpringBoot is certainly simpler for developers from xml background, but to me as a Grails developer, annotations have been a bit intimidating and sprawling. I don’t see CoC (Convention-over-Configuration), instead I see CoC (Configuration-over-Code).

Thankfully, SpringBoot has great (although not 1:1 xml equivalent) support for groovy beans dsl (via the GroovyBeanDefinitionReader). Groovy dsl is elegant, concise, intuitve and very readable. For some loss of type-safety (which could have been compensated by good tooling support), it comes with a great punch – wiring beans, environmental configurations, programmatic startup logic (as opposed to declarative) etc. I feel Spring can standardize groovy bean as the only configuration mechanism and shed all the fat of xmls and annotations. It would make the framework pretty lean and competitive in the already crowding lean frameworks market. May be thats what grails-boot is?

4. Properties (+/-)
Just like configurations, there are a few ways of defining and injecting properties. Coming from Grails background, the many ways of injecting properties was a bit confusing. SpringBoot supports both .properties and .yaml files. AutoConfiguration uses many default values for properties, but there is no comprehensive documentation on these properties on whats default. Again there are many annotations related to properties @ConfigurationProperties, @PropertySource, @Value, @EnableConfigurationProperties etc. Grails has this amazing single-point grailsApplication bean based on ConfigObject (a glorified Map) and allows nested and runtime evaluate-able configurations – helpful in dynamic scenarios. Again I wish Spring had defacto support for this (injecting properties from a config.groovy).

5. Rest Support (+)
SpringBoot makes it very easy to create rest controllers via @RestController. Instead of creating full-blown web applications, Spring’s eco can be used to create well-rounded rest services backed by Batch/Data/Integration/Security and use js frameworks like Angular/Knockout/Backbone etc. for front end. If using rest over json, Groovy 2.3 is promising to come up with fast json marshaller. While I like the cleanliness of Thymeleaf, the modern js frameworks have a clear advantage over server-side html generators.

6. Logging (+/-)
Yet again, too many logging frameworks in the bag: log4j, log4j2, slf4j, slf4j2, commons.log, java.util.log, logback. I spent some time resolving dependency conflicts, until I finally gave up and switched to logback. Spring team strongly recommends logback – Just Go with it – there is probably a good reason.

7. Data Access (+)
No question about Spring’s versatility here. Name any db and you have SpringBoot autoconfiguration support. Plus the Grails team has done a great job of spinning-off Gorm to standalone component. TexMex, I would say.

8. Testing (+/-)
Many examples still show use of JUnit, but here is a good start on how to use the incredible Spock framework in SpringBoot. Spock is like mom’s recipe – once you taste it, others aint the best.

9. Documentation (+)
It has improved a lot with newer minor releases. It takes time to sift through some old examples in the community, but lets just blame Google for not knowing what you exactly want, though it seems to know all about what food you want to eat when you are near a restaurant.

10. Finally
I think Grails3 (grails-boot?) is going down the trending route of embedded container deployments. I think that’s the only thing against Grails in the current trend. SpringBoot has got there first but I still feel it lacks the simplicity of Grails or the leanness of Play. It has certainly been simplified, but not simple.

If your existing eco system depends a lot on Spring based frameworks, it is worthwhile to adapt SpringBoot. Honestly, Im hoping Grails3 isn’t far off!

The GroovySpringBootBatchGormGroovyDslBeanFactory

See spring-boot-batch-sample at github for the updated source code.

I was recently working on setting up a not-so-trivial Spring Batch application and wanted to use SpringBoot, because of its embeded-web container capabilities. I could have used Grails and Spring Batch plugin, but wanted to give an opportunity for our Ops/DevOps team a peek at running and maintaining apps via plain “java -jar”. I hadn’t used Spring since 2009 (switching between SharePoint and Grails). Xml is no more a necessity for Spring and it has good support for java annotation configuration. But I am not very comfortable with annotation oriented programming. Xml provided the separation of wiring dependencies from code, but its verbose. Annotations are less verbose, but allows to mix configurations, logic and code, which I feel can spiral out of control pretty soon. I still feel wiring dependencies independently of “code” is a very desirable feature for large applications. Both xml and annotations seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Fortunately there is a middle ground. SpringBoot provides support for Groovy beans dsl, via the GroovyBeanDefinitionReader. Groovy bean dsls solve the problems of xml and annotations: DI wiring + concise readable syntax + some logic (eg environment-based). But this comes at a price of loosing type-safety. I am surprised that groovy dsl has not yet gone mainstream with Spring apps. If Spring comes with a Groovy DSLD schema (may be there is one already?), it could be a killer feature. For example, Spring Integration is already offering a dsl based “workflow”, which is pretty elegant to read, write and maintain.

I was also new to SpringBatch so it took a while to get them all wired up. So here is a starting point, if you want to use Groovy lang + SpringBoot + SpringBatch + Groovy DSL + Gorm. I haven’t figured out dsl equivalents of @EnableScheduling and @Scheduled yet.

Part 1: appcontext.groovy

//Note that config is not defined as a bean, but directly evaluated and then injected into other beans
//the 'grailsApplication' equivalent
ConfigObject configObject = new ConfigSlurper().parse(Config)

//Note the syntax beans {} not beans = {} like in Grails resources.groovy
beans {

	xmlns([ctx: 'http://www.springframework.org/schema/context', batch: 'http://www.springframework.org/schema/batch'])
	ctx.'component-scan'('base-package': 'org.mypackage')
	ctx.'annotation-config'()

	myController(MyController) {
		config = configObject 
	}

	myService(MyService) {
		config = configObject 
  }

  //MyItemReader implements ItemReader
	myItemReader(MyItemReader) { bean ->
		bean.initMethod = 'init' //required if initializing some data from external dao
		bean.scope = 'step' //for job restartability
	}

	myItemProcessor(MyItemProcessor) {
		myService = ref('myService')
	}

	myItemWriter(FlatFileItemWriter) {
		lineAggregator = new DelimitedLineAggregator(delimiter: ',', fieldExtractor: new BeanWrapperFieldExtractor(names: ["id", "title"]))
		resource = '/apps/springboot/myproject/output'
	}

  //create a job
	batch.job(id: 'job1') {
		batch.step(id: 'step1') {
			batch.tasklet {
				batch.chunk(
					reader: 'myItemReader',
					writer: 'myItemWriter',
					processor: 'myItemProcessor',
					'commit-interval': 10
				)
			}
		}
	}

  //the following beans are minimum mandate because there is no equivalent of xml's <batch:job-repository /> in groovy dsl
  //http://stackoverflow.com/questions/23436477/groovy-bean-syntax-for-spring-batch-job-repository
  //thanks to https://github.com/johnrengelman/grails-spring-batch/blob/master/SpringBatchGrailsPlugin.groovy for the bean definitions
	jobRepository(MapJobRepositoryFactoryBean) {
		transactionManager = ref('transactionManager')
	}

	jobRegistry(MapJobRegistry) { }

	jobLauncher(SimpleJobLauncher) {
		jobRepository = ref('jobRepository')
		taskExecutor = { SyncTaskExecutor executor -> }
	}

	jobExplorer(JobExplorerFactoryBean) {
    //dataSource is auto-configured
		dataSource = ref('dataSource')
	}

	jobOperator(SimpleJobOperator) {
		jobLauncher = ref('jobLauncher')
		jobRepository = ref('jobRepository')
		jobRegistry = ref('jobRegistry')
		jobExplorer = ref('jobExplorer')
	}

}

Part 2: Application and Scheduler

@Configuration
@ComponentScan
@EnableAutoConfiguration
@EnableScheduling
class MyJobApplication {

	private static final Logger logger = LoggerFactory.getLogger(MyJobApplication.class.getName())

	@Autowired
	JobLauncher jobLauncher

	@Autowired
	Job myJob

//  You can also create configObject bean like this and refer back in beans.groovy using ref('config')
//	@Bean(name="config")
//	ConfigObject configObject() {
//		return new ConfigSlurper().parse(Config)
//	}

	
  @Scheduled(fixedDelayString = '${myJobFixedDelay}', initialDelayString = '${myJobInitialDelay}')
	public void startMyJob() {
		logger.info "startMyJob()"
    //Add time if your job runs repeatedly on different parameters - this will make it an unique entry in the batch-job tables
		JobParameters jobParameters = new JobParametersBuilder().addLong("time",System.currentTimeMillis()).toJobParameters()
		jobLauncher.run(myJob, jobParameters)
	}

	public static void main(String[] args) {
		logger.info "Starting MyJobApplication..."
		Object[] sources = [MyJobApplication.class, new ClassPathResource("appcontext.groovy")]
		SpringApplication.run(sources, args);
	}
}

Part 3: Datasource

Datasource bean is autoconfigured via @EnableAutoConfiguration and if you define the application.properties (or application.yaml). Just add the right driver in your build.gradle. If you dont specify any, hsql db is used.

Part 4: build.gradle

buildscript {
	ext {
		springBootVersion = '1.0.2.RELEASE'
		spockVersion = '0.7-groovy-2.0'
	}
	repositories {
		mavenLocal()
		mavenCentral()
		maven { url "http://repo.spring.io/libs-snapshot" }
	}
	dependencies {
		classpath("org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-gradle-plugin:${springBootVersion}")
	}
}

apply plugin: 'groovy'
apply plugin: 'idea'
apply plugin: 'spring-boot'

jar {
	baseName = 'myapp'
	version = '0.1'
}

repositories {
	mavenCentral()
	mavenLocal()
	maven { url "http://repo.spring.io/libs-snapshot" }
}

dependencies {
	compile("org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-web")
	//if you want to use Jetty, instead of Tomcat, replace the above line with the next two lines
	//compile("org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-web:${springBootVersion}") { exclude module: "spring-boot-starter-tomcat" }
	//compile("org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-jetty:0.5.0.M2")
	compile("org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-actuator")
	compile("org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-batch")
	compile("org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-logging")
	compile("org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-jdbc")

  compile("org.codehaus.groovy:groovy-all:2.2.2")
	
  compile("org.springframework:spring-orm:4.0.3.RELEASE")
  //For those Grails guys, just throw in the new and shiny standalone gorm dependency
	compile("org.grails:gorm-hibernate4-spring-boot:1.0.0.RC3") {
    //currently brings in spring-orm:3.2.8, exclude it and explicitly include new one above
		exclude module: 'spring-orm'
	}

	testCompile "org.springframework.boot:spring-boot-starter-test"
	testCompile "org.spockframework:spock-core:${spockVersion}"
	testCompile "org.spockframework:spock-spring:${spockVersion}"
}

task wrapper(type: Wrapper) {
	gradleVersion = '1.11'
}

A few more features for the future:

1. Defining multiple datasources in groovy dsl
2. Using spring-loaded for hot-swapping runtime (as of now I can’t get this to work with Intellij Idea)
3. Using Spring-batch-admin to control jobs via UI

Spring Boot with Groovy config

While working on converting a Grails application to a SpringBoot based application, I was trying to understand how the auto configurations and custom configurations work under the hood. Just like CoC of Groovy/Grails, there seems to be a lot of hide-and-seek going on under the Spring boot hood. Admittedly its been a while for me with good ol’ raw Spring, so the many different ways of skinning the configuration felt a bit overwhelming. I counted several concepts around configurations – application.properties, application.yaml, PropertySource, PropertyPlaceHolder, @Value, @EnableConfiguration, @EnableConfigurationProperties, @EnableAutoConfiguration, @Configuration, @ConfigurationProperties, pre-defined property name prefixes, creating classes specifically for holding configuration values – so much information just for accessing key-value pairs? Compare to Grails – one Config.groovy (or multiple externalized) and a simple grailsApplication injection takes care of making configuration available anywhere. When I read Spring Boot support for Groovy, I somehow assumed that support for a groovy config is automatically enabled.

My Grails application already had a groovy config, and I was not in a mood to convert them to .properties or .yaml. Groovy configs are DSLs in essence – it provides many advantages over the traditional properties file: key=value (like .properties), a structured format like .yaml – sans the indent-erasure-phobia, type-enriched config values like list/map etc, functions via closures and more.

So, here is a very simple way to expose the groovy config to your Spring Boot apps:

Create a Config.groovy in the same folder as the ConfigProperties class.

/** Config.groovy **/

//simple key-value
spring.boot.guide = 'https://github.com/spring-guides?page=1'
//formatted structure
google {
searchurl = 'http://www.google.com'
apiKey = '1234'
}

/** ConfigProperties.groovy **/

import org.springframework.context.annotation.Bean
import org.springframework.context.annotation.Configuration

@Configuration
class ConfigProperties {

@Bean(name="configObject")
ConfigObject configObject() {
return new ConfigSlurper().parse(Config)
}

}
/** HelloController.groovy **/

import ConfigProperties
import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMapping
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RestController

@RestController
class HelloController {
@Autowired
ConfigObject configObject

@RequestMapping("/")
String home() {
return "Hello World! " + configObject.spring.boot.guide
}

}

/** Application.groovy **/

@EnableAutoConfiguration
@ComponentScan
class Application {
static void main(String[] args) {
Object[] sources = [Application.class, ConfigProperties.class]
SpringApplication.run(sources, args)
}
}

Note: @Bean returns must be typed. Habitually, I wrote def configObject() { return new ConfigSlurper().parse(Config) } and the @Autowired did not wire it up.

Grails Application with AngularJS: Calling a Rest Service – Part 5

Remember the core principle of MVC? Clean separation of model, control and view? Many MVC frameworks, but there hardly is a single framework that provides a puritanical separation between layers. In some, the view is polluted with server-side syntax (jsp, gsp, asp), its equivalents (taglib) or specialized templates (velocity, freemarker); in some others, the server-side code is interspersed with view layer abstractions (css class, href links) or its equivalent html wrappers. One way to measure good separation is how close the view layer is to html semantics itself.

In this part, let us see how we can combine the power of Angular and simplicity of Grails (mainly because of conventions) to make a better separation of model and view.

Note: For the brevity of this post, the tests are not explained, but is included in the github. Specifically, take a look at how angular-mocks provides a cool $httpBackend object that acts as a http service for unit tests and how to invoke them in the controllerSpecs.js.

Goal: Display a star catalog

Techniques Demonstrated

  1. Retrieve Star catalog from server via ajax rest call (demonstrates Rest, Ajax and Angular’s $http)
  2. Show/Hide star catalog (demonstrates Angular’s implicit scope values)
  3. Display the json model in table format (demonstrates Angular’s ng-repeat directive)
  4. Simple Grails 2.3.x Rest services (demonstrates Grails 2.3.x Rest capabilities)

Ingredients

  • Star domain class, decorated with @Resource annotation to make it Rest-enabled
  • New Angular controller to initiate an http request
  • http.get() ajax call to retrieve data from Star domain class and bind to Angular scope
  • Html table to display scope data

Step: Create Star domain class

cmd> cd c:\projects\angrails
cmd> grails create-domain-class angular.Star

Update the code as:

package angrails
import grails.rest.Resource
@Resource(uri='/starCatalog', formats=['json', 'xml'])
class Star {
String name
 String constellation
 //Bayer Designation
 String bd
 //Distance from Earth in light years
 Integer distance
static constraints = {
 }
}

There are many ways to create restful services in Grails 2.3.x, this is one of the easiest ways – create a domain object and add a @Resource annotation. Works for prototypes, demos and really simple applications. For an advanced method, you may want to use RestController and other methods.

Step: Add some seed data to Bootstrap.groovy

def init = { servletContext -&gt;
 new Star(name: 'Aldebaran', constellation: 'Taurus', bd: 'Alpha Tauri', distance: 65).save(flush:true)
 new Star(name: 'Betelgeuse', constellation: 'Orion', bd: 'Alpha Orionis', distance: 640).save(flush:true)
 new Star(name: 'Regulus', constellation: 'Leo', bd: 'Alpha Leonis', distance: 79).save(flush:true)
 new Star(name: 'Spica', constellation: 'Virgo', bd: 'Alpha Virginis', distance: 260).save(flush:true)
 }
cmd> grails run-app
Goto http://localhost:8080/angrails/starCatalog

You should see json representation of the records from Star domain class. Grails auto-generates Rest url end point /starCatalog.

Step: Create Angular Controller and http.get ajax call

Create another controller (next to the MainCtrl) in angrailsApp.js:

angrailsApp.controller('StarCatalogCtrl',
	function ($scope, $http) {

		$scope.getStarCatalog = function () {
			$http.get('/angrails/starCatalog').
				success(function (data) {
					console.log(&quot;success: &quot; + data);
					$scope.starCatalog = data;
				}).error(function (data) {
					console.log(&quot;error: &quot; + data);
					$scope.starCatalog = data;
				});
		};

		$scope.getStarCatalog();
	}
);

1. As a convention, I keep Angular controller suffix as “*Ctrl”, while Grails controllers as “*Controller”.
2. Observe that one more parameter is being added to the function – $http. When Angular runs the javascript, it injects a http service object into $http automatically.
3. The $http.get() does the ajax call to the auto-generated Grails Rest endpoint
4. The result data is set to a new variable in scope – “starCatalog”. We will use this variable to display the table data

Step: Display data in table

You can run crazy with your imagination on how to display the data, but a simple step is shown here:

&lt;div ng-controller=&quot;StarCatalogCtrl&quot;&gt;
	&lt;span&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;#&quot; ng-click=&quot;starCatalogShow = !starCatalogShow&quot;&gt;Star Catalog&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
	&lt;div ng-show=&quot;starCatalogShow&quot;&gt;
		&lt;div&gt;
			&lt;table class=&quot;table&quot;&gt;
				&lt;tr&gt;
					&lt;th&gt;Common name&lt;/th&gt;
					&lt;th&gt;Constellation&lt;/th&gt;
					&lt;th&gt;Bayer Designation&lt;/th&gt;
					&lt;th&gt;Distance from Earth (light years)&lt;/th&gt;
				&lt;/tr&gt;
				&lt;tr ng-repeat=&quot;star in starCatalog&quot;&gt;
					&lt;td&gt;{{star.name}}&lt;/td&gt;
					&lt;td&gt;{{star.constellation}}&lt;/td&gt;
					&lt;td&gt;{{star.bd}}&lt;/td&gt;
					&lt;td&gt;{{star.distance}}&lt;/td&gt;
				&lt;/tr&gt;
			&lt;/table&gt;
		&lt;/div&gt;
	&lt;/div&gt;
&lt;/div&gt;

A few points of interest here:

  • AngularJS Directives (ng-show, ng-click, ng-controller, ng-repeat) do appear to be a cleaner way of extending html behaviour.
  • Directive ng-controller=StarCatalogCtrl specifies which controller provides the scope of the data
  • How an implicit scope variable “starCatalog” hides/shows the table (within the span tag, using the ng-show directive)
  • The ng-repeat Angular directive which is the “forEach (item in itemList)” equivalent to iterate through the starCatalog
  • With this approach, the binding between client and server is a clean http call. This gives you the ability to call any rest service, as long as you can process what you get.

And before we go nuts about AngularJS, observe the syntax of the <a> tag. This type of construct was popular pre-jquery times (<a href=”#”, onclick=”javascript:openLink()”>Click me</a>). With jQuery, there was a big drive towards separation of presentation of data and manipulation of data – using $(id).onClick() syntax. But AngularJS has put the old construct right back into vogue now, but with a twist.

Does this bother you? The pendulum of imperative-declarative programming will swing on forever. Meanwhile, take a look at these articles about Remix and Innovation Recycle bin.

Grails Application with AngularJS: Tests on build server – Part 4

In the previous post, we got karma running on your local systems, as part of grails unit test plans, enabling continual test against Chrome. How do you ensure your unit tests are running in a build server like Jenkins or Bamboo?

PhantomJS is a headless webkit, ie a browser with no browser UI. Make these changes in your karma.conf.js

browsers: ['Chrome', 'PhantomJS'],
plugins: [
 'karma-jasmine',
 'karma-chrome-launcher',
 'karma-phantomjs-launcher',
 'karma-remote-reporter'
 ]

Now run the karma test again:

cmd> cd c:\projects\angrails
cmd> karma start test\javascript\config\karma.conf.js

Warning: Native modules not compiled. XOR performance will be degraded.
Warning: Native modules not compiled. UTF-8 validation disabled.
INFO [karma]: Karma v0.10.9 server started at http://localhost:8001/
INFO [launcher]: Starting browser Chrome
INFO [launcher]: Starting browser PhantomJS
INFO [Chrome 33.0.1750 (Windows 7)]: Connected on socket Tsk76f8qRWk84nVP6jlC
INFO [PhantomJS 1.9.2 (Windows 7)]: Connected on socket oMQSWXNcCW6hNOoH6jlD
PhantomJS 1.9.2 (Windows 7) LOG: ‘angrails manifest load complete.’
PhantomJS 1.9.2 (Windows 7) LOG: ‘calling’
Chrome 33.0.1750 (Windows 7) LOG: ‘angrails manifest load complete.’
Chrome 33.0.1750 (Windows 7) LOG: ‘calling’
Chrome 33.0.1750 (Windows 7): Executed 1 of 1 SUCCESS (0.352 secs / 0.029 secs)
PhantomJS 1.9.2 (Windows 7): Executed 1 of 1 SUCCESS (0.273 secs / 0.018 secs)
TOTAL: 2 SUCCESS

Notice that Karma runs tests against PhantomJS too. You can also add Firefox, IE and test your javascripts against multiple browsers simultaneously.

Additional Notes

But for your build server you need to test just against PhantomJS and not other browsers. One way to do this, is to create a copy of karma.conf.js as karma.local-conf.js. Use the local copy for your local unit tests and the default karma.conf.js for the builds (ie only PhantomJS). This way grails test-app runs against the karma.conf.js in your build server.

Remember you need to install node.js, karma and other components in the build server too.

In Part 5, we shall see how to invoke grails urls/services from AngularJS.

Grails application with AngularJS: Karma with test-app – Part 3

In Part 2, we added karma test runner to our AnGrails application. Its great that you can test your javascripts on the fly locally. What about testing it as part of your grails test-app lifecycle ?

Step: Setup JUnit/Karma integration so that karma can run via grails test-app

Edit BuildConfig.groovy

Add the following line under plugins

test ':karma-test-runner:0.2.0'

See karma-test-runner grails plugin for more information.

Create new file c:/projects/angrails/test/unit/angrails/JavaScriptUnitTestKarmaSuite.java

Add the following text:

package angrails;
import de.is24.util.karmatestrunner.junit.KarmaTestSuiteRunner;
import org.junit.runner.RunWith;
@RunWith(KarmaTestSuiteRunner.class)
@KarmaTestSuiteRunner.KarmaConfigPath("./test/javascript/config/karma.conf.js")
@KarmaTestSuiteRunner.KarmaRemoteServerPort(9876)
public class JavaScriptUnitTestKarmaSuite {
}

Run the test.

cmd> grails test-app

| Compiling 1 source files.....
Karma will be started with process builder args: [karma.cmd, start, C:\projects\angrails\.\test\javascript\config\karma.conf.js]
| Running 1 javascript test...
Starting karma result receiver server on localhost:9889
Warning: Native modules not compiled. XOR performance will be degraded.
INFO [karma]: Karma v0.10.9 server started at http://localhost:8001/
Warning: Native modules not compiled. UTF-8 validation disabled.
INFO [launcher]: Starting browser Chrome
INFO [Chrome 33.0.1750 (Windows 7)]: Connected on socket yX5XSRbnYl_IzwQp7ocG
LOG: 'angrails manifest load complete.'
LOG: 'calling'
Chrome 33.0.1750 (Windows 7): Executed 1 of 1 SUCCESS (0.248 secs / 0.03 secs)

Issues

If one of the following errors occur:

Could not load class in test type ‘javascript’
ERROR [karma]: { [Error: listen EACCES] code: ‘EACCES’, errno: ‘EACCES’, syscall: ‘listen’ }

There is some issue with how the karma is being started via test-app. I found both cmd line grails test-app and invoking via IntelliJ grails cmd window (Alt+G) yield different results. The common problem of both errors seems to be the port number that karma starts on.

Solutions

1. Change the port number in karma.conf.js to 8001 or try another number (above 1024 and available).
2. Remove line of the port number specified in JavaScriptUnitTestKarmaSuite.java: @KarmaTestSuiteRunner.KarmaRemoteServerPort(8001)

Results

With the above settings (ie karma.conf.js:port = 8001 and no port specified in the java code), the test-app works fine in both IntelliJ and command line.

During your test runs, sometimes the port binding is not released when test is shutdown. On *nix systems, you can just use kill <process-id>. For Windows, use PowerShell and do the following:

netstat -o -n -a | findstr "<portnumber>"
stop-process -Id <pid>

In Part 3, we saw how to add karma to grails test-app lifecycle.
In Part 4, lets see how to get karma tests running on your build server.

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