qaul.net – a Framework, a Service, a Plan

GSOC 2019 is drawing to a close and with it the first part of the HTTP API. To be completely honest this is not where I’d hoped to be at this stage, but we’ve set up a solid foundation for future work to build the rest of the API.

A Framework

I wrote about choosing a web framework a while back. The choice I arrived at, Iron, was in retrospect not the best choice. I chose it because I liked its middleware model, but it has only recently been renewed and most of its ecosystem hasn’t been updated in three years. This meant writing a lot of new middleware for the API. Additionally the only existing Iron testing framework was difficult to use and relied on fragile string manipulation to generate Request objects. I wrote a new testing framework called Anneal which uses hyper to generate Request objects and follows a builder pattern to simplify testing.

A Service

The HTTP Api is designed to operate as an independent service within a Qaul instance. An instance may disable the API, or not ever include it, and things should still work. Currently the mechanism by which services communicate is still a work in progress but a big part of the api was trying to pull as much of the boilerplate code used for validating incoming requests into the http-api service as possible.

Authentication is handled by the api, parsing of JSON:API requests (using the json-api crate I talked about in a previous post) is handled by the API, scoping of requests is handled by the api. The benefits of this model will become more apparent as we start to give services HTTP APIs.

A Plan

While my work on Qaul under GSOC is coming to a close I fully intend to complete my work on the HTTP API. I have a branch for adding unit tests to the api waiting on my user creation merge request, I have been experimenting with implementing an inter-service messaging system.

I added an http-api service, built login and logout endpoints, built a hot pluggable mount middleware for use in mounting services, implemented middleware for dealing with cookies and authenticating with cookies. I have written extensive error messages and documentation for all of these components and hopefully the foundation they have created will allow future development of the API to proceed with ease.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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