Creating a quick Todo listing app on Windows using IIS7, Node.js and Mongodb


ANOOP MADHUSUDANAN

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As I mentioned in my last post, more and more organizations are leaning towards Web Oriented Architecture (WOA) which are highly scalable. If you were exploring cool, scalable options to build highly performing web applications, you know what Node.js is for.

After following the recent post from Scott Hanselman, I was up and running quickly with Node.js. In this post, I’ll explain step by step how I’ve setup Node.js and Mongodb to create a simple Todo listing application.

Setting up Node.js

This is what I’ve done.

1 – Goto http://nodejs.org/, scroll down and download node.exe for Windows, and place it in your c:\node folder

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2 – Goto IIS Node project in Git at https://github.com/tjanczuk/iisnode, download the correct ‘retail’ link of IIS Node zip file (I downloaded the already built retail package, otherwise you can download and build from the source).

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3 – Extract the zip file some where, and run the install.bat or install_iisexpress.bat depending on your IIS Version. If you don’t have IIS installed, try installing IIS 7.5 express here from MS download center.

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4 – Make sure you have IIS URL rewrite module installed, so that some node.js samples with URL rewriting will work correctly. Install URL Rewrite module if you don’t have it, and restart IIS.

Verifying that all is well

Once Step 3 is over, this will configure the required modules and virtual directories, and you should be able to access the node virtual directory at http://localhost/node – which points to the www folder where you extracted the iisnode zip file.

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Now, go to the end point http://localhost/node/helloworld/hello.js and see if everything works well. You can also open the hello.js file in the corresponding www\helloworld\ folder to have a look at the node hello world code.

var http = require('http');

http.createServer(function (req, res) {
    res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/plain'});
    res.end('Hello, world! [helloworld sample]');
}).listen(process.env.PORT);  

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So as we’ve Node.js up and running, let us create a quick Todo listing application using Node.js and Mongodb by modifying this helloworld application.

Setting up Mongodb

Mongodb is a scalable, high performance, document database that goes well with node.js. See http://mongodb.org for more. In Mongodb, records are stored as JSON style documents, and documents are stored in collections. For now, consider that a collection is the NoSQL equivalent of a table, and a document is the NoSQL equivalent of a record.

1- First of all, you may need to install Mongodb. Goto http://www.mongodb.org/downloads, download the correct zip package, and extract it.

2- Create a folder ‘data’ in the path where you extracted Mongodb zip file. See the data folder.

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3- Now, you should start mongod process. So, open command prompt, CD the folder where you extracted Mongodb, and start Mongod with data as the db folder using the command mongod –dbpath data

4- You should see the mongod process running, as shown below.

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5- Now, let us insert few records to the todo collection of the database. For that, fire up mongo.exe client from the folder where you extracted the mongo db zip file, and insert few documents to the todo collection as shown below. Please note that

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So, we have Mongodb running now, with a collection named todo with few documents in it.

Setting up Mongodb Module for Node.js

Normally, setting up packages/modules for Node.js is quite easy, it can be done using the Node package manager http://npmjs.org – How ever, I don’t think an NPM port is available for Windows right now. So, let us configure the Mongodb driver for Node.js manually.

1 – Goto https://github.com/christkv/node-mongodb-native and get the zip package. I downloaded v0.9.3 package, and extract it.

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2 – Goto the  www\helloworld folder where you examined hello.js earlier. Now, create a folder node_modules under the helloworld folder and create the mongodb folder under this, and copy the contents of the package to the mongodb folder as shown below. It seems that the folder name under node_modules should match the package name defined in index.js.

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Now let us write some code

Once you are through with installing Node.js, Mongodb and Mongodb module for Node.js, it is time to write some code. Fire up the hello.js file in the helloworld folder, and write some code to fetch the todo collection from Mongodb and return it as HTML.

GLOBAL.DEBUG = true;

//Load modules
var http = require('http');
var mongo = require('mongodb');
var sys = require("sys");
var test = require("assert");

var Db = require('mongodb').Db, Connection = require('mongodb').Connection,
  Server = require('mongodb').Server,
  BSON = require('mongodb').BSONNative;

//Default server and port
var host = process.env['MONGO_NODE_DRIVER_HOST'] != null ? 
			process.env['MONGO_NODE_DRIVER_HOST'] : 'localhost';
var port = process.env['MONGO_NODE_DRIVER_PORT'] != null ? 
			process.env['MONGO_NODE_DRIVER_PORT'] : Connection.DEFAULT_PORT;

sys.puts("Connecting to " + host + ":" + port);


http.createServer(function (req, res) {

//Client connected
	res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/html'});    	
	res.write('<html><head><title>Todo List</title></head>');
	res.write('<body>');
	res.write('<h1>Todo list</h1>');
        var db = new Db('test', new Server(host, port, {}), {native_parser:false});
	db.open(function(err, db) {
	db.collection('todo', function(err, collection) {
	collection.find(function (err, cursor){
		res.write('<ul>');
		cursor.each( function (err, item) {                                   
				if (item == null) {
						res.write('</ul>');
						res.end('</body></html>');
						 db.close();
						}
				else 
				 res.write('<li>' + item.title + '</li>');
		});
	});
	});

	});	
}).listen(process.env.PORT);   

You may find that we are opening the database, and iterating through the collection and creating a list out of that and spitting out the html. This should work as long as you followed the steps I briefed above.

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And yes, you just opened the Pandora’s box – start playing with various Node.js modules and samples on your Windows box. Follow some Node.js tutorials, and experiment further. It is important to note that the Node.js port for Windows is not yet perfect from a production point of view, but now Windows developers have a good way to start exploring options related to node.js and related modules.

And follow me in twitter @ http://twitter.com/amazedsaint for further updates, Keep in touch. Happy Coding!!

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