Adding an API and database to your Nuxt App with Prisma

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Building fullstack applications has never been easier using Nuxt. It provides a Vue framework for building blazing fast server-side rendered and static applications. Prisma is an ORM that offers developers a type-safe database client (currently supports PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, and SQL Server preview). This is useful when building APIs and is intuitive for both beginners and experienced developers.

Nuxt presents two options for building fullstack applications:

  • Using Nuxt programmatically - setting up your own server with your middleware and API.
  • serverMiddleware - this is an extension of your Nuxt app that allows you to create additional routes without setting up an external server. The middleware is registered on application start.

In this article, you’ll learn how to add an API in your Nuxt application using Prisma for your database access and Nuxt’s serverMiddleware property.

Prerequisites

Before you start, ensure you have Node.js installed. If you are using Visual Studio Code, you can supercharge your development experience by installing the Prisma extension for auto-completion, formatting, and syntax highlighting.

The completed project is available on GitHub.

Step 0: Initialize your Nuxt application

The first step is initializing your Nuxt application.

npx create-nuxt-app awesome-nuxt-app

You’ll be asked a couple of questions such as the name of the projects, linter, testing framework, etc. Keep the app simple and go with the default options provided. To learn more about the options, head over to Create Nuxt App.

cd awesome-nuxt-app
npm run dev

Congratulations! Your application is now running on http://localhost:3000 🥳.

Step 1: Add Prisma to your app

Now that your Nuxt application is running, the next step is to set up Prisma. You’ll first install the Prisma CLI as a dev dependency by running the following command:

npm install --save-dev prisma

Initialize Prisma

Once the installation is complete, run the following command:

npx prisma init

The command above creates a folder called prisma at the root of your project which contains a file called schema.prisma and a .env file at the root of the project. The schema.prisma defines your database connection and Prisma Client generator. For this example, you’ll use SQLite for ease of setting up. If you’d like to use another database provider, switching is as simple as renaming the provider from sqlite to your provider of choice without any additional setup and updating the connection URL.

For our example, you’ll define two tables: Post and User with a one-to-many relationship between User and Post. Update your schema.prisma file to resemble this one:

// schema.prisma
datasource db {
  provider = "sqlite"
  url      = "file:./dev.db"
}

generator client {
  provider = "prisma-client-js"
}

model Post {
  id        Int      @id @default(autoincrement())
  title     String
  content   String?
  createdAt DateTime @default(now())
  updatedAt DateTime @updatedAt
  published Boolean  @default(false)
  author    User?    @relation(fields: [authorId], references: [id])
  authorId  Int?
}

model User {
  id    Int     @id @default(autoincrement())
  email String  @unique
  name  String?
  posts Post[]
}

Create your first database migration

To sync your data model to your database schema, you’ll need to use prisma migrate CLI.

npx prisma migrate dev --name init

The above command will create a migration called init located in the /prisma/migrations directory. The migrations folder is used to keep track of schema changes for our database. Think of it as version control, but for your database schema. The Prisma CLI also creates your dev.db database.

After prisma migrate is done creating a migration, the Prisma CLI installs @prisma/client package and generates Prisma Client.

Prisma Client is an auto-generated and type-safe query builder tailored to your database schema. prisma migrate will update your Prisma Client every time you run a migration.

Note: The above features are now in General Availability and your feedback will be highly appreciated and will help us keep improving them. 🙂

Step 2: Add your serverMiddleware endpoints

For your API, you will use Express inside Nuxt to create our API. Sounds crazy, right?

Well, Express is used to allow your API endpoints to access the request and response objects.

Go ahead and install Express:

npm install express

Create an api folder and an index.js file that will contain your API handlers:

mkdir api
touch api/index.js

After creating your /api/index.js file, paste in the following code in index.js:

// index.js
import express from 'express'
import { PrismaClient } from '@prisma/client'

const prisma = new PrismaClient()
const app = express()

app.use(express.json())

/** 
* logic for our api will go here
*/
export default {
  path: '/api',
  handler: app
}

The above code initializes Express and Prisma and exports two properties, path and handler, which will be registered in nuxt.config.js in Step 3. The path property specifies the route the middleware will be accessible, and handler specifies the function executed when invoked. For the rest of this step, you’ll be working in index.js setting up the endpoints and their respective handlers.

Create a User

The first feature you’ll be implementing is creating a user/ author. The database will be expecting an email and an optional name. It’s implementation is as follows:

// index.js
app.post(`/user`, async (req, res) => {
  const result = await prisma.user.create({
    data: {
      email: req.body.email,
      name: req.body.name,
    },
  })
  res.json(result)
})

Creating a Post

Next, you’ll add the create post endpoint. The request body will expect a title, content and authorEmail. If an author doesn’t exist in the database, their user record will be created.

// index.js
app.post('/post', async (req, res) => {
  const { title, content, authorEmail } = req.body
  const post = await prisma.post.create({
    data: {
      title,
      content,
      author: {
        connectOrCreate: {
          email: authorEmail
        }
      }
    }
  })
  res.status(200).json(post)
})

Get drafts

Once that is done, you’ll need to be able to view all unpublished posts. Prisma lets you specify all relations you’d like to be returned in the response with the include property. This is where you’ll add the author relation query to view the respective posts as well as their authors.

// index.js
app.get('/drafts', async (req, res) => {
  const posts = await prisma.post.findMany({
    where: { published: false },
    include: { author: true }
  })
  res.json(posts)
})

Get Post by Id

You can get a post by it’s id using findUnique as follows:

// index.js
app.get('/post/:id', async (req, res) => {
  const { id } = req.params
  const post = await prisma.post.findUnique({
    where: {
      id: Number(id),
    },
    include: { author: true }
  })
  res.json(post)
})

Publish a Post

When a Post is ready to go live update the published field:

// index.js
app.put('/publish/:id', async (req, res) => {
  const { id } = req.params
  const post = await prisma.post.update({
    where: {
      id: Number(id),
    },
    data: { published: true },
  })
  res.json(post)
})

Get Feed

All your published posts can be made available on the /feed endpoint, filtering them by checking that the published property is set to true.

// index.js
app.get('/feed', async (req, res) => {
  const posts = await prisma.post.findMany({
    where: { published: true },
    include: { author: true },
  })
  res.json(posts)
})

Deleting a Post

The last CRUD feature is deleting a Post record in your database:

// index.js
app.delete(`/post/:id`, async (req, res) => {
  const { id } = req.params
  const post = await prisma.post.delete({
    where: {
      id: parseInt(id),
    },
  })
  res.json(post)
})

The final feature in your application is filtering posts, checking if the searchString is found in either the title or content of your Posts.

Search for a Post

// index.js
app.get('/filterPosts', async (req, res) => {
  const { searchString } = req.query
  const draftPosts = await prisma.post.findMany({
    where: {
      OR: [
        {
          title: {
            contains: searchString,
          },
        },
        {
          content: {
            contains: searchString,
          },
        },
      ],
    },
  })
  res.send(draftPosts)
})

Step 3: Modify nuxt.config.js

The last step is registering your serverMiddleware in nuxt.config.js which is as simple as this.

// nuxt.config.js
  serverMiddleware: [
    '~/api/index.js'
  ]

Step 4: Take your API for a spin

Once you’ve modified nuxt.config.js, make sure to restart your Nuxt app. You can use Prisma Studio to create your database records. Alternatively, you can use your favorite API testing tool - for example Postman,Insomnia or REST Client - to test your API by making HTTP requests against your API.

In a new terminal window, use the Prisma CLI to startup Prisma Studio.

npx prisma studio

The command opens Prisma studio on localhost:5555.

Prisma Studio

Create a couple of User and Post records on Prisma Studio and save your changes.

Prisma studio - creating users

Prisma Studio- creating posts

Since the post isn’t published yet, fetch a list of the drafted posts using the GET api/drafts endpoint.

Nuxt app - draft posts

Congratulations! Your app is up and running! 🎉

Conclusion

Nuxt is a great tool for building fullstack applications using Vue. Pair it up with Prisma and working with databases while building a fullstack app becomes less of a hassle. This enables a developer to focus on what matters, shipping features!

Using Nuxt to build fullstack applications is great for prototyping. However, if you’d like to build bigger applications, it’s recommended to separate your frontend from the backend.

I hope you liked this tutorial and learned something useful. The completed project is available on GitHub.

Do you have any suggestions of any libraries/frameworks you’d like to see paired with Prisma? Feel free to let us know in the discussion or create an issue on GitHub.

Happy hacking!


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Alex Ruheni I learn, build and write about stuff. 🙂