Ping as a Service (PaaS)


This chapter and the following ones will reference a real project in a github repository, follow the links to see the details of what is written here.

Setting Up

After setting up our project we will now expose ping as a REST API, for that we will use The Cowboy Web Server.

For JSON parsing we will use jsx.

Here is the commit to add the dependencies.

We also add the rebar.lock file to make our builds reproducible.

Just in case we want to use another json library later and to simplify the calls we wrap the json library in our own module.

Finally we create a cowboy rest handler for our ping resource, tanodb_http_ping.erl and initialize cowboy in tanodb_app.

UPDATE: changes required to make this code run as of 2016-05-03

Since this chapter was written some things changed in rebar3 and the plugins that we use, the best way would be for you to start with the current version of rebar3 riak_core template and apply the changes there, but if you want to make this commit run you have to do the following changes:

All this changes are in a branch that you can fetch and try:

git checkout ping-as-a-service-fix-1
rebar3 run

Make sure you have the latest rebar3 release before trying this otherwise it won’t work.

Testing it

To interact with the REST API we will use httpie since it’s simpler to read (and write) than curl, check how to install it on the httpie website

First we build it and run it as usual (this may be the last time I show you explicitly how to do it, so learn it :):

rebar3 release
rebar3 run

Now on another shell we will make an HTTP request to our ping resource:

http localhost:8080/ping

And this is what I get:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
content-length: 59
content-type: application/json
date: Thu, 29 Oct 2015 19:07:23 GMT
server: Cowboy

"pong": "981946412581700398168100746981252653831329677312"

If you run it more times the value of the pong attribute should change, since the vnode that handles the request is defined by the time that the request is made.

Changing Some Configuration

Let’s say we would like to run the server on another port, for that we need to change the configuration, we can do this by editing the file:


Search for 8080 and change it for 8081, save and close and stop the server if you are running it.

Now we will run it again but manually to avoid rebar3 from overriding our change:

./_build/default/rel/tanodb/bin/tanodb console

And try a request to see if the port is actually changed:

http localhost:8081/ping

And this is what I get:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
content-length: 60
content-type: application/json
date: Thu, 29 Oct 2015 19:18:03 GMT
server: Cowboy

    "pong": "1187470080331358621040493926581979953470445191168"

Read tanodb.config to see all the available options, this file is generated using cuttlefish which takes a schema we define and uses it to generate the default config file and later to validate the config file on startup and generate configuration files that the Erlang runtime understands.

If you are curious you can see the generated config files after running the server at least once under _build/default/rel/tanodb/generated.configs/