Making REST APIs Typesafe With feTS

Aleksandra Sikora, @aleksandrasays

whoami

- DevEx Lead @
- 🧗‍♂️
- org of Wrocław

previously
-         .js maintainer

-  cc            tech lead


🐦 @aleksandrasays
🐙 @beerose
🌎 https://aleksandra.codes

What is an API?

Why are we talking about APIs?

Server & Client

Server & Client

🥴

Server & Client

😭

API Layer Problems

Boilerplate

Lost typesafety

Repetitive error handling

TYPE-SAFE

TYPE-SAFE

RPC

1981

What is RPC?

// one-computer.js

function welcome(name) {
  return `Hello, ${name}!`
}

const greeting = welcome("Helsinki!")
//    ^ "Hello, Helsinki!"
// server.js

function welcome(name) {
  return `Hello, ${name}!`
}

startImaginaryServer({ welcome })
// client.js

const greeting = await fetch(
  `https://aleksandra.says/rpc/welcome`,
  { body: JSON.stringify("World") }
)

What is RPC?

calling remote procedures as if they were local

😌

🥴

  • Client & server tightly coupled
  • Having to use the same language
  • Need to learn all the procedure names
  • Having to use multi-threaded servers
  • Parameters marshalling
  • Exception handling

Problems with RPC

RPC -> non-agnostic

RPC -> non-agnostic

—————

now we're looking for sth

CORBA

1991

NOT ÇORBA

AND NOT COBRA

module Finance {
  typedef sequence<string> StringSeq;
  struct AccountDetails {
    string     name;
    StringSeq  address;
    long       account_number;
    double     current_balance;
  };
  exception insufficientFunds { };
  interface Account {
    void deposit(in double amount);
    void withdraw(in double amount)
                        raises(insufficientFunds);
    readonly attribute AccountDetails details;
  };
};

IDL

Developer trying to learn Corba

  • Complexity
  • Steep learning curve
  • Mapping problems
  • Name confused with a poisonous snake

Problems with CORBA

CORBA -> complex

simple

-                     -

CORBA -> complex

now we need

SOAP

1998

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<soap:Envelope
xmlns:soap="http://www.w3.org/2003/05/soap-envelope/"
soap:encodingStyle="http://www.w3.org/2003/05/soap-encoding">
  <soap:Body>
    <m:GetUserResponse>
      <m:Username>Tony Stark</m:Username>
    </m:GetUserResponse>
  </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>
<?xml version="1.0"?>
<soap:Envelope xmlns:soap="http://www.w3.org/2003/05/soap-envelope">
  <soap:Header>
  </soap:Header>
  <soap:Body>
    <m:GetUser>
      <m:UserId>123</m:UserId>
    </m:GetUser>
  </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>

🔐 ✈️

  • Heavy, requires more bandwidth
  • POST = no cache on HTTP layer
  • Tightly coupled with server
  • Inflexible

Problems with SOAP

SOAP -> heavy

light

-                   

SOAP -> heavy

now we're looking for sth

REST

2000

When the web started to change

Can request and update resources

Exposes resources

Operation RPC REST
Login POST /login POST /sessions
Logout POST /logout DELETE /sessions
Get user by id GET /getUser?id=123 GET /users/123
Get user's todo items GET /getTodos?userId=123 GET /users/123/todos
Add new todo item POST /addTodo POST users/123/todos
Update todo item POST /updateTodo PUT /todos/1 
Delete todo item POST /deteteTodo DELETE /todos/1

RPC vs. REST

JSON-RPC

RESTful

"REST"

  • Over fetching
  • Big payloads
  • n+1 problem
  • Limiting constraints
  • No end-to-end typesafety

Problems with REST

REST -> inflexible

-             

REST -> inflexible

time for something

GraphQL

2012

REST API

GraphQL API

API

App

GET users/
GET tasks/
GET tags/

API

App

POST graphql/
Body:
{ "query": "query { users {...} }" }

vs

Client controls the data it gets

User 1

Task 1

Task 2

Tag 1

Tag 2

query {
  user(id: 1) {
    name
    tasks {
      name
      status
      tags {
       id
      }
    }
  }
}

name

surname

age

status

name

priority

name

priority

status

description

id

Tag 3

id

description

id

description

id

  • Same POST-caching problem as in SOAP
  • You have to generate types
  • If you use tools like Hasura,
    you push a lot of domain logic to frontend
  • Otherwise — boilerplate!

Problems with GraphQL

at least until stuff like Max Stoiber's GraphQL CDN popped up

GraphQL -> extra work & type-safety

-                           

GraphQL -> extra work & type-safety

 -

-                           

for free and out of the box

RPC

2020

Revisiting the original promise of RPC

1981

Fullstack TypeScript app

Fullstack TypeScript app

Fullstack TypeScript app

tRPC query & mutation procedures

Remix loader pattern

React Server Components

Qwik City

Blitz RPC query & mutation resolvers

pRPC

Source: https://twitter.com/markdalgleish/status/1256800146118959109

?

2023

Cool, but...

again, non-agnostic

once again, we'd like something agnostic

type-safety is a must

feTS

DEMO

😌 Type-safety out of the box

🚀 No runtime overhead

🔎 IDE features

Summary

APIs

Thank you!

@aleksandrasays

www.aleksandra.codes

🔗 https://the-guild.dev/openapi/fets

🔗 https://github.com/beerose/spotify-fets-demo

Node.js: Typesafe REST with feTS

By Aleksandra Sikora

Node.js: Typesafe REST with feTS

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