Node.js, ExpressJs, MongoDB and Vue.js (MEVN Stack) Application Tutorial

Node.js, ExpressJs, MongoDB and Vue.js (MEVN Stack) Application Tutorial

Vue.js is a JavaScript framework with growing number of users. Released 4 years ago, it’s now one of the most populare front-end frameworks. There are some reasons why people like Vue.js. Using Vue.js is very simple if you are already familiar with HTML and JavaScript. They also provide clear documentation and examples, makes it easy for starters to learn the framework. Vue.js can be used for both simple and complex applications. If your application is quite complex, you can use Vuex for state management, which is officially supported. In addition, it’s also very flexible that yu can write template in HTML, JavaScript or JSX.

This tutorial shows you how to integrate Vue.js with Node.js backend (using Express framework) and MongoDB. As for example, we’re going to create a simple application for managing posts which includes list posts, create post, update post and delete post (basic CRUD functionality). I divide this tutorial into two parts. The first part is setting up the Node.js back-end and database. The other part is writing Vue.js code including how to build .vue code using Webpack.


Dependencies

There are some dependencies required for this project. Add the dependencies below to your package.json. Then run npm install to install these dependencies.

  "dependencies": {
    "body-parser": "~1.17.2",
    "dotenv": "~4.0.0",
    "express": "~4.16.3",
    "lodash": "~4.17.10",
    "mongoose": "~5.2.9",
    "morgan": "~1.9.0"
  },
  "devDependencies": {
    "axios": "~0.18.0",
    "babel-core": "~6.26.3",
    "babel-loader": "~7.1.5",
    "babel-preset-env": "~1.7.0",
    "babel-preset-stage-3": "~6.24.1",
    "bootstrap-vue": "~2.0.0-rc.11",
    "cross-env": "~5.2.0",
    "css-loader": "~1.0.0",
    "vue": "~2.5.17",
    "vue-loader": "~15.3.0",
    "vue-router": "~3.0.1",
    "vue-style-loader": "~4.1.2",
    "vue-template-compiler": "~2.5.17",
    "webpack": "~4.16.5",
    "webpack-cli": "^3.1.0"
  },

Project Structure

Below is the overview of directory structure for this project.

  app
    config
    controllers
    models
    queries
    routes
    views
  public
    dist
    src

The app directory contains all files related to server-side. The public directory contains two sub-directories: dist and src. dist is used for the output of build result, while src is for front-end code files.


Model

First, we define a model for Post using Mongoose. To make it simple, it only has two properties: title and content.

app/models/Post.js

  const mongoose = require('mongoose');

  const { Schema } = mongoose;

  const PostSchema = new Schema(
    {
      title: { type: String, trim: true, index: true, default: '' },
      content: { type: String },
    },
    {
      collection: 'posts',
      timestamps: true,
    },
  );

  module.exports = mongoose.model('Post', PostSchema);

Queries

After defining the model, we write some queries that will be needed in the controllers.

app/queries/posts.js

  const Post = require('../models/Post');

  /**
   * Save a post.
   *
   * @param {Object} post - Javascript object or Mongoose object
   * @returns {Promise.}
   */
  exports.save = (post) => {
    if (!(post instanceof Post)) {
      post = new Post(post);
    }

    return post.save();
  };

  /**
   * Get post list.
   * @param {object} [criteria] - Filter options
   * @returns {Promise.<Array.>}
   */
  exports.getPostList = (criteria = {}) => Post.find(criteria);

  /**
   * Get post by ID.
   * @param {string} id - Post ID
   * @returns {Promise.}
   */
  exports.getPostById = id => Post.findOne({ _id: id });

  /**
   * Delete a post.
   * @param {string} id - Post ID
   * @returns {Promise}
   */
  exports.deletePost = id => Post.findByIdAndRemove(id);

Controllers

We need API controllers for handling create post, get post listing, get detail of a post, update a post and delete a post.

app/controllers/api/posts/create.js

  const postQueries = require('../../../queries/posts');

  module.exports = (req, res) => postQueries.save(req.body)
    .then((post) => {
      if (!post) {
        return Promise.reject(new Error('Post not created'));
      }

      return res.status(200).send(post);
    })
    .catch((err) => {
      console.error(err);

      return res.status(500).send('Unable to create post');
    });

app/controllers/api/posts/delete.js

  const postQueries = require('../../../queries/posts');

  module.exports = (req, res) => postQueries.deletePost(req.params.id)
    .then(() => res.status(200).send())
    .catch((err) => {
      console.error(err);

      return res.status(500).send('Unable to delete post');
    });

app/controllers/api/posts/details.js

  const postQueries = require('../../../queries/posts');

  module.exports = (req, res) => postQueries.getPostById(req.params.id)
    .then((post) => {
      if (!post) {
        return Promise.reject(new Error('Post not found'));
      }

      return res.status(200).send(post);
    })
    .catch((err) => {
      console.error(err);

      return res.status(500).send('Unable to get post');
    });

app/controllers/api/posts/list.js

  const postQueries = require('../../../queries/posts');

  module.exports = (req, res) => postQueries.getPostList(req.params.id)
    .then(posts => res.status(200).send(posts))
    .catch((err) => {
      console.error(err);

      return res.status(500).send('Unable to get post list');
    });

app/controllers/api/posts/update.js

  const _ = require('lodash');

  const postQueries = require('../../../queries/posts');

  module.exports = (req, res) => postQueries.getPostById(req.params.id)
    .then(async (post) => {
      if (!post) {
        return Promise.reject(new Error('Post not found'));
      }

      const { title, content } = req.body;

      _.assign(post, {
        title, content
      });

      await postQueries.save(post);

      return res.status(200).send({
        success: true,
        data: post,
      })
    })
    .catch((err) => {
      console.error(err);

      return res.status(500).send('Unable to update post');
    });

Routes

We need to have some pages for user interaction and some API endpoints for processing HTTP requests. To make the app scalable, it’s better to separate the routes for pages and APIs.

app/routes/index.js

  const express = require('express');

  const routes = express.Router();

  routes.use('/api', require('./api'));
  routes.use('/', require('./pages'));

  module.exports = routes;

Below is the API routes.

app/routes/api/index.js

  const express = require('express');

  const router = express.Router();

  router.get('/posts/', require('../../controllers/api/posts/list'));
  router.get('/posts/:id', require('../../controllers/api/posts/details'));
  router.post('/posts/', require('../../controllers/api/posts/create'));
  router.patch('/posts/:id', require('../../controllers/api/posts/update'));
  router.delete('/posts/:id', require('../../controllers/api/posts/delete'));

  module.exports = router;

For the pages, in this tutorial, we use plain HTML file. You can easily replace it with any HTML template engine if you want. The HTML file contains a div whose id is app. Later, in Vue.js application, it will use the element with id app for rendering the content. What will be rendered on each pages is configured on Vue.js route on part 2 of this tutorial.

app/routes/pages/index.js

  const express = require('express');

  const router = express.Router();

  router.get('/posts/', (req, res) => {
    res.sendFile(`${__basedir}/views/index.html`);
  });

  router.get('/posts/create', (req, res) => {
    res.sendFile(`${__basedir}/views/index.html`);
  });

  router.get('/posts/:id', (req, res) => {
    res.sendFile(`${__basedir}/views/index.html`);
  });

  module.exports = router;

Below is the HTML file

app/views/index.html

  <!DOCTYPE html>
  <html>
    <head>
      <meta charset="utf-8">
      <title>VueJS Tutorial by Woolha.com</title>
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://maxcdn.bootstrapcdn.com/font-awesome/4.4.0/css/font-awesome.min.css" type="text/css" media="all" />
      <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://maxcdn.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/4.0.0/css/bootstrap.min.css" integrity="sha384-Gn5384xqQ1aoWXA+058RXPxPg6fy4IWvTNh0E263XmFcJlSAwiGgFAW/dAiS6JXm" crossorigin="anonymous">
      <script src="https://code.jquery.com/jquery-3.2.1.slim.min.js" integrity="sha384-KJ3o2DKtIkvYIK3UENzmM7KCkRr/rE9/Qpg6aAZGJwFDMVNA/GpGFF93hXpG5KkN" crossorigin="anonymous"></script>
    </head>
    <body>
      <div id="app"></div>
      <script src="/dist/js/main.js"></script>
    </body>
  </html>

Below is the main script of the application, you need to run this for starting the server-side application.

app/index.js

  require('dotenv').config();

  const bodyParser = require('body-parser');
  const express = require('express');
  const http = require('http');
  const mongoose = require('mongoose');
  const morgan = require('morgan');
  const path = require('path');

  const dbConfig = require('./config/database');
  const routes = require('./routes');

  const app = express();
  const port = process.env.PORT || 4000;

  global.__basedir = __dirname;

  mongoose.Promise = global.Promise;

  mongoose.connect(dbConfig.url, dbConfig.options, (err) => {
    if (err) {
      console.error(err.stack || err);
    }
  });

  /* General setup */
  app.use(morgan('dev'));
  app.use(bodyParser.json());
  app.use(bodyParser.urlencoded({ extended: true }));
  app.use(morgan('dev'));

  app.use('/', routes);

  const MAX_AGE = 86400000;

  // Select which directories or files under public can be served to users
  app.use('/', express.static(path.join(__dirname, '../public'), { maxAge: MAX_AGE }));

  // Error handler
  app.use((err, req, res, next) => { // eslint-disable-line no-unused-vars
    res.status(err.status || 500);

    if (err.status === 404) {
      res.locals.page = {
        title: 'Not Found',
        noIndex: true,
      };

      console.error(`Not found: ${req.url}`);

      return res.status(404).send();
    }

    console.error(err.stack || err);

    return res.status(500).send();
  });

  http
    .createServer(app)
    .listen(port, () => {
      console.info(`HTTP server started on port ${port}`);
    })
    .on('error', (err) => {
      console.error(err.stack || err);
    });

  process.on('uncaughtException', (err) => {
    if (err.name === 'MongoError') {
      mongoose.connection.emit('error', err);
    } else {
      console.error(err.stack || err);
    }
  });

  module.exports = app;

That’s all for the server side preparation. On the next part, we’re going to set up the Vue.js client-side application and build the code into a single JavaScript file ready to be loaded from HTML.

Then, we build the code using Webpack, so that it can be loaded from HTML. In this tutorial, we’re building a simple application with basic CRUD functionality for managing posts.


Create Vue.js Components

For managing posts, there are three components we’re going to create. The first one is for creating a new post. The second is for editing a post. The other is for managing posts (displaying list of posts and allow post deletion)

First, this is the component for creating a new post. It has one method createPost which validate data and send HTTP request to the server. We use axios for sending HTTP request.

public/src/components/Posts/Create.vue

  <template>
    <b-container>
      <h1 class="d-flex justify-content-center">Create a Post</h1>
      <p v-if="errors.length">
        <b>Please correct the following error(s):</b>
        <ul>
          <li v-for="error in errors">{{ error }}</li>
        </ul>
      </p>
      <b-form @submit.prevent>
        <b-form-group>
          <b-form-input type="text" class="form-control" placeholder="Title of the post" v-model="post.title"></b-form-input>
        </b-form-group>
        <b-form-group>
          <b-form-textarea class="form-control" placeholder="Write the content here" v-model="post.content"></b-form-textarea>
        </b-form-group>
        <b-button variant="primary" v-on:click="createPost">Create Post</b-button>
      </b-form>
    </b-container>
  </template>

  <script>
    import axios from 'axios';

    export default {
      data: () => ({
        errors: [],
        post: {
          title: '',
          content: '',
        },
      }),
      methods: {
        createPost(event) {
          if (event) {
            event.preventDefault();
          }

          if (!this.post.title) {
            this.errors = [];

            if (!this.post.title) {
              this.errors.push('Title required.');
            }

            return;
          }

          const url = 'http://localhost:4000/api/posts';
          const param = this.post;

          axios
            .post(url, param)
            .then((response) => {
              console.log(response);
              window.location.href = 'http://localhost:4000/posts';
            }).catch((error) => {
              console.log(error);
            });
        },
      }
    }
  </script>

Below is the component for editing a post. Of course, we need the current data of the post before editing it. Therefore, there’s fetchPost method called when the component is created. There’s also updatePost method which validate data and call the API for updating post.

public/src/components/Posts/Edit.vue

  <template>
    <b-container>
      <h1 class="d-flex justify-content-center">Edit a Post</h1>
      <p v-if="errors.length">
        <b>Please correct the following error(s):</b>
        <ul>
          <li v-for="error in errors">{{ error }}</li>
        </ul>
      </p>
      <b-form @submit.prevent>
        <b-form-group>
          <b-form-input type="text" class="form-control" placeholder="Title of the post" v-model="post.title"></b-form-input>
        </b-form-group>
        <b-form-group>
          <b-form-textarea class="form-control" placeholder="Write the content here" v-model="post.content"></b-form-textarea>
        </b-form-group>
        <b-button variant="primary" v-on:click="updatePost">Update Post</b-button>
      </b-form>
    </b-container>
  </template>

  <script>
    import axios from 'axios';

    export default {
      data: () => ({
        errors: [],
        post: {
          _id: '',
          title: '',
          content: '',
        },
      }),
      created: function() {
        this.fetchPost();
      },
      methods: {
        fetchPost() {
          const postId = this.$route.params.id;
          const url = `http://localhost:4000/api/posts/${postId}`;

          axios
            .get(url)
            .then((response) => {
              this.post = response.data;
              console.log('this.post;');
              console.log(this.post);
          });
        },
        updatePost(event) {
          if (event) {
            event.preventDefault();
          }

          if (!this.post.title) {
            this.errors = [];

            if (!this.post.title) {
              this.errors.push('Title required.');
            }

            return;
          }

          const url = `http://localhost:4000/api/posts/${this.post._id}`;
          const param = this.post;

          axios
            .patch(url, param)
            .then((response) => {
                console.log(response);
              window.alert('Post successfully saved');
            }).catch((error) => {
              console.log(error);
            });
        },
      }
    }
  </script>

For managing posts, we need to fetch the list of post first. Similar to the edit component, in this component, we have fetchPosts method called when the component is created. For deleting a post, there’s also a method deletePost. If post successfully deleted, the fetchPosts method is called again to refresh the post list.

public/src/components/Posts/List.vue

  <template>
    <b-container>
      <h1 class="d-flex justify-content-center">Post List</h1>
      <b-button variant="primary" style="color: #ffffff; margin: 20px;"><a href="/posts/create" style="color: #ffffff;">Create New Post</a></b-button>
      <b-container-fluid v-if="posts.length">
        <table class="table">
          <thead>
            <tr class="d-flex">
              <td class="col-8">Titleqqqqqqqqq</td>
              <td class="col-4">Actions</td>
            </tr>
          </thead>
          <tbody>
            <tr v-for="post in posts" class="d-flex">
              <td class="col-8">{{ post.title }}</td>
              <td class="col-2"><a v-bind:href="'http://localhost:4000/posts/' + post._id"><button type="button" class="btn btn-primary"><i class="fa fa-edit" aria-hidden="true"></i></button></a></td>
              <td class="col-2"><button type="button" class="btn btn-danger" v-on:click="deletePost(post._id)"><i class="fa fa-remove" aria-hidden="true"></i></button></td>
            </tr>
          </tbody>
        </table>
      </b-container-fluid>
    </b-container>
  </template>

  <script>
    import axios from 'axios';

    export default {
      data: () => ({
        posts: [],
      }),
      created: () => {
        this.fetchPosts();
      },
      methods: {
        fetchPosts() {
          const url = 'http://localhost:4000/api/posts/';

          axios
            .get(url)
            .then((response) => {
              console.log(response.data);
              this.posts = response.data;
          });
        },
        deletePost(id) {
          if (event) {
            event.preventDefault();
          }

          const url = `http://localhost:4000/api/posts/${id}`;
          const param = this.post;

          axios
            .delete(url, param)
            .then((response) => {
              console.log(response);
              console.log('Post successfully deleted');

              this.fetchPosts();
            }).catch((error) => {
              console.log(error);
            });
        },
      }
    }
  </script>

All of the components above are wrapped into a root component which roles as the basic template. The root component renders the navbar which is same across all components. The component for each routes will be rendered on router-view.

public/src/App.vue

  <template>
    <div>
      <b-navbar toggleable="md" type="dark" variant="dark">
        <b-navbar-toggle target="nav_collapse"></b-navbar-toggle>
        <b-navbar-brand to="/">My Vue App</b-navbar-brand>
        <b-collapse is-nav id="nav_collapse">
          <b-navbar-nav>
            <b-nav-item to="/">Home</b-nav-item>
            <b-nav-item to="/posts">Manage Posts</b-nav-item>
          </b-navbar-nav>
        </b-collapse>
      </b-navbar>
      <!-- routes will be rendered here -->
      <router-view />
    </div>
  </template>

  <script>

  export default {
    name: 'app',
    data () {},
    methods: {}
  }
  </script>

For determining which component should be rendered, we use Vue.js’ router. For each routes, we need to define the path, component name and the component itself. A component will be rendered if the current URL matches the path.

public/src/router/index.js

  import Vue from 'vue'
  import Router from 'vue-router'

  import CreatePost from '../components/Posts/Create.vue';
  import EditPost from '../components/Posts/Edit.vue';
  import ListPost from '../components/Posts/List.vue';

  Vue.use(Router);

  let router = new Router({
    mode: 'history',
    routes: [
      {
        path: '/posts',
        name: 'ListPost',
        component: ListPost,
      },
      {
        path: '/posts/create',
        name: 'CreatePost',
        component: CreatePost,
      },
      {
        path: '/posts/:id',
        name: 'EditPost',
        component: EditPost,
      },
    ]
  });

  export default router;

Lastly, we need a main script as the entry point which imports the main App component and the router. Inside, it creates a new Vue instance

webpack.config.js

  import BootstrapVue from 'bootstrap-vue';
  import Vue from 'vue';

  import App from './App.vue';
  import router from './router';

  Vue.use(BootstrapVue);
  Vue.config.productionTip = false;
  new Vue({
    el: '#app',
    router,
    render: h => h(App),
  });

Configure Webpack

For building the code into a single JavaSript file. Below is the basic configuration for Webpack 4.

webpack.config.js

  const { VueLoaderPlugin } = require('vue-loader');

  module.exports = {
    entry: './public/src/main.js',
    output: {
      path: `${__dirname}/public/dist/js/`,
      filename: '[name].js',
    },
    resolve: {
      modules: [
        'node_modules',
      ],
      alias: {
        // vue: './vue.js'
      }
    },
    module: {
      rules: [
        {
          test: /\.css$/,
          use: [
            'vue-style-loader',
            'css-loader'
          ]
        },
        {
          test: /\.vue$/,
          loader: 'vue-loader',
          options: {
            loaders: {
            }
            // other vue-loader options go here
          }
        },
        {
          test: /\.js$/,
          loader: 'babel-loader',
          exclude: /node_modules/
        },
      ]
    },
    plugins: [
      new VueLoaderPlugin(),
    ]

After that, run ./node_modules/webpack/bin/webpack.js. You can add the command to the scripts section of package.json, so you can run Webpack with a shorter command npm run build, as examplified below.

  "dependencies": {
    ...
  },
  "devDependencies": {
    ...
  },
  "scripts": {
    "build": "./node_modules/webpack/bin/webpack.js",
    "start": "node app/index.js"
  },

Finally, you can start to try the application. This code is also available on Woolha.com’s Github.