Consuming Express (NodeJS) REST API with Angular

By | 02/07/2015

In our previous post, we had developed a simple Jade application to consume the REST API service we developed in this post.

Right now, we will basically do the same but we will use Angular instead of Jade. To get started, we will first clone the Github repository that contains the server code.

wim@ubuntu:~/Blog/Express_Todo_Mongo_API_Angular$ git clone Express_Todo_Mongo_API_Angular

Now, go to the directory that contains the code, in our case the directory is called ‘Express_Todo_Mongo_API_Angular’.

wim@ubuntu:~/Blog/Express_Todo_Mongo_API_Angular$ cd Express_Todo_Mongo_API_Angular && npm install

If all went well, you should be able to go to http://localhost:3000 and see a welcome page. That indicates that our server is running. So far, we did exactly the same as what we did in this post (the Jade variant).

Let’s now add the Angular specific code…
By default, Express is using Jade templates to create client code. When using Angular, we want to prevent that the Jade code is running. So therefore do the following in the app.js file:

var app = express();
// view engine setup
//app.set('views', path.join(__dirname, 'views'));
//app.set('view engine', 'jade');

As you can see, we have simply uncommented the lines that informs Express to use the Jade template. Also, Express won’t look for Jade files in the ‘views’ directory.
We will put the Angular client files in a folder called ‘public’. Obviously you are free to choose your own folder name as long as you inform Express about it. In the app.js file, you can do it as follows:

app.use(express.static(path.join(__dirname, 'public')));

Everything is now ready for the actual client code. As Angular is a client framework to build single page applications, we will put all code in a file called index.html in the ‘public’ folder we created.

The following snippet is adding Angular to the HTML code, refer to the ng-app=’MyApp’ reference which is part of the html tag. We have also included the reference to the Angular javascript file as well as a reference to a controller.js file which will contain all of our ‘todo item intelligence’. As I’m a big fan of Bootstrap, obviously I’ve included the stylesheet reference as well.

<html ng-app='myApp'>
  <!-- Latest compiled and minified CSS -->
  <link rel="stylesheet" href="">

  <!-- Optional theme -->
  <link rel="stylesheet" href="">
  <title>Todo application</title>
<script src=""></script>
<script src="controllers/controller.js"></script>


Let’s now have a look at the ‘‘ part. Essentially, we want to display a table that contains all todo items retrieved from the server.

<div class="container" ng-controller="AppCtrl">
  <h1>Todo Application</h1>
  <table class="table">
              <td><input class="form-control" ng-model="todo.content"></td>
              <td><input class="form-control" ng-model="todo.description"></td>
                <div ng-if="todo.edit === true">
            <div class="form-group">
             <div class="radio">
                 <input type="radio" name="true" value="true" ng-model="todo.completed">
              <div class="radio">
                   <input type="radio" name="false" value="false" ng-model="todo.completed">
                <div ng-if="todo.edit === true">
              <button class="btn btn-primary" ng-click="updateTodo()">Update Todo</button>
          <div ng-if="todo.edit !== true">
              <button class="btn btn-primary" ng-click="addTodo()">Add Todo</button>
          <tr ng-repeat="todo in todolist">
        <div ng-if="todo.completed === true">
              <span class="label label-success">Completed</span>
        <div ng-if="todo.completed !== true">
              <span class="label label-warning">Pending</span>
        <td>{{todo.created_at| date:'dd-MM-yyyy -- HH:mm:ss'}}</td>
        <td>{{todo.updated_at| date:'dd-MM-yyyy -- HH:mm:ss'}}</td>
          <button class="btn btn-success" ng-click="editTodo(todo._id)">Edit</button>
          <button class="btn btn-info" ng-click="showTodo(todo._id)">Show</button>
          <button class="btn btn-danger" ng-click="removeTodo(todo._id)">Remove</button>

In the above snippet, you see that ‘ng-controller=”AppCtrl”‘ binds the code to the controller. We also use an Angular ‘ng-repeat’ statement to loop over all the items and we use the {{}} directives to effectively display the content on screen. In the body part of the table, you can also see that we define two input fields that refer to an ‘ng-model’ and two buttons that refer to an ‘ng-click’ event, respectively addTodo() and updateTodo()

Let’s then have a look at the controller.js file.

var myApp = angular.module('myApp', []);
myApp.controller('AppCtrl', ['$scope', '$http', function($scope, $http) {
url = 'http://localhost:3000/todos/'

var refresh = function() {
  $http.get(url).success(function(response) {
    $scope.todolist = response;
    $scope.todo = "";
    $scope.todo.edit = false;

In the above code, you’ll see that the myApp is defined in the controller file and that the controller ‘AppCtrl’ is also defined. We also define the $scope and $http variables. We need $scope to be able to use the info in the HTML file and the $http to be able to make the REST calls to the server.

We can also see that we do a HTTP GET call to the URL http://localhost:3000/todos, which is effectively our server (as we run everything on localhost for now). The JSON response from the server is stored in the $scope.todolist which is used in the ‘ng-repeat’ statement (cfr: ng-repeat=”todo in todolist”).

Let’s look at the addTodo(), updateTodo() and deleteTodo() functions:

scope.addTodo = function() {
  $, $scope.todo).success(function(response) {

$scope.removeTodo = function(id) {
  $http.delete(url + id).success(function(response) {
    console.log("deleting: " + response);

$scope.updateTodo = function() {
  console.log("Completed" + $scope.todo.completed);
  $http.put(url + $scope.todo._id, $scope.todo).success(function(response) {
     console.log("new updated: " + response.updated_at);

In the addTodo() function, we see that we create an HTTP POST and pass it the $scope.todo, which essentially contains all the info from the input fields (in the todo.content and todo.description).

In the UpdateTodo(), we create an HTTP PUT request to the URL and pass it again the $scope.todo parameter, which contains the updated todo items.

Finally, the removeTodo() is using an HTTP delete request to the URL which we pass the id of the todo item.

You can also see that each time the refresh function is called each time. The refresh function is wrapped around the HTTP GET method that retrieves all todo items, so in fact each time we add, update or delete a todo item, we retrieve the whole list of todo items again so the page is updated automatically.

Let’s test out couple of things:

Below screenshot shows how we add a todo item:


Let’s verify if it has been added properly:

And update the item we just added:

And verify once again if the update was executed successfully:
Let’s add couple of items more:
And then delete Todo item 2 using the delete button:
OK perfect. Looks like this Angular code is running just fine!

The code can be found on Github as usual.