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Use this tool to build an API without code

DataTrucker is an open source no-code/less-code backend that builds APIs using Kubernetes templates.
Truck on snowy mountain highway

Application programming interfaces (APIs) are like fuel for digital transformation, enabling companies to develop applications and microservices quickly. DataTrucker.IO is a new, free and open source (Apache 2.0) no-code/less-code API backend that decreases the time required to build APIs.

DataTrucker reads simple JSON and YAML configs and produces the code to convert it into an API. In addition to creating the code, it also hosts the codebase on a Node.js server and makes it immediately available for public consumption.

DataTrucker handles most of the everyday activities a developer needs to do on a new project, including:

  • Creating an API endpoint with specified business logic (using simple plugins)
  • Applying standard role-based access control (RBAC)
  • Applying authorization logic
  • Applying hardening on endpoints
  • Handling log management
  • Connecting to a variety of systems
  • Modularizing business logic
  • Doing it all with little to no code

Installing DataTrucker

This tutorial shows how to install DataTrucker on OpenShift and build an API for a Postgres database. The process is similar in the Kubernetes environment.

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Step 1: Create a namespace called trucker

oc new-project trucker

Step 2: Download and install the application

DataTrucker.IO is available in OpenShift's OperatorHub and can be added to your cluster as an Operator.

DataTrucker.IO in OpenShift OperatorHub
(Gaurav Shankar, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Step 3: Navigate into the Operators

Click Operators in the left navigation pane and open the DataTrucker.IO Operator.

Navigate to DataTrucker.IO in Operators
(Gaurav Shankar, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Step 4: Create a DataTrucker config by running the YAML object

Create a Persistent Volume Claim (PVC) for a database backend. (Note: The Postgres database provided below uses Crunchy Data containers to get started. I recommend using a hardened geo-redundant database for a production workload.)

  1. Create a PVC called samplepvc.
  2. Create an instance of a DatatruckerConfig object.
  3. Before you click Create, ensure TempDB.enabled is True in the DatatruckerConfig object. This is required for prototyping the demo below.

You can find an example in DataTrucker's GitLab repository.

oc apply -f DatatruckerConfig.yaml

The config object Kind: DatatruckerConfig creates the following:

  • Postgres database: You can create a temporary non-hardened Crunchy Data database for following this tutorial by enabling the following in the DataTrucker config (recall that for a production workload, you should use a hardened geo-redundant database):

        enabled: true
        pvc: samplepvc
  • Database configuration: In production systems, use a geo-redundant Postgres database:

        user: testuser
        password: password
        databasename: userdb
        hostname: db
        type: pg
        port: 5432
  • Crypto configuration: Create the crypto configuration:

        cryptokeys: |-

    See detailed information in the Production hardening section of the DataTrucker.IO documentation.

  • API server backend configuration: Create the API server backend configuration:

        name: API
        loginServer: |-
        managementServer: |-
        jobsServer: |-

Step 5: Create a login and management endpoints

Create an endpoint for obtaining a login token:

kind: DatatruckerFlow
  name: login-endpoint
  Type: Login  
  DatatruckerConfig: < the name of the config object created in step 4 >

Create an endpoint for RBAC management and credentials:

kind: DatatruckerFlow
  name: management-endpoint
  Type: Management  
  DatatruckerConfig: < the name of the config object created in step 4 >

The items above create the deployments and service endpoints for the user interface (UI) and the management API.

Step 6: Expose the management endpoint

Expose the routes:

$ oc get svc | grep endpoint
login-endpoint                                            ClusterIP    <none>        80/TCP     3m43s
management-endpoint                                       ClusterIP   <none>        80/TCP     3m29s
management-endpoint-ui                                    ClusterIP    <none>        80/TCP     3m28s

$ oc expose svc management-endpoint-ui exposed

$ oc expose svc login-endpoint exposed

$ oc get routes      
NAME                     HOST/PORT                                         PATH   SERVICES                 PORT   TERMINATION   WILDCARD
login-endpoint           login-endpoint-trucker.apps-crc.testing                  login-endpoint           8080                 None
management-endpoint-ui   management-endpoint-ui-trucker.apps-crc.testing          management-endpoint-ui   9080                 None

Step 7: Log into the UI with a web browser

  1. Create an admin user:
    Create an admin user
    (Gaurav Shankar, CC BY-SA 4.0)
  2. Log in as that admin user:
    Data Trucker login
    (Gaurav Shankar, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Step 8: Create a Postgres credential for the API

Now that DataTrucker is installed and configured, you are ready to build an API.

Create Postgres credentials for the database of your choice:

  1. Expand the left navigation bar.
  2. Select Credentials.
  3. Open the Postgres Credentials pane.
  4. Click Create Credentials.
  5. Enter your database details.
Data Trucker credential management
(Gaurav Shankar, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Step 9: Create a Postgres API

Create a Flow object with the following job spec.

kind: DatatruckerFlow
  name: my-first-api
  DatatruckerConfig: datatruckerconfig-sample
    - credentialname: db   < cred name from step 8 >
      job_timeout: 600
      name: postgres1
      restmethod: POST
      script: 'select ''[[userinput]]'' as userinput; '  < query you want to execute>
      tenant: Admin
      type: DB-Postgres
            maxLength: 18
            pattern: '^[a-z0-9]*$'
            type: string
        type: object
    - credentialname: db < cred name from step 8 >
      job_timeout: 600
      name: postgres2
      restmethod: GET
      script: select * from information_schema.tables < query you want to execute>
      tenant: Admin
      type: DB-Postgres
  Type: Job

This spec creates a new microservice to host the API, and the microservice has two APIs on its route:

  • postgres1:
    • Gets current date and user sent parameter into the SQL
    • Is a POST request
    • Sanitizes input for the user-input variable userinput
  • postgres2:
    • Gets a list of tables available
    • Is a GET request

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Now, search for the service:

$. oc get svc | grep my-first-api 
my-first-api                                              ClusterIP   <none>        80/TCP     45s

$. oc expose svc my-first-api exposed

$. oc get routes  | grep my-first-api
my-first-api             my-first-api-trucker.apps-crc.testing                    my-first-api             8080                 None

Now that you have a URL, go test it out.

The URL is in the following form:

http://<your api route>/api/v1/jobs/<name of the JobDefinitions defined in the yaml>

In the above example, you created two JobDefinitions:

  • postgres1 of type POST
  • postgres2 of type GET

Step 10: Test out your APIs

Get a login token from the login endpoint:

curl --location --request POST 'http://login-endpoint-trucker.<wilcard.domain>/api/v1/login' \
--header 'Content-Type: application/json' \
--data-raw '{
 "username": "xxx",
 "password": "xxxxxxxx",
 "tenant": "Admin"

    "status": true,
    "username": "xxx",
    "token": "xxxxxxxxxxxx"

Now use the login token against your APIs:

  • The first API:

    curl --location --request POST 'http://my-first-api-trucker.<wilcard.domain>/api/v1/jobs/postgres1' \
    --header 'Authorization: Bearer xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx \
    --header 'Content-Type: application/json' \
    --data-raw '{
        "userinput": "myfirstresponse"
        "reqCompleted": true,
        "date": "2021-09-05T22:05:58.064Z",
        "reqID": "req-3w",
        "data": {
            "command": "SELECT",
            "rowCount": 1,
            "oid": null,
            "rows": [
  • The second API:

    curl --location --request GET 'http://my-first-api-trucker.<wilcard.domain>/api/v1/jobs/postgres2' \
    --header 'Authorization: Bearer xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx' 
        "reqCompleted": true,
        "date": "2021-09-05T22:03:58.389Z",
        "reqID": "req-35",
        "data": {
            "command": "SELECT",
            "rowCount": 185,
            "oid": null,
            "rows": [
                    " .......

For more information, watch DataTrucker.IO's overview video.

This article is adapted from the DataTrucker.IO blog and is republished with permission.

Topics:   Database   Programming   Java   YAML  
Author’s photo

Gaurav Shankar

Gaurav Shankar is a Senior App Dev Consultant at Red Hat Canada, where he specializes in application development on OpenShift. More about me

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