Streetlights

In this tutorial, you get started with actual code and a (could-be) real-world use case.

Let’s pretend you have a company called Smarty Lighting and you do smart-city lighting systems.

System Description #︎

You want to create a system capable of turning on/off the streetlights depending on the environmental conditions of each of them:

  • You’re going to implement an event-driven architecture, with a Message Broker in its “center”.
  • Streetlights will send information about its environmental lighting to the broker.
  • None of the services waits for any kind of response. Think about it as fire and forget. You publish messages to the broker and that’s it. Your service doesn’t know who receives them.

Technology #︎

You’ll use Node.js to code APIs and Mosquitto as the message broker. Selected technology is irrelevant here, as things explained here in this tutorial are applicable to any other programming language and message brokers.

The AsyncAPI file #︎

Let’s start by creating an AsyncAPI file to describe your API. It will help you generate the code and the documentation later.

asyncapi: '2.0.0'
info:
  title: Streetlights API
  version: '1.0.0'
  description: |
    The Smartylighting Streetlights API allows you
    to remotely manage the city lights.
  license:
    name: Apache 2.0
    url: 'https://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0'

servers:
  mosquitto:
    url: mqtt://test.mosquitto.org
    protocol: mqtt

channels:
  light/measured:
    publish:
      summary: Inform about environmental lighting conditions for a particular streetlight.
      operationId: onLightMeasured
      message:
        payload:
          type: object
          properties:
            id:
              type: integer
              minimum: 0
              description: Id of the streetlight.
            lumens:
              type: integer
              minimum: 0
              description: Light intensity measured in lumens.
            sentAt:
              type: string
              format: date-time
              description: Date and time when the message was sent.

Let’s break it down into pieces:

asyncapi: '2.0.0'
info:
  title: Streetlights API
  version: '1.0.0'
  description: |
    The Smartylighting Streetlights API allows you
    to remotely manage the city lights.
  license:
    name: Apache 2.0
    url: 'https://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0'
  • The asyncapi field indicates you use AsyncAPI version 2.0.0.
  • Inside the info field you find information about the API, like its name, version, description, and its license.

We’re now going for the channels section. It is used to describe the event names your API will be publishing and/or subscribing to.

channels:
  light/measured:
    publish:
      summary: Inform about environmental lighting conditions for a particular streetlight.
      operationId: onLightMeasured

In this example, light/measured is the channel name your API publish to. The operationId property, describes what will be the name of function or method that takes care of this functionality in generated code. To understand how the event should look like when publishing to that channel, there is the payload property:

      payload:
        type: object
        properties:
          id:
            type: integer
            minimum: 0
            description: Id of the streetlight.
          lumens:
            type: integer
            minimum: 0
            description: Light intensity measured in lumens.
          sentAt:
            type: string
            format: date-time
            description: Date and time when the message was sent.

Payload property defines the content of the event using AsyncAPI schemas. It means that your event payload should contain an id and a lumens property —which are integers bigger than zero—, and a sentAt property that should be a string containing a date and time.

JSON Schema Draft 07 is 100% compatible with AsyncAPI schemas.

Cool! So you’re done with your AsyncAPI file! Let’s get into generating code.

Generating code #︎

To generate your code you’ll use the AsyncAPI Generator Node.js template.

  1. Install the generator to use is at a command-line tool

    npm install -g @asyncapi/generator
    
  2. Create a directory for your projects and enter it:

    mkdir streetlights && cd "$_"
    
  3. Create a file with the AsyncAPI machine-readable description you defined before. On Windows use type instead of cat:

    cat <<EOT >> asyncapi.yaml
    asyncapi: '2.0.0'
    info:
      title: Streetlights API
      version: '1.0.0'
      description: |
        The Smartylighting Streetlights API allows you
        to remotely manage the city lights.
      license:
        name: Apache 2.0
        url: 'https://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0'
    
    servers:
      mosquitto:
        url: mqtt://test.mosquitto.org
        protocol: mqtt
    
    channels:
      light/measured:
        publish:
          summary: Inform about environmental lighting conditions for a particular streetlight.
          operationId: onLightMeasured
          message:
            payload:
              type: object
              properties:
                id:
                  type: integer
                  minimum: 0
                  description: Id of the streetlight.
                lumens:
                  type: integer
                  minimum: 0
                  description: Light intensity measured in lumens.
                sentAt:
                  type: string
                  format: date-time
                  description: Date and time when the message was sent.
    EOT
    
  4. Trigger generation of the Node.js code:

    ag asyncapi.yaml @asyncapi/nodejs-template -o output -p server=mosquitto
    
  5. And voilà! List all files in directory and notice that Node.js application is generated:

    cd output && ls
    

Running your code #︎

  1. Install dependencies of newly generated application:

    npm install
    
  2. Start the application:

    npm start
    
  3. In another terminal install the MQTT.js library:

    npm install mqtt -g
    
  4. Send message to your application:

    mqtt pub -t 'light/measured' -h 'test.mosquitto.org' -m '{"id": 1, "lumens": 3, "sentAt": "2017-06-07T12:34:32.000Z"}'
    
  5. Go back to previous terminal and notice that your application logs the message you just sent.

Conclusions #︎

You’ve learned how to create an AsyncAPI description file and how to generate code from it. The code is a bootstrap and you’ll need to add your business logic into it. Take some time to play with it. There are still lots of things to be covered but intent of this tutorial is to be simple so you get an idea of the potential.

We would also like to see what you create with AsyncAPI. As an open-source project, we’re open to proposals, questions, suggestions, and contributions. If you don’t feel in the mood to contribute but you’re using AsyncAPI, just raise your hand creating a issue in our Github repo or join our Slack channel. Don’t be shy :)


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