How to learn beginner node js

# Prepare your environment

Traditionally, JavaScript is a browser-side programming language. However, Node.js gives you the ability to run JavaScript files on the server-side. Express is a library for Node.js, that allows you to make requests to different “endpoints” and get a response back.

In this tutorial you will learn how to:

Set up a project using Node.js and NPM

Send JSON data using Express

Test your API using PostMan

Secure your routes with middleware

When you see the 💡 symbol, the following info is a optional tip, or context.

This tutorial is interactive. Look for instructions on how to complete each step at the bottom of the issue. If the next step doesn’t appear, try refreshing the page.

When you are ready to start, close this issue.

# Set up Node.js environment

## Installation

First, let’s [install Node.js](https://nodejs.org/en/download/), and an app called [Postman](https://www.getpostman.com/downloads/) to test our API. You will be coding along with me, so make sure you also have [git installed](https://git-scm.com/book/en/v2/Getting-Started-Installing-Git).

Node.js comes with something called NPM (Node Package Manager) that we will use manage our node modules. You can check if you have Node, NPM, and Git installed by running these commands (one at a time):

```

node -v

npm -v

git — version

```

You should get a version back from each of these commands. If you get an error, you’ll want to check that it was correctly installed.

## Clone Template Repository

By signing up for this course, a [template repository](https://github.com/mi-dexigner/node-express-course) was created on your GitHub account. Clone this repository locally on your computer and navigate to it by running:

```

git clone https://github.com/mi-dexigner/node-express-course.git

cd node-express-server-intro

```

## File Setup

Open the folder you just cloned in your favorite text editor.

You should have a few files already created:

```

.gitignore

server.js

```

The server file will be the main one we use. In the .gitignore folder, you should see this line at the top `/node_modules`

Express (the server library we will install) is a node_module. Rather than track the entire library in our git history, we will create a package.json file, which will allow us to install and save node modules.

Run this from your command line: `npm init -y`

You should have a package.json file in your folder now.

Now you can install Express using NPM. Enter this command in the terminal: `npm install express — save`

A folder called node_modules should apear in your project. This is where the actual files for express are stored. If you open the folder, you can see how many files there are. These will only be stored on your machine, because we told git to ignore this entire directory.

In your package.json file and make sure you have something like this under your dependencies:

```json

“dependencies”: {

“express”: “⁴.17.1”,

}

```

The number on the right is the version you downloaded. Since we aren’t tracking the actual `node_modules` folder, this section is a reference used to re-install the modules your application depends on.

When you are finished with this section, push your file to GitHub for the next step:

```

git add .

git commit -m “initial file setup”

git push origin master

```

# Start Express server

Alright, now let’s start making a server! Open up your server.js file and add these two lines:

```javascript

const express = require(‘express’);

const app = express();

```

The first line gives you access to the express library by searching your node_modules for “express”. The next creates an instance of the express constructor, which we will name “app”.

We can now access methods used for making a server by including their name after app. Add this to the bottom of server.js:

```javascript

app.listen(8000,function(){

console.log(“server is running”)

})

```

The app.listen method will start up the server locally on the port you give as its first argument (in this case the base url is: http://localhost:8000)

But first we need to run the server.js file by entering this in the terminal: `node server.js`

If everything was successful, you should see the console.log message we supplied in the callback: “server is running”. This happens because the file is being run on our terminal. To end this process, push **CTRL**+**C**. Whenever you make changes to your server, you need exit and restart it.

Once your server is working, push your changes up to GitHub to complete this step.

```

git add server.js

git commit -m”set up express server”

git push origin master

```

# Get JSON data

Now that our server is listening for requests being made on localhost:8000 let’s return some mock JSON data. Add the following to your server.js file:

```javascript

const mockUserData=[

{name:’Mark’},

{name:’Jill’}

]

app.get(‘/users’, function(req,res){

res.json({

success: true,

message: ‘successfully got users. Nice!’,

users: mockUserData

})

})

```

Overall your file should look like this:

```javascript

const express = require(‘express’);

const app = express();

const mockUserData=[

{name:’Mark’},

{name:’Jill’}

]

app.get(‘/users’,function(req,res){

res.json({

success: true,

message: ‘successfully got users. Nice!’,

users: mockUserData

})

})

app.listen(8000,function(){console.log(‘server is listening’)})

```

Let’s save your changes on GitHub:

```

git add server.js

git commit -m”add first GET route”

git push origin master

```

You just made your first endpoint! This function will respond to a GET request at http://localhost:8000/users with a JSON file, which includes our mockData under the key ‘users’. Let’s test it out!

Restart your server (**CTRL**+**C**, then run `node server.js`) since we changed the file. Open a browser and navigate to http://localhost:8000/users

You should see a JSON file, served up from your terminal!💁‍

If not, make sure your [repository](https://github.com/mi-dexigner/node-express-course) looks [like this](https://github.com/mi-dexigner/node-express-course/tree/03).

[Click here for the next step](https://github.com/mi-dexigner/node-express-course/issues/5)

# Use Variables in URL

In Express, words with a colon in front of them in the url are treated as variables. You can access the value of each variable through req.params, like this:

```javascript

app.get(‘/users/:id’,function(req,res){

console.log(req.params.id)

res.json({

success: true,

message: ‘got one user’,

user: req.params.id

})

})

```

_Let’s test it out!_

Add the function above your `app.listen` function in your server.js file, restart the server, and paste this into your browser url: http://localhost:8000/users/mark

Now check the terminal for the console.log of req.params.id. You should see the name ‘mark’, since it is the value we passed in place of the ‘id’ variable. Since we are running this in the terminal, our console.log will appear there (instead of the browser).

After testing that it works, push your changes your GitHub repo:

```

git add server.js

git commit -m”add dynamic GET route”

git push origin master

```

# Making a Post Route

So far, we have only made GET requests to our server. A POST request can send data securely through the request body. In order to make POST requests, first we need to include the “body-parser” library from our node_modules (included with express). Add these lines after the app variable:

- npm install body-parser

```javascript

const bodyParser = require(‘body-parser’);

app.use(bodyParser.json());

```

Let’s write a function to handle a POST request made to the ‘login’ endpoint, as if a user was trying to log in:

```javascript

app.post(‘/login’,function(req,res){

const username=req.body.username;

const password=req.body.password;

const mockUsername=”billyTheKid”;

const mockPassword=”superSecret”;

if (username===mockUsername && password===mockPassword){

res.json({

success: true,

message: ‘password and username match!’,

token: ‘encrypted token goes here’

})

} else {

res.json({

success: false,

message: ‘password and username do not match’

})

}

})

```

Your entire file should look like this now:

```javascript

const express = require(‘express’);

const app = express();

const bodyParser = require(‘body-parser’);

app.use(bodyParser.json())

const mockUserData=[

{name:’Mark’},

{name:’Jill’}

]

app.get(‘/users’,function(req,res){

res.json({

success: true,

message: ‘successfully got users. Nice!’,

users: mockUserData

})

})

// colons are used as variables that be viewed in the params

app.get(‘/users/:id’,function(req,res){

console.log(req.params.id)

res.json({

success: true,

message: ‘got one user’,

user: req.params.id

})

})

app.post(‘/login’,function(req,res){

// Typically passwords are encrypted using something like bcrypt before sending to database

const username=req.body.username;

const password=req.body.password;

// This should come from the database

const mockUsername=”billyTheKid”;

const mockPassword=”superSecret”;

if (username===mockUsername && password===mockPassword){

// In practice, use JSON web token sign method here to make an encrypted token

res.json({

success: true,

message: ‘password and username match!’,

token: ‘encrypted token goes here’

})

} else {

res.json({

success: false,

message: ‘password and username do not match’

})

}

})

app.listen(8000,function(){console.log(‘server is listening’)})

```

Time to commit our changes!

```

git add server.js

git commit -m”add login POST route”

git push origin master

```

# Use Postman for POST request

We can make GET requests all day through the browser url, but to make a POST request, we need to get more sophisticated! Open up the PostMan App, and look for an input field that says: “Enter Request Url”. It is between a dropdown menu and a Send button.

<img src=’https://github.com/mi-dexigner/node-express-course/raw/master/postman.PNG' alt=”screenshot of postman”>

First, change the dropdown on the upper left from GET to POST. Next, enter our login url next to the dropdown (http://localhost:8000/login). Before you hit send, we need to change a few things.

Click the “Headers” tab, and enter the key: Content-Type. In the box just to the right, enter the value: application/json. This tells the server the request is going to be in JSON format.

Next, click on the “Body” tab. In the dropdown below, change the value to “raw”, and enter the login data below:

```json

{

“username”:”billyTheKid”,

“password”:”superSecret”

}

```

Restart your server, to make sure you have the latest version running (with body-parser and our post function). Click send in PostMan, and you should get a positive response from the server.

When you get a response, close this issue for the next step.

Good Job! 🚀 Postman can be a really helpful testing tool as you continue your programming journey.

Before closing out this course, try a few more things in Postman:

- [ ] Change the password value in the body tab to see what an incorrect password response looks like

- [ ] Try our earlier requests that we made from the browser (remember to switch to GET in Postman)

- [ ] See if you can make a new endpoint in the server.js code, then call it from Postman

I’m a full-stack developer, trainer, and base in Karachi from Pakistan and working as a Senior staff for Ossols Pvt Ltd