Step-by-step guide of building back-end services for car washing web application using @imqueue.

For those who prefer to learn by example.

Chapter 5. API Service. Integration

So, here is one of the most interesting parts of our system. API service is suggested to expose an external HTTP based interface and orchestrate the access to underlying backend services we have already built.

This is combined ideally with such a tool as GraphQL, which could act as an orchestrator for underlying services, that’s why we are considering to choose it.

In this tutorial we do not aim to discuss anything about GraphQL, but we want to focus on @imqueue integrations. So, if you are not familiar with GraphQL, consider to learn it using corresponding resources, or just skip this part and refer to existing source code of API service we built for you on GitHub.

Initializing the Service

Despite the fact that API Service differs by its structure and implementation of what @imqueue usual service is, we can re-use @imqueue/cli to initialize it:

cd ~/my-tutorial-app
imq service create api ./api

It will install all required dependencies to work with @imqueue. By the way, we do not need it to be a classic @imqueue service rather than we need to build it as GraphQL server over HTTP, so we just need to add required dependencies and re-work start script.

npm i --save express express-graphql graphql graphql-relay \
    graph-fields-list graphql-validity \
    body-parser compression helmet core-js
npm i --save-dev @types/body-parser @types/compression \
    @types/core-js @types/express @types/express-graphql \
    @types/graphql @types/graphql-relay @types/helmet

NOTE! It is not principle which stack of technologies you are choosing at this point to build-up API service. You may consider to choose Apollo GraphQL server instead, or any other solution you may prefer. We just give the official Facebook’s stack over express with manually selected set of add-ons, but this way is not mandatory.

Now simply remove ./api/src/Api.ts service file as we don’t need it, and remove everything from ./api/index.ts. So, we keep all npm scripts from @imqueue boilerplate, they should work OK for us, but we will change the contents of a service - now it should launch HTTP server using express with configured end-point serving GraphQL requests.

We will not focus on this - you can rather implement it yourself if you have enough experience, or just refer to source code we built for you on GitHub. Take a closer look at index.ts and src/Application.ts implementation.

The essence of @imqueue integration is hidden inside bootstrapContext() method of Application class. Here we instantiating all @imqueue/rpc clients using which we are going to orchestrate requests to underlying services. And starting up all that clients as a part of API service start-up process.

Then an execution context is bypassed to a GraphQL layer, which will take care to bypass it to all resolvers inside GraphQL schema, so we would be able to access all our services whenever we need it.

import { clientOptions } from '../config';
import { user, auth, car, timeTable } from './clients';

class Application {
    /// ...
     * Initializes runtime context for graphql application
     * @return {any} - initialized context
    private static async bootstrapContext(): Promise<any> {
        const context: any = {
            user: new user.UserClient(clientOptions),
            auth: new auth.AuthClient(clientOptions),
            car: new car.CarClient(clientOptions),
            timeTable: new timeTable.TimeTableClient(clientOptions),

        await context.user.start();
        await context.auth.start();
        await context.car.start();
        await context.timeTable.start();

        return context;
    /// ...

As we already know from chapter 3 clients are required part of @imqueue/rpc and they provide RPC way for calling a remote services. In that chapter we learn how to use dynamically built clients. Now we will focus on building client code statically.

Building The Clients

Building static clients code is a good way to deal with @imqueue services as far as it provides several meaningful advantages:

  • You do not need to take care about the order of services launch (as far as you do not need to have service running to build a client for it).
  • You have a pre-built code which is accessible by your IDE and could help you understand the service interface during development, including such great opportunities, like auto-complete functionality inside your IDE.
  • You have a way to version your implementations and consider managing compatibilities between different versions of your code.

And the last point is that due to the fact that all clients are located in one place (especially in case we don’t care about dynamically built client on auth service) - there would be no code duplication we need to maintain. In other case we could imagine the systems, where the same service client can be generated and used on different network points. Thus, in such a case there would be a need to organize management of client updates. Our case is simple, so you may think on that problem outside of topics in this tutorial.

Practically to generate a client code you just need to launch a single command. But before executing it you have to make sure the service, which you want to build client for, is up and running.

imq client generate User ./api/src/clients
imq client generate Auth ./api/src/clients
imq client generate Car ./api/src/clients
imq client generate TimeTable ./api/src/clients

You may also consider to add that commands as an npm script, so you will be able to simplify clients (re-)generation with a single command execution, like:

npm run rebuild-clients

or something similar.

Querying The Services

So, finally, while building a GraphQL schema we are ready to query our services. For example, consider we want to query a list of car brands:

import {
} from 'graphql';
import { user, car, timeTable, auth } from '../clients';

interface Context {
    user: user.UserClient;
    car: car.CarClient;
    timeTable: timeTable.TimeTableClient;
    auth: auth.AuthClient;

export const schema = new GraphQLSchema({
    query: new GraphQLObjectType({
    name: 'Query',
        fields: {
            brands: {
                description: 'Fetches list of car brands',
                type: new GraphQLList(GraphQLString),
                async resolve(
                     source: any,
                     args: any,
                     context: Context,
                     info: GraphQLResolveInfo,
                ): Promise<string[]> {
                     try {
                         return await context.car.brands();
                     } catch (err) {
                         console.warn('Fetch brands error:', err);
                         return [];

Hence, as far as context is build-up during the startup of API service and GraphQL given the access to it in any possible resolver, we are able to call remote services and fetch the required data whenever we need it in a simple way.

So, as seen from that example, on a client side there is no too much work to do. All you need is just build-and-use. All implementation is done at one place which is service implementation.

This pattern gives you a way to do a “normal” programming, dealing with your services as with standard objects having methods, so you can imperatively create complex combinations of services calls inside GraphQl resolvers.

Full example of API Service implementation is available here.

Go to the next chapter - Deployment