20
July
2021
Tutorial

Make Your Own Social Media Marketing App Like Hootsuite with Appsmith and n8n

0
 minutes

For a content management team in any organization, things can get chaotic between ideating, strategizing, content creation, and distribution. Looking after multiple social media platforms can be overwhelming; this is where social media schedulers come in handy. However, for an early-stage organization, subscribing to these tools can be an expensive affair, and they do not solve the organization’s specific requirements. For example, at Appsmith, we focus our distribution through Twitter, Discord, Slack, and Linkedin, and we wanted a customizable solution more suited to our needs. Our cross-platform scheduler can send a message across four channels with just one click, and we made this using Appsmith and automated the workflow with n8n.

And building this is not that difficult!

This blog will take you through the different steps involved in building a workflow like this. You can extend this and customize it further to address specific requirements.

Getting Started with Appsmith

In this tutorial, we’ll be using the local environment of Appsmith to build the application. However, we can always export and then import Appsmith apps to different environments (cloud, self-hosted, local).

The recommended way to use Appsmith locally is to use Docker; for detailed instructions, follow the documentation here.

Next, create a new account or sign in with an existing account and redirect it to our dashboard. Now, let’s create a new application and build a minimalistic UI for our social broadcaster by following the steps listed below:

  1. Click on Create New under your organization, and this will create a new Appsmith application.
  2. Rename the application to Social Broadcaster by simply double-clicking on the existing one.
  3. On the left, find the entity explorer; this is where we can manage all our widgets and data sources of the entire application.

Awesome! We will build a simple UI with Appsmith widgets to broadcast messages onto different social platforms in the next section.

Building Simple UI

Appsmith has a great set of widget (UI Components) collections for us to build internal applications. We'll be using a few of these widgets to create a form that enables us to write messages and select options to broadcast to social platforms of choice.

  1. Click on the + icon next to the Widgets menu on the entity explorer. Find the drag the Container widget and drag and drop it onto the canvas.
  2. Resize this container widget based on our UI preferences. Next, find the Text widget and drop it inside the Container widget.
  3. Next, open the property pane of the Text widget when selected by clicking on the cog icon on top-right, next to its name. Now, update the label property to Create Post.
  4. To write the post content, let’s use a Rich Text Editor Widget. Drag and drop it inside the Container Widget.
  5. Let’s add some Switch widgets, which will let us control what to post on social platforms. Set the labels to Discord, Slack, Twitter, and Linkedin from the property pane.
  6. Lastly, add a Button widget; when clicked, content gets posted from the RTE to platforms marked in the switches.

We now have the basic UI for our broadcaster. Now, let’s create an n8n workflow and integrate it with Appsmith!

Building n8n Workflow

In this tutorial, we will be setting up n8n in our local environment using npm (node package manager). Here’s the command to install n8n globally on your machine:

npm install n8n -g
n8n helps you create powerful workflows by syncing data across 200+ apps. No coding is required.

Post-installation, type in n8n on your terminal or command prompt; it will open n8n editor on [http://localhost:5678/](http://localhost:5678/). Here we can create workflows and save them on local env. However, you can always import-export n8n apps in different environments.

Here’s a screenshot of the n8n editor:

CleanShot 2021-07-06 at 03.59.26@2x.png

Now, let’s create a workflow that’ll broadcast messages onto different social platforms. Follow these steps:

  1. Create a webhook trigger on n8n; for this, click on the + icon and search for Webhook under the Trigger sections. This will open up a new modal where we can configure the properties of the Webhook.
  2. Next, find an if node under the Regular section and connect it with the Webhook. We’ll have four if nodes to which we’ll connect all the other integrations.
  3. Lastly, find the Discord, Slack, Twitter, and Linkedin integrations and connect them with these if-nodes.

Following is a screenshot of how the workflow looks like:

CleanShot 2021-07-20 at 17.07.39@2x.png

We now have a clear picture of how our workflow looks like; let’s pass the data into n8n from Appsmith using the webhook.

Configuring Appsmith and n8n

Appsmith and n8n will be communicating through a webhook.

A webhook (also called a web callback or HTTP push API) is a way for an app to provide other applications with real-time information. A webhook delivers data to other applications as it happens, meaning you get data immediately.

Follow the below steps to configure this:

  • Double click on the Webhook node on the n8n editor; this will open up a modal with all the webhook properties.
  • Click on Webhook URLs and copy the Test URL.
http://localhost:5678/webhook-test/006d957e-0a8d-467e-9b01-178771e0d275
Update the TEST URL from your n8n environment.
  • Since we’re using the local version, we’ll be replacing localhost with the connect IP:
http://192.168.0.115:5678/webhook-test/006d957e-0a8d-467e-9b01-178771e0d275
  • Now, on Appsmith, select the Datasource option on the entity explorer and click Create New under the APIs section.
  • Change the request method to POST and paste the webhook URL. Next, under the body property, paste the following code snippet:
{
    "content": {{RichTextEditor1.text}},
    "medium": {{
    function(){
    let str = ""
    if (slackSwitch.isSwitchedOn==true){
        str +="slack "
    }
    if (discordSwitch.isSwitchedOn==true){
        str +="discord "
    }
    if (TwitterSwitch.isSwitchedOn==true){
        str +="twitter "
    }
    if (linkedinSwitch.isSwitchedOn==true){
        str +="linkedin "
    }
        return str
    }()
    }}
}

Here, we’re sending all the required information from Appsmith to n8n using webhook through the request body.

The {{ }} moustache operator in Appsmith helps write JS anywhere and access widget properties.
  • Lastly, on n8n, click Execute Workflow and on Appsmith, hit RUN on the API.
If the nodes are throwing any errors, you can click on the pause icon on top of them to ignore them from execution.

Awesome, this should send the data to the webhook. Let’s add validations to the workflow with the data sent from Appsmith.

Appsmith <> n8n Workflow Configurations

Now, add the necessary API keys to the social nodes. If you’re using the n8n.cloud account, you can directly authorize each application by logging into your social media account.

After authorization, we’ll need to configure the if-nodes; here, we’ll add the expression from the Webhook, and based on the condition, we’ll be accessing the social nodes. For this, let’s use the contains operation on every node.

The value1 is set to {{$node["Webhook"].json["body"]["medium"]}}

The value2 is set to discord, linkedin, twitter, slack based on the condition from the node.

Lastly, we’ll need to execute the workflow and use Appsmith UI to cross-post content across selected social apps.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we learnt how to automate content across social media by using Appsmith and n8n. In short, we used Appsmith to build UI and n8n to create automated workflows. With this combination, you could make scores of other similar internal applications that can connect to multiple services and data sources. For example, you could quickly build a CRM that can integrate with numerous email services, or you could automate code reviews and CI/CD pipelines.

We hope you found this tutorial helpful! Let us know if you made an app using Appsmith, and we would love to feature you.

Join the community! Come chat with us on Discord, or jump in on Github directly!

You can also follow us on Twitter and Linkedin.

Make Your Own Social Media Marketing App Like Hootsuite with Appsmith and n8n

Share this

For a content management team in any organization, things can get chaotic between ideating, strategizing, content creation, and distribution. Looking after multiple social media platforms can be overwhelming; this is where social media schedulers come in handy. However, for an early-stage organization, subscribing to these tools can be an expensive affair, and they do not solve the organization’s specific requirements. For example, at Appsmith, we focus our distribution through Twitter, Discord, Slack, and Linkedin, and we wanted a customizable solution more suited to our needs. Our cross-platform scheduler can send a message across four channels with just one click, and we made this using Appsmith and automated the workflow with n8n.

And building this is not that difficult!

This blog will take you through the different steps involved in building a workflow like this. You can extend this and customize it further to address specific requirements.

Getting Started with Appsmith

In this tutorial, we’ll be using the local environment of Appsmith to build the application. However, we can always export and then import Appsmith apps to different environments (cloud, self-hosted, local).

The recommended way to use Appsmith locally is to use Docker; for detailed instructions, follow the documentation here.

Next, create a new account or sign in with an existing account and redirect it to our dashboard. Now, let’s create a new application and build a minimalistic UI for our social broadcaster by following the steps listed below:

  1. Click on Create New under your organization, and this will create a new Appsmith application.
  2. Rename the application to Social Broadcaster by simply double-clicking on the existing one.
  3. On the left, find the entity explorer; this is where we can manage all our widgets and data sources of the entire application.

Awesome! We will build a simple UI with Appsmith widgets to broadcast messages onto different social platforms in the next section.

Building Simple UI

Appsmith has a great set of widget (UI Components) collections for us to build internal applications. We'll be using a few of these widgets to create a form that enables us to write messages and select options to broadcast to social platforms of choice.

  1. Click on the + icon next to the Widgets menu on the entity explorer. Find the drag the Container widget and drag and drop it onto the canvas.
  2. Resize this container widget based on our UI preferences. Next, find the Text widget and drop it inside the Container widget.
  3. Next, open the property pane of the Text widget when selected by clicking on the cog icon on top-right, next to its name. Now, update the label property to Create Post.
  4. To write the post content, let’s use a Rich Text Editor Widget. Drag and drop it inside the Container Widget.
  5. Let’s add some Switch widgets, which will let us control what to post on social platforms. Set the labels to Discord, Slack, Twitter, and Linkedin from the property pane.
  6. Lastly, add a Button widget; when clicked, content gets posted from the RTE to platforms marked in the switches.

We now have the basic UI for our broadcaster. Now, let’s create an n8n workflow and integrate it with Appsmith!

Building n8n Workflow

In this tutorial, we will be setting up n8n in our local environment using npm (node package manager). Here’s the command to install n8n globally on your machine:

npm install n8n -g
n8n helps you create powerful workflows by syncing data across 200+ apps. No coding is required.

Post-installation, type in n8n on your terminal or command prompt; it will open n8n editor on [http://localhost:5678/](http://localhost:5678/). Here we can create workflows and save them on local env. However, you can always import-export n8n apps in different environments.

Here’s a screenshot of the n8n editor:

CleanShot 2021-07-06 at 03.59.26@2x.png

Now, let’s create a workflow that’ll broadcast messages onto different social platforms. Follow these steps:

  1. Create a webhook trigger on n8n; for this, click on the + icon and search for Webhook under the Trigger sections. This will open up a new modal where we can configure the properties of the Webhook.
  2. Next, find an if node under the Regular section and connect it with the Webhook. We’ll have four if nodes to which we’ll connect all the other integrations.
  3. Lastly, find the Discord, Slack, Twitter, and Linkedin integrations and connect them with these if-nodes.

Following is a screenshot of how the workflow looks like:

CleanShot 2021-07-20 at 17.07.39@2x.png

We now have a clear picture of how our workflow looks like; let’s pass the data into n8n from Appsmith using the webhook.

Configuring Appsmith and n8n

Appsmith and n8n will be communicating through a webhook.

A webhook (also called a web callback or HTTP push API) is a way for an app to provide other applications with real-time information. A webhook delivers data to other applications as it happens, meaning you get data immediately.

Follow the below steps to configure this:

  • Double click on the Webhook node on the n8n editor; this will open up a modal with all the webhook properties.
  • Click on Webhook URLs and copy the Test URL.
http://localhost:5678/webhook-test/006d957e-0a8d-467e-9b01-178771e0d275
Update the TEST URL from your n8n environment.
  • Since we’re using the local version, we’ll be replacing localhost with the connect IP:
http://192.168.0.115:5678/webhook-test/006d957e-0a8d-467e-9b01-178771e0d275
  • Now, on Appsmith, select the Datasource option on the entity explorer and click Create New under the APIs section.
  • Change the request method to POST and paste the webhook URL. Next, under the body property, paste the following code snippet:
{
    "content": {{RichTextEditor1.text}},
    "medium": {{
    function(){
    let str = ""
    if (slackSwitch.isSwitchedOn==true){
        str +="slack "
    }
    if (discordSwitch.isSwitchedOn==true){
        str +="discord "
    }
    if (TwitterSwitch.isSwitchedOn==true){
        str +="twitter "
    }
    if (linkedinSwitch.isSwitchedOn==true){
        str +="linkedin "
    }
        return str
    }()
    }}
}

Here, we’re sending all the required information from Appsmith to n8n using webhook through the request body.

The {{ }} moustache operator in Appsmith helps write JS anywhere and access widget properties.
  • Lastly, on n8n, click Execute Workflow and on Appsmith, hit RUN on the API.
If the nodes are throwing any errors, you can click on the pause icon on top of them to ignore them from execution.

Awesome, this should send the data to the webhook. Let’s add validations to the workflow with the data sent from Appsmith.

Appsmith <> n8n Workflow Configurations

Now, add the necessary API keys to the social nodes. If you’re using the n8n.cloud account, you can directly authorize each application by logging into your social media account.

After authorization, we’ll need to configure the if-nodes; here, we’ll add the expression from the Webhook, and based on the condition, we’ll be accessing the social nodes. For this, let’s use the contains operation on every node.

The value1 is set to {{$node["Webhook"].json["body"]["medium"]}}

The value2 is set to discord, linkedin, twitter, slack based on the condition from the node.

Lastly, we’ll need to execute the workflow and use Appsmith UI to cross-post content across selected social apps.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we learnt how to automate content across social media by using Appsmith and n8n. In short, we used Appsmith to build UI and n8n to create automated workflows. With this combination, you could make scores of other similar internal applications that can connect to multiple services and data sources. For example, you could quickly build a CRM that can integrate with numerous email services, or you could automate code reviews and CI/CD pipelines.

We hope you found this tutorial helpful! Let us know if you made an app using Appsmith, and we would love to feature you.

Join the community! Come chat with us on Discord, or jump in on Github directly!

You can also follow us on Twitter and Linkedin.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

  • xvcmbmvkmnkmbknmbkmlnj
  • A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

  1. A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

ksnopirirfnb [aorewmb[oiewsn b[opebr
  1. then connect a rich text

dfbstjsrykmsry

Square
Try Appsmith
The Appsmith Debugger now supports Console methods
23
September
2022
Announcement

The Appsmith Debugger now supports Console methods

The Appsmith Debugger now supports Console methods
Rishabh Rathod
0
 minutes ↗
#
debugger
#
troubleshooting
#
console-methods
Announcement

For a while now, you have used and loved the Appsmith Debugger, nearly complete with a Error pane, system and error logs, and an entity inspector. We say nearly complete because it was missing one of the most popular debugging tools in a dev’s toolkit—console methods.

We are happy to announce the availability of console methods for both cloud users and self-hosters on v1.8.0.

“But, what is the Appsmith Debugger?”

Image_1.png (1920×1080)

Think of the Appsmith Debugger as a set of Chrome DevTools—like for Appsmith. It lives on the familiar 🐞 everywhere in Appsmith and

  • shows helpful error messages for bindings, queries, and variables
  • lets you inspect entity relationships
  • filters system and user logs

All of this is helpful when debugging unexpected API responses or app viewer experiences. Should you care to learn more, this post breaks down the debugger by each one of its features.

“Okay, and console methods are…”

Just one of the most popular ways of print debugging in modern browsers, console methods, exposed by the console API, are a set of functions that help you log the values of variables at set points in your code, messages, or even tabular data so you can investigate them in your browser’s debugging console.

Before today, you could use all supported browser console methods, but only in the browser’s dev tools sub-window. To any developer with their hands dirty with front-end code, the browser debugging subwindow is a necessary evil—a thousand lines of errors, messages, values, and steps that you would have to sift through. We are not going to say, “Looking for the literal needle in the haystack”, but you know you are thinking it.

“And the Appsmith Debugger has a console now?”

Yes! 🥳

So, instead of something like,

you now see,

Image_3.png (1920×1080)

Sweet? This gets sweeter.

Supported methods

  • log

Almost synonymous with console, the .log() method is one of the most popular ways to log a message or the values of variables defined in your Javascript.

It can also be used to show helpful messages or comments, say, the entry and exit points of functions.

Example


getUUID: () => {
		console.log("entry - getUUID function");
		let prefix;
		
		let d = new Date().getTime();
		console.log("new date created -", d);
		d += (parseInt(Math.random() * 100)).toString();
		console.log(d, "random number generated by getUUID")
		if (undefined === prefix) {
			prefix = 'uid-';
		}
		d = prefix + d;
		console.log("UUID created -", d);
		console.log("exit - getUUID function")
		return d;
	}

Result

Image_4.png (1920×1080)
  • error

the .error() method logs an error message to the Appsmith console, be it a a string like, “This is an error message” or the value of a function.

Say you've written a function and you suspect it’s returning an error., but you don’t know what kind. For unknown unknowns like this, `error` comes handy.

Example


checkTextWidget: () => {
		const element = Text1.text;
		if (element == "") {
			console.error("There is an error. The Text property is empty ");
		}
		return element;
	}

Result

Image_5.png (1920×1080)
  • warn

Jus as .error() aids error investigations, .warn() shows, well, warnings for known knowns. Some situations this can come in handy are,- When the evaluated value of binded data on a widget is not using the same datatype as the expected value- When widgets continue to use deprecated queries or functions- When the timezone used in a datetime functions doesn't match the browser’s

Example


selectDefaultValue: () => {
	 const defaultValue = Select1.selectedOptionValue;
		if (defaultValue == ""){
			console.warn("No values selected on Select1 widget ")
		}
		return defaultValue;
}

Result

Image_6.png (1920×1080)
  • table

table (.) just does what it says—logs a Table widget’s data in key-value pairs for rows as objects. While we support this in Appsmith, we are still working on a browser console-like table, especially as we make the Table feature-richer.

Example


table1DataFunc: () =>{
		const data = Table1.tableData;
		console.table(data)
}

Result

Image_7.png (1920×1080)

That’s it! You now have the power of the console right within in Appsmith. There are other useful views available under Logs and we'll talk about them in a follow-up to the Debugger teardown soon. Bookmark this page. Thank us later.

Debugging your app in Appsmith with the Appsmith Debugger, Part 1
20
September
2022
Product

Debugging your app in Appsmith with the Appsmith Debugger, Part 1

Debugging your app in Appsmith with the Appsmith Debugger, Part 1
Ayush Pahwa
0
 minutes ↗
#
product
#
errors
#
troubleshooting
#
debugger
Product

That title is a tongue twister, innit? Almost.

Here’s a meme that isn’t. It’s just the painful truth.

Debugging_is_like_being_lost_in_a_deser.jpg (749×500)

There is no perfect code, so you know debugging is inevitable, but it’s still a chore and is as crushing often times as the meme claims it is.

But, while debugging is inevitable, making it painful is optional, especially when you have the Appsmith Debugger. We have claimed we champion developer experience as many times as we could before without being brazen about it. We think. So, we thought some more and said, “Let’s prove the claim, too.”

“Wait, wait. What is the Appsmith Debugger?”

In 2021, we shipped the Appsmith Debugger, a set of Chrome DevelTools-like features that have helped you investigate and resolve errors in Appsmith.

We recorded a video for it in a series about the Debugger, talked about it in our docs, and referenced it enough times to make you groan about our obsession with errors. If this is the first you are hearing of it, get on our Discord so we can tell you some more about it.

Why we did this

Browser dev tools are as helpful as a magnet when looking for iron fillings in a pristine haystack. To the untrained eye, they can be downright criminal, too.

Browser_debugger.jpeg (960×506)
Source: Reddit

Sure, sure, they nest groups of errors and there are separate tabs for the console and the debugger, but meh! There’s a sea of error messages, system logs, console logs, and then there’s you swimming in it.

Before we shipped the debugger, you saw,

  • errors inside a widget's Property pane that floated on your canvas which probably already had several widgets
  • the Editor’s Response pane, which clubbed legit responses with errors

The Debugger solved several of those problems.

Post_8.jpg (1920×1080)

What’s the Debugger have

Available on app.appsmith.com and our self-hosted release images, it can be called by toggling the debug icon—the one that looks like a bug—on the bottom-right corner of your Appsmith screen or with CTRL/CMD +D.

Inside the Debugger, live three panes, Errors, Logs, and Inspect Entity, each with their own uses. In the first part of this two part post, we will break the Error pane down for you and see how it can save you hours over browser dev tools in debugging.

If you would much rather just learn about Logs and Inspect Entity, bookmark this post. We will link to Part 2 in five days. :-)

Errors

Borrowing from a browser’s dev tools sub-window but improving on it radically, the Error pane lists all errors that we see when you are building inside Appsmith. Familiar examples include syntax errors from JavaScript bindings, reference errors from queries, and datatype mismatch errors.

Errors in the pane are specific to an Appsmith entity. Translated from Appsmithlish, it means you see helpful error messages about a faulting widget, a rogue query, or a stubborn JS Object.

Untitled.gif (1440×810)
Example of a faulting widget and the error beaconing it
Untitled.gif (1440×810)
A JS Object error

  • These errors get logged to the pane in lockstep with the sequence of code execution in Appsmith.
  • The Error pane is the default view when working with widgets—most noticeable if you have the Debugger sub-window resized as in the pictures in purple—so you know what’s going wrong and where in real-time.
  • The Editor's Error Pane is smarter. It doesn’t automatically switch to the Error pane—Response is the default on this screen—when an error occurs. Instead, the Debug icon lights up in red with a numeric notification that’s like a running ticker for the number of errors the Debugger sees with your queries or JS Objects. Click it to open the Error pane.
  • Every error you see in the pane follows a template with a few helpful pieces of info to help you debug.
image_high.jpeg (1920×1080)
Numbers on this image correspond to bullets below. Images in sub-bullets below show what the sub-bullet talks about.

The timestamp

Logged as your code executes or a value evaluates with your widgets, these little breadcrumbs help you track back from when the error occurred to when last it was A-Okay.

The issue

Depending on the error type, you will see a couple different kinds of issues.

  1. With widgets, you’ll see the faulting widget property’s name. An example of this is the commonplace The value at tableData is invalid, occurring when the property tableData expects an Array<Object> datatype but you have an Array<List> instead.
  2. With queries, you see more specific errors, often specific to the datasource you are running your queries to, often indicated by status codes returned by your failing requests.
  3. With JS Objects, we straight-up level with you about the parseability of your functions. Parseability probably isn’t a word, but you know what we mean.

The source

This has two parts to it—the entity’s name.the type of entity the troublesome one is, e.g., SELECT1.WIDGET. As is obvious and has been to you, SELECT1 is the entity’s name and WIDGET is the entity type.

👌🏾 Appsmith Experience plug: Clicking the source takes you to the faulting entity anywhere in Appsmith, be it a widget, a query, or a JS Object. Noice!

The message

This is the most helpful part of the message, beginning with Error and ending with a helpful bit of text or a number.

  1. Because widgets bind to queries or JS Objects using JavaScript, quite a few errors you see are the same as familiar JavaScript errors like SyntaxError or TypeError. Some other errors show is not defined. This is when a variable, a query, or a JS Object isn’t defined, but you have specified it in the Property pane.
  2. In the Editor, these messages go a step further and call out the line number in the editor that has the faulting code. For example, Line 2: Unrecognized token '$'. This type of message has three parts to it.
Post_9.jpg (1920×1080)

1. The type: Error

2. The string: relation “public.user” does not exit

3. The line number: Position 15

😻 Appsmith Experience plug: Clicking the message will open our in-app docs finder and run a helpful search to show you top docs matching the error.

Response from queries or bindings

This doesn’t always show, but when it does, it can show you helpful responses with query params or evaluated values of data bindings.

Post_10.jpg (1920×1080)
  1. With widgets, you’ll see the evaluated value from the bindings.
  2. With queries, you’ll see the payload from the API you are querying.

“How does all of this help?”

Consider two situations we have painfully drawn for you.

State #1

You have several queries and widgets on your way to a complete build.

Condition #1

You have nested queries inside JS Objects. Meaning, these queries are binded to multiple widgets via JavaScript transformations and have dependent parameters with each other.

Scenario #1

A query fails and returns an error.

Without the Appsmith Debugger

You decide to sift through the browser dev tools sub-window, trying to locate the faulty query in something that looks like ↓.

The_browser_console.png (1920×1080)

When you find the first problem query, you’re hoping against hope this is your patient zero.

  1. If so, congratulations aren’t quite in order yet. You’re still going to have to surgery the query to see what went wrong where.
  2. With browser tools, may you be lucky and find a fix in the first hour.

Most times, though, Murphy’s Law applies.

  1. Meaning, you will need to find the last problem query.
  2. Repeat steps #1 and #2 with all the sub-steps in between

If you have a friend who’s on Appsmith, you hear them say, “Good morning. Do you have a ready app? No? Try the Debugger. 🙄”

With the Appsmith Debugger

You see all the errors from all the failed queries In the Error pane and nothing else to crowd your investigation.

  1. You quickly scan by the type of errors.
  2. Errors are listed in the sequence of query execution.
Post_11.jpg (1920×1080)
So you can simply scroll to the first failed query, and investigate further.

  1. The error message tells you what failed with the params in which line, neatly indented neatly for you.

Don’t remember the query’s name? Pfft! We got it. Click the error message, and go right to the error source.

Trouble troubleshooting? Click the error message and find super-relevant docs in Appsmith’s doc finder.

At the end of it, you save a whole night’s hair-pulls, wake up bright and fresh, sip your coffee, and wonder why some people still use browser dev tools. 🤔 Maybe you should refer them to us.

State #2

You have the data from a REST API and the table for your dashboard, but you have left the chart for the very end. You are sensible like that. Charts are tricky things in general.

Condition #2

You have to bind the chart widget from Fusion Charts or one of our defaults with a query that should output the format Array<{ x: string, y: number Required }> as input to the widget. This will need JavaScript transformations.

Scenario #2

You get a datatype mismatch error.

Without the Appsmith Debugger

You toggle around the floating EXPECTED STRUCTURE, EXPECTED STRUCTURE - EXAMPLE, and EVALUATED VALUE panes to understand the chart widget’s configuration.

You have a JS Object for the transformation, so you now switch back and forth between the canvas and the JS Editor for each possible fix in the JS code.

  1. By now, you have console.loged your way to the browser tools sub-window. Magnet, meet Iron Fillings In A Haystack.
  2. Forgot the change you made to the JS Object five tries ago? Yeah, well, no System Logs, so what can you do, right? Maybe note each change on Sublime or VS Code from this point on.

With the Appsmith Debugger

Post_12.jpg (1920×1080)

Right after you run the transformation, you see the floating-pane-that-we-don’t have-a-name-for-yet show you some red and the Error pane light up with all your errors, timestamped and sequenced by the order of code execution.

  1. You see the type of error and the evaluated value for the faulting entity. Stick to this without worrying about the unnamed floating pane.
  2. Your query has trouble getting a response from your datasource, so you see that error, but hey, you also see the binding failure of that same query with the widget.
  3. No hunting for the query or the widget you want to troubleshoot. One click from the Debugger and you are transported to the associated entity.
Debugger_with_click-actions__JS_Editor.jpg (1920×1080)

You see all the errors from the transformation in one pane with click-actions for each one of them.

Docs_finder_from_Response__Appsmith.gif (1440×810)

Error messages not enough? Click the error and choose, Browse code snippets, and voila! You now now search for the chart + the query right there and see some of our helpful docs.

Made it to here? Your life inside Appsmith is going to change.

Also, this is just part one of this two-part breakdown. What’s next?

https://media.giphy.com/media/3kIGmlW0lvpnmF3bGy/giphy.gif

Better than post-credits. A whole other movie featuring Logs and Inspect Entity. Meanwhile, here’s a few things you can do.

Until the next Debugger post, Appsmiths.

P.S.: We love you.

GraphQL is now available in Appsmith
21
September
2022
Announcement

GraphQL is now available in Appsmith

GraphQL is now available in Appsmith
Vihar Kurama
0
 minutes ↗
#
graphql
#
integrations
Announcement

We have teased the availability of GraphQL CRUD operations inside Appsmith for more than a couple weeks now. And we are excited to announce it’s finally here!

What_you_really_want_is_GraphQL.jpg (700×498)

Appsmith now natively supports both authenticated and unauthenticated GraphQL API endpoints with native GraphQL methods for querying your connected endpoints.

Before we dive in

GraphQL is many things to many devs. For this feature, we will talk about GraphQL as it is understood most popularly—a query language and a runtime for your existing data.

While there was a way to use GraphQL inside Appsmith, it was not the easiest.

  • Because Appsmith only supported REST APIs, you would have to transform GraphQL fetch queries with JSON.stringify. Less painful than mutations
  • For each write or update query, in addition to transforming the query, you would have to specify an object and then define the object’s variables in the query body. Each variable would have to be brought in from the widgets you used on the canvas. More painful
  • We didn’t have auto-complete for variables inside queries until recently, so you would need to switch between the editor and the canvas. Super-painful

Given how popular GraphQL is with devs in general and those using Appsmith in particular, it was a no-brainer to ship native support as soon as we could, but we had to ensure we weren’t leading you onto tricky ground for connecting a datasource, writing queries, or getting variable names from widgets. Several careful considerations later, we are ready for the expose.

Let’s dive in

GraphQL inside Appsmith supports both unauthenticated—for single-use queries—and authenticated—for reusable datasource configs like the URL and params—API endpoints. To both endpoint types, you can,

  • Run dynamic query operations with variables from your Appsmith widgets
  • Write, update, or delete data with mutations
  • Paginate your data by Limit And Offset or Keysets, also called cursor-based pagination
☝🏾 We will assume you have created a new app—recommended in your Appsmith account—and have a ready GraphQL endpoint, e.g., https://api.github.com/graphql in the rest of this post.

Connecting an API

  • For single-use queries, you can use an unauthenticated API endpoint. Specify URL, headers, and query params and start writing your query just as you would with a REST API datasource.
  • For reusable configs like URL and params, choose Authenticated GraphQL API. In addition to specifying a URL, headers, and params, you would need to configure your authentication method, again, just as with a REST API.

Query and Mutation

GraphQL uses query to fetch data and mutation to write data from and to the endpoint.

  • You will notice we have a two-pane layout for the query object and variables from your Appsmith widgets.
  • A good way to test query out is to write the body without params and run the query to see its response.
Query_variables_and_response_with_GraphQL__Appsmith.gif (1024×576)
  • Or maybe you are feeling bold already and would like to specify a param—an object in GraphQL parlance—to your query.
☝🏾 GraphQL queries in Appsmith auto-indent, just like REST API ones.
  • Variables follow the usual GraphQL enforcements and need to be in their own object. Hence, the second pane. You pass the variable to the query operation as a key-value-pair argument, but you already know that, so we will stop being preachy now.
Variables_evaluated_values_and_query_params_with_GraphQL__Appsmith.gif (1440×810)
  • While most GraphQL implementations show the variable object right below the query object in the body of the request, we think a two-pane layout simplifies the experience when you have longer query objects with several nested sub-fields.
  • You can specify variables from your Appsmith widgets for dynamic bindings, of course.
Evaluated_values_with_GraphQL__Appsmith.gif (1440×810)
  • And, auto-complete works inside {{ }} just like you would expect it to. Sweet, right?
☝🏾 Last preach. Promise. GraphQL relies heavily on the database schema exposed by the endpoint and query operations need to adhere to the schema to return expected responses.
  • You can use fragment with your queries inside Appsmith to do away with repeating sets of fields that you would otherwise need to specify over and over again.

query issueDetailsFragment{
  repository(owner:"appsmithorg", name:"appsmith"){
    issues(orderBy:{field:CREATED_AT, direction:DESC},first:5){
      nodes{
        ...issueDetails
      }
      pageInfo{
        endCursor
        hasNextPage
        hasPreviousPage
        startCursor
      }
    }
  }
}

fragment issueDetails on Issue{
	id
  number
  title
  url
}

  • mutations always need an argu…

  Sorry, we started being preachy again.

  • Much like with query, you can use variables from your Appsmith widgets in mutations operations.
Mutations_with_GraphQL__Appsmith.gif (1280×720)

Pagination

You will see a Pagination tab under every GraphQL query, much like with a REST API, where you can choose from one of two supported pagination methods in Appsmith.

  • Limit and offset: Straightforward and basic, this method expects a limit and an offset value.
Link_and_offset_pagination_with_GraphQL__Appsmith.gif (1440×810)

Example


query GetAllUsers($limitz1:Int, $offsetz:Int){
  users(limit:$limitz1, offset:$offsetz){
    id
    country
    dob
    email
    gender
    image
    latitude
    longitude
    name
    phone
  }
}

  • Cursor-based pagination: One of GraphQL’s powerful features, this method expects a last location  and where you need to go next as limits to traverse through the graph of your data. We make room for that with four variable fields that make it easy to paginate your apps.
Cursor-based_paginaton_with_GraphQL__Appsmith.gif (1440×810)

Example


query getIssues(
  $orgName: String!
  $repoName: String!
  $beforeValue: String
  $afterValue: String
  $lastValue: Int
) {
  repository(owner: {{Input2.text}}, name: {{Input3.text}} ) {
    issues(
      orderBy: { field: CREATED_AT, direction: DESC }
      first: 5
      last: $lastValue
      before: $beforeValue
      after: $afterValue
    ) {
      nodes {
        id
        title
      }
      pageInfo {
        endCursor
        hasNextPage
        hasPreviousPage
        startCursor
      }
    }
  }
}

Your choice of method will depend on the GraphQL implementation of your endpoint. In our example, we have used the GitHub GraphQL endpoint which supports cursor-based pagination.

🥳

We are pretty excited for GraphQL in Appsmith and can’t wait to see how you use the feature for your apps. You can’t wait either to get your hands on it?

What’s next

We look forward to learning from your experience, closely listening to your feedback, and informing our roadmap. Here’s what’s coming down the pike.

A GraphQL schema explorer like GraphiQL

  • This will save you hours in switching between Appsmith and another GraphQL explorer like GraphiQL, so pretty exciting as the next-big-what but we will be deliberate in baking this into the native Appsmith experience.

Auto-complete for GraphQL schema attributes and fields

  • To improve dev productivity, we will extend auto-complete’s power to your GraphQL attributes and fields, so you can do away with going to your GraphQL schema each time you write a query.

Multiple GraphQL queries in the same request body

  • Despite GraphQL running each query separately, there’s significant value to being able to write as many queries as you want to in the same request.