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Simple REST API with Adonis JS


On the last ADB meetup, we have a conversation about what framework we usually use in creating a REST API. Then, Adonis.Js is being mentioned. I know Adonis but haven't got a chance to test it, so let's test it now!

We're gonna use Adonis 4.0 as it the latest version when this article is written


A simple REST API with CRUD functionality. So there will be 4 endpoints. The model we're gonna build is a Car with only name and type as its property. The database would be MySQL (not to simple, i know)

Command Line Interface (CLI)

The cool thing about Adonis is that they have their own CLI. They event have the library to create your own CLI application.

You can install it with NPM

$ npm i -g @adonisjs/cli

Getting Started

After installing the CLI we can create the application boilerplate with

# simple-api is our project name
$ adonis new simple-api --api-only

Hey, your application is starting to have a shape now. You can try the boilerplate code with

$ adonis serve --dev

This will serve your app in localhost:3333 assuming you're using default adonis development port.

You should see a hello message within a JSON object if you trying to access the localhost

{ "greeting": "Hello world in JSON" }

Environment & Database

Before we continue, we should setup our environment and database first. To define the database connection, change your .env file. It should be something like this


As for the database, the simplest way is Docker


Creating model in Adonis is easy, we just use make:model

$ adonis make:model Car --migratio
$ ✔ create  app/Models/Car.js
$ ✔ create database/migrations/1513565285944_car_schema.js

The --migration parameter is to create database migration. In Adonis we use this to create and define database tables. Also as the name imply, you can use it for upgrading or downgrading schema as well.

OK, so let's define our Car table first. Open up your schema file that just created by the CLI tools in database/migrations directory. So because we only want a name and type of a car as our data, the schema will goes like this

'use strict'

const Schema = use('Schema')

class CarSchema extends Schema {
  up () {
    this.create('cars', (table) => {
      table.string('type) // this could be enum

  down () {

module.exports = CarSchema

The schema builder API is based on Knex.

The last thing to do here is run the migration, but since we use MySQL as our database, we have to install the MySQL module first.

$ adonis install mysql
# adonis install is basically an NPM install with extra step

Run the migration through Adonis CLI

$ adonis migration:run

Done. You can check your cars table now.


Now it's time to map the request. Open start/routes.js. This file contains your routing definition. The API is pretty simple you can read more about it here

Since we only want a CRUD functions, the endpoints would consist of:

  1. GET /cars (get all cars)
  2. DELETE /cars/:id (delete one car)
  3. POST /cars?name=&type= (create one car)
  4. POST /cars/:id?name=&type= (update one car)

We also want to group this endpoints into a specific version, in this case v1. For this case we use This will append all the route with prefix /v1.

Ex: If we use localhost:3333, get all the cars would be localhost:3333/v1/cars/ => {
  Route.get('/cars', () => {})
  Route.delete('/cars/:id', () => {})'/cars', () => {})'/cars/:id', () => {})

Putting It All Together

Now we just have to return what each endpoints wants! Technically, in real world example, our business logic and all database query would be placed in different place like Controllers to keep separation of concerns. But for simplicity we're gonna put it here. => {
  Route.get('/cars', async () => {
    return await Car.all()
  })'/cars', async ({ request }) => {
    const parameter = request.only(['name', 'type'])

    const newCar = new Car() =
    newCar.type = parameter.type


    return newCar
  })'/cars/:id', async ({ params, request }) => {
    const parameter = request.only(['name', 'type'])

    const car = await Car.find(
    if (!car) {
      return response.status(404).json({ message: 'Car not found' })
    } =
    car.type = parameter.type


    return car

  Route.delete('/cars/:id', async ({ params, request, response }) => {
    const car = await Car.find(
    if (!car) {
      return response.status(404).json({ message: 'Car not found' })
    await car.delete()
    return response.status(200).json({ message: 'Car deleted!' })

Done! We should test our API now.


We're using HTTPie as our HTTP client.

HTTP header will be omitted here


$ adonis serve --dev

Create request & response:

$ http POST locahost:3333/v1/cars name='Baleno' type='Sedan'
  "created_at": "2017-12-18 10:50:12",
  "id": 2,
  "name": "yaris",
  "type": "mini bus",
  "updated_at": "2017-12-18 10:50:12"

Get all cars request and response:

$ http localhost:3333/v1/cars
    "created_at": "2017-12-18 10:39:57",
    "id": 1,
    "name": "yaris",
    "type": "mini bus",
    "updated_at": "2017-12-18 10:39:57"
    "created_at": "2017-12-18 10:50:12",
    "id": 2,
    "name": "yaris",
    "type": "mini bus",
    "updated_at": "2017-12-18 10:50:12"


I think Adonis is easy enough to getting started with. The powerful CLI tools and the sufficient official documentation is a great help to move forward.

All the code here can be accessed on my Github Repo

That's all from me. Cao \ud83d\udc4b