Creating the Notes application

Since we’re starting a new application, we can use the Express generator to give us a starting point. It is not absolutely necessary to use this tool since we can definitely write the code ourselves. The advantage, however, is that it gives us a fully fleshed out starting point:

$ mkdir notes

$ cd notes

$ npx express-generator@4.x –view=hbs –git . destination is not empty, continue? [y/N] y

create : .

create : ./package.json

create : ./app.js

create : ./.gitignore

create : ./public

create : ./routes

create : ./routes/index.js

create : ./routes/users.js

create : ./views

create : ./views/index.hbs

create : ./views/layout.hbs

create : ./views/error.hbs

create : ./bin

create : ./bin/www

create : ./public/stylesheets

create : ./public/stylesheets/style.css

 install dependencies:

$ cd . && npm install

run the app:

$ DEBUG=notes:* npm start

create : ./public/javascripts

create : ./public/images

$ npm install

added 82 packages and removed 5 packages in 97.188s 

As in the previous chapter, we will use cross-env to ensure that the scripts run cross-platform. Start by changing package.json to have the following scripts section:

“scripts”: {

“start”: “cross-env DEBUG=notes:* node ./app.mjs”


The supplied script uses bin/www, but shortly, we’ll restructure the generated code to put everything into a single ES6 script named app.mjs.

Then, install cross-env, as follows:

$ npm install cross-env –save 

With cross-env, the scripts are executable on either Unix-like systems or Windows.

If you wish, you can run npm start and view the blank application in your browser. Instead, let’s rewrite this starting-point code using ES6 modules, and also combine the contents of bin/www with app.mjs.

1. Rewriting the generated router module as an ES6 module

Let’s start with the routes directory. Since we won’t have a Users concept right now, delete users.js. We need to convert the JavaScript files into ES6 format, and we can recall that the simplest way for a module to be recognized as an ES6 module is to use the .mjs extension. Therefore, rename index.js to index.mjs, rewriting it as follows:

import { default as express } from ‘express’;

export const router = express.Router();

router.get(‘/’, async (req, res, next) => {

//… placeholder for Notes home page code

res.render(‘index’, { title: ‘Notes’ });


We’ll finish this up later, but what we’ve done is restructured the code we were given. We can import the Express package, and then export the router object. Adding router functions is, of course, the done in the same way, whether it is a CommonJS or an ES6 module. We made the router callback an async function because it will be using async code.

We’ll need to follow the same pattern for any other router modules we create.

Having converted this to an ES6 module, the next step is to merge code from bin/www and app.js into an ES6 module named app.mjs.

2. Creating the Notes application wiring – app.mjs

Since the express-generator tool gives us a slightly messy application structure that does not use ES6 modules, let’s reformulate the code it gave us appropriately. The first, app.mjs, contains the wiring of the application, meaning it configures the objects and functions from which the application is built while not containing any functions of its own. The other code, appsupport.mjs, contains the callback functions that appeared in the generated app.js and bin/www modules.

In app.mjs, start with this:

import { default as express } from ‘express’;

import { default as hbs } from’hbs’;

import * as path from ‘path’;

// import * as favicon from ‘serve-favicon’;

import { default as logger } from ‘morgan’;

import { default as cookieParser } from ‘cookie-parser’;

import { default as bodyParser } from ‘body-parser’;

import * as http from ‘http’;

import { approotdir } from ‘./approotdir.mjs’;

const dirname = approotdir;

import {

normalizePort, onError, onListening, handle404, basicErrorHandler

} from ‘./appsupport.mjs’;

import { router as indexRouter } from ‘./routes/index.mjs’;

// import { router as notesRouter } from ‘./routes/notes.mjs’;

The generated app.js code had a series of require statements. We have rewritten them to use corresponding import statements. We also added code to calculate the     filename and      dirname variables, but presented a little differently. To support this, add a new module, approotdir.mjs, containing the following:

import * as path from ‘path’;

import * as url from ‘url’;

const filename = url.fileURLToPath(import.meta.url);

const dirname = path.dirname( filename);

export const approotdir = dirname;

In the dirname-fixed.mjs example in Chapter 3, Exploring Node.js Modules, we imported specific functions from the path and url core modules. We have used that code and then exported the value for     dirname as approotdir. Other parts of the Notes application simply need the pathname of the root directory of the application in order to calculate the required pathnames.

Return your attention to app.mjs and you’ll see that the router modules are imported as indexRouter and notesRouter. For the moment, notesRouter is commented out, but we’ll get to that in a later section.

Now, let’s initialize the express application object:

export const app = express();

// view engine setup

app.set(‘views’, path.join( dirname, ‘views’));

app.set(‘view engine’, ‘hbs’);

hbs.registerPartials(path.join( dirname, ‘partials’));

// uncomment after placing your favicon in /public

//app.use(favicon(path.join( dirname, ‘public’, ‘favicon.ico’)));



app.use(bodyParser.urlencoded({ extended: false }));


app.use(express.static(path.join( dirname, ‘public’)));

// Router function lists app.use(‘/’, indexRouter);

// app.use(‘/notes’, notesRouter);

// error handlers

// catch 404 and forward to error handler app.use(handle404);


export const port = normalizePort(process.env.PORT || ‘3000’);

app.set(‘port’, port);

This should look familiar to the app.js code we used in the previous chapter. Instead of inline functions, however, they’re pushed into appsupport.mjs.

The app and port objects are exported in case some other code in the application needs those values.

This section of code creates and configures the Express application instance. To make it a complete running server, we need the following code:

export const server = http.createServer(app);


server.on(‘error’, onError);

server.on(‘listening’, onListening);

This section of code wraps the Express application in an HTTP server and gets it listening to HTTP requests. The server object is also exported in case other code wants to access it.

Compare app.mjs with the generated app.js and bin/www code and you will see that we’ve covered everything in those two modules except for the inline functions. These inline functions could be written at the end of app.mjs, but we’ve elected instead to create a second module to hold them.

Create appsupport.mjs to hold the inline functions, starting with the following:

import { port } from ‘./app.mjs’;

export function normalizePort(val) {

const port = parseInt(val, 10);

if (isNaN(port)) {

return val;


if (port >= 0) {

return port;


return false;


This function handles safely converting a port number string that we might be given into a numerical value that can be used in the application. The isNaN test is used to handle cases where instead of a TCP port number, we want to use a named pipe.

Look carefully at the other functions and you’ll see that they all accommodate either a numerical port number or a string described as a pipe:

export function onError(error) {

if (error.syscall !== ‘listen’) {

throw error;


const bind = typeof port === ‘string’

? ‘Pipe ‘ + port

: ‘Port ‘ + port;

switch (error.code) {

case ‘EACCES’:

console.error(‘${bind} requires elevated privileges’);




console.error(‘${bind} is already in use’);




throw error;



The preceding code handles errors from the HTTP server object. Some of these errors will simply cause the server to exit:

import { server } from ‘./app.mjs’;

export function onListening() {

const addr = server.address();

const bind = typeof addr === ‘string’

? ‘pipe ‘ + addr

: ‘port ‘ + addr.port;

console.log(‘Listening on ${bind}’);


The preceding code prints a user-friendly message saying where the server is listening for HTTP connections. Because this function needs to reference the server object, we have imported it:

export function handle404(req, res, next) {

const err = new Error(‘Not Found’);

err.status = 404;



export function basicErrorHandler(err, req, res, next) {

// Defer to built-in error handler if headersSent

// See:

if (res.headersSent) {

return next(err)


// set locals, only providing error in development

res.locals.message = err.message;

res.locals.error =‘env’) === ‘development’ ?

err : {};

// render the error page

res.status(err.status || 500);



These were previously inline functions implementing error handling for the Express application.

The result of these changes is that app.mjs is now clean of distracting code, and it instead focuses on connecting together the different parts that make up the application. Since Express is not opinionated, it does not care that we restructured the code like this. We can structure the code in any way that makes sense to us and that correctly calls the Express API.

Since this application is about storing data, let’s next talk about the data storage modules.

3. Implementing the Notes data storage model

Remember that we decided earlier to put data model and data storage code into a directory named models to go along with the views and routes directories. Together, these three directories will separately store the three sides of the MVC paradigm.

The idea is to centralize the implementation details of storing data. The data storage modules will present an API for storing and manipulating application data, and over the course of this book, we’ll make several implementations of this API. To switch between one storage engine to another, we will just require a configuration change. The rest of the application will use the same API methods, regardless of the storage engine being used.

To start, let’s define a pair of classes to describe the data model. Create a file named models/Notes.mjs with the following code in it:

const _note_key = Symbol(‘key’);

const _note_title = Symbol(‘title’);

const _note_body = Symbol(‘body’);

export class Note {

constructor(key, title, body) {

this[_note_key] = key;

this[_note_title] = title;

this[_note_body] = body;


get key() { return this[_note_key]; }

get title() { return this[_note_title]; }

set title(newTitle) { this[_note_title] = newTitle; }

get body() { return this[_note_body]; }

set body(newBody) { this[_note_body] = newBody; }


export class AbstractNotesStore {

async close() { }

async update(key, title, body) { }

async create(key, title, body) { }

async read(key) { }

async destroy(key) { }

async keylist() { }

async count() { }


This defines two classes—Note and AbstractNotesStore—whose purpose is as follows:

The Note class describes a single note that our application will manage. The AbstractNotesStore class describes methods for managing some note instances.

In the Note class, key is how we look for the specific note, and title and body are the content of the note. It uses an important data hiding technique, which we’ll discuss in a minute.

The AbstractNotesStore class documents the methods that we’ll use for accessing notes from a data storage system. Since we want the Notes application to implement the CRUD paradigm, we have the create, read, update, and destroy methods, plus a couple more to assist in searching for notes. What we have here is an empty class that serves to document the API, and we will use this as the base class for several storage modules that we’ll implement later.

The close method is meant to be used when we’re done with a datastore. Some datastores keep an open connection to a server, such as a database server, and the close method should be used to close that connection.

This is defined with async functions because we’ll store data in the filesystem or in databases. In either case, we need an asynchronous API.

Before implementing our first data storage model, let’s talk about data hiding in JavaScript classes.

3.1. Data hiding in ES-2015 class definitions

In many programming languages, class definitions let us designate some data fields as private and others as public. This is so that programmers can hide implementation details. However, writing code on the Node.js platform is all about JavaScript, and JavaScript, in general, is very lax about everything. So, by default, fields in an instance of a JavaScript class are open to any code to access or modify.

One concern arises if you have several modules all adding fields or functions to the same object. How do you guarantee that one module won’t step on fields added by another module? By default, in JavaScript, there is no such guarantee.

Another concern is hiding implementation details so that the class can be changed while knowing that internal changes won’t break other code. By default, JavaScript fields are open to all other code, and there’s no guarantee other code won’t access fields that are meant to be private.

The technique used in the Note class gates access to the fields through getter and setter functions. These in turn set or get values stored in the instance of the class. By default, those values are visible to any code, and so these values could be modified in ways that are incompatible with the class. The best practice when designing classes is to localize all manipulation of class instance data to the member functions. However, JavaScript makes the fields visible to the world, making it difficult to follow this best practice. The pattern used in the Note class is the closest we can get in JavaScript to data hiding in a class instance.

The technique we use is to name the fields using instances of the Symbol class. Symbol, another ES-2015 feature, is an opaque object with some interesting attributes that make it attractive for use as keys for private fields in objects. Consider the following code:

$ node

Welcome to Node.js v12.13.0.

Type “.help” for more information.

> Symbol(‘a’) === Symbol(‘a’)


> let b = Symbol(‘b’)


> log(b) Symbol(b)


> let b1 = Symbol(‘b’)


> log(b1) Symbol(b)


> b === b1


> b === b


Creating a Symbol instance is done with Symbol(‘symbol-name’). The resulting Symbol instance is a unique identifier, and even if you call Symbol(‘symbol- name’) again, the uniqueness is preserved. Each Symbol instance is unique from all other Symbol instances, even ones that are formed from the same string. In this example, the b and b1 variables were both formed by calling Symbol(‘b’), but they are not equivalent.

Let’s see how we can use a Symbol instance to attach fields to an object:

> const obj = {};


> obj[Symbol(‘b’)] = ‘b’;


> obj[Symbol(‘b’)] = ‘b1’;


> obj

{ [Symbol(b)]: ‘b’, [Symbol(b)]: ‘b1’ }


We’ve created a little object, then used those Symbol instances as field keys to store data in the object. Notice that when we dump the object’s contents, the two fields both register as Symbol(b), but they are two separate fields.

With the Note class, we have used the Symbol instances to provide a small measure of data hiding. The actual values of the Symbol instances are hidden inside Notes.mjs. This means the only code that can directly access the fields is the code running inside Notes.mjs:

> let note = new Note(‘key’, ‘title’, ‘body’) undefined

> note Note {

[Symbol(key)]: ‘key’,

[Symbol(title)]: ‘title’,

[Symbol(body)]: ‘body’


> note[Symbol(‘key’)] = ‘new key’ ‘new key’

> note Note {

[Symbol(key)]: ‘key’,

[Symbol(title)]: ‘title’,

[Symbol(body)]: ‘body’,

[Symbol(key)]: ‘new key’


With the Note class defined, we can create a Note instance, and then dump it and see the resulting fields. The keys to these fields are indeed Symbol instances. These Symbol instances are hidden inside the module. The fields themselves are visible to code outside the module. As we can see here, an attempt to subvert the instance with note[Symbol(‘key’)] = ‘new key’ does not overwrite the field but instead adds a second field.

With our data types defined, let’s start implementing the application, beginning with a simple in-memory datastore.

4. Implementing an in-memory Notes datastore

Eventually, we will create a Notes data storage module that persists the notes to long-term storage. But to get us started, let’s implement an in-memory datastore so that we can get on with implementing the application. Because we designed an abstract base class, we can easily create new implementations of that class for various storage services.

Create a file named notes-memory.mjs in the models directory with the following code:

import { Note, AbstractNotesStore } from ‘./Notes.mjs’;

const notes = [];

export class InMemoryNotesStore extends AbstractNotesStore {

async close() { }

async update(key, title, body) {

notes[key] = new Note(key, title, body);

return notes[key];


async create(key, title, body) {

notes[key] = new Note(key, title, body);

return notes[key];


async read(key) {

if (notes[key]) return notes[key];

else throw new Error(‘Note ${key} does not exist’);


async destroy(key) {

if (notes[key]) {

delete notes[key];

} else throw new Error(‘Note ${key} does not exist’);


async keylist() {

return Object.keys(notes);


async count() {

return notes.length;



This should be fairly self-explanatory. The notes are stored in a private array, named notes. The operations, in this case, are defined in terms of adding or removing items in that array. The key object for each Note instance is used as the index to the notes array, which in turn holds the Note instance. This is simple, fast, and easy to implement. It does not support any long-term data persistence, and any data stored in this model will disappear when the server is killed.

We need to initialize an instance of NotesStore so that it can be used in the application. Let’s add the following to app.mjs, somewhere near the top:

import { InMemoryNotesStore } from ‘./models/notes-memory.mjs’;

export const NotesStore = new InMemoryNotesStore();

This creates an instance of the class and exports it as NotesStore. This will work so long as we have a single NotesStore instance, but in Chapter 7, Data Storage and Retrieval, we will change this around to support dynamically selecting a NotesStore instance.

We’re now ready to start implementing the web pages and associated code for the application, starting with the home page.

5. The Notes home page

We’re going to modify the starter application to support creating, editing, updating, viewing, and deleting notes. Let’s start by changing the home page to show a list of notes, and have a top navigation bar linking to an ADD Note page so that we can always add a new note.

There’s no change required in app.mjs because the home page is generated in routes controlled in this router module:

import { router as indexRouter } from ‘./routes/index.mjs’;


app.use(‘/’, indexRouter);

In app.mjs, we configured the Handlebars template engine to use the partials directory to hold partial files. Therefore, make sure you create that directory.

To implement the home page, update routes/index.mjs to the following:

import * as express from ‘express’;

import { NotesStore as notes } from ‘../app.mjs’;

export const router = express.Router();

/* GET home page. */

router.get(‘/’, async (req, res, next) => {

try {

const keylist = await notes.keylist();

// console.log(‘keylist ${util.inspect(keylist)}’);

const keyPromises = => {



const notelist = await Promise.all(keyPromises);

// console.log(util.inspect(notelist));

res.render(‘index’, {

title: ‘Notes’, notelist: notelist });

} catch (err) {




We showed the outline for this earlier, and having defined the Notes data storage model, we can fill in this function.

This uses the AbstractNotesStore API that we designed earlier. The keylist method returns a list of the key values for notes currently stored by the application. Then, it uses the read method to retrieve each note and pass that list to a template that renders the home page. This template will render a list of the notes.

What’s the best way to retrieve all the notes? We could have written a simple for loop, as follows:

const keylist = await notes().keylist();

const notelist = [];

for (key of keylist) {

let note = await;

notelist.push({ key: note.key, title: note.title });


This has the advantage of being simple to read since it’s a simple for loop. The problem is that this loop reads the notes one at a time. It’s possible that reading the notes in parallel is more efficient since there’s an opportunity to interweave the processing.

The Promise.all function executes an array of Promises in parallel, rather than one at a time. The keyPromises variable ends up being an array of Promises, each of which is executing to retrieve a single note.

The map function in the arrays converts (or maps) the values of an input array to produce an output array with different values. The output array has the same length as the input array, and the entries are a one-to-one mapping of the input value to an output value. In this case, we map the keys in keylist to a Promise that’s waiting on a function that is reading each note. Then, Promise.all waits for all the Promises to resolve into either success or failure states.

The output array, notelist, will be filled with the notes once all the Promises succeed. If any Promises fail, they are rejected—in other words, an exception will be thrown instead.

The notelist array is then passed into the view template that we’re about to write.

But first, we need a page layout template. Create a file, views/layout.hbs, containing the following:

<!DOCTYPE html>




<link rel=’stylesheet’ href=’/stylesheets/style.css’ />



{{> header }}




This is the file generated by express-generator, with the addition of a header partial for the page header.

Remember that in the Fibonacci application, we used a partial to store the HTML snippet for the navigation. Partials are just that—HTML template snippets that can be reused in one or more templates. In this case, the header partial will appear on every page and serve as a common navigation bar across the application. Create partials/header.hbs, containing the following:


<h1>{{ title }}</h1>

<div class=’navbar’>

<p><a href=’/’>Home</a> | <a href=’/notes/add’>ADD Note</a></p>



This simply looks for a variable, title, which should have the page title. It also outputs a navigation bar containing a pair of links—one to the home page and another to /notes/add, where the user will be able to add a new note.

Now, let’s rewrite views/index.hbs to this:


{{#each notelist}}

<li>{{ key }}:

<a href=”/notes/view?key={{ key }}”>{{ title }}</a>




This simply steps through the array of note data and formats a simple listing. Each item links to the /notes/view URL with a key parameter. We have yet to write code to handle that URL, but will obviously display the note. Another thing to note is that no HTML for the list is generated if notelist is empty.

There is, of course, a whole lot more that could be put into this. For example, it’s easy to add jQuery support to every page just by adding the appropriate script tags here.

We have now written enough to run the application, so let’s view the home page:

$ DEBUG=notes:* npm start 

> notes@0.0.0 start /Users/David/chap05/notes

> node ./bin/www 

notes:server Listening on port 3000 +0ms

GET / 200 87.300 ms – 308

GET /stylesheets/style.css 200 27.744 ms – 111 

If we visit http://localhost:3000, we will see the following page:

Because there aren’t any notes (yet), there’s nothing to show. Clicking on the Home link just refreshes the page. Clicking on the ADD Note link throws an error because we haven’t (yet) implemented that code. This shows that the provided error handler in app.mjs is performing as expected.

Having implemented the home page, we need to implement the various pages of the application. We will start with the page for creating new notes, and then we will implement the rest of the CRUD support.

6. Adding a new note – create

If we click on the ADD Note link, we get an error because the application doesn’t have a route configured for the /notes/add URL; we need to add one. To do that, we need a controller module for the notes that defines all the pages for managing notes in the application.

In app.mjs, uncomment the two lines dealing with notesRouter:

import { router as indexRouter } from ‘./routes/index.mjs’;

import { router as notesRouter } from ‘./routes/notes.mjs’;

app.use(‘/’, indexRouter);

app.use(‘/notes’, notesRouter);

We’ll end up with this in app.mjs. We import both routers and then add them to the application configuration.

Create a file named routes/notes.mjs to hold notesRouter, starting with the following content:

// const util = require(‘util’);

import { default as express } from ‘express’;

import { NotesStore as notes } from ‘../app.mjs’;

export const router = express.Router();

// Add Note.

router.get(‘/add’, (req, res, next) => {

res.render(‘noteedit’, {

title: “Add a Note”, docreate: true, notekey: ”,

note: undefined



This handles the /notes/add URL corresponding to the link in partials/header.hbs. It simply renders a template, noteedit, using the provided data.

In the views directory, add the corresponding template, named noteedit.hbs, containing the following:

<form method=’POST’ action=’/notes/save’>

<input type=’hidden’ name=’docreate’ value='<%= docreate ? “create” : “update”%>’>


{{#if docreate }}

<input type=’text’ name=’notekey’ value=”/>


{{#if note }}{{notekey}}{{/if}}

<input type=’hidden’ name=’notekey’

value='{{#if note }}{{notekey}}{{/if}}’/>



<p>Title: <input type=’text’ name=’title’

value='{{#if note }}{{note.title}}{{/if}}’ /></p>

<br/><textarea rows=5 cols=40 name=’body’>

{{#if note }}{{note.body}}{{/if}}</textarea>

<br/><input type=’submit’ value=’Submit’ />


This template supports both creating new notes and updating existing notes. We’ll reuse this template to support both scenarios via the docreate flag.

Notice that the note and notekey objects passed to the template are empty in this case. The template detects this condition and ensures that the input areas are empty. Additionally, a flag, docreate, is passed in so that the form records whether it is being used to create or update a note. At this point, we’re adding a new note, so no note objects exist. The template code is written defensively to not throw errors.

When creating HTML forms like this, you have to be careful with using whitespace in the elements holding the values. Consider a scenario where the <textarea> element was instead formatted like this:

<br/><textarea rows=5 cols=40 name=’body’>

{{#if note }}{{note.body}}{{/if}}


By normal coding practices, this looks alright, right? It’s nicely indented, with the code arranged for easy reading. The problem is that extra whitespace ends up being included in the body value when the form is submitted to the server. That extra whitespace is added because of the nicely indented code. To avoid that extra whitespace, we need to use the angle brackets in the HTML elements that are directly adjacent to the Handlebars code to insert the value. Similar care must be taken with the elements with the value= attributes, ensuring no extra whitespace is within the value string.

This template is a form that will post its data to the /notes/save URL. If you were to run the application now, it would give you an error message because no route is configured for that URL.

To support the /notes/save URL, add it to routes/notes.mjs:

// Save Note (update)‘/save’, async (req, res, next) => {

try {

let note;

if (req.body.docreate === “create”) {

note = await notes.create(req.body.notekey,

req.body.title, req.body.body);

} else {

note = await notes.update(req.body.notekey,

req.body.title, req.body.body);


res.redirect(‘/notes/view?key=’+ req.body.notekey);

} catch (err) { next(err); }


Because this URL will also be used for both creating and updating notes, we check the docreate flag to call the appropriate model operation.

Both notes.create and notes.update are async functions, meaning we must use await.

This is an HTTP POST handler. Because of the bodyParser middleware, the form data is added to the req.body object. The fields attached to req.body correspond directly to elements in the HTML form.

In this, and most of the other router functions, we use the try/catch construct that we discussed earlier to ensure errors are caught and forwarded correctly to Express. The difference between this and the preceding /notes/add router function is whether the router uses an async callback function. In this case, it is an async function, whereas for /notes/add, it is not async. Express knows how to handle errors in non-async callbacks, but it does not know how to handle errors in async callback functions.

Now, we can run the application again and use the Add a Note form:

However, upon clicking on the Submit button, we get an error message. This is because there isn’t anything (yet) to implement the /notes/view URL.

You can modify the URL in the Location box to revisit http://localhost:3000, and you’ll see something similar to the following screenshot on the home page:

The note is actually there; we just need to implement /notes/view. Let’s get on with that.

7. Viewing notes – read

Now that we’ve looked at how to create notes, we need to move on to reading them. This means implementing controller logic and view templates for the /notes/view URL.

Add the following router function to routes/notes.mjs:

// Read Note (read)

router.get(‘/view’, async (req, res, next) => {

try {

let note = await;

res.render(‘noteview’, {

title: note ? note.title : “”,

notekey: req.query.key, note: note


} catch (err) { next(err); }


Because this route is mounted on a router handling, /notes, this route handles /notes/view.

The handler simply calls to read the note. If successful, the note is rendered with the noteview template. If something goes wrong, we’ll instead display an error to the user through Express.

Add the noteview.hbs template to the views directory, referenced by the following code:

{{#if note}}<h3>{{ note.title }}</h3>{{/if}}

{{#if note}}<p>{{ note.body }}</p>{{/if}}

<p>Key: {{ notekey }}</p>

{{#if notekey }}


<p><a href=”/notes/destroy?key={{notekey}}”>Delete</a>

| <a href=”/notes/edit?key={{notekey}}”>Edit</a></p>


This is straightforward; we are taking data out of the note object and displaying it using HTML. At the bottom are two links—one to /notes/destroy to delete the note and the other to /notes/edit to edit it.

Neither of these corresponding codes exists at the moment, but that won’t stop us from going ahead and executing the application:

As expected, with this code, the application correctly redirects to /notes/view, and we can see our handiwork. Also, as expected, clicking on either the Delete or Edit links will give us an error because the code hasn’t yet been implemented.

We’ll next create the code to handle the Edit link and later, one to handle the Delete link.

8. Editing an existing note – update

Now that we’ve looked at the create and read operations, let’s look at how to update or edit a note.

Add the following router function to routes/notes.mjs:

// Edit note (update)

router.get(‘/edit’, async (req, res, next) => {

try {

const note = await;

res.render(‘noteedit’, {

title: note ? (“Edit ” + note.title) : “Add a Note”,

docreate: false,

notekey: req.query.key, note: note


} catch (err) { next(err); }


This handles the /notes/edit URL.

We’re reusing the noteedit.hbs template because it can be used for both the create and update/edit operations. Notice that we pass false for docreate, informing the template that it is to be used for editing.

In this case, we first retrieve the note object and then pass it through to the template. This way, the template is set up for editing, rather than note creation. When the user clicks on the Submit button, we end up in the same /notes/save route handler shown in the preceding screenshot. It already does the right thing—calling the notes.update method in the model, rather than notes.create.

Because that’s all we need to do, we can go ahead and rerun the application:

Click on the Submit button here and you will be redirected to the /notes/view screen, where you will then be able to read the newly edited note. Back at the /notes/view screen, we’ve just taken care of the Edit link, but the Delete link still produces an error.

Therefore, we next need to implement a page for deleting notes.

9. Deleting notes – destroy

Now, let’s look at how to implement the /notes/destroy URL to delete notes. Add the following router function to routes/notes.mjs:

// Ask to Delete note (destroy)

router.get(‘/destroy’, async (req, res, next) => {

try {

const note = await;

res.render(‘notedestroy’, {

title: note ? note.title : “”,

notekey: req.query.key, note: note


} catch (err) { next(err); }


Destroying a note is a significant step, if only because there’s no trash can to retrieve it from if the user makes a mistake. Therefore, we need to ask the user whether they’re sure that they want to delete the note. In this case, we retrieve the note and then render the following page, displaying a question to ensure they definitely want to delete the note.

Add a notedestroy.hbs template to the views directory:

<form method=’POST’ action=’/notes/destroy/confirm’>

<input type=’hidden’ name=’notekey’ value='{{#if note}}{{notekey}}{{/if}}’>

<p>Delete {{note.title}}?</p>

<br/><input type=’submit’ value=’DELETE’ />

<a href=”/notes/view?key={{#if note}}{{notekey}}{{/if}}”>Cancel</a>


This is a simple form that asks the user to confirm by clicking on the button. The Cancel link just sends them back to the /notes/view page. Clicking on the Submit button generates a POST request on the /notes/destroy/confirm URL.

This URL needs a request handler. Add the following code to routes/notes.mjs:

// Really destroy note (destroy)‘/destroy/confirm’, async (req, res, next) => {

try {

await notes.destroy(req.body.notekey);


} catch (err) { next(err); }


This calls the notes.destroy function in the model. If it succeeds, the browser is redirected to the home page. If not, an error message is shown to the user. Rerunning the application, we can now view it in action:

Now that everything is working in the application, you can click on any button or link and keep all the notes you want.

We’ve implemented a bare-bones application for managing notes. Let’s now see how to change the look, since in the next chapter, we’ll implement a mobile-first UI.

Source: Herron David (2020), Node.js Web Development: Server-side web development made easy with Node 14 using practical examples, Packt Publishing.

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