Node.js Handlebars Twitter

Twitter provides REST APIS that make it incredibly easy to access information from Twitter. When combined with Node.js, it becomes a trivial task to create a web application that connects to Twitter and displays the latest tweets for a User.

In order to begin, you will need to register at Twitter’s developers page. The details page will give you several tokens that you will need to connect to Twitter: consumer_key, consumer_secret, access_token_key, and access_token_secret. Keep this information handy as you will need it for later.

Now we can create the project. I use Intellij’s node.js plugin to create my project, but you will want to create a project structure that is similar to the one shown in the following screenshot. You can view a tutorial one how to do this at this link or use your IDE or you may find the directions at Express.js to be useful as well.
Once you have created your project (making sure you have express.js and handlebars.js), you will need to add Twitter. Open up the terminal and navigate to your project’s directory. Then type

npm install twitter

At this point you are ready to begin developing.

Create a keys.js file in your routes folder. Then populate it with the following code. You will use the consumer_key, consumer_secret, access_token_key, and access_token_secret properties that you obtained earlier on Twitter’s developer’s page and replace the values in this file accordinly.

exports.twitterKeys = {
    consumer_key: '[your consumer key here]',
    consumer_secret: '[your consumer secret here]',
    access_token_key: '[your access_token_key here]',
    access_token_secret: '[your acess_token_secret here]',

The next job is to write the index.js file that handles HTTP GET and POST requests. (You can view this tutorial for more information). The code is very short as we are only handling a GET and POST request.

//Pull in our libraries
var express = require('express');
var router = express.Router();
var Twitter = require('twitter');

//Get our access keys
var keys = require('./keys.js');

//Create twitter client
var twitter = new Twitter(keys.twitterKeys);

//Store our tweets
var tweets = [];

/* GET home page. */
router.get('/', function (req, res) {
    res.render('index', {title: 'Node Twitter', tweets: tweets});
});'/', function (req, res) {
    //Get the user name and number of tweets from the form
    var user = req.body.user_name;
    var numTweets = req.body.tweets;

    //Clear out old tweets
    tweets = [];

    //Hit Twitter for the information
    twitter.get('statuses/user_timeline', {screen_name: user, count: numTweets})
        .then(function (tw) {
            //Loop through the results
            for (var i = 0; i < tw.length; i++) {
                tweets.push({timestamp: tw[i]['created_at'], tweet: tw[i]['text']});
            //Render the index page with the tweets
            res.render('index', {title: 'Node Twitter', tweets: tweets});
        .catch(function (error) {
            throw error;

module.exports = router;

The magic of retrieving tweets is done with the twitter.get(). This function takes a rest endpoint (see here for a list) along with a map of arguments that end up becoming URL parameters in the request. Since we are getting the user’s tweets, we are going to hit the statuses/user_timeline endpoint. The screen_name argument is the users Twitter name and count is the number of tweets that are getting returned.

The Twitter api returns a massive JSON response that holds just about every detail we could ever want to know about a Tweet. We are only interested in when the tweet was created and the text of the tweet. So we loop through the tw (the response object) and just grab those two properties and push them into our tweets array. When we have finished, we will pass tweets back to the view and render the index page.

Our final job is to define our html templates. Since we are using Bootstrap and jQuery, we will need to add these libraries to layout.hbs.
Next we need to write our index.hbs template. Here is the source.
Line 25 starts with {{#if tweets}}. This is a conditional rendering tag that only renders the code between 25-42 if there are tweets to display. Without it, we would write out the table between lines 26-41 when there are no tweets, which would not make a lot of sense.

Once we have tweets, the #if condition will be true and the page will write out a table of tweets. The code on line 34-39 will write out a table row for each tweet that is contained. When we are finished, we will get this output.

You can get the code out my GitHub page here or view the video tutorial on my YouTube channel.


Kotlin Spring JDBC Template

It’s typical for many applications, including web applications, to read and write to a database. JDBC operations are significantly simplified when using Spring JdbcTemplates and Kotlin’s language features. For example, it’s easy to one line read and insert operations into a database. This post goes through a sample web application that inserts a user into a database table and then prints a list of all users stored in the database.

Interacting with the Database

Our first order of business is to create a database schema. This is the SQL script that we will use to generate our database.


  first_name VARCHAR(50),
  last_name VARCHAR(50),
  email VARCHAR(50),
  phone VARCHAR(50),

Now we will define a database that maps to the information held in our database. Kotlin’s data classes are ideal for this sort of task.

//Define a data class that maps to both our
//form and database table
data class User(var firstName: String = "",
                var lastName: String = "",
                var email: String = "",
                var phone: String = "")

There isn’t anything special about our User class. It’s only job is to carry information from the view to the database and back from the database to the view. Now that we have a database table and a transfer object, we need to configure our datasource so that Spring can connect our application to our database. We will define a configuration class that will define some Spring beans for us.

class Configuration {

    //First configure a data source that
    //generates an embedded db
    @Bean(name = arrayOf("dataSource"))
    fun dataSource(): DataSource {

        //This will create a new embedded database and run the schema.sql script
        return EmbeddedDatabaseBuilder()

    //Create a JdbcTemplate Bean that connects to our database
    fun jdbcTemplate(@Qualifier("dataSource") dataSource: DataSource): JdbcTemplate {
        return JdbcTemplate(dataSource)

The first bean, dataSource, returns an EmbeddedDatabaseBuilder object that does the work of creating an embedded database, setting it’s dialect, and running our schema.sql script to create the database definition. At this point, our database is fully ready when the build() method is called.

The next bean is a JdbcTemplate object. We create a bean definition for it so that we can inject instances of this object into our repository classes later on. The JdbcTemplate requires a DataSource object, which happens to point at our embedded database. Now let’s define a repository class that will actually work with our JdbcTemplate.

class IndexRepository(@Autowired var jdbcTemplate: JdbcTemplate) {

    fun addUser(user: User) {
        //We can use SimpleJdbcInsert to insert a value into our table
        //The becomes super concise when combined with Kotlins apply and mapOf functions
        SimpleJdbcInsert(jdbcTemplate).withTableName("USERS").apply {
                    mapOf("first_name" to user.firstName,
                            "last_name" to user.lastName,
                            "email" to,
                            "phone" to

    //This allows us to query the Users table and return a list of users
    //This is one method call to jdbcTemplate with a lambda expression which makes the code
    //incredibly concise
    fun allUsers(): List = jdbcTemplate.query("SELECT FIRST_NAME, LAST_NAME, EMAIL, PHONE FROM USERS",
            { rs: ResultSet, _: Int ->
                User(rs.getString("first_name"), rs.getString("last_name"), rs.getString("email"), rs.getString("phone"))

@Respository is a Spring sterotype annotation that marks our IndexRepository as a class that is intended to interact with the datasource. Spring provides two other stereotype annotations, @Controller and @Service, that are typically used to mark seperations in the application. @Controller is intended to interact with the view, while @Respository works with datasource. @Service should contain business logic. When developers follow this pattern, the application maintains loose coupling which makes it easy to maintain and test code.

Since IndexController is marked with @Repository, it makes sense to inject JdbcTemplate into this class so that it can work with the database. We have two methods in this class: addUser and allUsers. We’ll take each function on its own.

The addUser(user : User) method performs an insert into the database. We create an instance of SimpleJdbcInsert and pass our JdbcTemplate object into this class. The following call to withTable(“USERS”) specifies which table we are inserting a record into. Since our primary key is generated automatically by the database, we can use SimpleJdbcInsert.setGeneratedKeyName(“id”) to assign a primary key. Finally we use the execute() function to actually perform the insertion into the database. The execute() takes a map where the key is the name of the column in the database and the value is what we are inserting into the column.

There is some Kotlin magic that helps keep the code concise. For one, we are chaining our calls to setGeneratedKeyName() and execute() inside of the apply() function. We can also leverage Kotlin’s mapOf() function to generate a Map on the fly as opposed to creating a map object and populating it with values ahead of time.

The allUsers() function queries the database. In this case, we can call the query method from the jdbcTemplate object. The query() method requires two parameters. The first parameter is the query that is sent to the database. The second method is a an instance of RowMapper, which is a single abstract method (SAM) class. Since RowMapper has only one method, we can use a lambda expression to provide an implementation of RowMapper.

The RowMapper’s job is to transform the results of the database query into a User object. It provides with two objects that help with this job. The first is the good old JDBC ResetSet object and the other object is an Int that represents the row number. We only use the ResultSet in this example. The ResultSet interface has a getString() method that takes the name of the column and outputs the value stored in that column. Using getString(), we can populate each field of a User object and return it. RowMapper will handle the details of building a list and returning the List to the caller.

Web Portion

The remaining part of the application is a Spring MVC application. We aren’t going to spend a lot of time on this portion but are including it for After the @Repository tier (covered above), we have a service class that handles the business logic between the @Controller and the @Repository. In our case, it’s really boring because all our @Service class is doing is acting as a wrapper for our @Repository class, but in the real world, there is generally more application code located in this class.

class IndexService(
    //Inject IndexRepository here
    @Autowired var indexRepository: IndexRepository) {

    fun addUser(user: User) {

    fun allUsers(): List {
        return indexRepository.allUsers()

We also have a @Controller class that handles HTTP GET and POST requests.

class IndexController(@Autowired var indexService: IndexService) {

    @RequestMapping(method = arrayOf(RequestMethod.GET))
    fun doGet(model: Model): String {
        model.addAttribute("user", User())
        model.addAttribute("allUsers", indexService.allUsers())
        return "index"

    @RequestMapping(method = arrayOf(RequestMethod.POST))
    fun doPost(model: Model, user: User): String {

        model.addAttribute("user", User())
        model.addAttribute("allUsers", indexService.allUsers())
        return "index"

And finally the view…


Kotlin greatly enchances the already excellent JDBC abilities offered by Spring Boot. As was demonstrated in this post, developers can start with definining a data class that holds all of the data in a single row in a database table. When it comes to actually perform inserts or queries from the database, Kotlin’s mapOf(), apply, and to functions cut down on any additional verbosity that might still remain from using JDBC Template. As always, Spring makes it super simple to spring up a web application that interfaces with a database.

You can grab the source for this example from my GitHub page or view the Video tutorial on YouTube.

Use Handlebars and Express in Node.js

Node.js is an excellent server side platform that makes it really easy to write and deploy sites. In this post, I will demonstrate how to use Node.js in combination of Express and Handlebars to create an example registration form. You can view a tutorial one how to create a project at this link or use your IDE.


We need to define a couple of web pages for the view. The first page is a master template that is used when serving every page in the site.



There are a couple of interesting aspects about the layout.hbs code fragment. For one thing, it provides us with a common place to define our site level css and javascript. In this example, both jQuery and Bootstrap are added in this file and are therefore included in every other page.

The other aspect is the {{{body}}}. The layout.hbs code does not have its own body. Instead, it use a placeholder {{{body}}} that represents what will utlimately become the body of each html page. Our next two pages only define the body portion of the page and they are inserted into the html page at the {{{body}}}.


The index.hbs is one of two files that are inserted at the {{{body}}} portion of the labyout.hbs file. This file provides the user with an example registration form.


In all truthfulness, there isn’t anything special about this page whatsoever. This page is literally a regular html form with some bootstrap css to make it look presentable. The magic happens on the backend with the index.js file.


This file contains the code that handles both HTTP GET and HTTP Post requests.

var express = require('express');
var router = express.Router();

/* GET home page. */
router.get('/', function(req, res, next) {
res.render('index', { title: 'Node Tutorial' });
});'/', function(req, res){
//Grab the request body
var body = req.body;

var res_body = {
first_name: body.first_name,
last_name: body.last_name,

res.render('welcome', res_body);

module.exports = router;

This script work by creating two variables. First an express variable followed by a router variable. The router is the object that does the work of handling HTTP requests. The first function is a router.get(‘/’, function(…){…}). That function handles all HTTP GET requests to our index page which is mapped to the root of the site “/”. The call back function takes three parameters: req, res, and next. Next is unused in this example but req stands for Request and contains the request body the browser sent back to the server. The res stands for Response and represents the response the server sends back to the browser.

The function for our GET request has only one line of code. res.render('index', {title: 'Node Tutorial' }). Although it doesn’t seem like much, that single line of code packs a massive punch. For one thing, it is tell the server to combine the layout.hbs and index.hbs into one html document by inserting index.hbs at the {{{body}}} placeholder in layout. It’s also telling the template engine to insert the phrase ‘Node Tutorial’ at the {{title}} placeholder found in layout.hbs. When these operations are complete, the browser gets an html file that resembles the screen shot below.


The next function is the'/', function(...){...}). This function handles http post requests for the homepage. On the first line of this function, we store the request body inside of a body variable. Each property on the body, first_name, last_name, email, pw, pw_confirm all represent our text boxes in index.hbm as specified by the name attribute on each of those input fields. So when the user enters ‘Bob’ in the box labeled as First Name on our form, the body.first_name gets set to the String ‘Bob’. This is true for each field on the form.

All we are doing in this particular example is gathering the first_name, last_name, and email fields from the request body and storing them in an object res_body. The last line of code res.render('welcome', res_body); tells the server to redirect to the welcome.hbm page and pass the res_body variable to the template engine. This will allow the template engine to access the values stored in res_body when it renders the the welcome page.


The final page of this project is the welcome.hbm page. This page is incredibly similar to the index.hbs page in that it gets inserted into layout.hbs at the {{{body}}} variable. Here is the code for welcome.hbm


This page defines three placeholders: {{first_name}}, {{last_name}}, and {{email}}. All of these place holders map to the properties in the res_body variable that we sent back to the view in index.js. When the template engine sees the res_body variable, it knows to insert res_body.first_name at {{first_name}}, res_body.last_name at {{last_name}}, and at {{email}}. Below is a screenshot of the result.


Node.js make it really easy to create an MVC style site. Developers need to leverage the router variable and map html end points to various HTTP request and then respond as needed. Information can be easily sent back to the view using JavaScript objects where the values can get inserted into Handlebars templates.

You can get the code for this tutorial at my Github page.
Visit the video tutorial at

Kotlin Spring Security Custom Login

Spring Security provides a custom login page that is functional but not very attractive. In most cases, web developers want a more attractive looking login page. This post demonstrates how to configure Spring Security to use a custom login page. Readers can view this tutorial for a demonstration on how to configure basic Spring Security.

Front End—Write a Custom Page

We are going to start by writing a custom login page. Spring Security is very flexible about the page itself, but there are a few rules that need to be followed.

  • Form requires Username
  • Form requires Password
  • CSRF Token is required

This is a screen shot of the page that will be used for this tutorial.
Followed by the code.
It’s critical to remember to include the CSRF token in the form. Without it, the server will refuse any HTTP POST requests and will respond with code 405. The th:name="${_csrf.parameterName}" th:value="${_csrf.token}" on an input take will do the job of adding the CSRF token.

Backend—Configure Spring

Once the front end code is ready, you need to configure Spring Security to use this page. In order to render the login page, Spring will need some sort of controller class. Developers are free to write their own, but it’s also trivial to make use of the one Spring is happy to provide.

class WebConfig : WebMvcConfigurerAdapter() {
    override fun addViewControllers(registry: ViewControllerRegistry) {
        //This class adds a default controller for the login page.
        //Otherwise you would need to write a custom controller class

The next job is to configure Spring security.

@Configuration //Make this as a configuration class
@EnableWebSecurity //Turn on Web Security
class SecurityWebInitializer : WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter(){
    override fun configure(http: HttpSecurity) {
                    //We need to allow anonymous users to
                    //access the login page (otherwise we get 403)
                    //Setup a custom login page

    override fun configure(auth: AuthenticationManagerBuilder) {
        //This code sets up a user store in memory. This is
        //useful for debugging and development
                    .roles("USER", "ADMIN")

It’s important to allow anonymous() access to the login page. Without it, Spring Security will continue to redirect to the login page until the server returns 403 (too many redirects).


Once complete, the site will render a custom login page like what is shown in the video.

You can get the code for the complete project at my GitHub page.

Spring Security Form Login with JDBC – Kotlin

Spring Security makes it really simple to authenticate users against a database. This tutorial builds on the previous tutorial of configuring Spring Security to secure web applications.

Database Schema

Spring Security is happy to do all of the work of querying a database and validating user information provided your database conforms to the correct database schema (note, you are free to customize). Here is the sql script that is used to configure an example datasource for this project that is based of the one provided in the Spring documetation.

/* See */

DROP TABLE IF EXISTS persistent_logins;
DROP TABLE IF EXISTS group_members;
DROP TABLE IF EXISTS group_authorities;

create table users(
  username varchar_ignorecase(50) not null primary key,
  password varchar_ignorecase(50) not null,
  enabled boolean not null

create table authorities (
  username varchar_ignorecase(50) not null,
  authority varchar_ignorecase(50) not null,
  constraint fk_authorities_users foreign key(username) references users(username)

create unique index ix_auth_username on authorities (username,authority);

create table groups (
  id bigint generated by default as identity(start with 0) primary key,
  group_name varchar_ignorecase(50) not null

create table group_authorities (
  group_id bigint not null,
  authority varchar(50) not null,
  constraint fk_group_authorities_group foreign key(group_id) references groups(id)

create table group_members (
  id bigint generated by default as identity(start with 0) primary key,
  username varchar(50) not null,
  group_id bigint not null,
  constraint fk_group_members_group foreign key(group_id) references groups(id)

create table persistent_logins (
  username varchar(64) not null,
  series varchar(64) primary key,
  token varchar(64) not null,
  last_used timestamp not null

insert into users values('bob_belcher', 'burger_bob', true);
insert into authorities values ('bob_belcher', 'user');

This script drops all tables if they exist and then recreates the database tables. It also populates the database with a user: bob_belcher. Creating and destroying the DB in this fashion is useful for both development purposes and unit testing. Naturally, a production machine would preserve the data each time.

Spring Configuration

Configuring Spring Security to work with our database is a complete breeze at this point. We start by creating two bean definitions for both a data source and a jdbcTemplate.

class DataConfig {

    @Bean(name = arrayOf("dataSource"))
    fun dataSource() : DataSource {
        //This will create a new embedded database and run the schema.sql script
        return EmbeddedDatabaseBuilder()

    fun jdbcTemplate(@Qualifier("dataSource") dataSource: DataSource) : JdbcOperations {
        return JdbcTemplate(dataSource)

Since I am using Spring Boot, I did qualify our dataSource bean so that the container knew which bean I wanted to use for our datasource.

Now that we have our data source configured, we just need to tell Spring Security about it. It’s not very difficult.

@Configuration //Make this as a configuration class
@EnableWebSecurity //Turn on Web Security
class SecurityWebInitializer(
        //Inject our datasource into this class for the AuthenticationManagerBuilder
        @Autowired @Qualifier("dataSource") val dataSource: DataSource)
    : WebSecurityConfigurerAdapter(){

    override fun configure(http: HttpSecurity) {

    override fun configure(auth: AuthenticationManagerBuilder) {
        //As long as our database schema conforms to the default queries
        //we can use jdbcAuthentication and pass in our data source
        //Spring will do the rest of the work for us

In this case, all that is needed is to call auth.jdbcAuthentication().dataSource and pass in our dataSource object. Spring Security takes it from there.


Here is a video of this in action.

You can grab the entire code from my Github page here.

Spring Bean Validation Example (JSR-303) in Kotlin

Many developers need a solution to validating forms. Spring MVC supports bean validation (JSR-303) which is an easy to use annotation driven framework that is used to validate objects. Spring utilizes bean validation throughout the entire application framework, allowing developers to annotation one or more objects and ensure they are valid from the controller all the way to the data access layer.

Since Kotlin is compatible with Java libraries, this post demonstrates how to use bean validation along with Spring MVC to validate a user registration form. Here is a screen shot of the form we are going to validate.
WelcomeScreen copy

Step 1—Define a Form Object

We will use a POJO that carries data from the view to the server. Kotlin makes this really easy because it provides data classes.

data class User(@get: NotBlank (message = "{first_name.required}")
                    var firstName : String = "",

                @get: NotBlank (message = "{last_name.required}")
                    var lastName : String = "",

                @get: NotBlank (message="{email.required}")
                @get: Email (message = "{email.invalid}")
                    var email : String = "",

                @get: NotBlank (message="{phone.required}")
                    var phone : String = "",

                @get: NotBlank (message="{address.required}")
                    var address : String = "",

                @get: NotBlank (message="{city.required}")
                    var city : String = "",

                @get: NotBlank (message="{state.required}")
                @get: Size(min=2, max=2, message = "{state.size}")
                    var state : String = "",

                @get: NotBlank (message="{zip.required}")
                    var zip : String = "")

You will notice a couple of things in the class. The first is the @get [annotation] annotation. Kotlin generates getter/setter methods in the Java bytecode. When we use the @get annotation followed by the annotation, Kotlin will place the target annotation on the getter method. So for example, @get: NotBlank is telling the Kotlin compiler to place the @NotBlank annotation on the generated getter method.

Next you will notice the message argument that is passed to the NotBlank annotation. In the first example, we have message = “{first_name.required}”. The message parameter takes a String that is displayed to the user when validation fails. If we use expression language, Spring boot will look for a file that contains the actual message. This is useful when making localized applications because you can have a different ValidationMessages file per language.

In this example, we are using three different Hibernate Validator annotations.

  • NotBlank—Valid if a String is not blank. Fails is the String is blank or null.
  • Email—Valid if the string field contains a valid email address
  • Size—Valid if the string has at least min number of characters and less than max characters

Step 2—

If you choose to use a file, Spring Boot will look for the actual message inside of a file in the applications classpath. I find this to be the preferred approach because it allows develoeprs to easily localize an application if needed. Here is the properties file we are using in this example.

first_name.required="First name is required"
last_name.required="Last name is required"
email.required="Please enter your email address"
email.invalid="Please provide a valid email address"
phone.required="Please enter a phone number"
address.required="Please enter your address"
city.required="Please enter a city"
state.required="Please enter a state"
state.size="Please use 2 letter state code"
zip.required="Enter a zip code"

The keys of the file are the same as when is passed to the message parameter of each bean validator annotation. The value is what is ultimately displayed to the user.

Step 3-Controller

Spring MVC uses a controller class. Here is the code for our controller in this example.

class ValidatorController(@Autowired val registrationService: RegistrationService) {

    @RequestMapping(method = arrayOf(RequestMethod.GET))
    fun doGet(model : Model) : String {
        model.addAttribute("user", User())
        return "index"

    @RequestMapping(method = arrayOf(RequestMethod.POST))
    fun doPost(@Valid user : User,  //The @Valid annotation tells Spring to Validate this object
               errors : Errors)  //Spring injects this class into this method. It will hold any
                                //errors that are found on the object
            : String {
        val result : String
        when {
            //Test for errors
            errors.hasErrors() -> result = "index"
            else -> {
                //Otherwise proceed to the next page
                registrationService.user = user
                result = "redirect:/congrats"
        return result

The first method is doGet which is mapped to an HTTP Get request. Nothing fancy here for those readers who are famailier with Spring MVC (This post explains Spring MVC for users who are not famalier with Spring MVC). All we do here is create a new instance of the User class and pass it to the view.

The doPost is the method that we care about for this post. This method has two parameters. The first one is a User argument that is annotated with @Valid. The other one is an Errors object. These two argument work in tandem to validate a Spring MVC form.

The User object is bound to the web form. Each field in the form is mapped to a property on the User class. When the form is submitted, Spring MVC carries this object from the View to the Controller. However, if the parameter has the @Valid annotation, then the User object make a stop and is examaned by a class that impelements javax.validation.Validator. Should the validation report any errors, they are gathered together in the Errors object that is injected into this method.

The errors.hasErrors() method returns true if the user entered invalid input into the form. We can return the name of the page that was submitted and report the errors back to the user if that is the case. Here is what it looks like.
Invalid copy

On the other hand, we can redirect the user to the next page if everything is ok (errors.hasErrors() == false).
Congrats copy

Step 4—The View

Of course, we need to setup our web page properly in order to actually see the errors. Since I am a big fan of Twitter’s Bootstrap, I use their form validation framework to make a nice front-end display to the errors message.

Here is a code snippet of a field on the form.
We use a teneray expression to check each field if it has errors th:class="${#fields.hasErrors('firstName') ?'form-group has-error' : 'form-group'}". If the field has an error, we use bootstraps has-error css class to get the red outline. Otherwise, we don’t add that class and just use form-group. In case you are wondering, the fields object is the same Errors object that we were using in our server code. This is just another rendition of the same object.

The next thing to do is print out each error. This can be done very easily by using the th:each tag and assigning each message to the err variable: th:each="err: ${#fields.errors('firstName')}" class="help-block" th:text="${err}". When executed, this code will look up the message (found in for each error and write is out to a span tag.

When run, each field that has an error will have its textbox outlined and the error message printed below the text box.

Getting the Code

You can get the complete code for this project at my github page.


Here is the final result