I have experienced many different web platforms since I pivoted to the web around 2003. First ASP.Net, then ASP.Net MVC, then AngularJS, then React. Imagine how many frameworks boom and bust cycles I also managed to skip!

I remember how excited I was for each new renaissance to lift us out of the past dark ages. Gone was the complexity that weighed us down, now that the new hotness is here! In truth, each of these did provide a productivity boost, but then a plateau would inevitably come.

Now there is Svelte. The feeling playing with Svelte is both very similar to this prior experience and altogether different at the same time. It just seems... simple. Straightforward. The learning curve, at least for me, is way lower. And it generates impossibly small code, so everything is super fast. It must be too good to be true.

Like all magnificent things, it's very simple. Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting.

Well, let's explore that and other topics here, in my brand new space, with Yet Another How I Bootstrapped this Blog post. To give it a fresh spin, let's wire it up to a headless CMS. I shopped around and ultimately landed on Squidex because I liked the feature set but mainly because the API was REST-y, and I prefer that over GraphQL. Let's give it a spin.

I created a Squidex account (there is a free account option at https://squidex.io/ and clicked the New Blog Sample. Now let's get a feel for their API. Head over to settings in the project you created above and grab a clientid and secret. I generated a new one as the default one has editor permissions, and to export our website, we only need read permissions.

Another one of Cleve's new favorite things TM is the REST client extension for VS Code. The REST client extension feels like an even more developer-friendly Postman. I like UIs, but this has way less clicking and window management and can be checked into source control to share with others.

Here is a a .http file for getting posts from Squidex. project, squidex_clientid and squidex_secret are setup as REST extension environment variables. X-Flatten removes these iv extra depth fields that Squidex adds by default.

# @name authorization
POST https://cloud.squidex.io/identity-server/connect/token
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded

grant_type=client_credentials&client_id={{squidex_clientid}}&client_secret={{squidex_secret}}&scope=squidex-api

@accessToken = {{authorization.response.body.$.access_token}}

###
GET https://cloud.squidex.io/api/content/{{project}}/posts/
Authorization: Bearer {{accessToken}}
X-Flatten: true

What is X-Flatten? At least for Squidex is removes the iv field, which feels superfluous. Invariant? Meh.

Now let's create our Svelte/Sapper project. Assuming you have npm/npx installed:

npx degit "sveltejs/sapper-template#rollup" my-blog

Create a src/routes/_squidex.js file (borrowed config from @querc/squidex-client). Unfortunately, that library didn't work for me because of auth issues and was more complicated than I needed.

import fetch from "node-fetch";

function defineProperty(obj, key, value) {
  if (key in obj) {
    Object.defineProperty(obj, key, {
      value: value,
      enumerable: true,
      configurable: true,
      writable: true
    });
  } else {
    obj[key] = value;
  }
  return obj;
}

function convertFromJson(json) {
  const result = Object.assign({}, json);
  result.created = new Date(json.created);
  result.lastModified = new Date(json.lastModified);
  return result;
}

class SquidexClientConfiguration {
  constructor() {
    defineProperty(this, "url", "https://cloud.squidex.io");

    defineProperty(this, "clientId", void 0);

    defineProperty(this, "clientSecret", void 0);

    defineProperty(this, "project", "");
  }
}

class ConfigurationManager {
  static buildConfiguration(options, ...extraOptions) {
    if (options === undefined) {
      throw new Error(
        "Configuration options are required"
      );
    }

    if (options.clientId === undefined) {
      throw new Error("`clientId` is required");
    }

    if (options.clientSecret === undefined) {
      throw new Error("`clientSecret` is required");
    }

    if (options.project === undefined) {
      throw new Error("`project` is required");
    }

    return Object.assign(
      {},
      new SquidexClientConfiguration(),
      options,
      ...extraOptions
    );
  }
}

export class SquidexClient {
  constructor(options) {
    defineProperty(this, "config", void 0);
    defineProperty(this, "token", void 0);
    this.config = ConfigurationManager.buildConfiguration(options);
  }

  async getAuthenticationToken() {
    if (!this.token) {
      await this.initializeToken();
    }

    return this.token;
  }

  async initializeToken() {
    const authorizationResponse = await fetch(
      `${this.config.url}/identity-server/connect/token`,
      {
        headers: {
          "Content-Type": "application/x-www-form-urlencoded"
        },
        method: "POST",
        body: `grant_type=client_credentials&client_id=${this.config.clientId}&client_secret=${this.config.clientSecret}&scope=squidex-api`
      }
    );

    if (!authorizationResponse.ok) {
      const errorText = await authorizationResponse.text();
      throw new Error(`Could not obtain Squidex token. ${errorText}`);
    }

    const json = await authorizationResponse.json();
    this.token = `Bearer ${json["access_token"]}`;
  }

  async query(schema) {
    const token = await this.getAuthenticationToken();
    const response = await fetch(
      `${this.config.url}/api/content/${this.config.project}/${schema}`,
      {
        headers: {
          Authorization: token,
          "X-Flatten": "true"
        }
      }
    );

    if (!response.ok) {
      const errorText = await response.text();
      throw new Error(errorText);
    }
    const data = await response.json();
    return data.items.map(x => {
      return convertFromJson(x);
    });
  }
}

Let's go ahead and run yarn add node-fetch since we depend on it here.

Now we have to modify how the starter template fetches data. To be honest, I do not come from the NodeJS/Nuxt inspired/JAMstack world, so I found how Sapper mixes server and client together to be confusing at first. But after reading and playing with the code a few times, I got the hang of it, starting by reading https://www.codingwithjesse.com/blog/statically-generating-a-blog-with-svelte-sapper/.

Basically inside src/routes/blog/index.svelte there is a preload call to fetch blog.json. The preload returns an object with a posts variable. Since there is a local variable called posts Sapper wires them together. This part also seemed a little weird and hidden magic for me, but c'est la vie, let's move on.

This calls src/routes/blog/index.json.js which is a server side route, which gets data from src/routes/blog/_posts.js. Similarly src/routes/blog/[slug].svelte calls src/routes/blog/[slug].json.js which gets data from src/routes/blog/_posts.js.

Now let's modify the `src/routes/blog/_posts.js to fetch from Squidex. We are doing is caching our results, so we only get the data once. In a future post, we will add some more features like calculate reading time and process markdown.

import { SquidexClient } from "../_squidex.js";

let posts;
let lookup;

export async function getPostLookup() {
  if (!lookup) {
    const items = await getPosts();
    lookup = new Map();
    items.forEach(item => {
      lookup.set(item.slug, JSON.stringify(item));
    });
  }

  return lookup;
}

export async function getPosts() {
  if (posts) {
    return posts;
  }
  var client = new SquidexClient({
    clientId: process.env.SQUIDEX_CLIENT_ID,
    clientSecret: process.env.SQUIDEX_SECRET,
    project: process.env.SQUIDEX_PROJECT
  });

  const items = await client.query("posts");
  posts = items.map(item => {
    const post = item.data;
    const id = item.id;
    const title = post.title;
    const slug = post.slug;
    const html = post.text;

    return {
      id,
      title,
      slug,
      html
    };
  });

  return posts;
}

We need to change the two endpoint files to use this data:

Change src/routes/blog/index.json.js:

import { getPosts } from "./_posts.js";

export async function get(request, response) {

  const posts = await getPosts();
  response.writeHead(200, {
    'Content-Type': 'application/json'
  });
  response.end(JSON.stringify(posts));
}

and change src/routes/blog/[slug].json.js to use our cached lookup:

import { getPostLookup } from './_posts.js';

export async function get(req, res, next) {

    const lookup = await getPostLookup();
    const { slug } = req.params;

    if (lookup.has(slug)) {
        res.writeHead(200, {
            'Content-Type': 'application/json'
        });

        res.end(lookup.get(slug));
    } else {
        res.writeHead(404, {
            'Content-Type': 'application/json'
        });

        res.end(JSON.stringify({
            message: `Not found`
        }));
    }
}

Now run yarn dev, and you should see the sample blog post from Squidex.

Stay tuned, in future posts in this series we will:

  • Render markdown, processing image assets, and add reading time
  • Add the RSS/Atom feed
  • Create a 404 page
  • Implement a tag cloud and recent posts
  • Play with styling and layout
  • Implement SEO and OG markup
  • Create a static about me page