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What are actions

An action is a set of outcomes (as defined in the action schema) which is executed when action endpoint is invoked.

An action can have a set of required input fields or none at all. Actions can also be built to handle callbacks/webhooks from other services (like payment gateway server to server notification).

Actions can be thought of as follows:

  • A set of inputs (key value pair, extracted from query params and request body)
  • A set of outcomes based on the inputs

What are actions and why do I need this

Create/Read/Update/Delete (CRUD) APIs are only basic APIs exposed on the database, and you would rarely want to make those API available to your end user. Reasons could be multiple

  • The end user doesn't (immediately) owe the data they create
  • Creating a "row"/"data entry" entry doesn't signify completion of a process or a flow
  • Usually a "set of entities" is to be created and not just a single entity (when you create a user, you also want to create a usergroup also and associate the user to usergroup)
  • You could allow user to update only some fields of an entity and not all fields (eg user can change their name, but not email)
  • Changes based on some entity (when you are going through a project, a new item should automatically belong to that project)

Actions provide a powerful abstraction over the CRUD and to handle a variety of use cases. Actions can also make use of operations imported from OpenAPI Specs of other services.

To quickly understand what actions are, lets see what happened when you "signed up" on Daptin.

Take a look at how "Sign up" action is defined. We will go through each part of this definition An action is performed on an entity. Let's also remember that world is an entity itself.

Action schema

Name: signup
Label: Sign up
InstanceOptional: true
OnType: user_account
- Name: name
  ColumnType: label
  IsNullable: false
- Name: email
  ColumnType: email
  IsNullable: false
- Name: password
  ColumnType: password
  IsNullable: false
- Name: Password Confirm
  ColumnName: passwordConfirm
  ColumnType: password
  IsNullable: false
- ColumnName: email
  Tags: email
- ColumnName: name
  Tags: required
- ColumnName: password
  Tags: eqfield=InnerStructField[passwordConfirm],min=8
- ColumnName: email
  Tags: email
- ColumnName: name
  Tags: trim
- Type: user_account
  Method: POST
  Reference: user
    name: "~name"
    email: "~email"
    password: "~password"
    confirmed: '0'
- Type: usergroup
  Method: POST
  Reference: usergroup
    name: "!'Home group for ' +"
- Type: user_user_id_has_usergroup_usergroup_id
  Method: POST
  Reference: user_usergroup
    user_id: "$user.reference_id"
    usergroup_id: "$usergroup.reference_id"
- Type: client.notify
    type: success
    title: Success
    message: Signup Successful
- Type: client.redirect
    location: "/auth/signin"
    window: self

Action Name

    Name:             "signup",

Name of the action, this should be unique for each actions. Actions are identified by this name

Action Label

    Label:            "Sign up",

Label is for humans


    OnType:           "user_account",

The primary type of entity on which the action happens. This is used to know where the actions should come up on the UI

Action instance

    InstanceOptional: true,

If the action requires an "instance" of that type on which the action is defined (more about this below). So "Sign up" is defined on "user" table, but an instance of "user" is not required to initiate the action. This is why the "Sign up" doesnt ask you to select a user (which wouldn't make sense either)

Input fields

    InFields: []api2go.ColumnInfo

This is a set of inputs which the user need to fill in to initiate that action. As we see here in case of "Sign up", we ask for four inputs

  • Name
  • Email
  • Password
  • Confirm password

Note that the ColumnInfo structure is the same one we used to define tables.


         Validations: []ColumnTag

Validations validate the user input and rejects if some validation fails

                "ColumnName": "email",
                "Tags":       "email"

This tells that the "email" input should actually be an email.

One of the more interesting validations is cross field check

            ColumnName: "password",
            Tags:       "eqfield=InnerStructField[passwordConfirm],min=8",

This tells that the value entered by user in the password field should be equal to the value in passwordConfirm field. And the minimum length should be 8 characters.


    Conformations: []ColumnTag

Conformations help to clean the data before the action is carried out. The frequently one used are trim and email.

  • Trim: trim removes white spaces, which are sometimes accidently introduced when entering data
  • Email: email conformation will normalize the email. Things like lowercase + trim


    OutFields: []Outcome

OutFields are the list of outcomes which the action will result in. The outcomes are evaluated in a top to bottom manner, and the result of one outcome is accessible when evaluating the next outcome.

We have defined three outcomes in our "Sign Up" action.

  • Create a user
            Type:      "user_account",
            Method:    "POST",
            Reference: "user",
            Attributes: map[string]interface{}{
                "name":      "~name",
                "email":     "~email",
                "password":  "~password",
                "confirmed": "0",

This tells us that, the first outcome is of type "user". The outcome is a "New User" (POST). It could alternatively have been a Update/Find/Delete operation.

The attributes maps the input fields to the fields of our new user.

  • ~name will be the value entered by user in the name field
  • ~email will be the entered in the email field, and so on

If we skip the ~, like "confirmed": "0" Then the literal value is used.

Reference: "user", We have this to allow the "outcome" to be referenced when evaluating the next outcome. Let us see the other outcomes

JavaScript in fields - "!..."

            Type:      "usergroup",
            Method:    "POST",
            Reference: "usergroup",
            Attributes: map[string]interface{}{
                "name": "!'Home group for ' +",

Daptin embeds the otto js engine. An exclamation mark sets to evaluate the rest of the string as Javascript.

'Home group for ' + becomes "Home group for parth"

Referencing previous outcomes

            Type:      "user_user_id_has_usergroup_usergroup_id",
            Method:    "POST",
            Reference: "user_usergroup",
            Attributes: map[string]interface{}{
                "user_id":      "$user.reference_id",
                "usergroup_id": "$usergroup.reference_id",

the $ sign is to refer the reference variables. Here this outcome adds the newly created user to the newly created usergroup.