Using Angular JS with Sails Js REST APIs - Part 3

Aug 1, 2014

Hi all,

This is the third part of tutorial series - building realtime web application with Sails Js and Angular Js. In previous posts we have seen the methods to create REST APIs and create a Sails application. Keeping that in mind we can move on to next topic - Integrating Angular JS with Sails REST APIs.

Sails JS provides EJS templating engine . Many of you folks might not be aware of EJS , so we will do another approach , keeping Sails,only for REST API and building a front-end with Angular JS which communicate with these APIs. To make the point clear,look at the figure below.


Architecture of the system consists of a server consisting of APIs only and a UI built in Angular. UI communicates with the server through API calls. The advantage of this system is that these APIs can be re-used when you create a mobile app or any other cloud app.

So let’s get started. In this tutorial we will create a basic Angular app which communicates with Sails server.

Angular App Architecture

Angular has very powerful data bindings and it is an MVC framework.Whenever the model changes, Angular refreshes the appropriate binding points, which updates the view.

A basic structure of an Angular app - HTML Markup is as follows


  • ng-app : Use this directive to auto-bootstrap an AngularJS application.In simple words, it defines new Angular app
  • ng-controller : The ngController directive attaches a controller class to the view.It defines which controller controls the section/body/div(view)
  • ng-repeat : Instantiates a template once per item from a collection(Iterator directive) . Similar to forEach in raw javascript

ng-app defines a root-scope for the whole code in previous example. When each ng-controller is encountered new scope is defined there. Angular works with these concepts. $rootScope and $scope variables are used to denote these scope rules.

Points to note : $rootScope defines root Scope and every application has a single root scope. $scope defines scope for each controller .

Let us move on to the Controller Code now(placed in angularapp/js/app/app.js)

var employeeApp = angular.module('employeeApp', []); // Defines an angular module

	//$log is used for console log
	//$http is used to communicate with the server 
	//$scope defines the scope of controller

We have defined an array employees (see the $scope.employees here and in ng-repeat in markup code)in Employee Controller . $http is used to communicate with remote HTTP servers via XMLHttpRequest or via JsonP. We have an inbuilt Sails API to list all employees, localhost:1337/employees which returns the data of all employees.We can call it via $http in this angular app.

Before testing please note that Angular works only if the environment is correct . So it is better to put the UI files to an Apache/XAMPP server( Easiest way ;) skipping all bower installations).

Here i’ve my app at 'localhost/angularapp'. Lift the Sails app and go to localhost/angularapp to test, you won’t be able to see anything initially. Look at the console now . (You may see something like this below).


The reason beind this error is that Sails have in built CORS feature enabled .(A powerful feature and useful one). Here we have to modify CORS file to get the result.

CORS file is located at sailsapp/config/cors.js


You will see the following line

allRoutes: false,

Change the above line to

allRoutes: true,

Note: This allows API call from any domain . On production you have to set it to custom domains only.

Now lift the sails app and reload Angular UI . You will get the result as shown below.


Let us look into the details of what is happened there . An API call from Angualar is done using $http. You would be interested in viewing the responses of that API call. We have logged this and can be viewed in browser console as shown below.


The API call returned a JSON array with 2 employees(number depends on the employees you have created).


This updates the empList which updates the view , even without a refresh.

Here we have seen how we can use Angular Js with Sails REST apis, we will see the power of Angular in coming tutorials . We can have a more advanced examples with findEmployeebyEmpnum API in next tutorials .See you there bye :)