Create and use models

Radiks allows you to model your client data. You can then query this data and display it for a user in multi-player applications. A social application where users want to see the comments of other users is an example of a multi-player application. This page explains how to create a model in your distributed application using Radiks.

Overview of Model class extension

Blockstack provides a Model class you should extend to easily create, save, and fetch models. To create a model class, import the Model class from radiks into your application.

import { Model, User } from 'radiks';

Then, create a class that extends this model, and provide a schema. Refer to the Model class in the radiks repo to get an overview of the class functionality.

Your new class must define a static className property. This property is used when storing and querying information. If you fail to add a className, Radiks defaults to the actual model’s class name (foobar.ts) and your application will behave unpredictably.

The example class code extends Model to create a class named Todo:

import { Model, User } from 'radiks';

class Todo extends Model {
  static className = 'Todo';
  static schema = { // all fields are encrypted by default
    title: String,
    completed: Boolean,
  }
};

// after authentication:
const todo = new Todo({ title: 'Use Radiks in an app' });
await todo.save();
todo.update({
  completed: true,
});
await todo.save();

const incompleteTodos = await Todo.fetchOwnList({ // fetch todos that this user created
  completed: false
});
console.log(incompleteTodos.length); // 0

How to create your own Model

The following sections guide you through the steps in defining your own class.

Define a class schema

Every class must have a static schema property which defines the attributes of a model using field/value pairs, for example:

class Todo extends Model {
  static className = 'Todo';
  static schema = { // all fields are encrypted by default
    title: String,
    completed: Boolean,
  }
};

The key in this object is the field name and the value, for example, String, Boolean, or Number. In this case, the title is a String field. Alternatively, you can pass options instead of a type.

To define options, pass an object, with a mandatory type field. The only supported option right now is decrypted. This defaults to false, meaning the field is encrypted before the data is stored publicly. If you specify true, then the field is not encrypted.

Storing unencrypted fields is useful if you want to be able to query the field when fetching data. A good use-case for storing decrypted fields is to store a foreignId that references a different model, for a “belongs-to” type of relationship.

Never add the decrypted option to fields that contain sensitive user data. Blockstack data is stored in a decentralized Gaia storage and anyone can read the user’s data. That’s why encrypting it is so important. If you want to filter sensitive data, then you should do it on the client-side, after decrypting it.

Include defaults

You may want to include an optional defaults static property for some field values. For example, in the class below, the likesDogs field is a Boolean, and the default is true.

import { Model } from 'radiks';

class Person extends Model {
  static className = 'Person';

  static schema = {
    name: String,
    age: Number,
    isHuman: Boolean,
    likesDogs: {
      type: Boolean,
      decrypted: true // all users will know if this record likes dogs!
    }
  }

  static defaults = {
    likesDogs: true
  }
}

If you wanted to add a default for isHuman, you would simply add it to the defaults as well. Separate each field with a comma.

Extend the User model

Radiks also supplies a default User model. You can also extend this model to add your own attributes.

import { User } from 'radiks';

// For example I want to add a public name on my user model
class MyAppUserModel extends User {
  static schema = {
    ...User.schema,
    displayName: {
      type: String,
      decrypted: true,
    },
  };
}

The default User model defines a username, but you can add a displayName to allow the user to set unique name in your app.

Use a model you have defined

In this section, you learn how to use a model you have defined.

About the _id attribute

All model instances have an _id attribute. An _id is used as a primary key when storing data and is used for fetching a model. Radiks also creates a createdAt and updatedAt property when creating and saving models.

If, when constructing a model’s instance, you don’t pass an _id, Radiks creates an _id for you automatically. This automatically created id uses the uuid/v4 format. This automatic _id is returned by the constructor.

Construct a model instance

To create an instance, pass some attributes to the constructor of that class:

const person = new Person({
  name: 'Hank',
  isHuman: false,
  likesDogs: false // just an example, I love dogs!
})

Fetch an instance

To fetch an existing instance of an instance, you need the instance’s id property. Then, call the findById() method or the fetch() method, which returns a promise.

const person = await Person.findById('404eab3a-6ddc-4ba6-afe8-1c3fff464d44');

After calling these methods, Radiks automatically decrypts all encrypted fields.

Access attributes

Other than id, all attributes are stored in an attrs property on the instance.

const { name, likesDogs } = person.attrs;
console.log(`Does ${name} like dogs?`, likesDogs);

Update attributes

To quickly update multiple attributes of an instance, pass those attributes to the update method.

const newAttributes = {
  likesDogs: false,
  age: 30
}
person.update(newAttributes)

Important, calling update does not save the instance.

Save changes

To save an instance to Gaia and MongoDB, call the save() method, which returns a promise. This method encrypts all attributes that do not have the decrypted option in their schema. Then, it saves a JSON representation of the model in Gaia, as well as in the MongoDB.

await person.save();

Delete an instance

To delete an instance, just call the destroy method on it.

await person.destroy();

Query a model

To fetch multiple records that match a certain query, use the class’s fetchList() function. This method creates an HTTP query to Radiks-server, which then queries the underlying database. Radiks-server uses the query-to-mongo package to turn an HTTP query into a MongoDB query.

Here are some examples:

const dogHaters = await Person.fetchList({ likesDogs: false });

Or, imagine a Task model with a name, a boolean for completed, and an order attribute.

class Task extends Model {
  static className = 'Task';

  static schema = {
    name: String,
    completed: {
      type: Boolean,
      decrypted: true,
    },
    order: {
      type: Number,
      decrypted: true,
    }
  }
}

const tasks = await Task.fetchList({
  completed: false,
  sort: '-order'
})

You can read the query-to-mongo package documentation to learn how to do complex querying, sorting, limiting, and so forth.

Count models

You can also get a model’s count record directly.

const dogHaters = await Person.count({ likesDogs: false });
// dogHaters is the count number

Fetch models created by the current user

Use the fetchOwnList method to find instances that were created by the current user. By using this method, you can preserve privacy, because Radiks uses a signingKey that only the current user knows.

const tasks = await Task.fetchOwnList({
  completed: false
});

Manage relational data

It is common for applications to have multiple different models, where some reference another. For example, imagine a task-tracking application where a user has multiple projects, and each project has multiple tasks. Here’s what those models might look like:

class Project extends Model {
  static className = 'Project';
  static schema = { name: String }
}

class Task extends Model {
  static className = 'Task';
  static schema = {
    name: String,
    projectId: {
      type: String,
      decrypted: true,
    }
    completed: Boolean
  }
}

Whenever you save a task, you should save a reference to the project it’s in:

const task = new Task({
  name: 'Improve radiks documentation',
  projectId: project._id
})
await task.save();

Then, later you’ll want to fetch all tasks for a certain project:

const tasks = await Task.fetchList({
  projectId: project._id,
})

Radiks lets you define an afterFetch method. Use this method to automatically fetch child records when you fetch the parent instance.

class Project extends Model {
  static className = 'Project';
  static schema = { name: String }

  async afterFetch() {
    this.tasks = await Task.fetchList({
      projectId: this.id,
    })
  }
}

const project = await Project.findById('some-id-here');
console.log(project.tasks); // will already have fetched and decrypted all related tasks