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Category: Web.api

Query a database through a C# REST API with Powershell (part 1)

It is probably known that you can query an SQL database in Powershell relatively easy, but wouldn’t it be great to quickly write a REST API in front of the database? So that you can add business logic if you wish? And use Powershell as a REST client? And then be able to code a decent frontend for the API for whatever device?

Let’s get started!
In this series I will first create a WebApi from scratch. Of course, you can also use the templates in Visual Studio, but I prefer to have a bit of knowledge of the code that’s in my project. It’s not that hard and you will end up with a clean code base.

Step 1. Get your dev environment ready

You can use a Vagrant box. If you use this Vagrantfile a install.ps1 script will be copied to your desktop. Run it, grab a coffee or go shopping because we are on Windows and Windows apps can be huge.

Step 2. Getting the VS Project in place

Start Visual Studio
Create a new empty solution:

ice_screenshot_20160508-093224

I named the empty solution BusinessApp (I’m lacking inspiration for a better name).

Then right click the newly made solution in the Solution Explorer (the pane on the right) and click Add and the New Project:

20150508-context

 

 

 

 

 

I named the new Project BusinessApp.Api. If you set your solution up like this you can add more projects as you continue extending the app, for example for an Angular (or whatever framework) frontend, or if you want to separate your datalayer. You can also put your Powershell client modules in a separate project if you wish.

Then open up the Nuget Package Manager Console and install the WebApi dll’s:

Install-Package Microsoft.AspNet.WebApi

Make sure to choose the correct Package source (Microsoft and .NET).

Step 3. Add routing

Add a new folder and name it App_Start.
Create a new class in the folder and name it WebApiConfig.cs

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Web.Http;


namespace BusinessApp.Api
{
    public static class WebApiConfig
    {
        public static void Register(HttpConfiguration config)
        {
            config.MapHttpAttributeRoutes();
            GlobalConfiguration.Configuration.Formatters.JsonFormatter.SerializerSettings.ReferenceLoopHandling = Newtonsoft.Json.ReferenceLoopHandling.Ignore;
            GlobalConfiguration.Configuration.Formatters.Remove(GlobalConfiguration.Configuration.Formatters.XmlFormatter);

            config.Routes.MapHttpRoute(
                name: "DefaultApi",
                routeTemplate: "api/{controller}/{id}",
                defaults: new { id = RouteParameter.Optional }
            );
        }
    }
}

In this class we configure that we want our api to return and consume json. Also, we configure our routes to match the controller name, followed by id, wich is optional. E.g http://example.com/api/employees/1 would match a controllername Employees, and it would return employee with id 1.

Step 4. Enable CORS

We need to enable CORS¬†else we won’t be able to consume the api from from another domain outside the domain from which the resource originated. In a production web environment you should configure this very carefully. I will CORS very permissive because I want my code to work.

Install CORS with in Nuget console:

Install-Package Microsoft.AspNet.WebApi.Cors

Then modify the WebApiConfig.cs class as follows:

using System.Web;
using System.Web.Http;
using System.Web.Http.Cors;

namespace BusinessApp.Api
{
    public static class WebApiConfig
    {
        public static void Register(HttpConfiguration config)
        {
            var cors = new EnableCorsAttribute("*", "*", "*");
            config.EnableCors(cors);
            config.MapHttpAttributeRoutes();
            GlobalConfiguration.Configuration.Formatters.JsonFormatter.SerializerSettings.ReferenceLoopHandling = Newtonsoft.Json.ReferenceLoopHandling.Ignore;
            GlobalConfiguration.Configuration.Formatters.Remove(GlobalConfiguration.Configuration.Formatters.XmlFormatter);

Step 5. Add a Controller

  • Create a folder named ‘Controllers’
  • Right click the Controllers folder and click Add and then Controller
  • Click Web API 2 Controller with read/write actions.

ice_screenshot_20160508-092302

I named the Controller Test Controller.

Step 5. Add a Global.asax file

We need to add a Global.asax file to call the WebApiConfig.cs methods at startup.

Right click the solution, click Add, click New Item and search for Global.asax, then Add it.

ice_screenshot_20160508-095951

Modify Global.asax (see the highlighted lines):

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Web;
using System.Web.Http;
using System.Web.Security;
using System.Web.SessionState;

namespace BusinessApp.Api
{
    public class Global : System.Web.HttpApplication
    {

        protected void Application_Start(object sender, EventArgs e)
        {
            GlobalConfiguration.Configure(WebApiConfig.Register);
        }

 

Step 6. Test the API

Hit F5 and browse to http://localhost:/api/test

ice_screenshot_20160508-100831

And it works. You can also consume the API with Powershell at this point:

((Invoke-WebRequest http://localhost:53601/api/test).content) | ConvertFrom-Json

It should return value1 and value2.

Done! Now let’s query a database. This will be explained in Part 2.