Server integration in AngularJS

The aim of this section is to discuss two services AngularJS provides for integrating with a server, namely $http and $resource. We’ll look at $http first and$resource second. $resource is essentially a RESTful extension of $http.

Previously we introduced a feature to our blog admin application that calculated the percentage of used categories. We originally used this feature to look at how we can create our own injectable components. We’ll now use it again to discuss$http.


The requirements for our blog admin application have changed, and we now need to fetch the categories from a server.

The simplest way to achieve this is to use $http directly in articleCtrl.

The contents of articleCtrl became quite lengthy in the previous section, so the following two snippets are intended to be illustrative.

In the above snippet, we issue an HTTP request to the URL ‘/categories’ and, if it is successful, we pass the response data to calculateCategoryPercentage. There are two key things to note here.

First, there will be a delay while the server responds. During this delay, the $scopeproperty is not set and therefore a percentage is not displayed in the browser. We can lessen the impact of this by setting an initial value.

Second, we have returned calculateCategoryPercentage to its simple value service version. But rather than hard-coding the available categories,calculateCategoryPercentage is passed as follows:


For the purposes of a tutorial, it is desirable to avoid introducing any tangential complexity. In our case, that would be a server to respond to the URL ‘/categories’.

AngularJS has a very useful additional module for backend-less development, namely $httpBackend. This is perfect for tutorials, but I have also used it in a team of four AngularJS developers building an application against a partially built server. We didn’t want the road map of server features to impact us, so for a period of time, we developed backend-less.

Download angular-mocks.js and add another script reference in index.html in the following order:

There are two variants of $httpBackend, one for unit testing and one for backend-less development. We need to tell our application to use the backend-less variant; this is achieved by adding a dependency to ngMockE2E to our udemyAdmin module. We then to configure how $httpBackend should respond to URL and HTTP verb combinations. Currently we only need one combination, HTTP GET and ‘/categories’.

Edit app.js as follows:

In the above snippet, the run method of our ‘udemyAdmin’ module is used for one-off configuration code that needs to execute as our application starts up.