In this tutorial you will learn:
If any of the concepts in this tutorial are entirely alien to you, we recommend that you take one of our introductory courses to no-code app development which can be found inside the Dittofi University.
The Dittofi University contains an expanding list of courses developed by professional software engineers and trainers. These courses cover core concepts in app development. There are also guided examples of how professional app developers build specific types of software application.
Back-end actions are used to give your app functionality.
In this simplistic diagram of an app, you can see:
- The front-end where your apps users interact with your app.
- The database which stores data related to your app
- The back-end application.
The back-end applicaiton is is made up of back-end actions. These actions that sit between your front-end and your database and you can use back-end actions to develop custom functionality for your app such as, logging in users, signing up users, triggering alerts and so on.
Back-end actions can be connected to your apps front-end to make your front-end interactive. They can also be connected to your database.
Inside Dittofi the back-end actions can be found in the back-end actions tab.
You can click on the back-end actions listed in this tab to open them up. The screenshot below shows an example of a back-end action that has been created to sign up a new user.
As you can see, the action is split up into three main parts.
- 1.A trigger component, this is what causes the action to start.
- 2.Variables that allow you to define variables that can be used throughout your action.
- 3.An event chain that defines the functionality that the action is going to perform.
Starting with the action trigger, you can see that actions can be triggered in three main ways. They can be scheduled to run, they can be triggered by other actions or, as in this case here, actions can be triggered by an endpoint.
As shown in the screenshot below, you can configure your endpoint settings here, by clicking on the trigger component and then updating the endpoint path, request method and by setting variables that you’d like to pass into your endpoint.
Variables can also be defined throughout your back-end action. Depending on where in the action you define them, will determine the scope of the variable.
Variables passed into the action from an endpoint are accessible throughout your action.
In the same way, variables defined in the box at the top of your action have global scope within your action, whereas variables defined in the events themselves can only be used within the event itself and all subsequent events. Each event has a response variable, which can be defined inside the event.
Variables can then be passed out of the action, by setting the response variable inside the component trigger. See the example below of passing a success code out of the action.
Last, but not least, there is the event chain that makes up the action. Events are like pre-coded functions that you can pass data into and out of. Events can be chained together to create custom functionality.
For example, the screenshot below shows four events that are chained together to sign up a new user, check that the users data has been correctly written to the database, login the new user and then send them an email.
The events used in the screenshot above are:
- 1.Create event, which creates a new user record in the database, that corresponds to the user who is signing up.
- 2.Condition event to check that the user has been correctly added to the database
- 3.Login event to login the new user of the app
- 4.Send email event to welcome the new sign up to our app
You can add new events to this chain by clicking on the
button, or by clicking the three dots to the right of each event. This will bring up options to add an event before, after or inside of a condition event.
In Dittofi we have over 80 events that you can use to build a custom back-end for your app. These events include things like CSV readers, PDF generation, math functions, connecting to web sockets and much much more.
To create a custom back-end action, click on
. Give your action a name, choose a trigger component (endpoint, schedule or action) and then use the different event options to chain together a series of events to perform some custom logic.
To test a back-end action:
(1) Make sure that your code is up to date by clicking , the
(3) Enter any trigger settings such as entering variables for endpoint triggers, as shown below, and then click
After your action has run, you will get response data from the action.
The response code of 200 indicates that the action has run correctly. The response data is the data that we returned to the trigger endpoint from our action. This can be any variable that you choose.
You have now learnt:
- 1.What are back-end actions
- 2.The main components of a back-end action
- 3.How to create a back-end action
- 4.How to test a back-end action
Up next, we advise that you start to experiment with building your own actions and developing your own custom event chains. For a complete list of the events inside Dittofi and how to configure them, check out the section of our docs called Events.
To see more examples of what you can develop, check-out some of our guided app builds. These show you how professional development teams develop apps using back-end actions. You can find these in our Dittofi University page.
Finally, you can check out our marketplace of pre-built back-end actions that can be used to give your app some immediate functionality and dramatically speed up your app development. You can find these on our Templates page under "Modules". As shown below.