Conf42 JavaScript 2022 - Online

Scalable event-driven applications with NestJS

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Join me for a talk on developing scalable event-driven applications with NestJS. If you’ve never tried NestJS - I’ll talk briefly about its advantages and use cases it can solve for you. We’ll explore a hands-on example of scalability issues that can happen and the common approaches to solving them. Thanks and see you.


  • NestJs is a framework for building node JS applications. It was inspired by angular and relies heavily on typescript. How does it help us build scalable applications? The common approaches are building the monolith with a modular design, microservices, event driven application, or a mixed approach.
  • Next, we can think about application applications that would include profiling, investigating database queries and similar activities. NestJs can help us with it's to separate the queues and prioritize some events. You can get the demo application repository at my GitHub.


This transcript was autogenerated. To make changes, submit a PR.
Jamaica make a real time feedback into the behavior of your distributed systems and observing changes exceptions errors in real time allows youve to not only experiment with confidence, but respond instantly to get things working again. Close event driven applications with NestJs, which is a modern framework for building back end node JS applications today I will talk briefly about what is Nest JS? How does it help build scalable applications? I have a demo ready for you and we'll describe the overall architecture and the tools used and then we will run and see this demo in action. So what is NestJs? It's a framework for building node JS applications. It was inspired by angular and relies heavily on typescript, so it provides a somewhat typesafe development experience. It's still a javascript after transpiling, so you should cases when dealing with common security risks. It's popular framework already and youve probably heard about it. Let's quickly recap what the framework offers us one of the main advantages of using a framework is having a dependency injection. It removes the overhead of creating and supporting a class dependency tree. It has abstracted integration with most databases, so you don't have to think about it. It has abstracted common use cases for web development like caching, configuration API, versioning and documentation queues and so on. For the HTTP server youve can choose between exprs or fastify. Yeah, it uses typescript and decorators. I think it simplifies reading the code, especially in bigger projects, and it allows the team of developers to be on the same page when reasoning about components. Also, of course, as with any framework, it provides other application design elements like middleware, exception filters, guards, pipes and so on. And finally, we'll talk later about some other features that are specific to scalability. So how does Nest JS help us build scalable applications? Let's first recap the main strategies for building such applications. The common approaches are building the monolith with a modular design, microservices, event driven application, or a mixed approach. And I think this is the most common in long living projects. For the first approach I want to talk about is monolith. It's a single application that has components tightly coupled. They are deployed together, they are supported together, and usually they can't leave one without another. If you write your application that way, it's best to use a modular approach, which by the way, NestJs is very good at. When using modular approach, you can effectively have one code base, but components of your system act as somewhat independent entities and can be worked on by different teams. This becomes harder as your team and project grows. That's why we have other models for development. Microservices are when you have separate deployers for each service. Usually each service is only responsible for a small unit of work and will have its own store. It will communicate with other services via HTTP request or messaging. Next the event driven approach is similar to microservices, but usually you don't have direct communications between them. Instead, each service will emit an event, and then it simply doesn't care. There can be listeners to this event, but there can be no listeners. If the event is consumed by someone, it can again produce another event that can be again consumed by another service, and so on. So every service is independent of one another. They only listen and produce events. Eventually someone will produce a response for the client waiting. It could be a websocket response, for example, or a webhook or whatever. Usually our larger projects are a mix of all designs. You have components that are tightly coupled and deployed together. Some components are deployed separately and some are communicating exclusively via event messaging. Let's think about why NestJs simplifies event driven development. First of all, it allows really fast and simple integration of a popular bulb package for queues for microservices developing and communication. It has integrations with the most popular messaging brokers like Redis, Kafka, RabbitMQ, MQTT, Nuts, and so on. Third, it promotes modular development, so it's naturally easy for you to extract single units of work later in the project's lifecycle, even if you start your project as a monolith. My next point is it has great documentation and examples, which is always nice to have. You can be running your first distributed app in minutes with Nest Js and another thing I want to note is unit and integration testing is bootstrapped for you. It has dependency injection for testing and all other powerful features of a jest testing framework. Now let's see how a simple queue can be created in sjs. First you install the required dependencies, then you create a connection to redis and finally register a queue and that's it. Next, somewhere else in a service constructor, you type hint your queue and it gets injected by the dependency ejection container. You now have full access to the queue and can start emitting events some way. In another module youve decorate your processor class and that is a minimal setup to have a queue system working. You can have both producer and consumers exist in one application separately. It's whatever up to you and they will be communicating via your redis instance, messaging provider connection starts with adding a client model connection. In this example we have redis transport and should provide redispecific connection options. Next step is to inject the client proxy interface. Our options further are either send method or emit. Send is usually a synchronous section similar to HTTP request, but is abstracted by the framework to act via selected transport. In the given example, the accumulate method response will not be sent to the client until message is processed by the listener. Application Emit command is can asynchronous workflow start? It will act as fire and forget or in some transports this will act as a durable queue event. This will depend on the transport chosen and its configuration. Send and emit partners have a slightly different use case on the consumer side, message pattern decorator is only for synchronous like methods and can only be used inside a controller decorated class, so we expect some kind of response to the request received via our messaging protocol. On the other hand, event pattern decorator can be used in any custom class of your application and will listen to events produced on the same queue or event bus, and it does not expect our application to return something. This setup is similar with other messaging brokers and if it's something custom, you can still use a dependency injection container and create a custom event subsystem provider with NestJs interfaces. And this is how easy it is to integrate with most common messaging brokers in NestJs. In this section I will review a part of real application which is simplified. Of course you can get the source cases at my GitHub page to follow along or try it out later. I will demonstrate how a properly designed event driven application can face challenges and how we can quickly resolve them with the tools that framework has. Let's first do a quick overview. Our expected workflow is like this. We have an action that has happened in our API gateway and detaches the trade service which emits an event. This event goes to the queue or event bus and then we have four other services listening to it and processing it. To observe how this application performs, I use a side application which is my channel monitor. This is a very powerful pattern to improve observability and can help automation for scaling up and down based on channel metrics. I'll show you how it works in a bit. I prepared the make file so you can follow along. First, run a make start command and this will start docker with all required services. Next you run a make monitor command to pick into application metrics. The monitor shows me the queue name and count of jobs that are waiting process jobs and amount of worker instances online. As you can see, under normal conditions the job waiting count is zero, event flow is slow and we don't have any jobs piling up. This application works fine with a low event count, but what happens if traffic suddenly increases? You can start next demo by running make start issue one command and restarting the monitor. With make monitor command, our event flow is increased by three times. You will notice eventually that the jobs waiting count will start to increase and while we still are processing jobs with one worker, the queue has already slowed down compared to the increased traffic. Now we can see that our mission critical trade service confirmation is throttled by this the worker would process all events without any priority. So each new trade confirmation must first wait for some other events to complete. And you can imagine this creating slow response times on your front end. Applications for trade processing let's explore the options that we have to fix this. The first and most obvious is to scale the worker instance so it will go faster. In the node js world, this is rarely a good solution unless you are processing high cpu intensive tasks such as video audio cryptography. The second is to increase the worker instance count. This is a valid option, but sometimes not very cost effective. Next, we can think about application applications that would include profiling, investigating database queries and similar activities. This can be very time consuming and can render no result or very limited improvements. And our last two options are where NestJs can help us with it's to separate the queues and prioritize some events. I will start by applying a queue separation method. The trade queue will only be responsible for processing trade confirmation events. My code for this will look like will look like this. The first step is to ask our producer to meet a trade confirm event to a new queue. On the consumer side, I extracted a new class called Trades service and assign it as a listener to the trades queue. The queue default listener service stays the same. I don't have to do any changes here now. Whatever happens, whatever spike we have, the trades will never stop processing. You can run the next example by starting the start step one command and restarting the monitor with make monitor command. You will notice that the trace queue has a jobs waiting count of zero and the default queue is still experiencing problems. So now I will apply our second step for scaling. Based on the information I have, I increase the worker instance count to three for the default queue. Youve can start this demo by running the start step two common and restarting the monitor and over time this application goes to zero jobs waiting on both queues. So good job. Let's recap. I applied two solutions here from my list. I increased worker instance count for the default queue. I created a separate trades queue, and this was majorly done for me by Docker and the Nestjs framework. Next step you can implement by just using tools that the framework has is to prioritize some events over the hours. For example, anything related to login or internal metrics can be delayed in favor of more mission critical events like database integrations, notifications, and so on. You can get the demo application repository at my GitHub with a link specified here. Feel free to connect at LinkedIn. Thanks for watching and goodbye.

Dmitry Khorev

Senior Software Engineer @ Mero

Dmitry Khorev's LinkedIn account

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