Learn how to extend existing entities, including adding database columns, extening the backend API and including new data in the UI workflows

Extend Existing Entity

Overview

This guide teaches how to change one of the existing entities that are provided with the OTT Template. The guide describes how to expand the amount of information associated with an instance of the entity. This is done by expanding the database table to include an additional column and then providing a field in the details page to let an editor manage the data of that field.

Pre-Requisites

To follow along, you should have already completed the OTT Template setup. Instructions on how to set it up can be found in the Readme.md file contained in the OTT Template package and also described on the OTT Template Readme page.

Goal

This guide describes how to add a new file for a SEO Description to the movie entity type. The editors can use that entity type to maintain an additional description of the movie that can be used for search engine optimization. Once you’ve walked through the guide, you should have enough information to add any field to any entity type you want.

Adding a New Field

On a high level, the task can be split into two parts:

  • Adding the new field to the backend API to make it possible to store and persist the data.

  • Adding the new field to the media workflows to have a UI for the editors to work with and fill in and edit the data.

Both of these processes are further discussed below.

Adding the New Field to the Backend API

Let’s start by adding the backend support for the new field. Note that to accept new information, you need to add a column to the existing table in the database of the media service. This way, the information can be stored there.

To add a new field to the backend API:

  1. Navigate to the current.sql file. It is located under ott-template-version/services/media/service/migrations.

  2. This file is mostly empty, except for some comments. You can write code inside this file to alter existing tables as well as create new tables. Use the ax-add-nullable-column snippet. If you type it into the editor, you should see an auto-complete suggestion:

    new column
    Tip
    There are many more snippets you can use to auto-generate SQL statements that could be useful for your use cases. To explore them, start typing ax- and then have a look at their descriptions.
    1. Hitting tab while this suggestion is highlighted, inserts the following code template:

      ALTER TABLE app_public.table_name ADD COLUMN IF NOT EXISTS column_name TEXT;
      
      GRANT INSERT, UPDATE (column_name) ON app_public.table_name TO ":DATABASE_GQL_ROLE";

      The first line adds a column to the table if it does not exist.
      The second line enables the GQL role to INSERT and UPDATE the column, so PostGraphile includes it in the respective GraphQL mutations.

      Tip
      Make sure that all the Visual Studio Code extensions recommended by the solution are installed. Without them, you might not see the auto-complete suggestions.
  3. In the template that you just inserted, you must now input the name of the table which you are changing. This guide refers to the movies table as an example.

  4. Next, name the column that you are adding, e.g. seo_description. The data type of the column, can stay TEXT.

    Tip
    The snippet defines parameters for these values. You can use the TAB key to navigate between the parameters of the snippet and conveniently fill in the details mentioned above.
  5. When finished, you end up with the following document:

    --! Message: replace-with-migration-name
    
    -- Remove this comment line and write your migration here. Make sure to keep one empty line between 'Message' header and first migration line to properly name future migration file.
    ALTER TABLE app_public.movies ADD COLUMN IF NOT EXISTS seo_description TEXT;
    
    GRANT INSERT, UPDATE (seo_description) ON app_public.movies TO ":DATABASE_GQL_ROLE";
  6. After saving that file, the service reboots and applies the migrations listed in the current.sql file to the database. This makes the new field available in the GraphQL API of the media service immediately.

Adding a New Field to the Media Workflows

Now that there is a new property in the backend API, the editor should be able to enter information for it, using the Management System UI. Next, learn how to add a new field to the details station for movies. The code that powers this station is inside the folder services/media/workflows/src/Stations/Movies/MovieDetails.

To add a new field to media workflows:

  1. First, make sure that your new property is loaded by the station.

    1. Update the MovieDetails.graphql file and add the newly created seoDescription column into the Movie query. Simply add its name under the names of the other fields.

      services/media/workflows/src/Stations/Movies/MovieDetails/MovieDetails.graphql
      query Movie($id: Int!) {
        movie(id: $id) {
          title
          originalTitle
      
          ...
      
          publishedUser
          seoDescription # <--- add this line
        }
        ...
      }
      Tip
      When starting to type the property name, the solution should start auto-completing the property name. If this does not show up or the line gets underlined in red, you might need to run the >Apollo: Reload schema Visual Studio Code command once (using the Command Palette) to make the Apollo extension aware of the changes to the GraphQL schema, applied in the previous step.
  2. Execute the command yarn codegen from the services/media/workflows folder. This regenerates the Typescript typings for your query, which makes Typescript aware that the query now also returns a seoDescription property.

  3. Now, you can continue with the actual MovieDetails station component to add the new property to the form. Open the file services/media/workflows/src/Stations/Movies/MovieDetails/MovieDetails.tsx.

    1. This file contains the definition of the MovieDetails component, which is rendered when a user navigates to the /movies/{id} route. For the time being, simply ignore most of the code. You are only interested in the section that defines the Form component, which defines the input fields that the station shows. You can find it, for example, by searching for const Form:.

      const Form: React.FC<{ genreOptions?: string[] }> = ({ genreOptions }) => {
        ...
      
        return (
          <>
            <Field name="title" label="Title" as={SingleLineTextField} />
            ...
            <Field name="studio" label="Studio" as={SingleLineTextField} />
          </>
        );
      };
    2. Add your input field at the end of the form, right below the studio input field.

    3. Enter the following under the studio field:

      const Form: React.FC<{ genreOptions?: string[] }> = ({ genreOptions }) => {
        ...
      
        return (
          <>
            <Field name="title" label="Title" as={SingleLineTextField} />
            ...
            <Field name="studio" label="Studio" as={SingleLineTextField} />
            <Field name="seoDescription" label="SEO Description" as={TextAreaField} /> {/* <--- add this line */}
          </>
        );
      };
    4. This creates a new TextAreaField field in the form which has SEO Description as its label. Several other field types can be used, such as SingleLineTextField and DateTimeTextField, etc. It is data-bound to the seoDescription property of the station data.

      Note
      The saveData handler of the station, which is called by the Details component whenever the data needs to be persistant (e.g. if the user changed values and leaves the station) is already implemented to send update mutations for all changed movie properties. No need to change anything there. If your property is not a direct property of the movie but, for example, a related one that requires a separate mutation to be executed, you would need to add this logic to the saveData handler.
  4. After saving all the changes, the workflows project automatically rebuilds itself and starts serving your changed station.

Results

Follow the steps below to check whether everything works:

  1. Open the Management System in your browser: navigate to http://localhost:10053 and click the Movies tile to open the respective explorer view.

    tile to select
  2. After selecting the movies tile, go to the details page.

    1. You can reach the details page by either editing an existing movie if you have one already created.

    2. If you don’t have any movies, create a new movie.

  3. On the the details page, you should see that a new field has been added to the bottom of the page.

    final product
  4. Enter some information and navigate away from the page.

    1. Come back to the page. You should see that the text in the field that you just implemented, is still there.

      results sample