Synchronous Communication between Microservices built in ASP.NET Core

Synchronous Communication between Microservices built in ASP.NET Core

In the last tutorial we build our first Microservice for drone pizza delivery application. That Microservice was called by the name CommandCenter. In this tutorial we will build the second microservice for the application and this microservice will be called ProcessCenter microservice. This second microservice will communicate with the first microservice in synchronous manner.

You can find the complete Source Code at my GitHub Repository.

Creating ProcessCenter Microservice in ASP.NET Core

The ProcessCenter Microservice is going to have very similar features to the first microservice, these features are:

  • 1. Web API CRUD Operations.
  • 2. MongoDB database will store data for the CRUD operations.
  • 3. Docker Container will run the MongoDB database.

First open Visual Studio and create a new ASP.NET Core Web Application.

asp.net core web application

Give your app the name as ProcessCenter.

Select the template as ASP.NET Core Web API.

ASP.NET Core Web API template

Next, click the create button to create this microservice.

This Microservice will deal with delivery of Pizza Orders by drones. There will be a MongoDB database which will store all this information.

Entities

Create a new folder called Entity on the root of the project. To this folder create 3 class files which are:

1. IEntity.cs

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace ProcessCenter.Entity
{
    public interface IEntity
    {
        Guid Id { get; set; }
    }
}

It is the same which we used in the first microservice.

2. IRepository.cs

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Linq.Expressions;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace ProcessCenter.Entity
{
    public interface IRepository<T> where T : IEntity
    {
        Task CreateAsync(T entity);
        Task<IReadOnlyCollection<T>> GetAllAsync();
        Task<IReadOnlyCollection<T>> GetAllAsync(Expression<Func<T, bool>> filter);
        Task<T> GetAsync(Guid id);
        Task<T> GetAsync(Expression<Func<T, bool>> filter);
        Task RemoveAsync(Guid id);
        Task UpdateAsync(T entity);
    }
}

IRepository<T> is also the same which we used in the first microservice.

3. Process.cs

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace ProcessCenter.Entity
{
    public class Process : IEntity
    {
        public Guid Id { get; set; }
        public Guid OrderId { get; set; }
        public Guid DroneId { get; set; }
        public string Status { get; set; }
        public DateTimeOffset AcquiredDate { get; set; }
    }
}

The Process class will manage the processing of pizza orders. It has 5 fields which are:

  • Id – the process id of the order, its value will be of guid type.
  • OrderId – the order id which will be fetched from the first microservice.
  • DroneId – the id of the drone which will be shipping the order.
  • Status – the status of the pizza delivery of an order. It can have 3 values – Submitted, Processing and Completed.
  • AcquiredDate – the date time when the order was provided to the second microservice.
Data Transfer objects

Create a new folder called Infrastructure on the root folder of the project. Next create a new class called Dtos.cs to it. It’s code is given below:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace ProcessCenter.Infrastructure
{
    public class Dtos
    {
        public record GrantOrderDto(Guid DroneId, Guid OrderId, String Status);

        public record ProcessDto(Guid OrderId, string Address, int Quantity, string Status, Guid ProcessId, Guid DroneId, DateTimeOffset AcquiredDate);

        public record OrderDto(Guid Id, string Address, int Quantity);
    }
}

This class has 3 Data Transfer objects aka Dtos. Note that Dtos are only used to pass data between layers and does not contain any business logic. I will be using in the Web API shortly.

I have used record type for the Dtos as they cannot be change later on.

Next, to the same Infrastructure folder, add a new class called Extensions.cs which will create an extension method for the “Process” type, and will be used to convert Process type value to ProcessDto type. Remember “ProcessDto” is the Dto we previously defined.

The code is given below:

using ProcessCenter.Entity;
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using static ProcessCenter.Infrastructure.Dtos;

namespace ProcessCenter.Infrastructure
{
    public static class Extensions
    {
        public static ProcessDto AsDto(this Process process, string Address, int Quantity)
        {
            return new ProcessDto(process.OrderId, Address, Quantity, process.Status, process.Id, process.DroneId, process.AcquiredDate);
        }
    }
}

MongoDB Connection String, Configuration, Repository and Settings

Like what we did when creating our first Microservice, these things will remain the same.

In the appsettings.json file, add 2 sections called “ServiceSettings” and “MongoDbSettings” as highlighted below.

{
  "Logging": {
    "LogLevel": {
      "Default": "Information",
      "Microsoft": "Warning",
      "Microsoft.Hosting.Lifetime": "Information"
    }
  },
  "ServiceSettings": {
    "ServiceName": "Process"
  },
  "MongoDbSettings": {
    "Host": "localhost",
    "Port": "27017"
  },
  "AllowedHosts": "*"
}

The only difference is that here I have provided ServiceName the value of Process so for this Microservice a database by the name of Process will be created on MongoDB.

Now create the necessary classes that will deal with these MongoDB values. So on this step too the things just remain the same like the first microservice.

Create a new folder called Setting on the root of the project and create 2 classes called MongoDbSettings.cs and ServiceSettings.cs to it.

The code of MongoDbSettings.cs class is:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace ProcessCenter.Settings
{
    public class MongoDbSettings
    {
        public string Host { get; init; }
        public string Port { get; init; }

        public string ConnectionString => $"mongodb://{Host}:{Port}";
    }
}

The code of ServiceSettings.cs class is:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace ProcessCenter.Settings
{
    public class ServiceSettings
    {
        public string ServiceName { get; init; }
    }
}

Before we create repository which will directly communicate with the MongoDB database, we will require to have drivers for MongoDB installed in the project. This can be done by adding the MongoDB.Driver package from NuGet.

MongoDB driver

Now create a new folder called MongoDB on the root of the project and add 2 classes called MongoRepository.cs and Extensions.cs to it. These classes are the same what we used in the first microservice we build previously.

The MongoRepository.cs code:

using MongoDB.Driver;
using ProcessCenter.Entity;
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Linq.Expressions;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace ProcessCenter.MongoDB
{
    public class MongoRepository<T> : IRepository<T> where T : IEntity
    {
        private readonly IMongoCollection<T> collection;
        private readonly FilterDefinitionBuilder<T> filterBuilder = Builders<T>.Filter;

        public MongoRepository(IMongoDatabase database, string collectionName)
        {
            collection = database.GetCollection<T>(collectionName);
        }

        public async Task<IReadOnlyCollection<T>> GetAllAsync()
        {
            return await collection.Find(filterBuilder.Empty).ToListAsync();
        }

        public async Task<IReadOnlyCollection<T>> GetAllAsync(Expression<Func<T, bool>> filter)
        {
            return await collection.Find(filter).ToListAsync();
        }

        public async Task<T> GetAsync(Guid id)
        {
            FilterDefinition<T> filter = filterBuilder.Eq(e => e.Id, id);
            return await collection.Find(filter).FirstOrDefaultAsync();
        }

        public async Task<T> GetAsync(Expression<Func<T, bool>> filter)
        {
            return await collection.Find(filter).FirstOrDefaultAsync();
        }

        public async Task CreateAsync(T entity)
        {
            if (entity == null)
            {
                throw new ArgumentNullException(nameof(entity));
            }
            await collection.InsertOneAsync(entity);
        }

        public async Task UpdateAsync(T entity)
        {
            if (entity == null)
            {
                throw new ArgumentNullException(nameof(entity));
            }
            FilterDefinition<T> filter = filterBuilder.Eq(e => e.Id, entity.Id);
            await collection.ReplaceOneAsync(filter, entity);
        }

        public async Task RemoveAsync(Guid id)
        {
            FilterDefinition<T> filter = filterBuilder.Eq(e => e.Id, id);
            await collection.DeleteOneAsync(filter);
        }
    }
}

The Extensions.cs code:

using ProcessCenter.Entity;
using ProcessCenter.Settings;
using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration;
using Microsoft.Extensions.DependencyInjection;
using MongoDB.Bson;
using MongoDB.Bson.Serialization;
using MongoDB.Bson.Serialization.Serializers;
using MongoDB.Driver;

namespace ProcessCenter.MongoDB
{
    public static class Extensions
    {
        public static IServiceCollection AddMongo(this IServiceCollection services)
        {
            BsonSerializer.RegisterSerializer(new GuidSerializer(BsonType.String));
            BsonSerializer.RegisterSerializer(new DateTimeOffsetSerializer(BsonType.String));

            services.AddSingleton(a =>
            {
                var configuration = a.GetService<IConfiguration>();
                var serviceSettings = configuration.GetSection(nameof(ServiceSettings)).Get<ServiceSettings>();
                var mongoDbSettings = configuration.GetSection(nameof(MongoDbSettings)).Get<MongoDbSettings>();
                var mongoClient = new MongoClient(mongoDbSettings.ConnectionString);
                return mongoClient.GetDatabase(serviceSettings.ServiceName);
            });

            return services;
        }

        public static IServiceCollection AddMongoRepository<T>(this IServiceCollection services, string collectionName) where T : IEntity
        {
            services.AddSingleton<IRepository<T>>(a =>
            {
                var database = a.GetService<IMongoDatabase>();
                return new MongoRepository<T>(database, collectionName);
            });
            return services;
        }
    }
}

Now, we will need to register the methods, given on the Extensions.cs class, in the Startup.cs class. So add the highlighted code given below on the ConfigureServices() method.

public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
{
    services.AddMongo().AddMongoRepository<Process>("processItems");
    
    services.AddControllers();
            services.AddSwaggerGen(c =>
            {
                c.SwaggerDoc("v1", new OpenApiInfo { Title = "ProcessCenter", Version = "v1" });
            }); 
}

Note that processItems will be the collection name for the MongoDB database.

HttpClient class to communicate with First Microservice

The second microservice should be able to communicate with the first microservice. This we can do with HttpClient class. So, create a new folder called Client on the root of the project and to it add a new class called OrderClient.cs. This class will make Web API requests to the OrderCenter Microservice and uses HttpClient class for doing so. The code of OrderClient.cs is given below:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Net.Http;
using System.Net.Http.Json;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using static ProcessCenter.Infrastructure.Dtos;

namespace ProcessCenter.Clients
{
    public class OrderClient
    {
        private readonly HttpClient httpClient;
        public OrderClient(HttpClient httpClient)
        {
            this.httpClient = httpClient;
        }

        public async Task<IReadOnlyCollection<OrderDto>> GetOrderAsync()
        {
            var items = await httpClient.GetFromJsonAsync<IReadOnlyCollection<OrderDto>>("/order");
            return items;
        }
    }
}

The call to the first microservice is made inside the GetOrderAsync method. Recall /Order was the route of the web api we created in the first tutorial.

Next, register the OrderClient class on the “Startup.cs” and specify the baseaddress of the first microservice.

public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
{
    services.AddMongo().AddMongoRepository<Process>("processItems");

    services.AddHttpClient<OrderClient>(a =>
    {
        a.BaseAddress = new Uri("https://localhost:44393");
    });
}

The uri – https://localhost:44393 is that of the first microservice we created before.

Next, we will create the web api controller.

Creating Web API Controller

We will now create a Web API controller called ProcessController.cs inside the Controllers folder. It will have methods that will insert data to the MongoDB database and also make asynchronous call to the first microservice to get order details.

The data will be stored in a MongoDB database like before and the MongoDB will run from a docker container. On the last tutorial I explained how to run MongoDB database on a docker container so make sure you have followed that part correctly.

mongodb running in docker container processcenter microservice

So, create ProcessController.cs inside the Controllers folder with the following code.

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc;
using ProcessCenter.Clients;
using ProcessCenter.Entity;
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using static ProcessCenter.Infrastructure.Dtos;
using ProcessCenter.Infrastructure;

namespace ProcessCenter.Controllers
{
    [ApiController]
    [Route("process")]
    public class ProcessController : ControllerBase
    {
        private readonly IRepository<Process> repository;
        private readonly OrderClient orderClient;
        public ProcessController(IRepository<Process> repository, OrderClient orderClient)
        {
            this.repository = repository;
            this.orderClient = orderClient;
        }

        [HttpGet]
        public async Task<ActionResult<IEnumerable<ProcessDto>>> GetAsync(Guid droneId)
        {
            if (droneId == Guid.Empty)
            {
                return BadRequest();
            }

            var orders = await orderClient.GetOrderAsync();
            var processEntities = await repository.GetAllAsync(a => a.DroneId == droneId);

            var commonEntities = processEntities.Join(orders, a => a.OrderId, b => b.Id, (a, b) => new { OrderId = b.Id, b.Address, b.Quantity, ProcessId = a.Id, a.DroneId, a.Status, a.AcquiredDate });

            List<ProcessDto> processDtoList = new List<ProcessDto>();

            foreach (var ce in commonEntities)
            {
                Process p = new Process();
                p.Id = ce.ProcessId; p.DroneId = ce.DroneId; p.OrderId = ce.OrderId; p.Status = ce.Status; p.AcquiredDate = ce.AcquiredDate;
                processDtoList.Add(p.AsDto(ce.Address, ce.Quantity));
            }

            return Ok(processDtoList);
        }

        [HttpPost]
        public async Task<ActionResult> PostAsync(GrantOrderDto grantOrderDto)
        {
            var process = await repository.GetAsync(a => a.DroneId == grantOrderDto.DroneId && a.OrderId == grantOrderDto.OrderId);
            if (process == null)
            {
                process = new Process
                {
                    DroneId = grantOrderDto.DroneId,
                    OrderId = grantOrderDto.OrderId,
                    Status = grantOrderDto.Status,
                    AcquiredDate = DateTimeOffset.UtcNow
                };

                await repository.CreateAsync(process);
            }
            else
            {
                process.Status = grantOrderDto.Status;
                await repository.UpdateAsync(process);
            }
            return Ok();
        }
    }
}

It has 2 methods:

1. GetAsync() – it fetches the process recrods from it’s local mongodb database and also makes http request to the first microservice to get all the orders. It then combines both these two and returns it as a List of ProcessDto.

2. PostAsync() – this method creates a process record in the mongodb database. This method also updates the process record.

Let us now test this method so run both the microservices – CommandCenter and ProcessCenter in visual studio.

Executing Microservices with Postman

Open Postman which is a popular API client that makes it easy for developers to create, share, test and document APIs.

You can also use Swagger in place of Postman if you wish to.

Now makes an API call to the first microservice in postman. The URI of the first microservice is https://localhost:44393/order. It will show you the total number of orders, on my side I have 2 orders right now. See the below image:

orders given by first microservice

Now it’s time to execute the 2nd microservice. The method to be executed is PostAsync of the ProcessController. So, in Postman:

  • 1. Add uri as https://localhost:44330/process.
  • 2. Select verb as “POST”. Then click “Body” link and select “raw” option. At the right end click the dropdown and select “JSON”. I have shown this is the below image:
executing second microservice with postman

Next on the big box add the value of the process record in json as shown below.

{
    "droneId": "443bcd46-05fc-48be-b0dd-fc1333ab8507",
    "orderId": "950d2ca2-4144-4ee3-892a-3de32325ff60",
    "status": "Processing"
}

The droneid value can be any guid value. Order Id value should be any of the order value created in the first microservice. So, copy the value from there.

Finally click the Send button to create the Process record in the MongoDB database.

Now check the Process record is created on the Mongo DB Tools ➤ Server Connections where you will find the record is created. See the below image:

process record

Now we will execute the method called GetAsync of the ProcessController. This method fetches the process records from the mongodb database and also makes API call to the first microservice and then combines them together.

So, in Postman:

  • 1. Add uri as https://localhost:44330/process.
  • 2. Select verb as “GET”. Then click “Params” link and add droneid for key and value of drone for the value field. Then click the send button.

I have shown this is the below image:

combined orders shown by microservice

Note that this method will show the combined order from the first microservice and the second microservice. The JSON returned is given below.

[
    {
        "orderId": "950d2ca2-4144-4ee3-892a-3de32325ff60",
        "address": "31 boulevard street, NY",
        "quantity": 3,
        "status": "Processing",
        "processId": "cac14b8c-0b1a-4709-a114-605a62d29145",
        "droneId": "443bcd46-05fc-48be-b0dd-fc1333ab8507",
        "acquiredDate": "2021-04-17T11:49:21.8892414+00:00"
    }
]

Note that the first 3 field are coming from first microservice while the others are coming from second microservice.

The same method called PostAsync of the ProcessController updates the Process records too. If a record with a given droneid and ordereid is already in the database then the record is updated. So let us update the status of the record to “Completed”.

In Postman:

  • 1. Add uri as https://localhost:44330/process.
  • 2. Select verb as “POST”. Then click “Body” link and select “raw” option. At the right end click the dropdown and select “JSON”. I have shown this is the below image:

Next on the big box add the value of the process record in json as shown below.

{
    "droneId": "443bcd46-05fc-48be-b0dd-fc1333ab8507",
    "orderId": "950d2ca2-4144-4ee3-892a-3de32325ff60",
    "status": "Completed"
}

Finally click the Send button to update the Process record status value to “Completed”.

Timeout Policy via Polly

We have 2 Microservices – CommandCenter and ProcessCenter. We know that the GetAsync method of the ProcessController of ProcessCenter microservice calls the CommandCenter microservice to get Order records. Now if the CommandCenter microservice is in fault then the ProcessCenter microservice makes a single call to the other microservice, waits for a few seconds and it will also fail.

wait and retry polly

We have not added any fault-handling capability to the ProcessCenter microservice. In this section we are just going to do that by using a .NET library called Polly. Polly helps to apply policies such as Retry, Circuit Breaker, Bulkhead Isolation, Timeout, and Fallback.

So add Nuget package Microsoft.Extensions.Http.Polly to the ProcessCenter microservice. Now in the Startup.cs class ConfigureServices method use AddTransientHttpErrorPolicy and AddPolicyHandler methods as shown below:

public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
{
    services.AddMongo().AddMongoRepository<Process>("processItems");

    services.AddHttpClient<OrderClient>(a =>
    {
        a.BaseAddress = new Uri("https://localhost:44393");
    })
    .AddTransientHttpErrorPolicy(b => b.Or<TimeoutRejectedException>().WaitAndRetryAsync(
        5,
        c => TimeSpan.FromSeconds(Math.Pow(2, c))
    ))
    .AddPolicyHandler(Policy.TimeoutAsync<HttpResponseMessage>(1));

    services.AddControllers();
    services.AddSwaggerGen(c =>
    {
        c.SwaggerDoc("v1", new OpenApiInfo { Title = "ProcessCenter", Version = "v1" });
    });
}

The AddPolicyHandler method is used to create a policy hander to specify how long to wait before a request is considered to be failed. I have specified this time to be 1 second.

AddPolicyHandler(Policy.TimeoutAsync<HttpResponseMessage>(1));

The AddTransientHttpErrorPolicy method is used to configure the wait and retry policy. I have specified total of 5 retries and there should be an exponential wait between retries. This exponential retry is in the power of 2.

So, after first retry it will wait for 2 pow 1 = 2 seconds. Similarly, after 3rd retry, it will wait for 2 pow 3 = 8 second’s time.

AddTransientHttpErrorPolicy(b => b.Or<TimeoutRejectedException>().WaitAndRetryAsync(
    5,
    c => TimeSpan.FromSeconds(Math.Pow(2, c))
)) 

So, Polly makes this approach very helpful as request made to microservice does not fail after just a single retry but instead we can set the number of retries to perform and waiting period between retries, before a request is considered to be failed.

Circuit Breaker Pattern

The Circuit Breaker Pattern prevents the Microservice from performing an operation that is likely to fail. Suppose the CommandCenter microservice is not 100% healthy so 8 out of 10 requests made to it are failing.

In such a situation the Circuit breaker will open the circuit which means it will not let any request to be made to the CommandCenter microservice. So, request will fail right await. It will keep the circuit opened for a specified number of seconds, and hope that the CommandCenter microservice will become healthy once again during this period.

circuit breaker pattern

After the specified time has passed, it will close the circuit and this will allow all the request made to the CommandCenter microservice to go on normally. Circuit breaker pattern helps in managing the limited resources of the microservices efficiently.

The Circuit Breaker Pattern is added to the ConfigureServices method of Startup.cs class. See the below highlighted code where I have specified to break the circuit after 3 failures and keep it on the circuit open state for 15 seconds time.

public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
{
    services.AddMongo().AddMongoRepository<Process>("processItems");

    services.AddHttpClient<OrderClient>(a =>
    {
        a.BaseAddress = new Uri("https://localhost:44393");
    })
    .AddTransientHttpErrorPolicy(b => b.Or<TimeoutRejectedException>().WaitAndRetryAsync(
        5,
        c => TimeSpan.FromSeconds(Math.Pow(2, c))
    ))
    .AddTransientHttpErrorPolicy(b => b.Or<TimeoutRejectedException>().CircuitBreakerAsync(
        3,
        TimeSpan.FromSeconds(15)
    ))
    .AddPolicyHandler(Policy.TimeoutAsync<HttpResponseMessage>(1));

    services.AddControllers();
    services.AddSwaggerGen(c =>
    {
        c.SwaggerDoc("v1", new OpenApiInfo { Title = "ProcessCenter", Version = "v1" });
    });
}

So, after 15 seconds the circuit will be closed once again and request will work normally.

Conclusion

In this tutorial we created our 2nd Microservice and crated mechanism to communicate with the first microservice using HttpClient class. We also implemented Polly to configure retries, timeout and Circuit breaker patterns. In the next tutorial we will integrate API Gateway to the Microservices.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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