Build A ToDo List Application Using .NET 5.0 Web API And Microsoft SQL Server

Introduction

This article shows how to build a ToDo list application using .Net 5 Web API, JWT authentication, and AspNetCore Identity. Microsoft SQL Server is used to view the database and tables. This is part 1 of a 2-part tutorial. Part 2 will use Angular to create the frontend of the ToDo list application. This article starts by stating user stories showing how a user wants to use the application.

The article will show all the necessary steps that are required to build a complete ToDo application backend. In the end, the article demonstrates that only logged-in users can access the ToDo list endpoints.

Tools

  • Visual Studio 2019
  • Microsoft SQL Server

Use Stories

As a user, I want to register to use the to-do application
The user should be able to register her/his credentials to be able to use the to-do app.
As a user, I want to login to use the to-do application
The user should be able to create a new to-do item, the item should have a name and description.
As a user, I want to create a new to-do item
The user should be able to create a new to-do item, the item should have a name and description.
As a user, I want to edit an existing item
The user should be able to edit an existing to-do item, the user should be able to edit the name and description.
As a user, I want to view all my to-do items
The user should be able to view all his/her to-do items.
As a user, I want to update the status of a to-do item
As a user, I want to mark a to-do item as done.

Create a new project using Visual Studio 2019 community edition.

Choose the ASP.NET Core Web API template. The next step would be an option to give a project name and choose a location for the project.

Choose .NET 5.0 as the target framework, nose for the authentication type field, and unselect the configure for HTTPS. Then click create to create the project.

The project template will have this structure.

Install the latest version of the below packages using the NuGet package manager. The NuGet package manager can be found by right-clicking the project, in this example, the ToDoAPI, and select manage NuGet packages.

  • Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.SqlServer
  • Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Tools
  • Microsoft.AspNetCore.Identity.EntityFrameworkCore
  • Microsoft.AspNetCore.Identity
  • Microsoft.AspNetCore.Authentication.JwtBearer
  • Microsoft.VisualStudio.Web.CodeGeneration.Design

Create an Authentication folder that will contain an ApplicationUser.cs class that will inherit the IdentityUser class and Response.cs class that will return a message and a status code when a user registers or login to the application. The IdentityUser class is a part of AspNetCore Identity.

ApplicationUser.cs

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Identity;
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace ToDoAPI.Authentication
{
    public class ApplicationUser: IdentityUser
    {
    }
}

Response.cs

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

namespace ToDoAPI.Authentication
{
    public class Response
    {
        public string Status { get; set; }

        public string Message { get; set; }
    }
}

Create a models folder, Models, that will contain a RegisterModel.cs class for user registration, a LoginModel.cs class for user login, UserRoles.cs for user roles and ToDoItemModel.cs for to-do items. It will also contain the ApplicationDbContext.cs file that maps the models to the tables that will be created through migration.

The RegisterModel.cs, LoginModel.cs and UserRoles.cs will be bounded to the identity tables. This means that only the fields that are described in the models will be required when a user registers and login to the application. The roles will show the roles that a user can have, e.g., “admin”.

RegisterModel.cs

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

namespace ToDoAPI.Models
{
    public class RegisterModel
    {
        [Required(ErrorMessage = "Username is required")]
        public string Username { get; set; }

        [RegularExpression(@"^[\w!#$%&'*+\-/=?\^_`{|}~]+(\.[\w!#$%&'*+\-/=?\^_`{|}~]+)*"
            + "@"
            + @"((([\-\w]+\.)+[a-zA-Z]{2,4})|(([0-9]{1,3}\.){3}[0-9]{1,3}))$",
            ErrorMessage = "You have entered an invalid email address")]
        [Required(ErrorMessage = "Email is required")]
        public string Email { get; set; }

        [RegularExpression(@"^(?=.*[a-z])(?=.*[A-Z])(?=.*\d)(?=.*[@$!%*?&])[A-Za-z\d@$!%*?&]{8,}$",
            ErrorMessage = "Minimum eight characters, at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one number and one special character")]
        [Required(ErrorMessage = "Password is required")]
        public string Password { get; set; }
    }
}

LoginModel.cs

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

namespace ToDoAPI.Models
{
    public class LoginModel
    {
        [Required(ErrorMessage = "Username is required")]
        public string Username { get; set; }

        [RegularExpression(@"^(?=.*[a-z])(?=.*[A-Z])(?=.*\d)(?=.*[@$!%*?&])[A-Za-z\d@$!%*?&]{8,}$",
            ErrorMessage = "Minimum eight characters, at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, " +
            "one number and one special character")]
        [Required(ErrorMessage = "Password is required")]
        public string Password { get; set; }
    }
}

UserRoles.cs

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

namespace ToDoAPI.Models
{
    public class UserRoles
    {
        public const string Admin = "Admin";
        public const string User = "User";
    }
}

ToDoItemModel.cs

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations;
using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations.Schema;
using System.Linq;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace ToDoAPI.Models
{
    public class ToDoItemModel
    {
        [Key]
        public int ItemId { get; set; }

        [Required(ErrorMessage = "ItemName is required")]
        [Column(TypeName = "nvarchar(100)")]
        public string ItemName { get; set; }

        [Required(ErrorMessage = "ItemDescription is required")]
        [Column(TypeName = "nvarchar(100)")]
        public string ItemDescription { get; set; }

        [Required(ErrorMessage = "ItemStatus is required")]
        [Column(TypeName = "bit")]
        public bool ItemStatus { get; set; }
    }
}

ApplicationDbContext.cs

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Identity.EntityFrameworkCore;
using Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore;
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using ToDoAPI.Authentication;

namespace ToDoAPI.Models
{
    public class ApplicationDbContext: IdentityDbContext<ApplicationUser>
    {
        public ApplicationDbContext(DbContextOptions<ApplicationDbContext> options) : base(options)
        {

        }

        public DbSet<ToDoItemModel> ToDoItems { get; set; }

        protected override void OnModelCreating(ModelBuilder builder)
        {
            builder.Entity<ToDoItemModel>(entity =>
            {
                entity.Property(e => e.ItemName)
                .IsRequired()
                .HasMaxLength(100);

                entity.Property(e => e.ItemDescription)
                .IsRequired()
                .HasMaxLength(100);

                entity.Property(e => e.ItemStatus)
                .IsRequired()
                .HasMaxLength(1);
            });

            base.OnModelCreating(builder);
        }
    }
}

The folder structure of the project now looks as shown below. 

Modify the appsettings.json file to add the connection string and the jwt token secrete string, valid issuer, which is the port for the backend server, and valid audience which is the port for the frontend server.

{
  "Logging": {
    "LogLevel": {
      "Default": "Information",
      "Microsoft": "Warning",
      "Microsoft.Hosting.Lifetime": "Information"
    }
  },
  "AllowedHosts": "*",
  "ConnectionStrings": {
    "SQLConnection": "Server=.;Database=ToDoDB;Trusted_Connection=True;Integrated Security=true"
  },
  "JWT": {
    "ValidAudience": "http: //localhost:4200",
    "ValidIssuer": "http://localhost:24288",
    "Secret": "MySecretStringMuuustBeVeeeeeeeeeeryLooooooooOng"
  }
}

In the ConfigureServices method in the Startup.cs file add the DbContext and show that the application uses the SQL Server (it can also use MySQL, Postgres, etc.) and add the connection string that was described in the appsettings.json file, add JwtBearer authentication, and add AspNetCore Identity as shown below. In the Configure method in the Startup.cs file add that the application uses authentication.

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Authentication.JwtBearer;
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Builder;
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Hosting;
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Identity;
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc;
using Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore;
using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration;
using Microsoft.Extensions.DependencyInjection;
using Microsoft.Extensions.Hosting;
using Microsoft.Extensions.Logging;
using Microsoft.IdentityModel.Tokens;
using Microsoft.OpenApi.Models;
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using ToDoAPI.Authentication;
using ToDoAPI.Models;

namespace ToDoAPI
{
    public class Startup
    {
        public Startup(IConfiguration configuration)
        {
            Configuration = configuration;
        }

        public IConfiguration Configuration { get; }

        // This method gets called by the runtime. Use this method to add services to the container.
        public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
        {

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

            services.AddDbContext<ApplicationDbContext>(options =>
           options.UseSqlServer(Configuration.GetConnectionString("SQLConnection")));

            services.AddIdentity<ApplicationUser, IdentityRole>()
                .AddEntityFrameworkStores<ApplicationDbContext>()
                .AddDefaultTokenProviders();

            services.AddAuthentication(options =>
            {
                options.DefaultAuthenticateScheme = JwtBearerDefaults.AuthenticationScheme;
                options.DefaultChallengeScheme = JwtBearerDefaults.AuthenticationScheme;
                options.DefaultScheme = JwtBearerDefaults.AuthenticationScheme;
            })
            .AddJwtBearer(options =>
            {
                options.SaveToken = true;
                options.RequireHttpsMetadata = false;
                options.TokenValidationParameters = new TokenValidationParameters()
                {
                    ValidateIssuer = true,
                    ValidateAudience = true,
                    ValidAudience = Configuration["JWT:ValidAudience"],
                    ValidIssuer = Configuration["JWT:ValidIssuer"],
                    IssuerSigningKey = new SymmetricSecurityKey(Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(Configuration["JWT:Secret"]))
                };
            });
        }

        // This method gets called by the runtime. Use this method to configure the HTTP request pipeline.
        public void Configure(IApplicationBuilder app, IWebHostEnvironment env)
        {
            if (env.IsDevelopment())
            {
                app.UseDeveloperExceptionPage();
                app.UseSwagger();
                app.UseSwaggerUI(c => c.SwaggerEndpoint("/swagger/v1/swagger.json", "ToDoAPI v1"));
            }

            app.UseAuthentication();

            app.UseRouting();

            app.UseAuthorization();

            app.UseEndpoints(endpoints =>
            {
                endpoints.MapControllers();
            });
        }
    }
}

Inside the Controllers, the folder creates a Web API controller Authentication. This is done by right-clicking on the Controllers folder, select add, choose controller from the drop-down and then select API Controller – Empty.

AuthenticationController.cs

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Http;
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Identity;
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc;
using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration;
using Microsoft.IdentityModel.Tokens;
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.IdentityModel.Tokens.Jwt;
using System.Linq;
using System.Security.Claims;
using System.Text;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using ToDoAPI.Authentication;
using ToDoAPI.Models;

namespace ToDoAPI.Controllers
{
    [Route("api/[controller]")]
    [ApiController]
    public class AuthenticationController : ControllerBase
    {
        private readonly UserManager<ApplicationUser> userManager;
        private readonly RoleManager<IdentityRole> roleManager;
        private readonly IConfiguration _configuration;

        public AuthenticationController(UserManager<ApplicationUser> userManager, RoleManager<IdentityRole> roleManager, IConfiguration configuration)
        {
            this.userManager = userManager;
            this.roleManager = roleManager;
            _configuration = configuration;
        }

        [HttpPost]
        [Route("login")]
        public async Task<IActionResult> Login([FromBody] LoginModel model)
        {
            var user = await userManager.FindByNameAsync(model.Username);

            if (user != null && await userManager.CheckPasswordAsync(user, model.Password))
            {
                var userRoles = await userManager.GetRolesAsync(user);
                var authClaims = new List<Claim>
                {
                    new Claim(ClaimTypes.Name, user.UserName),
                    new Claim(JwtRegisteredClaimNames.Jti, Guid.NewGuid().ToString()),
                };

                foreach (var userRole in userRoles)
                {
                    authClaims.Add(new Claim(ClaimTypes.Role, userRole));
                }

                var authSigningKey = new SymmetricSecurityKey(Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(_configuration["JWT:Secret"]));

                var token = new JwtSecurityToken(
                    issuer: _configuration["JWT:ValidIssuer"],
                    audience: _configuration["JWT:ValidAudience"],
                    expires: DateTime.Now.AddHours(3),
                    claims: authClaims,
                    signingCredentials: new SigningCredentials(authSigningKey, SecurityAlgorithms.HmacSha256)
                );

                return Ok(new
                {
                    token = new JwtSecurityTokenHandler().WriteToken(token),
                    expiration = token.ValidTo
                });
            }
            return Unauthorized();
        }

        [HttpPost]
        [Route("register")]
        public async Task<IActionResult> Register([FromBody] RegisterModel model)
        {
            var userExists = await userManager.FindByNameAsync(model.Username);

            if (userExists != null)
            {
                return StatusCode(StatusCodes.Status500InternalServerError, new Response { Status = "Error", Message = "User already exists!" });
            };

            ApplicationUser user = new ApplicationUser()
            {
                Email = model.Email,
                SecurityStamp = Guid.NewGuid().ToString(),
                UserName = model.Username
            };

            var result = await userManager.CreateAsync(user, model.Password);

            if (!result.Succeeded)
            {
                return StatusCode(StatusCodes.Status500InternalServerError, new Response { Status = "Error", Message = "User creation failed! Please check user details and try again." });
            }

            return Ok(new Response { Status = "Success", Message = "User created successfully" });
        }

        [HttpPost]
        [Route("register-admin")]
        public async Task<IActionResult> RegisterAdmin([FromBody] RegisterModel model)
        {
            var userExists = await userManager.FindByNameAsync(model.Username);

            if (userExists != null)
            {
                return StatusCode(StatusCodes.Status500InternalServerError, new Response { Status = "Error", Message = "User already exists!" });
            };

            ApplicationUser user = new ApplicationUser()
            {
                Email = model.Email,
                SecurityStamp = Guid.NewGuid().ToString(),
                UserName = model.Username
            };

            var result = await userManager.CreateAsync(user, model.Password);

            if (!result.Succeeded)
            {
                return StatusCode(StatusCodes.Status500InternalServerError, new Response { Status = "Error", Message = "User creation failed! Please check user details and try again." });
            }

            if (!await roleManager.RoleExistsAsync(UserRoles.Admin))
            {
                await roleManager.CreateAsync(new IdentityRole(UserRoles.Admin));
            }

            if (!await roleManager.RoleExistsAsync(UserRoles.User))
            {
                await roleManager.CreateAsync(new IdentityRole(UserRoles.User));
            }

            if (await roleManager.RoleExistsAsync(UserRoles.Admin))
            {
                await userManager.AddToRoleAsync(user, UserRoles.Admin);
            }

            return Ok(new Response { Status = "Success", Message = "User created successfully" });

        }
    }
}

Create a Web API controller ToDoItem. This is done by right-clicking on the Controllers folder, select add, choose “New Scaffolded Item” from the drop-down and then select API Controller with actions, using Entity Framework.

Choose the ToDoItemModel for the model class, ApplicationDbContext for the data context class, and a controller name.

ToDoItemController.cs

Add [Authorize] to allow the only user who has logged in and has a valid jwt token to access the ToDoItem APIs.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Authorization;
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Http;
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc;
using Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore;
using ToDoAPI.Models;

namespace ToDoAPI.Controllers
{
    [Authorize]
    [Route("api/[controller]")]
    [ApiController]
    public class ToDoItemController : ControllerBase
    {
        private readonly ApplicationDbContext _context;

        public ToDoItemController(ApplicationDbContext context)
        {
            _context = context;
        }

        // GET: api/ToDoItem
        [HttpGet]
        public async Task<ActionResult<IEnumerable<ToDoItemModel>>> GetToDoItems()
        {
            return await _context.ToDoItems.ToListAsync();
        }

        // GET: api/ToDoItem/5
        [HttpGet("{id}")]
        public async Task<ActionResult<ToDoItemModel>> GetToDoItemModel(int id)
        {
            var toDoItemModel = await _context.ToDoItems.FindAsync(id);

            if (toDoItemModel == null)
            {
                return NotFound();
            }

            return toDoItemModel;
        }

        // PUT: api/ToDoItem/5
        // To protect from overposting attacks, see https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=2123754
        [HttpPut("{id}")]
        public async Task<IActionResult> PutToDoItemModel(int id, ToDoItemModel toDoItemModel)
        {
            if (id != toDoItemModel.ItemId)
            {
                return BadRequest();
            }

            _context.Entry(toDoItemModel).State = EntityState.Modified;

            try
            {
                await _context.SaveChangesAsync();
            }
            catch (DbUpdateConcurrencyException)
            {
                if (!ToDoItemModelExists(id))
                {
                    return NotFound();
                }
                else
                {
                    throw;
                }
            }

            return NoContent();
        }

        // POST: api/ToDoItem
        // To protect from overposting attacks, see https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=2123754
        [HttpPost]
        public async Task<ActionResult<ToDoItemModel>> PostToDoItemModel(ToDoItemModel toDoItemModel)
        {
            _context.ToDoItems.Add(toDoItemModel);
            await _context.SaveChangesAsync();

            return CreatedAtAction("GetToDoItemModel", new { id = toDoItemModel.ItemId }, toDoItemModel);
        }

        // DELETE: api/ToDoItem/5
        [HttpDelete("{id}")]
        public async Task<IActionResult> DeleteToDoItemModel(int id)
        {
            var toDoItemModel = await _context.ToDoItems.FindAsync(id);
            if (toDoItemModel == null)
            {
                return NotFound();
            }

            _context.ToDoItems.Remove(toDoItemModel);
            await _context.SaveChangesAsync();

            return NoContent();
        }

        private bool ToDoItemModelExists(int id)
        {
            return _context.ToDoItems.Any(e => e.ItemId == id);
        }
    }
}

Create a migration script by using the “add-migration” command in the package manager console.

A migrations folder is created in the project. The folder structure of the project now looks as shown below.

Create a database and tables by using the “update-database” command in the package manager console. Use the Microsoft SQL Server object explorer to see the created database and tables.

Use postman to test the APIs. If you try to access the ToDoItem before registering for the application, you get a 401 unauthorized status code.

Once a user has registered the user can login and get a valid JWT token.

This can then be used to access the ToDoItem Web APIs.

Conclusion

In this article, I showed how to build a ToDo list application backend using .Net 5.0. I also showed how to use the JWT token to authorize only logged-in users to use the ToDo application. In the next article, we going to implement the frontend using Angular. You can find the source code in my GitHub repository.

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