A picture is worth a thousand words. And a good sequence diagram can cut the time necessary to explain the behavior of a system tenfold. How often do you need a quick and convenient way to create, modify, and share a sequence diagram with a simple URL?

Sequence Diagram Webtask

With Auth0 Webtasks, you can create such diagrams with a convenient DSL using a web-based editor or a command line tool, and share them with a unique HTTP URL.

Sequence Diagram DSL

Many people know Auth0 Webtasks as the quickest way to set up an HTTP endpoint implemented in Node.js. However, the Webtasks technology supports a very powerful concept of webtask compilers. Webtask compilers allow you to define a custom programming model or DSL in which users can implement serverless endpoints. In the example above, a custom webtask compiler is used to enable authoring of webtasks in the syntax supported by js-sequence-diagrams.

Create sequence diagram

We are going to create a sequence diagram using wt-cli, the command line tool for managing Auth0 Webtasks. First, install and initialize the tool:

sudo npm i -g wt-cli
wt init

Then, create a file with the definition of the sequence diagram. It will be used as a source code of the webtask:

cat > diagram.txt <<EOF
Caller->Auth0: First, you get an access token
Note over Auth0: Authenticate and\nauthorize caller
Auth0->Caller: {access_token}
Caller->API: Then, you call the API {access_token, data}
API->Caller: {result}

Lastly, create a new webtask from this file using the sequence diargam compiler:

wt create diagram.txt --name diagram \
  --meta wt-compiler= \
  --meta wt-editor-linter=disabled

The wt-compiler metadata property instructs Auth0 Webtask runtime to use the code from the specified URL to transpile the webtask script (js-sequence-diagram DSL in this case) into a JavaScript function in a form webtask runtime can execute. In this case the compiler will return a function that responds to HTTP GET requests with text/html response to show an HTML page that renders the diagram using js-sequence-diagrams. You can see the source code of the compiler here.

The wt-editor-linter property disables default JavaScript linting rules, which do not apply to our custom DSL.

Sequence diagram webtask

The wt create command returns a URL of the webtask endpoint that serves the diagram. You can optionally add the ?theme=hand URL query parameter to that URL to render the diagram in a hand-written style rather than the default, simple style:

Sequence Diagram Hand Style

You can launch the Webtask Editor to edit the code of the webtask in the js-sequence-diagram DSL with:

wt edit diagram

This will open a browser and navigate to the Webtask Editor that allow you to modify the diagram definition:

Sequence Diagram DSL

What else can you do with webtask compilers?

Webtask compilers are a powerful concept that enable you to implement serverless endpoints in Auth0 Webtasks using custom programming models and DSLs. You can read more about compilers in the documentation, and see more samples in tjanczuk/wtc.

Big picture: Auth0 Extend, and Webtasks is a freemium sandbox of the Auth0 Extend product. Based on the Auth0 Webtasks technology, it offers modern, serverless extensibility solution for SaaS platforms and applications. Think better webhooks.

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Tomasz Janczuk



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