Restangular usage in a service +examples and unit tests

Restangular ( is a very nice replacement for Agular’s$http service. It has a fairly straightforward usage, documentation is OK, and I believe, it is a common choice among Angular developers.

Let’s say we have an Angular controller, and we want to expose a web resource to our $scope. Code can look something like that:

If you want to simplify things, you can use the fact that Restangular returns a promise, and Angular can handle promises transparently. This can shorten your code to that:

While this is all fine and dandy, it is possible that in some cases, we would like to make things more object-oriented. Restangular allows us to enhance obtaining resources: However, while Restangular proclaims itself as a service, in a traditional MVC  sense, it is just a with enhanced capabilities. So, a purist like me would feel uncomfortable using that hybrid dao/service approach. Wouldn’t it be slightly better to define a service that handles obtaining someVariable objects? This service itself can depend on Restangular for actually making the rest call. So the below code:

Can be rewritten into:

The additional benefit now that we have is you have a named function for getting the someOtherVariable, and you can use it in other controllers/services without having to repeat code. Also, the unit test for the controller becomes very easy in the second case.

A sample implementation of the service can be:

But what if we want to make a Restangular call in our service and ‘ehnance’ it additionally. Suppose a Restangular call returns :

And we would like our service to return:

If you wanted to achieve that directly in a controller, you would do something like that:

However, if you were using a service, you would expect to have something like that:

This, while it appears trivial, is slightly more tricky due to nature of promises. A sample implementation can be:

And since this is also a bit hard to test, below is a sample jasmine unit test:

And the TestUtils’ method:


It is worth to note that Angular devs are deprecating the automatic resolve of promises:

So your code would look a bit more cluttered but confusion would be avoided.

This plunkr shows that in angular 1.2rc3 the first method works:

But if you were to try to take advantage of the automatic unrwapping of promises (which is deprecated in rc3, you are out of luck):


4 thoughts on “Restangular usage in a service +examples and unit tests

  1. i have a problem with the function resolvePromise wich is a service of a certain module
    is give me an error saying it’s a then object ? have any clue ?

  2. Restangular offers a extendModel function. That way you can easily extend a model served by Restangular and dont have to do it each time manually in your service.

    For the other parts: I fully agree with the service approach and not using Restangular directly in your controller. That way you clearly separate concerns and can even switch out Restangular for another library without changes in your controllers.

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