SyncTab architecture. Part 1. Server.

This post is a continuation for my previous post with introduction to SyncTab. I'm going to describe SyncTab server application in this post.

Well, I had a desire to write a server application on python, but in result I wrote it on Grails. Why Grails? Because I was actively using it for more than a year to creating different web applications, including web API. And I knew that would be simple and fast to create such app with Grails and publish some sort of web service.

So server side is running on a single Amazon EC2 instance. Application is running under Tomcat. Nginx plays a role of proxy. MongoDB is used as a database, and mongodb grails plugin used to add MongoDB.

API is very simple. It's based on GET/POST requests and JSON result with a status flag and other values, like auth token, list of tags and links.

Some code sample:

* Returns the list of last available tabs.
* Client can pass a "tabId" parameter with an id of the tab to get tags for.
* Returns:
*  - status: "true" if was removed, otherwise "false".
*  - tabs: an array of found tabs.
def getLastTabs = {
if (request.method != 'GET') {
response.sendError 405

User user = session.user
Tag tag = getTagFromRequest()
RecentTabConditions conditions = new RecentTabConditions(user, tag, LAST_TABS_NUM)
List tabs = sharedTabService.getRecentSharedTabs(conditions)

render([status: true, tabs: prepareTabs(tabs)] as JSON)

An authentication token system is used in SyncTab. Each time user enters his username/password to login, a new authentication token is created and assigned to user. Auth token is invalidated after two weeks.

As both Android application and Chrome extension should support not only login but also registration, it is a part of API too. Actually, user related API contains only 4 functions: register, authenticate, logout and resetPassword.

There are more API functions related to sending/receiving links and view/edit the list of tags.

A short about tags. Tags is just a way to name the device. For example, user can create a tag for his home computer and another tag for work computer, and tags for phone and tablet. Each device/browser is subscribed only to one tag, and will receive and open only links sent with specified tag.

Server not only responsible for storing and fetching links by client applications, but also for preparing links for user. Usually, when user sends a link, information about it contains only name of the device, tag id and the link URL. Server is responsible to fetch the link title, description, favicon link and the final URL. The final URL may differ from sent URL. For example, user could send a link like, but user should see this link as

Well, looks like there is nothing interesting left that I would like to tell about SyncTab server application.

Ah, source code is not public, and I'm not planning to open source it soon. As VCS I'm using Git and BitBucket as hosting service.

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