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Express JavaScript

Guide to the Express Request Object — Methods

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The request object lets us get the information about requests made from the client in middlewares and route handlers.

In this article, we’ll look at the properties of Express’s request object methods in detail, including getting headers and query strings.

Methods

The request object has various methods.

req.accepts(types)

The accepts method checks the Accept request header for the value that’s sent with the header. It takes a string with the value of the data type that we want to check if it’s sent with the Accept request header.

It returns the best match, or if nothing matches, false is returned.

If false is returned, then the 406 response code should be returned since the data type isn’t accepted by our route.

For example, we can use it as follows:

const express = require('express');  
const bodyParser = require('body-parser');  
const app = express();
app.get('/', (req, res) => {  
  res.send(req.accepts('html'));  
})
app.listen(3000);

Then when we send the Accept header with a value that has html in it, then it’ll return html.

Otherwise, false will be returned.

Other examples include:

req.accepts('text/html')  
req.accepts(['json', 'text'])  
req.accepts('application/json')  
req.accepts('image/png')  
req.accepts('png')  
req.accepts(['html', 'json'])

req.acceptsCharsets(charset [, …]), req.acceptsEncodings(encoding [, …]), req.acceptsLanguages(lang [, …])

The method returns the first accepted charset of the specified character set. The charset is from the request’s Accept-Charset HTTP header field.

For example, we can use it as follows:

const express = require('express');  
const bodyParser = require('body-parser');  
const app = express();
app.get('/', (req, res) => {  
  res.send(req.acceptsCharsets('utf8'));  
})
app.listen(3000);

Then we get back the character set in the Accept-Charset HTTP header if it’s set.

acceptsEncodings returns the encoding based on the Accepts-Encoding HTTP header; and acceptsLanguages returns the encoding based on the Accepts-Language HTTP header.

req.get(field)

We can get the header field value with the get method. It takes the key of the header and it’s case-insensitive.

For example, we can use it as follows:

const express = require('express');  
const bodyParser = require('body-parser');  
const app = express();
app.get('/', (req, res) => {  
  res.send(req.get('content-type'));  
})
app.listen(3000);

Then when we make a request to the / route with the Content-Type header’s value set to text/cmd, then we get back text/cmd.

req.is(type)

The is method returns the Content-Type header’s value if it matches the type passed in. If the request has no body, the null is returned. Otherwise, false is returned.

For example, we can use it as follows:

const express = require('express');  
const bodyParser = require('body-parser');  
const app = express();
app.get('/', (req, res) => {  
  res.send(req.is('html'));  
})
app.listen(3000);

Then we get null since it’s a GET request, which has no request body.

On the other hand, if we have:

const express = require('express');  
const bodyParser = require('body-parser');  
const app = express();
app.post('/', (req, res) => {  
  res.send(req.is('html'));  
})
app.listen(3000);

When we make a POST request to the/ route with the Content-Type header set to text/html, then we get back html .

If the Content-Type header is set to something without html, then we get back false .

req.param(name [, defaultValue])

req.param gets the value from the query string’s search parameter with the given key.

For example, we can use it as follows:

const express = require('express');  
const bodyParser = require('body-parser');  
const app = express();
app.post('/', (req, res) => {  
  res.send(req.param('name', 'Joe'));  
})
app.listen(3000);

The code above get the search parameter value with the name key. The default value is set to 'Joe'.

Then when we make a request to /?name=jane, then we get jane. Otherwise, if the name search parameter isn’t specified, then we get Joe.

req.param is deprecated, so we should use req.params, req.body or req.query, as applicable instead.

Lookup is of query string, URL parameter and body values are performed in the following order:

  • req.params
  • req.body
  • req.query

req.range(size[, options])

The range method parses the Range header. The size parameter has the maximum size of the resource. The options parameter is an object which can have the following property:

  • combine — a boolean that specifies if overlapping and adjacent ranges should be combined.

For example, we can use it as follows:

const express = require('express');  
const bodyParser = require('body-parser');  
const app = express();app.get('/', (req, res) => {  
  const range = req.range(20000);  
  if (range && range.type === 'bytes') {  
    res.json(range);  
  }  
  else {  
    res.send();  
  }  
})app.listen(3000);

Then when we make a GET request to / with the Range header set to bytes=200–1000, 2000–6576, 19000- , we get:

[  
    {  
        "start": 200,  
        "end": 1000  
    },  
    {  
        "start": 2000,  
        "end": 6576  
    },  
    {  
        "start": 19000,  
        "end": 19999  
    }  
]

since we specified the size parameter to be 20000, so the last end value is 19999.

If we didn’t specify bytes in the value, we get nothing.

Conclusion

The request object has methods to parse query strings and get various headers like the Range, Accepts and Content-Type headers.

We can get the Range header with range, Accepts with accepts and Content-Type with is.

The get method can get any request header field’s value.

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