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HTTP requests in Node using Axios

Updated May 24 2019

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Introduction

Axios is a very popular JavaScript library you can use to perform HTTP requests, that works in both Browser and Node.js platforms.

It supports all modern browsers, including support for IE8 and higher.

It is promise-based, and this lets us write async/await code to perform XHR requests very easily.

Using Axios has quite a few advantages over the native Fetch API:

Installation

Axios can be installed using npm:

npm install axios

or yarn:

yarn add axios

or include it in your page using unpkg.com:

<script src="https://unpkg.com/axios/dist/axios.min.js"></script>

The Axios API

You can start an HTTP request from the axios object:

I use foo and bar as random names. Enter any kind of name to replace them.

axios({
  url: 'https://dog.ceo/api/breeds/list/all',
  method: 'get',
  data: {
    foo: 'bar'
  }
})

but for convenience, you will generally use

(like in jQuery you would use $.get() and $.post() instead of $.ajax())

Axios offers methods for all the HTTP verbs, which are less popular but still used:

and a method to get the HTTP headers of a request, discarding the body:

GET requests

One convenient way to use Axios is to use the modern (ES2017) async/await syntax.

This Node.js example queries the Dog API to retrieve a list of all the dogs breeds, using axios.get(), and it counts them:

const axios = require('axios')

const getBreeds = async () => {
  try {
    return await axios.get('https://dog.ceo/api/breeds/list/all')
  } catch (error) {
    console.error(error)
  }
}

const countBreeds = async () => {
  const breeds = await getBreeds()

  if (breeds.data.message) {
    console.log(`Got ${Object.entries(breeds.data.message).length} breeds`)
  }
}

countBreeds()

If you donโ€™t want to use async/await you can use the Promises syntax:

const axios = require('axios')

const getBreeds = () => {
  try {
    return axios.get('https://dog.ceo/api/breeds/list/all')
  } catch (error) {
    console.error(error)
  }
}

const countBreeds = async () => {
  const breeds = getBreeds()
    .then(response => {
      if (response.data.message) {
        console.log(
          `Got ${Object.entries(response.data.message).length} breeds`
        )
      }
    })
    .catch(error => {
      console.log(error)
    })
}

countBreeds()

Add parameters to GET requests

A GET response can contain parameters in the URL, like this: https://site.com/?foo=bar.

With Axios you can perform this by using that URL:

axios.get('https://site.com/?foo=bar')

or you can use a params property in the options:

axios.get('https://site.com/', {
  params: {
    foo: 'bar'
  }
})

POST Requests

Performing a POST request is just like doing a GET request, but instead of axios.get, you use axios.post:

axios.post('https://site.com/')

An object containing the POST parameters is the second argument:

axios.post('https://site.com/', {
  foo: 'bar'
})


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