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REST Client

The following chapter describes the use of

rest-client

npm versionChangelog

npm install @feathersjs/rest-client --save
npm install @feathersjs/rest-client --save

@feathersjs/rest-client allows to connect to a service exposed through a REST HTTP transport (e.g. with Koa or Express) using fetch, Superagent or Axios.

info

For directly using a Feathers REST API (via HTTP) without using Feathers on the client see the HTTP API section.

tip

REST client services do emit created, updated, patched and removed events but only locally for their own instance. Real-time events from other clients can only be received by using a real-time transport (Socket.io).

warning

A client application can only use a single transport (e.g. either REST or Socket.io). Using two transports in the same client application is normally not necessary.

rest([baseUrl])

REST client services can be initialized by loading @feathersjs/rest-client and initializing a client object with a base URL.

Note

In the browser, the base URL is relative from where services are registered. That means that a service at http://api.feathersjs.com/api/v1/messages with a base URL of http://api.feathersjs.com would be available as app.service('api/v1/messages'). With a base URL of http://api.feathersjs.com/api/v1 it would be app.service('messages').

const feathers = require('@feathersjs/feathers');
const rest = require('@feathersjs/rest-client');

const app = feathers();

// Connect to the same as the browser URL (only in the browser)
const restClient = rest();

// Connect to a different URL
const restClient = rest('http://feathers-api.com')

// Configure an AJAX library (see below) with that client
app.configure(restClient.fetch(window.fetch.bind(window)));

// Connect to the `http://feathers-api.com/messages` service
const messages = app.service('messages');
const feathers = require('@feathersjs/feathers');
const rest = require('@feathersjs/rest-client');

const app = feathers();

// Connect to the same as the browser URL (only in the browser)
const restClient = rest();

// Connect to a different URL
const restClient = rest('http://feathers-api.com')

// Configure an AJAX library (see below) with that client
app.configure(restClient.fetch(window.fetch.bind(window)));

// Connect to the `http://feathers-api.com/messages` service
const messages = app.service('messages');

ProTip: When window.fetch (or just fetch which is normally equal to window.fetch) is passed to the FeathersJS REST client, its context (this) has to be bound to window (using bind(window) on it). Otherwise window.fetch would be called by the FeathersJS REST client with incorrect context, causing a JavaScript error: Failed to execute 'fetch' on 'Window': Illegal invocation.

ProTip:

params.headers

Request specific headers can be through params.headers in a service call:

app.service('messages').create({
  text: 'A message from a REST client'
}, {
  headers: { 'X-Requested-With': 'FeathersJS' }
});
app.service('messages').create({
  text: 'A message from a REST client'
}, {
  headers: { 'X-Requested-With': 'FeathersJS' }
});

params.connection

Allows to pass additional options specific to the AJAX library. params.connection.headers will be merged with params.headers:

app.configure(restClient.axios(axios));

app.service('messages').get(1, {
  connection: {
    // Axios specific options here
  }
});
app.configure(restClient.axios(axios));

app.service('messages').get(1, {
  connection: {
    // Axios specific options here
  }
});

With the fetch fork yetch it can also be used to abort requests:

const yetch = require('yetch');
const controller = new AbortController();

app.configure(restClient.fetch(yetch));

const promise = app.service('messages').get(1, {
  connection: {
    signal: controller.signal
  }
});

promise.abort();
const yetch = require('yetch');
const controller = new AbortController();

app.configure(restClient.fetch(yetch));

const promise = app.service('messages').get(1, {
  connection: {
    signal: controller.signal
  }
});

promise.abort();

app.rest

app.rest contains a reference to the connection object passed to rest().<name>(connection).

Request libraries

The Feathers REST client can be used with several HTTP request libraries.

Fetch

Fetch uses a default configuration:

// In Node
const fetch = require('node-fetch');

app.configure(restClient.fetch(fetch));

// In modern browsers
app.configure(restClient.fetch(window.fetch));
// In Node
const fetch = require('node-fetch');

app.configure(restClient.fetch(fetch));

// In modern browsers
app.configure(restClient.fetch(window.fetch));

Superagent

Superagent currently works with a default configuration:

const superagent = require('superagent');

app.configure(restClient.superagent(superagent));
const superagent = require('superagent');

app.configure(restClient.superagent(superagent));

Axios

Axios currently works with a default configuration:

const axios = require('axios');

app.configure(restClient.axios(axios));
const axios = require('axios');

app.configure(restClient.axios(axios));

To use default values for all requests, axios.create with the axios configuration can be used:

const axios = require('axios');

app.configure(restClient.axios(axios.create({
  headers: {'X-Requested-With': 'My-Feathers-Frontend'}
})));
const axios = require('axios');

app.configure(restClient.axios(axios.create({
  headers: {'X-Requested-With': 'My-Feathers-Frontend'}
})));

Custom Methods

On the client, custom service methods are also registered using the methods option when registering the service via restClient.service():

import { feathers, CustomMethod } from '@feathersjs/feathers'
import rest, { RestService } from '@feathersjs/rest-client'

// `data` and return type of custom method
type CustomMethodData = { name: string }
type CustomMethodResponse = { acknowledged: boolean }

type ServiceTypes = {
  // The type is a Socket service extended with custom methods
  myservice: SocketService & {
    myCustomMethods: CustomMethod<CustomMethodData, CustomMethodResponse>
  }
}

const client = feathers<ServiceTypes>()

// Connect to the same as the browser URL (only in the browser)
const restClient = rest().fetch(window.fetch)

// Connect to a different URL
const restClient = rest('http://feathers-api.com').fetch(window.fetch)

// Configure an AJAX library (see below) with that client
client.configure(restClient)

// Register a REST client service with all methods listed
client.service('myservice', restClient.service('myservice'), {
  methods: [
    'find',
    'get',
    'create',
    'update',
    'patch',
    'remove',
    'myCustomMethod'
  ]
})

// Then it can be used like other service methods
client.service('myservice').myCustomMethod(data, params)
import { feathers, CustomMethod } from '@feathersjs/feathers'
import rest, { RestService } from '@feathersjs/rest-client'

// `data` and return type of custom method
type CustomMethodData = { name: string }
type CustomMethodResponse = { acknowledged: boolean }

type ServiceTypes = {
  // The type is a Socket service extended with custom methods
  myservice: SocketService & {
    myCustomMethods: CustomMethod<CustomMethodData, CustomMethodResponse>
  }
}

const client = feathers<ServiceTypes>()

// Connect to the same as the browser URL (only in the browser)
const restClient = rest().fetch(window.fetch)

// Connect to a different URL
const restClient = rest('http://feathers-api.com').fetch(window.fetch)

// Configure an AJAX library (see below) with that client
client.configure(restClient)

// Register a REST client service with all methods listed
client.service('myservice', restClient.service('myservice'), {
  methods: [
    'find',
    'get',
    'create',
    'update',
    'patch',
    'remove',
    'myCustomMethod'
  ]
})

// Then it can be used like other service methods
client.service('myservice').myCustomMethod(data, params)

Note: Just like on the server all methods you want to use have to be listed in the methods option.

Connecting to multiple servers

It is possible to instantiate and use individual services pointing to different servers by calling rest('server').<library>().service(name):

const feathers = require('@feathersjs/feathers');
const rest = require('@feathersjs/rest-client');

const app = feathers();

const client1 = rest('http://feathers-api.com').fetch(window.fetch.bind(window));
const client2 = rest('http://other-feathers-api.com').fetch(window.fetch.bind(window));

// With additional options to e.g. set authentication information
const client2 = rest('http://other-feathers-api.com').fetch(window.fetch.bind(window),{
  headers: {
    Authorization: 'Bearer <Token for other-feathers-api.com>'
  }
});

// Configuring this will initialize default services for http://feathers-api.com
app.configure(client1);

// Connect to the `http://feathers-api.com/messages` service
const messages = app.service('messages');

// Register /users service that points to http://other-feathers-api.com/users
app.use('/users', client2.service('users'));

const users = app.service('users');
const feathers = require('@feathersjs/feathers');
const rest = require('@feathersjs/rest-client');

const app = feathers();

const client1 = rest('http://feathers-api.com').fetch(window.fetch.bind(window));
const client2 = rest('http://other-feathers-api.com').fetch(window.fetch.bind(window));

// With additional options to e.g. set authentication information
const client2 = rest('http://other-feathers-api.com').fetch(window.fetch.bind(window),{
  headers: {
    Authorization: 'Bearer <Token for other-feathers-api.com>'
  }
});

// Configuring this will initialize default services for http://feathers-api.com
app.configure(client1);

// Connect to the `http://feathers-api.com/messages` service
const messages = app.service('messages');

// Register /users service that points to http://other-feathers-api.com/users
app.use('/users', client2.service('users'));

const users = app.service('users');

Note: If the authentication information is different, it needs to be set as an option as shown above or via params.headers when making the request.

Extending rest clients

This can be useful if you wish to override how the query is transformed before it is sent to the API.

// In Node
const fetch = require('node-fetch');
const { FetchClient } = require('@feathersjs/rest-client');
const qs = require('qs');

class CustomFetch extends FetchClient {
  getQuery (query) {
    if (Object.keys(query).length !== 0) {
      const queryString = qs.stringify(query, {
        strictNullHandling: true
      });

      return `?${queryString}`;
    }

    return '';
  }
}

app.configure(restClient.fetch(fetch, CustomFetch));
// In Node
const fetch = require('node-fetch');
const { FetchClient } = require('@feathersjs/rest-client');
const qs = require('qs');

class CustomFetch extends FetchClient {
  getQuery (query) {
    if (Object.keys(query).length !== 0) {
      const queryString = qs.stringify(query, {
        strictNullHandling: true
      });

      return `?${queryString}`;
    }

    return '';
  }
}

app.configure(restClient.fetch(fetch, CustomFetch));

HTTP API

You can communicate with a Feathers REST API using any other HTTP REST client. The following section describes what HTTP method, body and query parameters belong to which service method call.

All query parameters in a URL will be set as params.query on the server. Other service parameters can be set through hooks and Express middleware. URL query parameter values will always be strings. Conversion (e.g. the string 'true' to boolean true) can be done in a hook as well.

The body type for POST, PUT and PATCH requests is determined by the Express body-parser middleware which has to be registered before any service. You should also make sure you are setting your Accept header to application/json. Here is the mapping of service methods to REST API calls:

Service methodHTTP methodPath
.find()GET/messages
.get()GET/messages/1
.create()POST/messages
.update()PUT/messages/1
.patch()PATCH/messages/1
.remove()DELETE/messages/1

Authentication

Authenticating HTTP (REST) requests is a two step process. First you have to obtain a JWT from the authentication service by POSTing the strategy you want to use:

// POST /authentication the Content-Type header set to application/json
{
  "strategy": "local",
  "email": "your email",
  "password": "your password"
}
// POST /authentication the Content-Type header set to application/json
{
  "strategy": "local",
  "email": "your email",
  "password": "your password"
}

Here is what that looks like with curl:

curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X POST -d '{"strategy":"local","email":"your email","password":"your password"}' http://localhost:3030/authentication
curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X POST -d '{"strategy":"local","email":"your email","password":"your password"}' http://localhost:3030/authentication

Then to authenticate subsequent requests, add the returned accessToken to the Authorization header as Bearer <your access token>:

curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" -H "Authorization: Bearer <your access token>" http://localhost:3030/messages
curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" -H "Authorization: Bearer <your access token>" http://localhost:3030/messages

For more information see the authentication API documentation.

find

Retrieves a list of all matching resources from the service

GET /messages?status=read&user=10
GET /messages?status=read&user=10

Will call messages.find({ query: { status: 'read', user: '10' } }) on the server.

If you want to use any of the built-in find operands ($le, $lt, $ne, $eq, $in, etc.) the general format is as follows:

GET /messages?field[$operand]=value&field[$operand]=value2
GET /messages?field[$operand]=value&field[$operand]=value2

For example, to find the records where field status is not equal to active you could do

GET /messages?status[$ne]=active
GET /messages?status[$ne]=active

The find API allows the use of $limit, $skip, $sort, and $select in the query. These special parameters can be passed directly inside the query object:

// Find all messages that are read, limit to 10, only include text field.
{"read":"1", "$limit":10, "$select": ["name"] } } // JSON

GET /messages?read=1&$limit=10&$select[]=text // HTTP
// Find all messages that are read, limit to 10, only include text field.
{"read":"1", "$limit":10, "$select": ["name"] } } // JSON

GET /messages?read=1&$limit=10&$select[]=text // HTTP

More information about the possible parameters for official database adapters can be found in the database querying section.

get

Retrieve a single resource from the service.

GET /messages/1
GET /messages/1

Will call messages.get(1, {}) on the server.

GET /messages/1?fetch=all
GET /messages/1?fetch=all

Will call messages.get(1, { query: { fetch: 'all' } }) on the server.

create

Create a new resource with data which may also be an array.

POST /messages
{ "text": "I really have to iron" }
POST /messages
{ "text": "I really have to iron" }

Will call messages.create({ "text": "I really have to iron" }, {}) on the server.

POST /messages
[
  { "text": "I really have to iron" },
  { "text": "Do laundry" }
]
POST /messages
[
  { "text": "I really have to iron" },
  { "text": "Do laundry" }
]

Note: With a database adapters the multi option has to be set explicitly to support creating multiple entries.

update

Completely replace a single or multiple resources.

PUT /messages/2
{ "text": "I really have to do laundry" }
PUT /messages/2
{ "text": "I really have to do laundry" }

Will call messages.update(2, { "text": "I really have to do laundry" }, {}) on the server. When no id is given by sending the request directly to the endpoint something like:

PUT /messages?complete=false
{ "complete": true }
PUT /messages?complete=false
{ "complete": true }

Will call messages.update(null, { "complete": true }, { query: { complete: 'false' } }) on the server.

ProTip: update is normally expected to replace an entire resource which is why the database adapters only support patch for multiple records.

patch

Merge the existing data of a single or multiple resources with the new data.

PATCH /messages/2
{ "read": true }
PATCH /messages/2
{ "read": true }

Will call messages.patch(2, { "read": true }, {}) on the server. When no id is given by sending the request directly to the endpoint something like:

PATCH /messages?complete=false
{ "complete": true }
PATCH /messages?complete=false
{ "complete": true }

Will call messages.patch(null, { complete: true }, { query: { complete: 'false' } }) on the server to change the status for all read messages.

Note: With a database adapters the multi option has to be set to support patching multiple entries.

This is supported out of the box by the Feathers database adapters

remove

Remove a single or multiple resources:

DELETE /messages/2?cascade=true
DELETE /messages/2?cascade=true

Will call messages.remove(2, { query: { cascade: 'true' } }).

When no id is given by sending the request directly to the endpoint something like:

DELETE /messages?read=true
DELETE /messages?read=true

Will call messages.remove(null, { query: { read: 'true' } }) to delete all read messages.

Note: With a database adapters the multi option has to be set to support patching multiple entries.

Custom methods

Custom service methods can be called directly via HTTP by sending a POST request and setting the X-Service-Method header to the method you want to call:

POST /messages

X-Service-Method: myCustomMethod

{
  "message": "Hello world"
}
POST /messages

X-Service-Method: myCustomMethod

{
  "message": "Hello world"
}

Via CURL:

curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" -H "X-Service-Method: myCustomMethod" -X POST -d '{"message": "Hello world"}' http://localhost:3030/myservice
curl -H "Content-Type: application/json" -H "X-Service-Method: myCustomMethod" -X POST -d '{"message": "Hello world"}' http://localhost:3030/myservice

Released under the MIT License.