Express Bodyparser

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I am learning how much I love back-end architectures. This week I decided to through away the tutorials and code my first Node Express server. After reviewing a lot of code samples I started to notice something around one middleware package. The way that Body-parser is including in a project can be subjective.

Body Parser

What is Body-parser? It is a middleware which parses the request stream. In most cases, not always, we are parsing the stream as json in the req.body request object.

How do we use it? It is so easy, but at the same time, subjective to the programmer. We are going to look at five ways to use body-parser, all four methods are equally valid as acceptable methods to parse data, and all our methods are subjective. in that it becomes a preference to the programmers methodology.

Most widely accepted method

The first method is to import the body-parser package into to your server file and set the middleware like so:

const express = require('express');
const bodyParser = require('body-parser');

const app = express();
app.use(bodyParser.json())

But do we need the Body-parser package?

I ask this question because of a little Express history. The Body-parser package is a middleware that was part of Express but in early 2014 it was removed from the Express package. This is why most project source code you review, include body-parser as a separate package in the project package.json.

However, as early as September 28, 2017, Body-parser was added back into Express as a dependency. Therefore, we do not technically need to add it as a project dependency.

So, the second method I propose is a way to clean up our code a little:

const express = require('express');

const app = express();
app.use(express.json())

We have removed the package and are using Express, which uses Body-parser. It is a little cleaner. If I am coding an Express server in native code this is my preference.

Babel and ES6

What about using ES6 and Babel in your project. I am all for it. It is sometimes hard to retool the brain away from ES6. If your project is setup with Babel (beyond the scope of this article), then how does Body-parser imports look?

Let's look at our first example. It is basically the same except for the import statements:

import express from 'express';
import bodyParser from 'body-parser';

const app = express();
app.use(bodyParser.json())

But we can abstract this example a little more, using named exports. This really cleans up the call to json():

import express from 'express';
import { json } from 'body-parser';

const app = express();
app.use(json())

Remember our second example? We do not technically need the Body-parser import.

import express from 'express';

const app = express();
app.use(express.json())

Or we can really clean it up with named exports. If I am using ES6, this is my preference:

import express, { json } from 'express';

const app = express();
app.use(json())

Remember each methods works the same way. It is just a different way to present your code. Which method do you use?

Footnote

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