Sergio Xalambrí

Read search params with JS

If you need to read the search params (aka query string) from a URL in JS the most common way is to use one of the multiple query string parsing libraries on npm. But this is not actually needed anymore, both browsers and Node ships with the URL and URLSearchParams classes which help use work with URLs and search params respectively.

The URL class

If you want to work with a URL and be able to transform it you can use the URL class.

let url = new URL(window.location.toString())

This url instance will have attributes to read and update the pathname, host, origin, protocol, etc.

The most interesting ones are url.search and url.searchParams. The first one is a string with the query string similar to this ?q=query%20string, this can be used to update the whole query string by doing

url.search = "?q=something%20else"

Now if you run url.toString() the full URL string you will get will have the new search.

The url.searchParams is an instance of URLSearchParams.

The URLSearchParams class

This class, which can be instantiated manually or read from url.searchParams, lets you manipulate the query string without manually working with strings, it has methods similar to the Map class of JS so you can do:

// returns the value of `q`
url.searchParams.get("q")
// returns an array with the values of `q`, useful when the string has `?q=value&q=another` which is valid
url.searchParams.getAll("q")
// replace the value of `q` with `"value"`
url.searchParams.set("q", "value")
// adds another value to `q` so you now have `?q=value&q=another`
url.searchParams.append("q", "another")
// check if the param `q` exists
url.searchParams.has("q")
// removes the param `q` from the search params
url.searchParams.delete("q")
// iterates the list of params and get the value and key, like Array#forEach
url.searchParams.forEach((value, key) => /* do something */)
// the following three methods returns instances of an Iterator, they let you iterate through
// the list of entries (`[key, value]`), the list of keys or the list of values
// you can pass them to `Array.from` to get an array version or use for..of to iterate them
url.searchParams.entries()
url.searchParams.keys()
url.searchParams.values()

Once you do any update to the searchParams the value of url.search will be automatically updated and the next time you do url.toString() you will get the updated version. This only happens if you use URLSearchParams through an instance of the URL class.

If you manually created an instance of URLSearchParams doing:

// the params is optional, it let you initialize the instance with some values already defined
let searchParams = new URLSearchParams({ q: "value" })

Then you can use searchParams.toString() to get a string version of your query string and then do:

url.search = searchParams.toString()

To update the search string, note you need to convert it to string and overwrite url.search instead of doing:

// this will not work
url.searchParams = searchParams