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How To Use Axios NPM to Generate HTTP Requests [Beginners Guide]

Introduction to Axios NPM and HTTP Requests

Axios is a robust JavaScript library that streamlines the process of making HTTP requests from web browsers or Node.js servers. It offers a promise-based interface, facilitating the handling of asynchronous tasks. Supporting popular browsers and Node.js, Axios caters to both frontend and backend development needs. 

Programmers install Axios through npm, seamlessly integrating it into their projects to leverage its user-friendly syntax and extensive functionalities for managing HTTP requests. 

This blog delves into Axios, a widely-used JavaScript library for HTTP requests. Gain insights into how Axios NPM streamlines and enhances the HTTP request process. 

You can also acquire the skills necessary to leverage the utilities of Axios in Node.js through a Full Stack Software Development Bootcamp.

Installing Axios NPM for Your Project

When handling HTTP requests in JavaScript, developers often turn to Axios, a powerful and straightforward library. Follow these steps to install Axios for your project:

  • Set up a Node.js environment: Install Node.js on your machine by downloading it from the official website.
  • Create a new project: Establish a new project directory and navigate it using your preferred command-line interface.
  • Initialise NPM: Use the command npm init to initialise a new NPM project. This action generates a package.json file that manages project dependencies.
  • Install Axios: Execute the command npm install axios to install Axios and add it as a dependency.
  • Start using Axios: After successful installation, import it into your JavaScript files and start making HTTP requests.

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Creating an Axios Instance With Default Settings

When working with Axios NPM, creating an instance with default settings can give you greater control and flexibility over your HTTP requests. Follow these steps to create an Axios instance with default settings:

  • Create an instance: After importing Axios into your JavaScript file, use the axios.create() method to create a new Axios instance, storing it in a variable for future use.
  • Customise default settings: With the instance created, you can set various default settings, such as headers, base URLs, request interceptors, and more. These settings will be applied to all requests made through this instance.
  • Make requests: Use the instance to make HTTP requests using the familiar Axios syntax. The default settings will be automatically applied to these requests.

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Performing GET Requests With Axios

Performing GET requests to fetch data from servers is a common task in web development. Axios, a widely-used JavaScript library, simplifies this process by offering an intuitive and efficient approach to handling GET requests. To perform GET requests using Axios NPM, follow these steps:

  • First, use the appropriate syntax to import the Axios library into your JavaScript file. 
  • Then use the axios.get() method, passing the desired URL as the argument. This initiates a GET request to the specified endpoint.

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Handling Response Data From GET Requests

Effectively managing the response data becomes crucial once you have made a GET request using Axios NPM. Whether you’re retrieving information from an API or your server, proper response handling ensures seamless utilisation and display of the received data. When working with Axios and GET requests, consider the following techniques for managing the response data:

  • Using the .then() method: By chaining the .then() method to the Axios request promise, you can access and process the response data within the provided callback function.
  • Using async/await: If you prefer an asynchronous approach, employ the async/await syntax to handle the Axios request. Await the response, extract the necessary data, and manipulate it as required.
  • Accessing response properties: Besides the response body, you can access other properties like status codes and headers. These properties can be employed for additional operations or error handling.

Performing POST Requests With Axios

Performing POST requests is crucial for sending data to servers and APIs during web development. Axios NPM provides a convenient and straightforward way to make POST requests with its promise-based API. Follow these steps to make POST requests using Axios:

  • Import Axios: Import the Axios library into your JavaScript file using the appropriate syntax.
  • Make a POST request: Use the axios.post() method, providing the URL and data you want to send as arguments. This will initiate a POST request to the specified endpoint.
  • Handle the response: Axios returns a promise, so you can handle the response using .then() or async/await syntax. Access the response data, status code, headers, and other relevant information.

Sending Data with POST Requests

Axios NPM offers a streamlined approach to sending data with its promise-based API. To send data using POST requests with Axios, follow the given steps:

  • Make a POST request: After importing the Axios library into your JavaScript file using the appropriate syntax, use the axios.post() method, passing the desired URL and the data you want to send as arguments. This initiates a POST request to the specified endpoint.
  • Include request data: Customise the request body by including additional parameters such as headers, authentication tokens, or specific formatting required by the server.

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Handling Response Data From POST Requests

Whether receiving a response from an API or a server, properly managing the data allows you to extract relevant information and handle potential errors. Apply the below-mentioned techniques when working with Axios NPM and performing POST requests to handle the response data effectively:-

  • Use the .then() method: Chain the .then() method to the Axios request promise and retrieve the response data within the provided callback function. Extract and process the necessary information from the response object.
  • Employ async/await: Use the async/await syntax to handle the Axios request asynchronously. Await the response and then extract and manipulate the data as required.
  • Access response properties: In addition to the response body, you can access other properties, such as status codes and headers. Use these properties for supplementary operations or error handling.

Error Handling With Axios

Error handling plays a vital role in Axios for managing HTTP requests. Handle network errors, exceptions, and invalid responses occurring during requests effortlessly with these techniques:

  • Use a .catch() block: Attach a .catch() block to the Axios request promise to capture and handle errors. It helps handle rejected promises and network errors.
  • Retrieve error details: Access the error object within the .catch() block to obtain specific error details. This information is helpful for logging, displaying error messages, or triggering alternative actions.
  • Handle HTTP error codes: Axios automatically identifies HTTP error codes (4xx and 5xx) as errors. Customise error handling based on specific error codes, allowing tailored responses to different scenarios.
  • Access error response data: Axios provides access to error response data, which may contain additional details or error messages from the server. Use this data for enhanced error handling and reporting.
  • Implement graceful error handling: Enhance the user experience by implementing graceful error handling. This involves providing fallback actions and user-friendly error messages to guide users through unexpected situations.

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Best Practices for Using Axios NPM in Your Projects

Following the practices mentioned below will help you maintain a consistent and reliable Axios integration in your projects:-

  • Maintain consistent configuration across your project for Axios.
  • Implement robust error handling with meaningful messages and fallback actions.
  • Use request cancellation to optimise network usage.
  • Take advantage of Axios interceptors for global request and response modifications.
  • Organise your code by creating dedicated modules or services for Axios requests.
  • Manage Axios configurations using environment variables or configuration files.
  • Pay attention to security aspects, such as handling sensitive data and implementing CSRF protection.
  • Write comprehensive tests for Axios requests and response handling.
  • Document your Axios implementation, including API endpoints and expected responses.
  • Keep Axios and its dependencies updated for bug fixes and performance improvements.

Conclusion

Axios offers a convenient and straightforward solution for interacting with APIs and servers, simplifying data retrieval and submission processes. By incorporating Axios into your projects, you can optimise your HTTP request workflows and enhance the functionality of your web applications. 

Axios is a reliable and efficient tool, facilitating seamless communication with external resources. To learn more about using Axios in Node.js, consider signing up for an Executive PG Programme in Full Stack Development from IIITB, offered at upGrad. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can HTTP requests be made with Axios?

With features like promise-based syntax, request cancellation, and error handling, Axios simplifies and streamlines the HTTP request process efficiently.

How can one make a POST request using Axios in Node.js?

To make a POST request in Node.js using Axios, you can use the axios.post() method and provide the URL and data to be sent in the request body.

How can one request headers in Axios?

In Axios, you can access request headers by setting them in the headers property of the Axios configuration object or by passing an object containing the headers as the third argument to the Axios request method.

 

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