10 Node.js Express Routing Best Practices

Express routing is a critical part of any Node.js Express application. In this article, we'll discuss 10 best practices for working with Express routes.

Node.js Express is a popular web framework for building web applications. It is fast, efficient, and provides a robust set of features for web and mobile applications. One of the most important features of Express is its routing system. Routing is the process of determining how an application responds to a client request for a specific endpoint, which is a URI (or path) and a specific HTTP request method (GET, POST, and so on).

In this article, we will discuss 10 best practices for routing in Node.js Express. Following these best practices will help you create a more efficient and secure web application.

1. Use Express Router

Express Router allows you to break up your routes into smaller, more manageable chunks. This makes it easier to maintain and debug your code since each route is in its own file.

Express Router also provides a way to organize your routes by grouping them together based on their purpose. For example, if you have an API with multiple endpoints, you can group all of the related endpoints together in one router file. This helps keep your codebase organized and easy to navigate.

Finally, Express Router allows you to use middleware functions for authentication or other purposes. You can apply these middleware functions to specific routers so that they are only applied when needed. This helps keep your code clean and efficient.

2. Keep your routes in separate files

When your routes are all in one file, it can become difficult to manage and maintain. It’s hard to find the route you’re looking for when there are hundreds of lines of code. Separating your routes into different files makes them easier to read and debug.

It also allows you to organize your routes better. You can group related routes together in a single file, making it easier to understand how they interact with each other. This is especially useful if you have multiple teams working on the same project. Each team can work on their own set of routes without having to worry about conflicting with another team’s changes.

3. Organize your routes by resource

Organizing your routes by resource makes it easier to find and maintain them. It also helps keep the codebase organized, which is important for larger projects. Additionally, organizing routes by resource allows you to easily add new routes as needed without having to search through a large file of unrelated routes.

Finally, organizing routes by resource can help improve performance since related routes are grouped together. This means that when a request comes in, Express will only have to look at one section of the code instead of searching through an entire file.

4. Create a single route for multiple HTTP methods

When you create a single route for multiple HTTP methods, it allows your code to be more organized and efficient. Instead of having separate routes for each method, you can use the same route for all of them. This also makes it easier to maintain your code since you don’t have to update multiple routes when making changes. Additionally, this approach helps reduce the amount of duplicate code in your application.

5. Use the app.route() method to chain route handlers

The app.route() method allows you to chain multiple route handlers together, which makes it easier to read and maintain your code. It also helps keep related routes grouped together in one place, making them easier to find and debug. Additionally, the app.route() method can be used to create more complex routing logic that would otherwise require a lot of extra code.

6. Avoid using app.use() with an empty path

When you use app.use() with an empty path, it means that the middleware will be applied to all requests regardless of their route. This can lead to performance issues as your application grows in complexity and size. It also makes debugging more difficult since it’s hard to tell which middleware is being used for a particular request.

Instead, try to be specific when using app.use(). For example, if you want to apply a certain middleware to all routes starting with /api/, then use app.use(‘/api’, myMiddleware). This way, you’ll have better control over which middleware is being used for each request.

7. Don’t use app.all() unless you know what you are doing

app.all() is a catch-all route that will match any HTTP method and path, which can lead to unexpected behavior if you are not careful. It’s best to use specific routes for each HTTP method (GET, POST, PUT, etc.) and path so that your code is more predictable and easier to debug. Additionally, using app.all() can make it difficult to determine the order in which routes are executed, as they all have the same priority.

8. Don’t use app.get() or if you need to support other HTTP methods

When using app.get() or, you are limited to only those two HTTP methods, which means that if you need to support other methods such as PUT, DELETE, etc., then you will have to create separate routes for each of them. This can quickly become tedious and difficult to maintain.

Instead, it is better to use the router object’s route() method, which allows you to specify multiple HTTP methods in a single route definition. This makes your code more concise and easier to maintain.

9. Don’t use app.param() unless you know what you are doing

App.param() is a powerful tool that allows you to define custom routes and parameters for your application. However, it can be difficult to debug if something goes wrong, as the code can become complex quickly. Additionally, app.param() can lead to performance issues if not used correctly.

Therefore, unless you are sure of what you are doing, it’s best to avoid using app.param(). Instead, use simpler routing methods such as app.get(),, etc., which are easier to debug and maintain.

10. Don’t use app.locals and res.locals interchangeably

App.locals is a global object that can be used to store data and variables that are accessible throughout the application, while res.locals is an object that stores data and variables that are only available within the current request-response cycle. This means that if you use app.locals to store data, it will be accessible in all requests, which could lead to security issues or unexpected behavior. On the other hand, using res.locals ensures that the data is only available for the current request-response cycle, making your code more secure and predictable.


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