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Custom Routes

Overview

Sails allows you to explicitly route URLs in several different ways in your config/routes.js file. Every route configuration consists of an address and a target, for example:

'GET /foo/bar': 'FooController.bar'
^^^address^^^^  ^^^^^^target^^^^^^^

Route Address

The route address indicates what URL should be matched in order to apply the handler and options defined by the target. A route consists of an optional verb and a mandatory path:

'POST  /foo/bar'
^verb^ ^^path^^

If no verb is specified, the target will be applied to any request that matches the path, regardless of the HTTP method used (GET, POST, PUT etc.). Note the initial / in the path--all paths should start with one in order to work properly.

Wildcards and dynamic parameters

In addition to specifying a static path like foo/bar, you can use * as a wildcard:

'/*'

will match all paths, where as:

'/user/foo/*'

will match all paths that start with /user/foo.

Note: When using a route with a wildcard, such as '/*', be aware that this will also match requests to static assets (i.e. /js/dependencies/sails.io.js) and override them. To prevent this, consider using the skipAssets option described below.

You can capture the parts of the address that are matched by wildcards into named parameters by using the :paramName wildcard syntax instead of the *:

'/user/foo/:name/bar/:age'

Will match the same URLs as:

'/user/foo/*/bar/*'

but will provide the values of the wildcard portions of the route to the route handler as req.param('name') and req.param('age'), respectively.

Regular expressions in addresses

In addition to the wildcard address syntax, you may also use Regular Expressions to define the URLs that a route should match. The syntax for defining an address with a regular expression is:

"r|<regular expression string>|<comma-delimited list of param names>"

That's the letter "r", followed by a pipe character |, a regular expression string without delimiters, another pipe, and a list of parameter names that should be mapped to parenthesized groups in the regular expression. For example:

"r|^/\\d+/(\\w+)/(\\w+)$|foo,bar": "MessageController.myaction"

Will match /123/abc/def, running the myaction action of MessageController and supplying the values abc and def as req.param('foo') and req.param('bar'), respectively.

Note the double-backslash in \\d and \\w; this escaping is necessary for the regular expression to work correctly!

About route ordering

When using wildcards or regular expressions in your addresses, keep in mind that the ordering of your routes in config/routes.js matters; URLs are matched against addresses in the list from the top down. If you have two configurations in this order:

'/user': 'UserController.doSomething',
'/*'   : 'CatchallController.doSomethingElse'

then a request to /user will not be matched by the second configuration unless the first configuration's handler calls next() in its code, which is discouraged (only policies should call next()). Unless you're doing something very advanced, it is safe to assume that every request will be handled by at most one route in your config/routes.js file.

Route Target

The address portion of a custom route specifies which URLs the route should match. The target portion specifies what Sails should do after the match is made. A target can take one of several different forms. In some cases you may want to chain multiple targets to a single address by placing them in an array, but in most cases each address will have only one target. The different types of targets are discussed below, followed by a discussion of the various options that can be applied to them.

Controller / action target syntax

The most common type of target is one which binds a route to a custom controller action. The following four routes are equivalent:

'GET /foo/go': 'FooController.myGoAction',
'GET /foo/go': 'Foo.myGoAction',
'GET /foo/go': {controller: "Foo", action: "myGoAction"},
'GET /foo/go': {controller: "FooController", action:"myGoAction"},

Each one maps GET /foo/go to the myGoAction action of the controller in api/controllers/FooController.js. If no such controller or action exists, Sails will output an error message and ignore the route. Otherwise, whenever a GET request to /foo/go is made, the code in that action will be run.

The controller and action names in this syntax are case-insensitive.

Note that the blueprint API adds several actions to your controllers by default (like "find", "create", "update" and "delete"), all of which are available for routing:

'GET /foo/go': 'UserController.find'

Assuming that your have a api/controllers/UserController.js file and a api/models/User.js file, browsing to /foo/go in a browser will, using the above config, run the default "find* blueprint action which displays a list of all User models. If you have a custom action named find in UserController, that action will be run instead.

View target syntax

Another common target is one that binds a route to a view. The syntax for this is simple: it's the path to the view file relative to the views folder, without the file extension:

'GET /home': {view: 'home/index'}

This maps the GET /home to the view stored in views/home/index.ejs (assuming the default EJS template engine is used). As long as that view file exists, a GET request to /home will display it.

Note that this route will be bound directly to the view, no policies will be applied in this case. See the StackOverflow question for more information.

Blueprint target syntax

In some cases you may want to map a non-standard address to one of the Sails blueprint actions. For example, if you have a controller and model named UserController and User respectively, then Sails will automatically map GET /user to the "find" blueprint action which returns a list of User records. If you'd like to map a different address to that action, you can use the blueprint target syntax:

'GET /findAllUsers': {model: 'user', blueprint: 'find'},
'GET /user/findAll': {blueprint: 'find'}

Note that in the configuration, both the model and blueprint properties are set, while in the second one, only blueprint is used. In the second configuration, leaving off the model property causes Sails to examine the address and guess that the model is User. You could override this by explicitly setting model to something else:

'GET /user/findAll': {blueprint: 'find', model: 'pet'}

although you will rarely if ever want to do this, as it makes for a messy and confusing API for your app.

If you specify a non-existent model or blueprint in your configuration, Sails will output an error and ignore the route.

You can also use this syntax to map a route to one of the default blueprint actions even if you've overridden that action in a controller.

Redirect target syntax

You can have one address redirect to another--either within your Sails app, or on another server entirely--you can do so just by specifying the redirect URL as a string:

'/alias' : '/some/other/route'
'GET /google': 'http://www.google.com'

Be careful to avoid redirect loops when redirecting within your Sails app!

Note that when redirecting, the HTTP method of the original request (and any extra headers / parameters) will likely be lost, and the request will be transformed to a simple GET request. In the above example, a POST request to /alias will result in a GET request to /some/other/route. This is somewhat browser-dependent behavior, but it is recommended that you don't expect request methods and other data to survive a redirect.

Response target syntax

You can map an address directly to a default or custom response using this syntax:

'/foo': {response: 'notFound'}

Simply specify the name of the response file in your api/responses folder, without the .js extension. The response name in this syntax is case-sensitive. If you attempt to bind a route to a non-existent response, Sails will output an error and ignore the route.

Policy target syntax

In most cases, you will want to apply policies to your controller actions using the config/policies.js config file. However, there are some times when you will want to apply a policy directly to a custom route: particularly when you are using the view or blueprint target syntax. The policy target syntax is:

'/foo': {policy: 'myPolicy'}

However, you will always want to chain the policy to at least one other type of target, using an array:

'/foo': [{policy: 'myPolicy'}, {blueprint: 'find', model: 'user'}]

This will apply the myPolicy policy to the route and, if it passes, continue by running the find blueprint for the User model.

Route target options

In addition to the options discussed in the various route target syntaxes above, any other property you add to a route target object will be passed through to the route handler in the req.options object. There are several reserved properties that can be used to affect the behavior of the route handlers. These are listed in the table below.

Property Applicable Target Types Data Type Details
skipAssets all Set to true if you don't want the route to match URLs with dots in them (e.g. myImage.jpg). This will keep your routes with wildcard notation from matching URLs of static assets. Useful when creating URL slugs.
skipRegex all If skipping every URL containing a dot is too permissive, or you need a route's handler to be skipped based on different criteria entirely, you can use skipRegex. This option allows you to specify a regular expression or array of regular expressions to match the request URL against; if any of the matches are successful, the handler is skipped. Note that unlike the syntax for binding a handler with a regular expression, skipRegex expects actual RegExp objects, not strings.
locals controller, view, blueprint, response Sets default local variables to pass to any view that is rendered while handling the request.
cors all or or Specifies how to handle requests for this route from a different origin. See the main CORS documentation for more info.
populate blueprint Indicates whether the results in a "find" or "findOne" blueprint action should have associated model fields populated. Defaults to the value set in config/blueprints.js.
skip, limit, sort, where blueprint Set criteria for "find" blueprint. See the queries reference for more info.

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