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Using Web Platform APIs

One way Deno simplifies web and cloud development is by using Web Platform APIs (like fetch) over proprietary APIs. This means if you've ever built for the browser, you're likely already familiar with Deno, and if you're learning Deno, you're also investing in your knowledge of the web.

Supported APIs Jump to heading

Here's a partial list of supported web platform APIs in Deno:

You can find the Deno reference for these APIs here. To check if a Web Platform API is available in Deno, click on the interface on MDN and refer to its Browser Compatibility table (link as an example).

fetch API Jump to heading

Overview Jump to heading

The fetch API can be used to make HTTP requests. It is implemented as specified in the WHATWG fetch spec.

You can find documentation about this API on MDN.

Spec deviations Jump to heading

  • The Deno user agent does not have a cookie jar. As such, the set-cookie header on a response is not processed, or filtered from the visible response headers.
  • Deno does not follow the same-origin policy, because the Deno user agent currently does not have the concept of origins, and it does not have a cookie jar. This means Deno does not need to protect against leaking authenticated data cross origin. Because of this Deno does not implement the following sections of the WHATWG fetch specification:
    • Section 3.1. 'Origin' header.
    • Section 3.2. CORS protocol.
    • Section 3.5. CORB.
    • Section 3.6. 'Cross-Origin-Resource-Policy' header.
    • Atomic HTTP redirect handling.
    • The opaqueredirect response type.
  • A fetch with a redirect mode of manual will return a basic response rather than an opaqueredirect response.
  • The specification is vague on how file: URLs are to be handled. Firefox is the only mainstream browser that implements fetching file: URLs, and even then it doesn't work by default. As of Deno 1.16, Deno supports fetching local files. See the next section for details.
  • The request and response header guards are implemented, but unlike browsers do not have any constraints on which header names are allowed.
  • The referrer, referrerPolicy, mode, credentials, cache, integrity, keepalive, and window properties and their relevant behaviours in RequestInit are not implemented. The relevant fields are not present on the Request object.
  • Request body upload streaming is supported (on HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/2). Unlike the current fetch proposal, the implementation supports duplex streaming.
  • The set-cookie header is not concatenated when iterated over in the headers iterator. This behaviour is in the process of being specified.

Fetching local files Jump to heading

As of Deno 1.16, Deno supports fetching file: URLs. This makes it easier to write code that uses the same code path on a server as local, as well as easier to author code that works both with the Deno CLI and Deno Deploy.

Deno only supports absolute file URLs, this means that fetch("./some.json") will not work. It should be noted though that if --location is specified, relative URLs use the --location as the base, but a file: URL cannot be passed as the --location.

To be able to fetch some resource, relative to the current module, which would work if the module is local or remote, you would want to use import.meta.url as the base. For example, something like:

const response = await fetch(new URL("./config.json", import.meta.url));
const config = await response.json();

Notes on fetching local files:

  • Permissions are applied to reading resources, so an appropriate --allow-read permission is needed to be able to read a local file.
  • Fetching locally only supports the GET method, and will reject the promise with any other method.
  • A file that does not exist simply rejects the promise with a vague TypeError. This is to avoid the potential of fingerprinting attacks.
  • No headers are set on the response. Therefore it is up to the consumer to determine things like the content type or content length.
  • Response bodies are streamed from the Rust side, so large files are available in chunks, and can be cancelled.

CustomEvent, EventTarget and EventListener Jump to heading

Overview Jump to heading

The DOM Event API can be used to dispatch and listen to events happening in an application. It is implemented as specified in the WHATWG DOM spec.

You can find documentation about this API on MDN.

Spec deviations Jump to heading

  • Events do not bubble, because Deno does not have a DOM hierarchy, so there is no tree for Events to bubble/capture through.
  • timeStamp property is always set to 0.

Typings Jump to heading

The TypeScript definitions for the implemented web APIs can be found in the lib.deno.shared_globals.d.ts and lib.deno.window.d.ts files.

Definitions that are specific to workers can be found in the lib.deno.worker.d.ts file.

Deviations of other APIs from spec Jump to heading

Cache API Jump to heading

Only the following APIs are implemented:

A few things that are different compared to browsers:

  1. You cannot pass relative paths to the APIs. The request can be an instance of Request or URL or a url string.
  2. match() & delete() don't support query options yet.