Interactive Guide to URL Pattern API

Mon Feb 07 2022

3 min read

A website consists of many web pages. Each web page is connected to a unique route that loads the page when it becomes active. If you are a developer, you would know that routing comes into play when your application becomes multi-page.

There is a web requirement to standardize the routing syntax, so every developer is on the same page for generating routes. Fortunately, a web API called URL Pattern API exists for this purpose. Let’s look at this API and how you can use it in your web applications.

URL Pattern API

It is a web API for defining the syntax used to create URL pattern matchers. It supports wildcards, named and unnamed token groups, regular expression groups, and group modifiers. You can use this API to match full URLs or a URL pathname with a predefined route. It can also return information about the token and group matches.


Let’s look at how you can use this API in your web application:

→ STEP #1

You need to create a project. For this, create a folder on your computer and open it in your preferred code editor.

→ STEP #2

Once you are done, create a file called index.html in your project directory and add basic HTML boilerplate code inside it. I have also provided the code below if you quickly want to copy-paste it.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<meta charset="UTF-8" />
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge" />
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0" />
<title>URL Pattern API</title>

→ STEP #3

You can use the API to match text with the URL exactly. All you need to do is provide the pathname without any wildcards or groups. The following is how you do it.

const pattern = new URLPattern({pathname: '/post'});
const isSamePattern = pattern.test('');

The value will be true in the above case, but if you replace the /post with anything, the test will fail, and the value of isSamePattern will be false. Here is a quick demo for better understanding:

Vanilla JavaScript

You can also use wildcards and regular expressions for pattern matching. The URL Pattern API also lets you create named and unnamed groups. The name group starts with a colon (:).

const pattern = new URLPattern('/post/:id(\d+)', '');
const namedGroup = pattern.exec('').pathname

When executed, the above code will create an object with a key ‘id`, and its value will be 123.

Vanilla JavaScript

The unnamed groups are similar to named groups, but they don’t have a key in the response object. Instead, the key values are numerically indexed based on their order in the pattern.

Here is a quick demo of the unnamed group:

Vanilla JavaScript


The URL Pattern API is only supported across a handful of browsers, including Chrome, Edge, Opera, and Chrome for Android. The browsers like Safari, Firefox do not support this API.