React Router Search Parameters with URLSearchParams

A solution for using URLSearchParams with search parameters from React Router.

Published on  • 📖 4 min. read Edit on GitHub


The React Router (v5) location object contains the search params string, but from there it's up to us to figure out how we want to use it. This post shows a solution for how I like to work with search params.

Search Parameters

Here's an example of a location object, taken from the React Router location docs. The search property is a string containing all the search parameters. In a React Component, we can get a handle on this object by using the useLocation() hook.

{
key: 'ac3df4', // not with HashHistory!
pathname: '/somewhere',
search: '?some=search-string',
hash: '#howdy',
state: {
[userDefined]: true
}
}

For simple parameters, we could parse the search string ourselves, but that doesn't scale as easily as something that already does this for us, like URLSearchParams. Luckily these APIs work together with little effort!

const searchParams = new URLSearchParams(location.search);

When in a React Component and using the useLocation() hook from React Router, we depend on our component being re-rendered if the location changes. Furthermore, the location search is a primitive string, so it can be used to key on needing to create a new URLSearchParams instance. In the example below, searchParams will retain a stable reference across renders (thanks to the useMemo hook), unless the search parameters change.

import { useLocation } from 'react-router-dom';
import { useMemo } from 'react';

function SearchComponent() {
const { search } = useLocation();

const searchParams = useMemo(() => new URLSearchParams(search), [search]);

return null;
}

This is great, but what if someone tries to manipulate those parameters with this nice object we have?

searchParams.set('query', 'pizza');

The searchParams object will have its internal state changed, but the location search and browser search parameters won't have changed. We're using this object as a nice API in order to read the parameters, but we still need to use React Router to change them.

Type Checking Immutability

This all works great, but how can we make sure that it won't be inadvertently mutated? These days, we all use TypeScript, so we can extend the type of URLSearchParams and cast the type of the object to our new interface, ReadOnlyURLSearchParams. This interface can override the methods that would mutate the state.

import { useHistory, useLocation } from 'react-router-dom';
import { useMemo } from 'react';

interface ReadOnlyURLSearchParams extends URLSearchParams {
append: never;
set: never;
delete: never;
sort: never;
}

function SearchComponent() {
const history = useHistory();
const { search } = useLocation();

const searchParams = useMemo(
() => new URLSearchParams(search) as ReadOnlyURLSearchParams,
[search]
);

useEffect(() => {
// add a default parameter if not set
if (!searchParams.get('query')) {
// this now throws a TypeScript compiler error
// @ts-expect-error
searchParams.set('query', 'pizza');
history.replace({ search: searchParams.toString() });
}
}, [searchParams]);

return null;
}

useSearchParams Custom Hook

To tie it all up, we can move this logic to our own custom hook!

import { useLocation } from 'react-router-dom';
import { useMemo } from 'react';

interface ReadOnlyURLSearchParams extends URLSearchParams {
append: never;
set: never;
delete: never;
sort: never;
}

export function useSearchParams() {
const { search } = useLocation();

return useMemo(
() => new URLSearchParams(search) as ReadOnlyURLSearchParams,
[search]
);
}

And that's it! Happy params searching!