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gretchen npm

Making fetch happen in TypeScript.

Looking for more info? Check out our blog post.


  • safe: will not throw on non-200 responses
  • precise: allows for typing of both success & error responses
  • resilient: configurable retries & timeout
  • smart: respects Retry-After header
  • small: won't break your bundle


npm i gretchen --save

Browser support

gretchen targets all modern browsers. For IE11 support, you'll need to polyfill fetch, Promise, and Object.assign. For Node.js, you'll need fetch and AbortController.

Quick links


With fetch, you might do something like this:

const request = await fetch('/api/user/12')
const user = await request.json()

With gretchen, it's very similar:

import { gretch } from 'gretchen'

const { data: user } = await gretch('/api/user/12').json()

👉 gretchen aims to provide just enough abstraction to provide ease of use without sacrificing flexibility.

Making a request

Using gretchen is very similar to using fetch. It too defaults to GET, and sets the credentials header to same-origin.

const request = gretch('/api/user/12')

To parse a response body, simply call any of the standard fetch body interface methods:

const response = await request.json()

The slight diversion from native fetch here is to allow users to do this in one shot:

const response = await gretch('/api/user/12').json()

In addition to the body interface methods you're familiar with, there's also a flush() method. This resolves the request without parsing the body (or errors), which results in slight performance gains. This method returns a slightly different response object, see below for more details.

const response = await gretch('/api/user/authenticated').flush()


To make different types of requests or edit headers and other request config, pass a options object:

const response = await gretch('/api/user/12', {
  credentials: 'include',
  headers: {
    'Tracking-ID': 'abcde12345'

Configuring requests bodies should look familiar as well:

const response = await gretch('/api/user/12', {
  method: 'PATCH',
  body: JSON.stringify({
    name: 'Megan Rapinoe',
    occupation: 'President of the United States'

For convenience, there’s also a json shorthand. We’ll take care of stringifying the body and applying the Content-Type header:

const response = await gretch('/api/user/12', {
  method: 'PATCH',
  json: {
    email: ''

Retrying requests

gretchen will automatically attempt to retry some types of requests if they return certain error codes. Below are the configurable options and their defaults:

  • attempts - a number of retries to attempt before failing. Defaults to 2.
  • codes - an array of number status codes that indicate a retry-able request. Defaults to [ 408, 413, 429 ].
  • methods - an array of strings indicating which request methods should be retry-able. Defaults to [ "GET" ].
  • delay - a number in milliseconds used to exponentially back-off the delay time between requests. Defaults to 6. Example: first delay is 6ms, second 36ms, third 216ms, and so on.

These options can be set using the configuration object:

const response = await gretch('/api/user/12', {
  retry: {
    attempts: 3


By default, gretchen will time out requests after 10 seconds and retry them, unless otherwise configured. To configure timeout, pass a value in milliseconds:

const response = await gretch('/api/user/12', {
  timeout: 20000

Response handling

gretchen's thin abstraction layer returns a specialized structure from a request. In TypeScript terms, it employs a discriminated union for ease of typing. More on that later.

const { url, status, error, data, response } = await gretch(

url and status here are what they say they are: properties of the Response returned from the request.


If the response returns a body and you elect to parse it i.e. .json(), it will be populated here.


And instead of throwing errors gretchen will populate the error prop with any errors that occur or bodyies returned from non-success (4xx) responses.

Examples of error usage:

  • a /login endpoint returns 401 and includes a message for the user
  • an endpoint times out and an HTTPTimeout error is returned
  • an unknown network error occurs during the request


gretchen also provides the full response object in case you need it.

Usage with flush

As mentioned above, gretchen also provides a flush() method to resolve a request without parsing the body or errors. This results in a slightly different response object.

const { url, status, response } = await gretch(


gretchen uses the concept of "hooks" to tap into the request lifecycle. Hooks are good for code that needs to run on every request, like adding tracking headers and logging errors.

Hooks should be defined as an array. That way you can compose multiple hooks per-request, and define and merge default hooks when creating instances.


The before hook runs just prior to the request being made. You can even modify the request directly, like to add headers. The before hook is passed the Request object, and the full options object.

const response = await gretch('/api/user/12', {
  hooks: {
    before: [
      (request, options) => {
        request.headers.set('Tracking-ID', 'abcde')


The after runs after the request has resolved and any body interface methods have been called. It has the opportunity to read the gretchen response. It cannot modify it. This is mostly useful for logging.

const response = await gretch('/api/user/12', {
  hooks: {
    after: [
      ({ url, status, data, error }, options) => {
        sentry.captureMessage(`${url} returned ${status}`)

Creating instances

gretchen also exports a create method that allows you to configure default options. This is useful if you want to attach something like logging to every request made with the returned instance.

import { create } from 'gretchen'

const gretch = create({
  headers: {
    'X-Powered-By': 'gretchen'
  hooks: {
    after ({ error }) {
      if (error) sentry.captureException(error)

await gretch('/api/user/12').json()

Base URLs

Another common use case for creating a separate instance is to specify a baseURL for all requests. The baseURL will then be resolved against the base URL of the page, allowing support for both absolute and relative baseURL values.

In the example below, assume requests are being made from a page located at

Functionally, this:

const gretch = create({
  baseURL: ''

Is equivalent to this:

const gretch = create({
  baseURL: '/api'

So this request:

await gretch('/user/12').json()

Will resolve to

Note: if a baseURL is specified, URLs will be normalized in order to concatenate them i.e. a leading slash – /user/12 vs user/12 – will not impact how the request is resolved.

Usage with TypeScript

gretchen is written in TypeScript and employs a discriminated union to allow you to type and consume both the success and error responses returned by your API.

To do so, pass your data types directly to the gretch call:

type Success = {
  name: string
  occupation: string

type Error = {
  code: number
  errors: string[]

const response = await gretch<Success, Error>('/api/user/12').json()

Then, you can safely use the responses:

if (response.error) {
  const {
    code, // number
    errors // array of strings
  } = response.error // typeof Error
} else if ( {
  const {
    name, // string
    occupation // string
  } = // typeof Success


There are a lot of options out there for requesting data. But most modern fetch implementations rely on throwing errors. For type-safety, we wanted something that would allow us to type the response, no matter what. We also wanted to bake in a few opinions of our own, although the API is flexible enough for most other applications.


This library was inspired by ky, fetch-retry, and others.


MIT License © Truework

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