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retriever is a small utility library for retrieving nested data safely. It contains several improvements over solutions like lodash.get, such as convenient defaults, type checking, and optional logging.


npm install @ebay/retriever --save


var r = require('@ebay/retriever');
// set optional logger for missing data or type mismatch with defaultValue
    debug: function (messageFormat, lookupPath, defaultValue, logType) {}, // used with get() and has()
    warn: function (messageFormat, lookupPath, defaultValue, logType) {} // used with need()
// sample data where content is not guaranteed
var input = {
    model: {
        action: {
            url: ''
            textSpans: [
                    text: 'Search for iphone on eBay'
        list: [1, 2, 3],
        count: 20,
        disabled: true
// cache parent when accessing multiple children
var action = r.need(input, 'model.action', {}); // input.model.action (from object)
// assumed defaultValue is empty string if none is provided
var text = r.need(action, 'textSpans[0].text'); // 'Search for iphone on eBay' (from object)
// {} is transformed to contain helper property when used as default
var content = r.need(action, 'model.content', {}); // {__isEmpty: true} (from defaultValue)
// use has() when presence is needed, but not the actual data
var hasContent = r.has(input, 'model.content'); // false
// type of defaultValue must match type of data, otherwise will log
var count = r.need(input, 'model.count', 50); // 20 (from object)
var count = r.need(input, 'model.count', '50'); // '50' (from defaultValue), logs `warning`
var count = r.get(input, 'model.count', '50'); // '50' (from defaultValue), logs `debug`
// defaults to defaultValue when data is missing or of mismatched type
var list = r.need(input, 'model.missingProperty', []); // [] (from defaultValue)
var list = r.need(input, 'model.list'); // '' (from default defaultValue)
var list = r.need(input, 'model.list', ''); // '' (from defaultValue)
var list = r.need(input, 'model.list', {}); // {__isEmpty: true} (from defaultValue)
var list = r.need(input, 'model.list', 0); // 0 (from defaultValue)
var list = r.need(input, 'model.list', false); // false (from defaultValue)
var list = r.need(input, 'model.list', []); // [1, 2, 3] (from object)
// use get() if logging isn't necessary
var disabled = r.get(input, 'model.disabled', false); // true (from object)
var enabled = r.get(input, 'model.enabled', false); // false (from defaultValue)
var enabled = r.get(input, 'model.enabled', true); // true (from defaultValue)


need(object, path, [defaultValue])

get(object, path, [defaultValue])

Gets the value at path of object. Uses Lodash's get method. If the resolved value is undefinedor if there is a type mismatch between the resolved value and default value, the defaultValue is returned in its place. If the defaultValue is an empty object, an object with an internal helper __isEmpty property is returned in its place. A type mismatch is determined with strict type checking that differentiates between object, array, and null. This is opposed to the native typeof which treats those identically as being type object.

need() assumes that the data of the specified type needs to be present. Otherwise, it will log a warning. get() is more lenient, and will only log debug instead of warn.


  • object (Object): The object to query.
  • path (Array | String): The path of the property to get.
  • [defaultValue] (*): The value returned for undefined resolved values. (defaults to '')


(*): Returns the resolved value.

has(object, path)

Checks if path is a direct property of object, and has a value that is not null or undefined. This will log debug if the data is missing.


  • object (Object): The object to query.
  • path (Array | String): The path of the check.


(boolean): Returns true if path exists, else false.


Sets the logger to be used for logging any issues in retrieving the data. If logging is desired, this should be called once at the start of the app to be used for all subsequent usage. If retriever logging is desired on the client, setLogger must be initialized in the browser as well.


  • logger (Object): A logger object containing the functions debug and warn. These functions will be called with the following parameters: messageFormat, lookupPath, defaultValue, logType.

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