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Routing is the mechanism that determines what route a given incoming request is handled by. Fresh routes requests based on their URL path. By default routes specify which paths they are invoked for using the name of the file. Routes can also define a custom URL pattern to match against for more advanced use cases.

The file based routing in Fresh is very similar to the file based routing seen in other frameworks, namely Next.js. File names are used to determine which route a given request should be handled by. The pattern is determined based on the path of the file on disk, relative to the routes/ directory.

File names are mapped to route patterns as follows:

  • File extensions are ignored.
  • Literals in the file path are treated as string literals to match.
  • Files named <path>/index.<ext> behave identically to a file named <path>.<ext>.
  • Path segments can be made dynamic by surrounding an identifier with [ and ].
  • Paths where the last path segment follows the structure [...<ident>] are treated as having a wildcard suffix.

Here is a table of file names, which route patterns they map to, and which paths they might match:

File name Route pattern Matching paths
index.ts / /
about.ts /about /about
blog/index.ts /blog /blog
blog/[slug].ts /blog/:slug /blog/foo, /blog/bar
blog/[slug]/comments.ts /blog/:slug/comments /blog/foo/comments
old/[...path].ts /old/:path* /old/foo, /old/bar/baz
docs/[[version]]/index.ts /docs{/:version}? /docs, /docs/latest, /docs/canary

Advanced use-cases can require that a more complex pattern be used for matching. A custom URL pattern can be specified in the route configuration. This pattern will be used instead of the file path based pattern:

import { RouteConfig } from "$fresh/server.ts";

export const config: RouteConfig = {
  routeOverride: "/x/:module@:version/:path*",

// ...

Route Groups

When working with layouts or middlewares, you’ll sometimes come across a situation where you want your routes to inherit from a layout other than what’s suggested by the URL segment.

Let’s illustrate that with an example:

/about -> layout A
/career -> layout A
/archive -> layout B
/contact -> layout B

Without any way to group routes this is a problem because every route segment can only have one _layout file.

Project structure
└── routes
    ├── _layout.tsx  # applies to all routes here :(
    ├── about.tsx
    ├── career.tsx
    ├── archive.tsx
    └── contact.tsx

We can solve this problem with route groups. A route group is a folder which has a name that is wrapped in parentheses. For example (info) would be considered a route group and so would (marketing). This enables us to group related routes in a folder and use a different _layout file for each group.

Project structure
└── routes
    ├── (marketing)
    │   ├── _layout.tsx  # only applies to about.tsx and career.tsx
    │   ├── about.tsx
    │   └── career.tsx
    └── (info)
        ├── _layout.tsx  # only applies to archive.tsx and contact.tsx
        ├── archive.tsx
        └── contact.tsx
WarningBe careful about routes in different groups which match to the same URL. Such scenarios will lead to ambiguity as to which route file should be picked.

Project structure
└── routes
    ├── (group-1)
    │   └── about.tsx  # Bad: Maps to same `/about` url
    └── (group-2)
        └── about.tsx  # Bad: Maps to same `/about` url


If you want to store components and islands closer to their routes, you may want to use co-location.

When the name of a route group folder starts with an underscore, like (_components), Fresh will ignore that folder and it’s effectively treated as private. This means you can use these private route folders to store components related to a particular route.

Following the above example, say you have some components you only want to use in your marketing pages, you could create a route group folder (_components) to house these.

The one special name is (_islands) which tells Fresh to treat all files in that folder as an island.

Project structure
└── routes
    ├── (marketing)
    │   ├── _layout.tsx
    │   ├── about.tsx
    │   ├── career.tsx
    │   ├── (_components)
    │   │   └── newsletter-cta.tsx
    │   └── (_islands)
    │       └── interactive-stats.tsx # Fresh treats this as an island
    └── shop
        ├── (_components)
        │   └── product-card.tsx
        └── (_islands)
            └── cart.tsx # Fresh treats this as an island

Combined together, this gives you the ability to organise your code on a feature basis and put all related components, islands or anything else into a shared folder.