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Validate your API responses properly with Zod

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If you have some experience with Typescript, you might know the problem of working with API responses properly. You're creating a new type or interface that describes the data coming back as the response. This helps you to work with that response data inside your Typescript code.

But do you make sure to check if the data is correct and satisfies the type definition?

For example, you're receiving this data from an API:

  "id": "123",
  "name": "Michael Jordan",
  "team": "Chicago Bulls",

Now, you create a new type called Player:

type Player = {
  id: string;
  name: string;
  team: string;

If you're using an HTTP client like axios you can now assign the type to the response:

const getPlayerData = async (id: string) => {
  try {
    const { data } = await axios.get<Player>(`${id}`);
    return data;
  } catch(error) {

When you now call that function from inside your code, you have the correct type:

const player = await getPlayerData("123");

console.log( // "123"
console.log( // "Michael Jordan"
console.log( // "Chicago Bulls"

The problem with this approach

Although you're setting the type of the response, it doesn't ensure that the data is correct! In other words, it doesn't validate the response. If the id for example is of type number, you don't receive an error or any other information about it, when getting the response.

Let's see how we can fix that and ensure our response data is correct.

Schema validation for the win

There are many different ways to validate a schema in Typescript, but using zod is one of the best in my opinion. It is very flexible, has a lot of validators, and allows you to infer a type from your schema.

You can check the whole documentation here

In our example above, we first define a schema of our Player:

import { z } from "zod";

const playerSchema = z.object({
  id: z.string().min(1),
  name: z.string().min(1),
  team: z.string().min(1),

This is the schema through which our response data gets validated against. Using min(1) makes the property required. It should have a minimum length of 1 and if it's an empty string, for example, the validation fails.

Now, we don't have to define a Player type on our own. We can infer a type from that schema:

type Player = z.infer<typeof playerSchema>;

This comes in very handy because when we change something in our PlayerSchema the Player type is updated automatically. If we'd set the type by hand, we'd have to manually update it every time we change something inside our schema. This is error-prone and can lead to many problems later.

If we want to validate our data against that schema, we make use of the parse method:


Our data fetching function now looks like this:

const getPlayerData = async (id: string) => {
  try {
    const { data } = await axios.get<Player>(`${id}`);
    // 👇 Validating "data" before returning it
    return data;
  } catch(error) {

If our response data doesn't satisfy our schema definition now, the parse method will throw an error that can be caught inside the catch block.

Now, you're making your api response type safe and ensuring that the data is as expected by validating it against a pre-defined schema.


I have to admit that I was making it also wrong for a long time until I wondered where some nasty issues with the response types came from. So as I debugged my application, I recognized that I fell into that trap of Typescript. I didn't think about validation and thought "giving it a type is enough" because I was just focused on using it in the application.

That's the reason why I wrote this post here, so you don't fall into this trap, too. At the end of the day, we all want to write robust code, and using schema validation with zod lets us achieve it with minimal effort.

Have fun with it and see you next time!