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🧠 Understanding the populate parameter for the REST API

When querying content-types with Strapi's REST API, by default, responses only include top-level fields and do not include any relations, media fields, components, or dynamic zones.

Populating in the context of the Strapi REST API means including additional content with your response by returning more fields than the ones returned by default. You use the populate parameter to achieve this.

👀 Info

Throughout this guide, examples are built with real data queried from the server included with the FoodAdvisor example application. To test examples by yourself, setup FoodAdvisor, start the server in the /api/ folder, and ensure that proper find permissions are given for the queried content-types before sending your queries.

The present guide will cover detailed explanations for the following use cases:

👀 Info

Populating several levels deep is often called "deep populate".

🤓 Advanced use case: Populating creator fields

In addition to the various ways of using the populate parameter in your queries, you can also build a custom controller as a workaround to populate creator fields (e.g., createdBy and updatedBy). This is explained in the dedicated How to populate creator fields guide.

Populate all relations and fields, 1 level deep

You can return all relations, media fields, components and dynamic zones with a single query. For relations, this will only work 1 level deep, to prevent performance issues and long response times.

To populate everything 1 level deep, add the populate=* parameter to your query.

The following diagram compares data returned by the FoodAdvisor example application with and without populating everything 1 level deep:

Diagram with populate use cases with FoodAdvisor data

Let's compare and explain what happens with and without this query parameter:

Example: Without populate

Without the populate parameter, a GET request to /api/articles only returns the default attributes and does not return any media fields, relations, components or dynamic zones.

The following example is the full response for all 4 entries from the articles content-types.

Notice how the response only includes the title, slug, createdAt, updatedAt, publishedAt, and locale fields, and the field content of the article as handled by the CKEditor plugin (ckeditor_content, truncated for brevity):

Example request

GET /api/articles

Example response
{
"data": [
{
"id": 1,
"attributes": {
"title": "Here's why you have to try basque cuisine, according to a basque chef",
"slug": "here-s-why-you-have-to-try-basque-cuisine-according-to-a-basque-chef",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:57:19.584Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T09:30:00.208Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": // truncated content
}
},
{
"id": 2,
"attributes": {
"title": "What are chinese hamburgers and why aren't you eating them?",
"slug": "what-are-chinese-hamburgers-and-why-aren-t-you-eating-them",
"createdAt": "2021-11-11T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-01T14:32:50.984Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T12:36:48.312Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": // truncated content
}
},
{
"id": 3,
"attributes": {
"title": "7 Places worth visiting for the food alone",
"slug": "7-places-worth-visiting-for-the-food-alone",
"createdAt": "2021-11-12T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T11:30:00.075Z",
"publishedAt": "2023-06-02T11:30:00.075Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": // truncated content
}
},
{
"id": 4,
"attributes": {
"title": "If you don't finish your plate in these countries, you might offend someone",
"slug": "if-you-don-t-finish-your-plate-in-these-countries-you-might-offend-someone",
"createdAt": "2021-11-15T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:59:35.148Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T12:35:53.899Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": // truncated content
}
}
],
"meta": {
"pagination": {
"page": 1,
"pageSize": 25,
"pageCount": 1,
"total": 4
}
}
}
}

Example: With populate=*

With the populate=* parameter, a GET request to /api/articles also returns all media fields, first-level relations, components and dynamic zones.

The following example is the full response for the first of all 4 entries from the articles content-types (the data from articles with ids 2, 3, and 4 is truncated for brevity).

Scroll down to see that the response size is much bigger than without populate. The response now includes additional fields (see highlighted lines) such as:

  • the image media field (which stores all information about the article cover, including all its different formats),
  • the first-level fields of the blocks dynamic zone and the seo component,
  • the category relation and its fields,
  • and even some information about the articles translated in other languages, as shown by the localizations object.
💡 Tip

To populate deeply nested components, see the populate components section.


Example request

GET /api/articles?populate=*

Example response
{
"data": [
{
"id": 1,
"attributes": {
"title": "Here's why you have to try basque cuisine, according to a basque chef",
"slug": "here-s-why-you-have-to-try-basque-cuisine-according-to-a-basque-chef",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:57:19.584Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T09:30:00.208Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": // truncated content
"image": {
"data": {
"id": 12,
"attributes": {
"name": "Basque dish",
"alternativeText": "Basque dish",
"caption": "Basque dish",
"width": 758,
"height": 506,
"formats": {
"thumbnail": {
"name": "thumbnail_https://4d40-2a01-cb00-c8b-1800-7cbb-7da-ea9d-2011.ngrok.io/uploads/basque_cuisine_17fa4567e0.jpeg",
"hash": "thumbnail_basque_cuisine_17fa4567e0_f033424240",
"ext": ".jpeg",
"mime": "image/jpeg",
"width": 234,
"height": 156,
"size": 11.31,
"path": null,
"url": "/uploads/thumbnail_basque_cuisine_17fa4567e0_f033424240.jpeg"
},
"medium": {
"name": "medium_https://4d40-2a01-cb00-c8b-1800-7cbb-7da-ea9d-2011.ngrok.io/uploads/basque_cuisine_17fa4567e0.jpeg",
"hash": "medium_basque_cuisine_17fa4567e0_f033424240",
"ext": ".jpeg",
"mime": "image/jpeg",
"width": 750,
"height": 501,
"size": 82.09,
"path": null,
"url": "/uploads/medium_basque_cuisine_17fa4567e0_f033424240.jpeg"
},
"small": {
"name": "small_https://4d40-2a01-cb00-c8b-1800-7cbb-7da-ea9d-2011.ngrok.io/uploads/basque_cuisine_17fa4567e0.jpeg",
"hash": "small_basque_cuisine_17fa4567e0_f033424240",
"ext": ".jpeg",
"mime": "image/jpeg",
"width": 500,
"height": 334,
"size": 41.03,
"path": null,
"url": "/uploads/small_basque_cuisine_17fa4567e0_f033424240.jpeg"
}
},
"hash": "basque_cuisine_17fa4567e0_f033424240",
"ext": ".jpeg",
"mime": "image/jpeg",
"size": 58.209999999999994,
"url": "/uploads/basque_cuisine_17fa4567e0_f033424240.jpeg",
"previewUrl": null,
"provider": "local",
"provider_metadata": null,
"createdAt": "2021-11-23T14:05:33.460Z",
"updatedAt": "2021-11-23T14:05:46.084Z"
}
}
},
"blocks": [
{
"id": 2,
"__component": "blocks.related-articles"
},
{
"id": 2,
"__component": "blocks.cta-command-line",
"theme": "primary",
"title": "Want to give a try to a Strapi starter?",
"text": "❤️",
"commandLine": "git clone https://github.com/strapi/nextjs-corporate-starter.git"
}
],
"seo": {
"id": 1,
"metaTitle": "Articles - FoodAdvisor",
"metaDescription": "Discover our articles about food, restaurants, bars and more! - FoodAdvisor",
"keywords": "food",
"metaRobots": null,
"structuredData": null,
"metaViewport": null,
"canonicalURL": null
},
"category": {
"data": {
"id": 4,
"attributes": {
"name": "European",
"slug": "european",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z",
"updatedAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z"
}
}
},
"localizations": {
"data": [
{
"id": 10,
"attributes": {
"title": "Voici pourquoi il faut essayer la cuisine basque, selon un chef basque",
"slug": "voici-pourquoi-il-faut-essayer-la-cuisine-basque-selon-un-chef-basque",
"createdAt": "2021-11-18T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:57:19.606Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T13:00:00.069Z",
"locale": "fr-FR",
"ckeditor_content": // truncated content
}
}
]
}
}
},
{
"id": 2,
// truncated content
},
{
"id": 3,
// truncated content
},
{
"id": 4,
// truncated content
}
],
"meta": {
"pagination": {
"page": 1,
"pageSize": 25,
"pageCount": 1,
"total": 4
}
}
}

Populate specific relations and fields

You can also populate specific relations and fields, by explicitly defining what to populate. This requires that you know the name of fields and relations to populate.

Relations and fields populated this way can be 1 or several levels deep. The following diagram compares data returned by the FoodAdvisor example application when you populate 1 level deep vs. 2 levels deep:

Diagram with populate use cases with FoodAdvisor data

🤓 Different populating strategies for similar results
Depending on your data structure, you might get similar data presented in different ways with different queries. For instance, the FoodAdvisor example application includes the article, category, and restaurant content-types that are all in relation to each other in different ways. This means that if you want to get data about the 3 content-types in a single GET request, you have 2 options:
  • query articles and populate categories, plus populate the nested relation between categories and restaurants (2 levels deep population)
  • query categories and populate both articles and restaurants because categories have a 1st level relation with the 2 other content-types (1 level deep)

The 2 different strategies are illustrated in the following diagram:

Diagram with populate use cases with FoodAdvisor data

Populate as an object vs. populate as an array: Using the interactive query builder

The syntax for advanced query parameters can be quite complex to build manually. We recommend you use our interactive query builder tool to generate the URL.

Using this tool, you will write clean and readable requests in a familiar (JavaScript) format, which should help you understand the differences between different queries and different ways of populating. For instance, populating 2 levels deep implies using populate as an object, while populating several relations 1 level deep implies using populate as an array:

Populate as an object
(to populate 1 relation several levels deep):

{
populate: {
category: {
populate: ['restaurants'],
},
},
}

Populate as an array
(to populate many relations 1 level deep)

{
populate: [
'articles',
'restaurants'
],
}

Populate 1 level deep for specific relations

You can populate specific relations 1 level deep by using the populate parameter as an array.

Since the REST API uses the LHS bracket notation (i.e., with square brackets []), the parameter syntaxes to populate 1 level deep would look like the following:

How many relations to populateSyntax example
Only 1 relationpopulate[0]=a-relation-name
Several relationspopulate[0]=relation-name&populate[1]=another-relation-name&populate[2]=yet-another-relation-name

Let's compare and explain what happens with and without populating relations 1 level deep when sending queries to the FoodAdvisor example application:

Example: Without populate

Without the populate parameter, a GET request to /api/articles only returns the default attributes.

The following example is the full response for all 4 entries from the articles content-type.

Notice that the response does not include any media fields, relations, components or dynamic zones:


Example request

GET /api/articles

Example response
{
"data": [
{
"id": 1,
"attributes": {
"title": "Here's why you have to try basque cuisine, according to a basque chef",
"slug": "here-s-why-you-have-to-try-basque-cuisine-according-to-a-basque-chef",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:57:19.584Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T09:30:00.208Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
}
},
{
"id": 2,
"attributes": {
"title": "What are chinese hamburgers and why aren't you eating them?",
"slug": "what-are-chinese-hamburgers-and-why-aren-t-you-eating-them",
"createdAt": "2021-11-11T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-01T14:32:50.984Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T12:36:48.312Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
}
},
{
"id": 3,
"attributes": {
"title": "7 Places worth visiting for the food alone",
"slug": "7-places-worth-visiting-for-the-food-alone",
"createdAt": "2021-11-12T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T11:30:00.075Z",
"publishedAt": "2023-06-02T11:30:00.075Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
}
},
{
"id": 4,
"attributes": {
"title": "If you don't finish your plate in these countries, you might offend someone",
"slug": "if-you-don-t-finish-your-plate-in-these-countries-you-might-offend-someone",
"createdAt": "2021-11-15T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:59:35.148Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T12:35:53.899Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
}
}
],
"meta": {
"pagination": {
"page": 1,
"pageSize": 25,
"pageCount": 1,
"total": 4
}
}
}
}

Example: With populate[0]=category

With populate[0]=category added to the request, we explicitly ask to include some information about category, which is a relation field that links the articles and the categories content-types.

The following example is the full response for all 4 entries from the articles content-type.

Notice that the response now includes additional data with the category field for each article (see highlighted lines):

Example request

GET /api/articles?populate[0]=category

Example response
{
"data": [
{
"id": 1,
"attributes": {
"title": "Here's why you have to try basque cuisine, according to a basque chef",
"slug": "here-s-why-you-have-to-try-basque-cuisine-according-to-a-basque-chef",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:57:19.584Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T09:30:00.208Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"category": {
"data": {
"id": 4,
"attributes": {
"name": "European",
"slug": "european",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z",
"updatedAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z"
}
}
}
}
},
{
"id": 2,
"attributes": {
"title": "What are chinese hamburgers and why aren't you eating them?",
"slug": "what-are-chinese-hamburgers-and-why-aren-t-you-eating-them",
"createdAt": "2021-11-11T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-01T14:32:50.984Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T12:36:48.312Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"category": {
"data": {
"id": 13,
"attributes": {
"name": "Chinese",
"slug": "chinese",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z",
"updatedAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z"
}
}
}
}
},
{
"id": 3,
"attributes": {
"title": "7 Places worth visiting for the food alone",
"slug": "7-places-worth-visiting-for-the-food-alone",
"createdAt": "2021-11-12T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T11:30:00.075Z",
"publishedAt": "2023-06-02T11:30:00.075Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"category": {
"data": {
"id": 3,
"attributes": {
"name": "International",
"slug": "international",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z",
"updatedAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z"
}
}
}
}
},
{
"id": 4,
"attributes": {
"title": "If you don't finish your plate in these countries, you might offend someone",
"slug": "if-you-don-t-finish-your-plate-in-these-countries-you-might-offend-someone",
"createdAt": "2021-11-15T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:59:35.148Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T12:35:53.899Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"category": {
"data": {
"id": 3,
"attributes": {
"name": "International",
"slug": "international",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z",
"updatedAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z"
}
}
}
}
}
],
"meta": {
"pagination": {
"page": 1,
"pageSize": 25,
"pageCount": 1,
"total": 4
}
}
}

Populate several levels deep for specific relations

You can also populate specific relations several levels deep. For instance, when you populate a relation which itself populates another relation, you are populating 2 levels deep. Populating 2 levels deep is the example covered in this guide.

Caution

There is no limit on the number of levels that can be populated. However, the deeper the populates, the more the request will take time to be performed.

Since the REST API uses the LHS bracket notation, (i.e., with square brackets []), for instance if you want to populate a relation nested inside another relation, the parameter syntax would look like the following:

populate[first-level-relation-to-populate][populate][0]=second-level-relation-to-populate

💡 Tip

The syntax for advanced query parameters can be quite complex to build manually. We recommend you use our interactive query builder tool to generate the URL. For instance, the /api/articles?populate[category][populate][0]=restaurants URL used in the following examples has been generated by converting the following object using our tool:

{
populate: {
category: {
populate: ['restaurants'],
},
},
}

The FoodAdvisor example application includes various levels of relations between content-types. For instance:

  • an article content-type includes a relation with the category content-type,
  • but a category can also be assigned to any restaurant content-type.

With a single GET request to /api/articles and the appropriate populate parameters, you can return information about articles, restaurants, and categories simultaneously.

Let's compare and explain the responses returned with populate[0]=category (1 level deep) and populate[category][populate][0]=restaurants (2 levels deep) when sending queries to FoodAdvisor:

Example: With 1-level deep population

When we only populate 1 level deep, asking for the categories associated to articles, we can get the following example response (highlighted lines show the category relations field):

Example request

GET /api/articles?populate[0]=category

Example response
{
"data": [
{
"id": 1,
"attributes": {
"title": "Here's why you have to try basque cuisine, according to a basque chef",
"slug": "here-s-why-you-have-to-try-basque-cuisine-according-to-a-basque-chef",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:57:19.584Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T09:30:00.208Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"category": {
"data": {
"id": 4,
"attributes": {
"name": "European",
"slug": "european",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z",
"updatedAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z"
}
}
}
}
},
{
"id": 2,
"attributes": {
"title": "What are chinese hamburgers and why aren't you eating them?",
"slug": "what-are-chinese-hamburgers-and-why-aren-t-you-eating-them",
"createdAt": "2021-11-11T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-01T14:32:50.984Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T12:36:48.312Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"category": {
"data": {
"id": 13,
"attributes": {
"name": "Chinese",
"slug": "chinese",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z",
"updatedAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z"
}
}
}
}
},
{
"id": 3,
"attributes": {
"title": "7 Places worth visiting for the food alone",
"slug": "7-places-worth-visiting-for-the-food-alone",
"createdAt": "2021-11-12T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T11:30:00.075Z",
"publishedAt": "2023-06-02T11:30:00.075Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"category": {
"data": {
"id": 3,
"attributes": {
"name": "International",
"slug": "international",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z",
"updatedAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z"
}
}
}
}
},
{
"id": 4,
"attributes": {
"title": "If you don't finish your plate in these countries, you might offend someone",
"slug": "if-you-don-t-finish-your-plate-in-these-countries-you-might-offend-someone",
"createdAt": "2021-11-15T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:59:35.148Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T12:35:53.899Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"category": {
"data": {
"id": 3,
"attributes": {
"name": "International",
"slug": "international",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z",
"updatedAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z"
}
}
}
}
}
],
"meta": {
"pagination": {
"page": 1,
"pageSize": 25,
"pageCount": 1,
"total": 4
}
}
}

Example: With 2-level deep population

When we populate 2 levels deep, asking for the categories associated to articles, but also for restaurants associated to these categories, we can get the following example response.

Notice that we now have the restaurants relation field included with the response inside the category relation (see highlighted lines):

Example request

GET /api/articles?populate[category][populate][0]=restaurants

Example response
{{
"data": [
{
"id": 1,
"attributes": {
"title": "Here's why you have to try basque cuisine, according to a basque chef",
"slug": "here-s-why-you-have-to-try-basque-cuisine-according-to-a-basque-chef",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:57:19.584Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T09:30:00.208Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"category": {
"data": {
"id": 4,
"attributes": {
"name": "European",
"slug": "european",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z",
"updatedAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:20.123Z",
"restaurants": {
"data": [
{
"id": 1,
"attributes": {
"name": "Mint Lounge",
"slug": "mint-lounge",
"price": "p3",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T14:07:47.125Z",
"updatedAt": "2021-11-23T16:41:30.504Z",
"publishedAt": "2021-11-23T16:41:30.501Z",
"locale": "en"
}
},
{
"id": 9,
// truncated content
},
{
"id": 10,
// truncated content
},
{
"id": 12,
// truncated content
},
{
"id": 21,
// truncated content
},
{
"id": 26,
// truncated content
}
]
}
}
}
}
}
},
{
"id": 2,
// truncated content
},
{
"id": 3,
// truncated content
},
{
"id": 4,
// truncated content
}
],
"meta": {
"pagination": {
"page": 1,
"pageSize": 25,
"pageCount": 1,
"total": 4
}
}
}

Populate components

Components and dynamic zones are not included in responses by default and you need to explicitly populate each dynamic zones, components, and their nested components.

Since the REST API uses the LHS bracket notation, (i.e., with square brackets []), you need to pass all elements in a populate array. Nested fields can also be passed, and the parameter syntax could look like the following:

populate[0]=a-first-field&populate[1]=a-second-field&populate[2]=a-third-field&populate[3]=a-third-field.a-nested-field&populate[4]=a-third-field.a-nested-component.a-nested-field-within-the-component

💡 Tip

The syntax for advanced query parameters can be quite complex to build manually. We recommend you use our interactive query builder tool to generate the URL. For instance, the /api/articles?populate[0]=seo&populate[1]=seo.metaSocial&populate[2]=seo.metaSocial.image URL used in the following examples has been generated by converting the following object using our tool:

{
populate: [
'seoData',
'seoData.sharedImage',
'seoData.sharedImage.media',
],
},

The FoodAdvisor example application includes various components and even components nested inside other components. For instance:

  • an article content-type includes a seo component (1),
  • the seo component includes a nested, repeatable metaSocial component (2),
  • and the metaSocial component itself has several fields, including an image media field (3).

FoodAdvisor's SEO component structure in the Content-Type Builder

By default, none of these fields or components are included in the response of a GET request to /api/articles. But with the appropriate populate parameters, you can return all of them in a single request.

Let's compare and explain the responses returned with populate[0]=seo (1st level component) and populate[0]=seo&populate[1]=seo.metaSocial (2nd level component nested within the 1st level component):

Example: Only 1st level component

When we only populate the seo component, we go only 1 level deep, and we can get the following example response. Highlighted lines show the seo component.

Notice there's no mention of the metaSocial component nested within the seo component:

Example request

GET /api/articles?populate[0]=seo

Example response
{
"data": [
{
"id": 1,
"attributes": {
"title": "Here's why you have to try basque cuisine, according to a basque chef",
"slug": "here-s-why-you-have-to-try-basque-cuisine-according-to-a-basque-chef",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:57:19.584Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T09:30:00.208Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"seo": {
"id": 1,
"metaTitle": "Articles - FoodAdvisor",
"metaDescription": "Discover our articles about food, restaurants, bars and more! - FoodAdvisor",
"keywords": "food",
"metaRobots": null,
"structuredData": null,
"metaViewport": null,
"canonicalURL": null
}
}
},
{
"id": 2,
// truncated content
},
{
"id": 3,
// truncated content
},
{
"id": 4,
// truncated content
},
],
"meta": {
"pagination": {
"page": 1,
"pageSize": 25,
"pageCount": 1,
"total": 4
}
}
}

Example: 1st level and 2nd level component

When we populate 2 levels deep, asking both for the seo component and the metaSocial component nested inside seo, we can get the following example response.

Notice that we now have the metaSocial component-related data included with the response (see highlighted lines):

Example request

GET /api/articles?populate[0]=seo&populate[1]=seo.metaSocial

Example response
{
"data": [
{
"id": 1,
"attributes": {
"title": "Here's why you have to try basque cuisine, according to a basque chef",
"slug": "here-s-why-you-have-to-try-basque-cuisine-according-to-a-basque-chef",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:57:19.584Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T09:30:00.208Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"seo": {
"id": 1,
"metaTitle": "Articles - FoodAdvisor",
"metaDescription": "Discover our articles about food, restaurants, bars and more! - FoodAdvisor",
"keywords": "food",
"metaRobots": null,
"structuredData": null,
"metaViewport": null,
"canonicalURL": null,
"metaSocial": [
{
"id": 1,
"socialNetwork": "Facebook",
"title": "Browse our best articles about food and restaurants ",
"description": "Discover our articles about food, restaurants, bars and more!"
}
]
}
}
},
{
"id": 2,
// truncated content
},
{
"id": 3,
// truncated content
},
{
"id": 4,
// truncated content
},
],
"meta": {
"pagination": {
"page": 1,
"pageSize": 25,
"pageCount": 1,
"total": 4
}
}
}

Populate dynamic zones

Dynamic zones are highly dynamic content structures by essence. When populating dynamic zones, you can choose between the following 2 strategies:

Strategy nameUse case
Shared populationApply a unique behavior to all the dynamic zone's components.
Detailed populationExplicitly define what to populate with the response.

Shared population strategy

With the shared population strategy, you apply the same population to all the components of a dynamic zone.

For instance, in the FoodAdvisor example application:

  • A blocks dynamic zone exists the article content-type (1).
  • The dynamic zone includes 3 different components: relatedArticles (2), faq (3), and CtaCommandLine (4). All components have a different data structure containing various fields.

FoodAdvisor's 'blocks' dynamic zone structure in the Content-Type Builder

By default, none of these fields or components are included in the response of a GET request to /api/articles. But with the appropriate populate parameters, you can return all of them in a single request. And instead of explicitly defining all the field names to populate, you can choose to use the shared population strategy to populate all fields of all components by passing [populate=*].

💡 Tip

The syntax for advanced query parameters can be quite complex to build manually. We recommend you use our interactive query builder tool to generate the URL. For instance, the /api/articles?populate[blocks][populate]=* URL used in the following example has been generated by converting the following object using our tool:

{
populate: {
blocks: { // asking to populate the blocks dynamic zone
populate: '*' // populating all first-level fields in all components
}
},
}

Let's compare and explain the responses returned with populate[0]=blocks (only populating the dynamic zone) and populate[blocks][populate]=* (populating the dynamic zone and applying a shared population strategy to all its components):

Example: Populating only the dynamic zone

When we only populate the blocks dynamic zone, we go only 1 level deep, and we can get the following example response. Highlighted lines show the blocks dynamic zone and the 2 components it includes:

Example request

GET /api/articles?populate[0]=blocks

Example response
{
"data": [
{
"id": 1,
"attributes": {
"title": "Here's why you have to try basque cuisine, according to a basque chef",
"slug": "here-s-why-you-have-to-try-basque-cuisine-according-to-a-basque-chef",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:57:19.584Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T09:30:00.208Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…" // truncated content
"blocks": [
{
"id": 2,
"__component": "blocks.related-articles"
},
{
"id": 2,
"__component": "blocks.cta-command-line",
"theme": "primary",
"title": "Want to give a try to a Strapi starter?",
"text": "❤️",
"commandLine": "git clone https://github.com/strapi/nextjs-corporate-starter.git"
}
]
}
},
{
"id": 2,
// …
},
{
"id": 3,
// …
},
{
"id": 4,
// …
}
],
"meta": {
"pagination": {
"page": 1,
"pageSize": 25,
"pageCount": 1,
"total": 4
}
}
}
Example: Populating the dynamic zone and applying a shared strategy to its components

When we populate the blocks dynamic zone and apply a shared population strategy to all its components with [populate]=*, we not only include components fields but also their 1st-level relations, as shown in the highlighted lines of the following example response:

Example request

GET /api/articles?populate[blocks][populate]=*

Example response
{
"data": [
{
"id": 1,
"attributes": {
"title": "Here's why you have to try basque cuisine, according to a basque chef",
"slug": "here-s-why-you-have-to-try-basque-cuisine-according-to-a-basque-chef",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:57:19.584Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T09:30:00.208Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"blocks": [
{
"id": 2,
"__component": "blocks.related-articles",
"header": {
"id": 2,
"theme": "primary",
"label": "More, I want more!",
"title": "Similar articles"
},
"articles": {
"data": [
{
"id": 2,
"attributes": {
"title": "What are chinese hamburgers and why aren't you eating them?",
"slug": "what-are-chinese-hamburgers-and-why-aren-t-you-eating-them",
"createdAt": "2021-11-11T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-01T14:32:50.984Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T12:36:48.312Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
}
},
{
"id": 3,
"attributes": {
"title": "7 Places worth visiting for the food alone",
"slug": "7-places-worth-visiting-for-the-food-alone",
"createdAt": "2021-11-12T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T11:30:00.075Z",
"publishedAt": "2023-06-02T11:30:00.075Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
}
},
{
"id": 4,
"attributes": {
"title": "If you don't finish your plate in these countries, you might offend someone",
"slug": "if-you-don-t-finish-your-plate-in-these-countries-you-might-offend-someone",
"createdAt": "2021-11-15T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:59:35.148Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T12:35:53.899Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
}
}
]
}
},
{
"id": 2,
"__component": "blocks.cta-command-line",
"theme": "primary",
"title": "Want to give a try to a Strapi starter?",
"text": "❤️",
"commandLine": "git clone https://github.com/strapi/nextjs-corporate-starter.git"
}
]
}
},
{
"id": 2,
// …
},
{
"id": 3,
// …
},
{
"id": 4,
// …
}
],
"meta": {
"pagination": {
"page": 1,
"pageSize": 25,
"pageCount": 1,
"total": 4
}
}
}

Detailed population strategy

With the detailed population strategy, you can define per-component populate queries using the on property.

For instance, in the FoodAdvisor example application:

  • A blocks dynamic zone exists the article content-type (1).
  • The dynamic zone includes 3 different components: relatedArticles (2), faq (3), and CtaCommandLine (4). All components have a different data structure containing various fields.
  • The relatedArticles component has an articles relation (5) with the article content-type.

FoodAdvisor's 'blocks' dynamic zone structure in the Content-Type Builder

By default, none of the deeply nested fields or relations are included in the response of a GET request to /api/articles. With the appropriate populate parameters and by applying a detailed population strategy, you can return precisely the data you need.

💡 Tip

The syntax for advanced query parameters can be quite complex to build manually. We recommend you use our interactive query builder tool to generate the URL. For instance, the /api/articles?populate[blocks][on][blocks.related-articles][populate][articles][populate][0]=image&populate[blocks][on][blocks.cta-command-line][populate]=* URL used in the following example has been generated by converting the following object using our tool:

{
populate: {
blocks: { // asking to populate the blocks dynamic zone
on: { // using a detailed population strategy to explicitly define what you want
'blocks.related-articles': {
populate: {
'articles': {
populate: ['image']
}
}
},
'blocks.cta-command-line': {
populate: '*'
}
},
},
},
}

Let's compare and explain the responses returned with some examples of a shared population strategy and a detailed population strategy:

Example: Shared population strategy

When we populate the blocks dynamic zone and apply a shared population strategy to all its components with [populate]=*, we not only include components fields but also their 1st-level relations.

Highlighted lines show that the response include the articles first-level relation with the relatedArticles component, and also data for all types of blocks, including the faq and CtaCommandLine blocks:

Example request with a shared population strategy

GET /api/articles?populate[blocks][populate]=*

Example response with a shared population strategy
{
"data": [
{
"id": 1,
"attributes": {
"title": "Here's why you have to try basque cuisine, according to a basque chef",
"slug": "here-s-why-you-have-to-try-basque-cuisine-according-to-a-basque-chef",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:57:19.584Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T09:30:00.208Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"blocks": [
{
"id": 2,
"__component": "blocks.related-articles",
"header": {
"id": 2,
"theme": "primary",
"label": "More, I want more!",
"title": "Similar articles"
},
"articles": {
"data": [
{
"id": 2,
"attributes": {
"title": "What are chinese hamburgers and why aren't you eating them?",
"slug": "what-are-chinese-hamburgers-and-why-aren-t-you-eating-them",
"createdAt": "2021-11-11T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-01T14:32:50.984Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T12:36:48.312Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
}
},
{
"id": 3,
// …
},
{
"id": 4,
// …
}
]
}
},
{
"id": 2,
"__component": "blocks.cta-command-line",
"theme": "primary",
"title": "Want to give a try to a Strapi starter?",
"text": "❤️",
"commandLine": "git clone https://github.com/strapi/nextjs-corporate-starter.git"
}
]
}
},
{
"id": 2,
// …
},
{
"id": 3,
"attributes": {
"title": "7 Places worth visiting for the food alone",
"slug": "7-places-worth-visiting-for-the-food-alone",
"createdAt": "2021-11-12T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T11:30:00.075Z",
"publishedAt": "2023-06-02T11:30:00.075Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"blocks": [
{
"id": 1,
"__component": "blocks.related-articles",
"header": {
"id": 1,
"theme": "primary",
"label": "More, I want more!",
"title": "Similar articles"
},
"articles": {
"data": [
{
"id": 1,
"attributes": {
"title": "Here's why you have to try basque cuisine, according to a basque chef",
"slug": "here-s-why-you-have-to-try-basque-cuisine-according-to-a-basque-chef",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:57:19.584Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T09:30:00.208Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
}
},
{
"id": 2,
// …
},
{
"id": 4,
// …
}
]
}
},
{
"id": 1,
"__component": "blocks.faq",
"title": "Frequently asked questions",
"theme": "muted"
},
{
"id": 1,
"__component": "blocks.cta-command-line",
"theme": "secondary",
"title": "Want to give it a try with a brand new project?",
"text": "Up & running in seconds 🚀",
"commandLine": "npx create-strapi-app my-project --quickstart"
}
]
}
},
{
"id": 4,
// …
}
}
],
"meta": {
"pagination": {
"page": 1,
"pageSize": 25,
"pageCount": 1,
"total": 4
}
}
}
Example: Detailed population strategy

When we populate the blocks dynamic zone and apply a detailed population strategy, we explicitly define which data to populate.

In the following example response, highlighted lines show differences with the shared population strategy:

  • We deeply populate the articles relation of the relatedArticles component, and even the image media field of the related article.

  • But because we have only asked to populate everything for the CtaCommandLine component and have not defined anything for the faq component, no data from the faq component is returned.

Example request with a detailed population strategy

GET /api/articles?populate[blocks][on][blocks.related-articles][populate][articles][populate][0]=image&populate[blocks][on][blocks.cta-command-line][populate]=*

Example response with a detailed population strategy
{
"data": [
{
"id": 1,
"attributes": {
"title": "Here's why you have to try basque cuisine, according to a basque chef",
"slug": "here-s-why-you-have-to-try-basque-cuisine-according-to-a-basque-chef",
"createdAt": "2021-11-09T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T10:57:19.584Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T09:30:00.208Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"blocks": [
{
"id": 2,
"__component": "blocks.related-articles",
"articles": {
"data": [
{
"id": 2,
"attributes": {
"title": "What are chinese hamburgers and why aren't you eating them?",
"slug": "what-are-chinese-hamburgers-and-why-aren-t-you-eating-them",
"createdAt": "2021-11-11T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-01T14:32:50.984Z",
"publishedAt": "2022-09-22T12:36:48.312Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "…", // truncated content
"image": {
"data": {
// …
}
}
}
}
},
{
"id": 3,
// …
},
{
"id": 4,
// …
}
]
}
},
{
"id": 2,
"__component": "blocks.cta-command-line",
"theme": "primary",
"title": "Want to give a try to a Strapi starter?",
"text": "❤️",
"commandLine": "git clone https://github.com/strapi/nextjs-corporate-starter.git"
}
]
}
},
{
"id": 2,
// …
},
{
"id": 3,
"attributes": {
"title": "7 Places worth visiting for the food alone",
"slug": "7-places-worth-visiting-for-the-food-alone",
"createdAt": "2021-11-12T13:33:19.948Z",
"updatedAt": "2023-06-02T11:30:00.075Z",
"publishedAt": "2023-06-02T11:30:00.075Z",
"locale": "en",
"ckeditor_content": "<blockquote><p>There is no love sincerer than the love of food&nbsp;</p></blockquote><p>said George Bernard Shaw, and let us also add that there's arguably no better way to explore a culture than to eat voraciously while traveling. Yes, there are many five-star restaurants worth booking an entire trip for, but it's equally important to savor classic treats from across the world.</p><h3>Paella in Valencia, Spain</h3><figure class=\"image image-style-side image_resized\" style=\"width:25%;\"><img src=\"/uploads/5b9eeba22100003000c61e59_9098d9fb0a_176b2163c1_4b0b601b3c.jpeg\" alt=\"Paella in Valencia\"></figure><p>It’s this classic rice-based dish that first pops to mind when thinking of Spanish gastronomy. For the best there is, head to the source: Valencia. And don’t forget to scrape the bottom of the pan for heavenly bites of crunchy rice, or socarrat: the most flavorful arroz ever to land on your palate.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h3>&nbsp;</h3><h3>&nbsp;</h3><h3>Nasi Lemak in Malaysia</h3><figure class=\"image image_resized\" style=\"width:50%;\"><img src=\"/uploads/5b9eeba22400005100542e38_cf4839f0ad_84f89b8451_742b9a1759.jpeg\" alt=\"Nasi Lemak\"></figure><p>Malaysia’s national dish, nasi lemak is a fragrant coconut-milk rice mixture, served with sambal sauce, fried crispy anchovies, toasted peanuts, and cucumber and cooked with screw pine (pandan) leaves. Available on almost every street corner, this much-loved classic hits all the notes.</p><h3>Pintxos in San Sebastián, Spain</h3><p><img class=\"image_resized\" style=\"width:25%;\" src=\"/uploads/5b9eeba32500003500370d46_7d51fc80cd_783924b96a_bdc848856f.jpeg\" alt=\"Pintxos in San Sebastián\"></p><p>Among the most highly ranked cities for Michelin-starred restaurants, San Sebastián boasts pintxos (the equivalent of small tapas) with über-creative takes on classics and beyond. Spain’s haute cuisine shines in this culinary paradise on the Basque coast.</p><h3>&nbsp;</h3><h3>Pastel de Nata in Lisbon</h3><figure class=\"image image-style-side image_resized\" style=\"width:25%;\"><img src=\"/uploads/5b9eeba53c00005b000abbf4_be4ab6d075_e909882796_3908e6e816.jpeg\" alt=\"Pastel de Nata\"></figure><p>The most iconic Portuguese pastry, the <a href=\"http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20111107-a-bit-of-history-in-every-sweet-bite\">pastel de nata</a> is a sublime custard tart with hints of lemon, cinnamon, and vanilla. Buttery goodness in the middle, crunchy sweetness on top—what’s not to love?</p><h3>&nbsp;</h3><h3>&nbsp;</h3><h3>&nbsp;</h3><h3>Mole in Puebla, Mexico</h3><p><img class=\"image_resized\" style=\"width:25%;\" src=\"/uploads/5b9eeba62100003100c61e5b_d99dbc2910_75979ebd04_7afc2d1a5c.jpeg\" alt=\"Mole in Puebla\"></p><p>Mole, a specialty in the Mexican city of Puebla, is a labor of love. The spicy-sweet combination of this rich, chocolate-colored sauce takes arduous preparation and packs ingredients such as ancho chiles, spices like anise and coriander, sesame seeds, almonds, peanuts, stale bread, brown sugar, raisins, chocolate, and ripe plantains. The culminating dish is fit for the gods.</p><h3>Sichuan Hot Pot in China</h3><p><img class=\"image_resized\" style=\"width:50%;\" src=\"/uploads/5b9eeba82200005600da3822_01759bd55b_b46108e1aa_a310f83ff9.jpeg\" alt=\"Sichuan Hot Pot\"></p><p>This isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you’re an extreme spice lover, you’ll welcome the tears that come from the hot pot’s perfect nexus of pain and pleasure.</p><h3>Tagine in Morocco</h3><p><img class=\"image_resized\" style=\"width:50%;\" src=\"/uploads/5b9eeba93c000032000abbf6_12bb2e5346_9e0dac4fca_73bf6480cb.jpeg\" alt=\"Tagine in Morocco\"></p><p>This slow-cooked savory stew, typically made with sliced meat, poultry, or fish and lots of herbs and spices, is true Moroccan soul food. Cooked for hours in a clay cooking pot with a conical lid (known as a tagine), this irresistible dish is served with couscous or bread and can be found all over Morocco.</p>",
"blocks": [
{
"id": 1,
"__component": "blocks.related-articles",
"articles": {
// …
}
},
{
"id": 1,
"__component": "blocks.cta-command-line",
"theme": "secondary",
"title": "Want to give it a try with a brand new project?",
"text": "Up & running in seconds 🚀",
"commandLine": "npx create-strapi-app my-project --quickstart"
}
]
}
},
{
"id": 4,
// …
}
],
"meta": {
"pagination": {
"page": 1,
"pageSize": 25,
"pageCount": 1,
"total": 4
}
}
}