IoT Hub message routing query syntax

Message routing enables users to route different data types namely, device telemetry messages, device lifecycle events, and device twin change events to various endpoints. You can also apply rich queries to this data before routing it to receive the data that matters to you. This article describes the IoT Hub message routing query language, and provides some common query patterns.


Some of the features mentioned in this article, like cloud-to-device messaging, device twins, and device management, are only available in the standard tier of IoT Hub. For more information about the basic and standard IoT Hub tiers, see How to choose the right IoT Hub tier.

Message routing allows you to query on the message properties and message body as well as device twin tags and device twin properties. If the message body is not JSON, message routing can still route the message, but queries cannot be applied to the message body. Queries are described as Boolean expressions where a Boolean true makes the query succeed which routes all the incoming data, and Boolean false fails the query and no data is routed. If the expression evaluates to null or undefined, it is treated as false and an error will be generated in diagnostic logs in case of a failure. The query syntax must be correct for the route to be saved and evaluated.

Message routing query based on message properties

The IoT Hub defines a common format for all device-to-cloud messaging for interoperability across protocols. IoT Hub message assumes the following JSON representation of the message. System properties are added for all users and identify content of the message. Users can selectively add application properties to the message. We recommend using unique property names as IoT Hub device-to-cloud messaging is not case-sensitive. For example, if you have multiple properties with the same name, IoT Hub will only send one of the properties.

  "message": { 
    "systemProperties": { 
      "contentType": "application/json", 
      "contentEncoding": "UTF-8", 
      "iothub-message-source": "deviceMessages", 
      "iothub-enqueuedtime": "2017-05-08T18:55:31.8514657Z" 
    "appProperties": { 
      "processingPath": "{cold | warm | hot}", 
      "verbose": "{true, false}", 
      "severity": 1-5, 
      "testDevice": "{true | false}" 
    "body": "{\"Weather\":{\"Temperature\":50}}" 

System properties

System properties help identify contents and source of the messages.

Property Type Description
contentType string The user specifies the content type of the message. To allow query on the message body, this value should be set application/JSON.
contentEncoding string The user specifies the encoding type of the message. Allowed values are UTF-8, UTF-16, UTF-32 if the contentType is set to application/JSON.
iothub-connection-device-id string This value is set by IoT Hub and identifies the ID of the device. To query, use $connectionDeviceId.
iothub-enqueuedtime string This value is set by IoT Hub and represents the actual time of enqueuing the message in UTC. To query, use enqueuedTime.
iothub-interface-name string This value is set by the user and represents the name of the digital twin interface that implements the telemetry message. To query, use $interfaceName. This feature is available as part of the IoT Plug and Play public preview.

As described in the IoT Hub Messages, there are additional system properties in a message. In addition to contentType, contentEncoding, and enqueuedTime, the connectionDeviceId and connectionModuleId can also be queried.

Application properties

Application properties are user-defined strings that can be added to the message. These fields are optional.

Query expressions

A query on message system properties needs to be prefixed with the $ symbol. Queries on application properties are accessed with their name and should not be prefixed with the $symbol. If an application property name begins with $, then IoT Hub will search for it in the system properties, and it is not found, then it will look in the application properties. For example:

To query on system property contentEncoding

$contentEncoding = 'UTF-8'

To query on application property processingPath:

processingPath = 'hot'

To combine these queries, you can use Boolean expressions and functions:

$contentEncoding = 'UTF-8' AND processingPath = 'hot'

A full list of supported operators and functions is shown in Expression and conditions.

Message routing query based on message body

To enable querying on message body, the message should be in a JSON encoded in either UTF-8, UTF-16 or UTF-32. The contentType must be set to application/JSON and contentEncoding to one of the supported UTF encodings in the system property. If these properties are not specified, IoT Hub will not evaluate the query expression on the message body.

The following example shows how to create a message with a properly formed and encoded JSON body:

var messageBody = JSON.stringify(Object.assign({}, {
    "Weather": {
        "Temperature": 50,
        "Time": "2017-03-09T00:00:00.000Z",
        "PrevTemperatures": [
        "IsEnabled": true,
        "Location": {
            "Street": "One Microsoft Way",
            "City": "Redmond",
            "State": "WA"
        "HistoricalData": [
                "Month": "Feb",
                "Temperature": 40
                "Month": "Jan",
                "Temperature": 30

// Encode message body using UTF-8  
var messageBytes = Buffer.from(messageBody, "utf8");

var message = new Message(messageBytes);

// Set message body type and content encoding 
message.contentEncoding = "utf-8";
message.contentType = "application/json";

// Add other custom application properties"Status", "Active");

deviceClient.sendEvent(message, (err, res) => {
    if (err) console.log('error: ' + err.toString());
    if (res) console.log('status: ' +;

Query expressions

A query on message body needs to be prefixed with the $body. You can use a body reference, body array reference, or multiple body references in the query expression. Your query expression can also combine a body reference with message system properties, and message application properties reference. For example, the following are all valid query expressions:

$body.Weather.HistoricalData[0].Month = 'Feb' 
$body.Weather.Temperature = 50 AND $body.Weather.IsEnabled 
length($body.Weather.Location.State) = 2 
$body.Weather.Temperature = 50 AND processingPath = 'hot'

Message routing query based on device twin

Message routing enables you to query on Device Twin tags and properties, which are JSON objects. Querying on module twin is not supported. A sample of Device Twin tags and properties is shown below.

    "tags": { 
        "deploymentLocation": { 
            "building": "43", 
            "floor": "1" 
    "properties": { 
        "desired": { 
            "telemetryConfig": { 
                "sendFrequency": "5m" 
            "$metadata" : {...}, 
            "$version": 1 
        "reported": { 
            "telemetryConfig": { 
                "sendFrequency": "5m", 
                "status": "success" 
            "batteryLevel": 55, 
            "$metadata" : {...}, 
            "$version": 4 

Query expressions

A query on message body needs to be prefixed with the $twin. Your query expression can also combine a twin tag or property reference with a body reference, message system properties, and message application properties reference. We recommend using unique names in tags and properties as the query is not case-sensitive. Also refrain from using twin, $twin, body, or $body, as a property names. For example, the following are all valid query expressions:

$ = '5m'
$body.Weather.Temperature = 50 AND $ = '5m'
$twin.tags.deploymentLocation.floor = 1 

Next steps