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Given an address, from a web application I'm attempting to determine if there's a contract deployed at the address. There are some ways to do this with etherscan or other block explorer APIs, but I'm curious if this is possible directly from a node (perhaps from a node with instrumentation or debugging turned on?)

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Yes.

You can use the getCode API. If that call returns 0x, there is no contract at that address. If it returns anything other than 0x, there is a contract at that address.

As an example:

web3.eth.getCode("0xd5677cf67b5aa051bb40496e68ad359eb97cfbf8")
.then(console.log);
> "0x600160008035811a818181146012578301005b601b6001356025565b8060005260206000f25b600060078202905091905056"
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