HttpClient

Important APIs

Use HttpClient and the rest of the Windows.Web.Http namespace API to send and receive information using the HTTP 2.0 and HTTP 1.1 protocols.

Overview of HttpClient and the Windows.Web.Http namespace

The classes in the Windows.Web.Http namespace and the related Windows.Web.Http.Headers and Windows.Web.Http.Filters namespaces provide a programming interface for Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps that act as an HTTP client to perform basic GET requests or implement more advanced HTTP functionality listed below.

  • Methods for common verbs (DELETE, GET, PUT, and POST). Each of these requests are sent as an asynchronous operation.

  • Support for common authentication settings and patterns.

  • Access to Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) details on the transport.

  • Ability to include customized filters in advanced apps.

  • Ability to get, set, and delete cookies.

  • HTTP Request progress info available on asynchronous methods.

The Windows.Web.Http.HttpRequestMessage class represents an HTTP request message sent by Windows.Web.Http.HttpClient. The Windows.Web.Http.HttpResponseMessage class represents an HTTP response message received from an HTTP request. HTTP messages are defined in RFC 2616 by the IETF.

The Windows.Web.Http namespace represents HTTP content as the HTTP entity body and headers including cookies. HTTP content can be associated with an HTTP request or an HTTP response. The Windows.Web.Http namespace provides a number of different classes to represent HTTP content.

The code snippet in the "Send a simple GET request over HTTP" section uses the HttpStringContent class to represent the HTTP response from an HTTP GET request as a string.

The Windows.Web.Http.Headers namespace supports creation of HTTP headers and cookies, which are then associated as properties with HttpRequestMessage and HttpResponseMessage objects.

Send a simple GET request over HTTP

As mentioned earlier in this article, the Windows.Web.Http namespace allows UWP apps to send GET requests. The following code snippet demonstrates how to send a GET request to http://www.contoso.com using the Windows.Web.Http.HttpClient class and the Windows.Web.Http.HttpResponseMessage class to read the response from the GET request.

//Create an HTTP client object
Windows.Web.Http.HttpClient httpClient = new Windows.Web.Http.HttpClient();

//Add a user-agent header to the GET request. 
var headers = httpClient.DefaultRequestHeaders;

//The safe way to add a header value is to use the TryParseAdd method and verify the return value is true,
//especially if the header value is coming from user input.
string header = "ie";
if (!headers.UserAgent.TryParseAdd(header))
{
    throw new Exception("Invalid header value: " + header);
}

header = "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 10.0; Windows NT 6.2; WOW64; Trident/6.0)";
if (!headers.UserAgent.TryParseAdd(header))
{
    throw new Exception("Invalid header value: " + header);
}

Uri requestUri = new Uri("http://www.contoso.com");

//Send the GET request asynchronously and retrieve the response as a string.
Windows.Web.Http.HttpResponseMessage httpResponse = new Windows.Web.Http.HttpResponseMessage();
string httpResponseBody = "";

try
{
    //Send the GET request
    httpResponse = await httpClient.GetAsync(requestUri);
    httpResponse.EnsureSuccessStatusCode();
    httpResponseBody = await httpResponse.Content.ReadAsStringAsync();
}
catch (Exception ex)
{
    httpResponseBody = "Error: " + ex.HResult.ToString("X") + " Message: " + ex.Message;
}
// pch.h
#pragma once
#include <winrt/Windows.Foundation.h>
#include <winrt/Windows.Web.Http.Headers.h>

// main.cpp : Defines the entry point for the console application.
#include "pch.h"
#include <iostream>
using namespace winrt;
using namespace Windows::Foundation;

int main()
{
    init_apartment();

    // Create an HttpClient object.
    Windows::Web::Http::HttpClient httpClient;

    // Add a user-agent header to the GET request.
    auto headers{ httpClient.DefaultRequestHeaders() };

    // The safe way to add a header value is to use the TryParseAdd method, and verify the return value is true.
    // This is especially important if the header value is coming from user input.
    std::wstring header{ L"ie" };
    if (!headers.UserAgent().TryParseAdd(header))
    {
        throw L"Invalid header value: " + header;
    }

    header = L"Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 10.0; Windows NT 6.2; WOW64; Trident/6.0)";
    if (!headers.UserAgent().TryParseAdd(header))
    {
        throw L"Invalid header value: " + header;
    }

    Uri requestUri{ L"http://www.contoso.com" };

    // Send the GET request asynchronously, and retrieve the response as a string.
    Windows::Web::Http::HttpResponseMessage httpResponseMessage;
    std::wstring httpResponseBody;

    try
    {
        // Send the GET request.
        httpResponseMessage = httpClient.GetAsync(requestUri).get();
        httpResponseMessage.EnsureSuccessStatusCode();
        httpResponseBody = httpResponseMessage.Content().ReadAsStringAsync().get();
    }
    catch (winrt::hresult_error const& ex)
    {
        httpResponseBody = ex.message();
    }
    std::wcout << httpResponseBody;
}

POST binary data over HTTP

The C++/WinRT code example below illustrates using form data and a POST request to send a small amount of binary data as a file upload to a web server. The code uses the HttpBufferContent class to represent the binary data, and the HttpMultipartFormDataContent class to represent the multi-part form data.

Note

Calling get (as seen in the code example below) isn't appropriate for a UI thread. For the correct technique to use in that case, see Concurrency and asynchronous operations with C++/WinRT.

// pch.h
#pragma once
#include <winrt/Windows.Foundation.h>
#include <winrt/Windows.Security.Cryptography.h>
#include <winrt/Windows.Storage.Streams.h>
#include <winrt/Windows.Web.Http.Headers.h>

// main.cpp : Defines the entry point for the console application.
#include "pch.h"
#include <iostream>
#include <sstream>
using namespace winrt;
using namespace Windows::Foundation;
using namespace Windows::Storage::Streams;

int main()
{
    init_apartment();

    auto buffer{
        Windows::Security::Cryptography::CryptographicBuffer::ConvertStringToBinary(
            L"A sentence of text to encode into binary to serve as sample data.",
            Windows::Security::Cryptography::BinaryStringEncoding::Utf8
        )
    };
    Windows::Web::Http::HttpBufferContent binaryContent{ buffer };
    // You can use the 'image/jpeg' content type to represent any binary data;
    // it's not necessarily an image file.
    binaryContent.Headers().Append(L"Content-Type", L"image/jpeg");

    Windows::Web::Http::Headers::HttpContentDispositionHeaderValue disposition{ L"form-data" };
    binaryContent.Headers().ContentDisposition(disposition);
    // The 'name' directive contains the name of the form field representing the data.
    disposition.Name(L"fileForUpload");
    // Here, the 'filename' directive is used to indicate to the server a file name
    // to use to save the uploaded data.
    disposition.FileName(L"file.dat");

    Windows::Web::Http::HttpMultipartFormDataContent postContent;
    postContent.Add(binaryContent); // Add the binary data content as a part of the form data content.

    // Send the POST request asynchronously, and retrieve the response as a string.
    Windows::Web::Http::HttpResponseMessage httpResponseMessage;
    std::wstring httpResponseBody;

    try
    {
        // Send the POST request.
        Uri requestUri{ L"https://www.contoso.com/post" };
        Windows::Web::Http::HttpClient httpClient;
        httpResponseMessage = httpClient.PostAsync(requestUri, postContent).get();
        httpResponseMessage.EnsureSuccessStatusCode();
        httpResponseBody = httpResponseMessage.Content().ReadAsStringAsync().get();
    }
    catch (winrt::hresult_error const& ex)
    {
        httpResponseBody = ex.message();
    }
    std::wcout << httpResponseBody;
}

To POST the contents of an actual binary file (rather than the explicit binary data used above), you'll find it easier to use an HttpStreamContent object. Construct one and, as the argument to its constructor, pass the value returned from a call to StorageFile.OpenReadAsync. That method returns a stream for the data inside your binary file.

Also, if you're uploading a large file (larger than about 10MB), then we recommend that you use the Windows Runtime Background Transfer APIs.

Exceptions in Windows.Web.Http

An exception is thrown when an invalid string for a the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) is passed to the constructor for the Windows.Foundation.Uri object.

.NET:  The Windows.Foundation.Uri type appears as System.Uri in C# and VB.

In C# and Visual Basic, this error can be avoided by using the System.Uri class in the .NET 4.5 and one of the System.Uri.TryCreate methods to test the string received from a user before the URI is constructed.

In C++, there is no method to try and parse a string to a URI. If an app gets input from the user for the Windows.Foundation.Uri, the constructor should be in a try/catch block. If an exception is thrown, the app can notify the user and request a new hostname.

The Windows.Web.Http lacks a convenience function. So an app using HttpClient and other classes in this namespace needs to use the HRESULT value.

In apps using the .NET Framework 4.5 in C#, VB.NET, the System.Exception represents an error during app execution when an exception occurs. The System.Exception.HResult property returns the HRESULT assigned to the specific exception. The System.Exception.Message property returns the message that describes the exception. Possible HRESULT values are listed in the Winerror.h header file. An app can filter on specific HRESULT values to modify app behavior depending on the cause of the exception.

In apps using managed C++, the Platform::Exception represents an error during app execution when an exception occurs. The Platform::Exception::HResult property returns the HRESULT assigned to the specific exception. The Platform::Exception::Message property returns the system-provided string that is associated with the HRESULT value. Possible HRESULT values are listed in the Winerror.h header file. An app can filter on specific HRESULT values to modify app behavior depending on the cause of the exception.

For most parameter validation errors, the HRESULT returned is E_INVALIDARG. For some illegal method calls, the HRESULT returned is E_ILLEGAL_METHOD_CALL.