A cross-platform HTTP library for Dart with an emphasis on composition.

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This is an alternative to package:http.

Motivation

package:http has two design choices that led to the creation of this package:

  1. Inheritance over composition.
  2. Streaming-responses in send.

These design choices make it harder to add application-specific behavior to HTTP clients. A common example is to embed authorization headers in every request:

Problem example

Code that embeds user credentials in HTTP requests ends up being repeated often in apps with many small components, such as Flutter apps. Those components often must work properly regardless of whether a user is signed in. Ideally, we'd be able to pass each component a Client object, and the component doesn't have to know whether the Client has been configured to send credentials (user signed in) or not (user signed out).

To accomplish this we can extend package:http's BaseClient with a custom type that holds onto the credentials, and pass that to components. The downside is that we had to implement an entire client just to modify headers.

Another option is to write a Request factory that always produces requests with authentication headers, but then every component needs access to that factory object as well as the client.

Aside: Another small nitpick is that Client.send returns a StreamedResponse, so apps that specify their own headers are stuck with the streaming API when they probably don't want it, or at least they may not want every single request to be streamed. The decision to stream or not stream should be scoped to the piece of code that reads the Request body, not the code holding the Client.

XHTTP

XHTTP solves the above problems by making Client a concrete type, and pushing platform and app specific behaviors down into smaller, focused classes. For example streaming vs. all-at-once responses are handled by the Response type; Browser vs. VM functionality is implemented by RoundTripper which sends requests and manages request resources.

RoundTripper

The Client in package:xhttp relies on a RoundTripper to execute each Request. RoundTripper manages the underlying request resources and execution. Users that need custom client behavior can probably get by using ModifyingRoundTripper which transforms requests using a callback. Other users can subtype or compose different RoundTripper implementations as needed.

Streaming Requests

Each Request body is a ByteStream. The stream can be read incrementally via Request.bodyBytes or all at once using Request.body.

Examples

Stream the response body.

Future<void> main() async {
  final client = Client();
  final response = await client.get(Uri.parse(exampleURL));
  response.bodyBytes.listen(decodeAndPrint);
  client.close();
}

Consume the response body all at once.

Future<void> main() async {
  final client = Client();
  final response = await client.get(Uri.parse(exampleURL));
  print(await response.body);
  client.close();
}

Embed OAuth2 tokens in requests.

const token = 'secret-auth-token';

Request authenticate(Request request) {
    final clone = Request.clone(request);
    clone.headers['Authorizaton'] = 'Bearer \$token';
    return clone;
}

final transport = ModifyingRoundTripper(authenticate);
final client = Client.withRoundTripper(transport);
client.get('https://myapp.com/protected/resource');

Libraries

xhttp