Requests & Responses

Last updated 6 months ago

Requests and Responses

Angel is inspired by Express, and such, request handlers in general represent those from Express. Request handlers can be functions, or plain Dart objects (see how they are handled). Basic request handlers accept two parameters:

  • RequestContext - Contains vital information about the client requesting a resource, such as request method, request body, IP address, etc. The request object can also be used to pass information from one handler to the next.

  • ResponseContext - Allows you to send headers, write data, and more, to be sent to the client. To prevent a response from being modified by future handlers, call res.end() to prevent further writing.

Both requests and responses contain a Map of properties that can be filled with arbitrary data and read/modified at any point during the request lifecycle.

Return Values

Request handlers can return any Dart value. Return values are handled as follows:

  • If you return a bool: Request handling will end prematurely if you return false, but it will continue if you return true.

  • If you return null: Request handling will continue, unless you closed the response object by calling res.end(). Some response methods, such as res.redirect() or res.serialize() automatically close the response.

  • Anything else: Whatever other Dart value you return will be serialized as a response. The default method is to encode responses as JSON, and to do so using reflection (see package:json_god). However, you can change a response's serialization method by setting res.serializer = foo;. If you want to assign the same serializer to all responses, call injectSerializer on your Angel instance. If you are only returning JSON-compatible Dart objects, like Maps or Lists, you might consider injecting JSON.encode as a serializer, to improve runtime performance.

Other Parameters

Request handlers can take other parameters, instead of just a RequestContext and ResponseContext. All parameters will be injected into a response, whether from req.injections, req.params, or req.properties.

Request handlers do not even have to be functions at all. You can provide singleton values as request handlers, and they will always be sent to clients without running any functions.

main() {
Angel app = new Angel();
// String will be JSON-encoded
app.get('/', (req, res) async => "Hello, world!");
// Access params
app.get('/:id', (req, res) async => "ID: ${req.params['id']}");
app.post('/', ["More", "arbitrary", "data"]);
app.get('/todos/:id', (String id) => fetchTodoById(id));
}

Queries, Files and Bodies

req.query and req.body are Maps, and are available on each request. req.files is a List of files uploaded to the server.

Angel automatically parses multipart/form-data, application/json, and application/x-www-form-urlencoded bodies.

When you are in production, one way to improve performance is by only parsing request bodies when it is necessary. In such a case, you will have to use lazyBody(), lazyFiles(), etc. to access request body information. The request body will only be parsed once.

main() {
// Set this flag to lazy-parse bodies
app.lazyParseBodies = true;
app.get('/', () {
// Requests that don't need the body, never see the body
});
app.post('/:id', (req, res) async {
var body = await req.lazyBody();
// Same as running:
await req.parse();
var body = req.body;
});
}

req.query can be used without parsing the request body. However, the query string parser in package:body_parser supports advanced queries like the following, so you may consider parsing the body:

// This query string:
// ?foo=bar&bar.baz.foo=hello&bar.world=quux
//
// becomes:
{
"foo": "bar",
"bar": {
"world": "quux",
"baz": {
"foo": "hello"
}
}
}

If you write your own plugin, be sure to use the lazy alternatives.

For more information, see the API docs:

RequestContext

ResponseContext

Next Up...

Now, let's learn about Angel's flexible router.