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.NET

Simplify API Requests in .NET with HttpClientFactory: A Step-by-Step Guide

Christian Schou

Making HTTP requests to use web APIs is a common task for many software applications in the connected world of today. The HttpClient class has long been the preferred method for sending and receiving HTTP requests in the .NET framework.

Nevertheless, manually managing HttpClient instances can result in problems like ineffective resource usage, potential memory leaks, and subpar performance. Here's where HttpClientFactory comes in. This potent feature was first introduced in .NET Core 2.1 (and later in. NET 5 and beyond) and makes managing and using HttpClient instances much easier.

Utilizing dependency injection, implementing policies for handling transient faults, and enhancing the general performance of your HTTP requests are all made simple with HttpClientFactory.

Introduction

This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to use the .NET HttpClientFactory to speed up API requests and optimize your code. Understanding HttpClientFactory will significantly improve your development experience regardless of whether you're creating a web application, microservice, or console application that communicates with APIs.

The main ideas behind the HttpClientFactory will be covered throughout this tutorial, including service registration, HttpClient lifetimes, and policies for handling transient faults.

I will walk you through the installation procedure, and show you how to use the HttpClientFactory in your code to send GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE requests, and highlight more sophisticated features like caching responses and putting circuit breakers in place.

You will have a thorough understanding of HttpClientFactory by the end of this tutorial, as well as the skills necessary to use it effectively in your .NET applications. So let's get started and discover how HttpClientFactory can make API requests in. NET simpler!

What is HttpClientFactory?

Before we move on to the part where we will get our hands dirty, I think it's best to give you a solid understanding of what HttpClientFactory actually is.

Overview of HttpClientFactory and its Purpose

Understanding HttpClientFactory's function and how it improves the management of HttpClient instances in your application is crucial to fully appreciate its advantages. Compared to manually creating and disposing of HttpClient objects, HttpClientFactory serves as a centralized factory for creating and managing HttpClient instances.

Advantages of using HttpClientFactory over manual HttpClient instantiation

  1. Improved performance and resource utilization - The HttpClientFactory manages the lifecycle of HttpClient instances, reusing and pooling them whenever possible. This results in improved performance and resource utilization. Because fewer HttpClient objects need to be created and destroyed for each request, performance is enhanced, and resources are used more effectively.
  2. Simple configuration and dependency injection - The dependency injection (DI) framework in.NET and HttpClientFactory seamlessly integrate to give you the ability to configure and inject HttpClient instances into your classes. Because the concerns of HttpClient instantiation and usage are separated, this encourages a cleaner and more maintainable codebase.
  3. Improved resilience and fault handling - HttpClientFactory comes with built-in support for setting up procedures to deal with transient faults like network errors, timeouts, and retries. The robustness and resilience of your application's API interactions are ensured by these policies, which can be applied globally or specifically to individual HttpClient instances.

Explaining the key concepts

  1. Services and registration for HttpClientFactory - HttpClientFactory depends on the .NET Core DI container's services. To make HttpClientFactory functionality available, you must register the required HttpClientFactory services in your application's startup code.
  2. Lifetimes for HTTP clients - HTTPClientFactory introduces various lifetime options for HTTP clients. Determining the appropriate lifespan of your HttpClient instances based on the demands of your application requires an understanding of the available lifetimes, such as transient, scoped, and singleton.
  3. Policies for handling transient faults - HttpClientFactory incorporates Polly, a well-liked resilience and transient-fault-handling library, enabling you to apply policies to your HttpClient instances such as retries, circuit breakers, and timeouts. In the sections that follow, we'll look at how to configure and use these policies effectively.