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Npm Http Client Libraries

Most Popular Npm Http Client Libraries

NameSizeLicenseAgeLast Published
axios431.76 kBMIT9 Years26 Aug 2023
express54.5 kBMIT12 Years8 Oct 2022
node-fetch30.98 kBMIT8 Years25 Jul 2023
superagent155.11 kBMIT12 Years15 Aug 2023
morgan9.37 kBMIT9 Years20 Mar 2020
http-errors6.19 kBMIT11 Years18 Dec 2021
statuses4.57 kBMIT9 Years3 Jan 2021
http-proxy-middleware18.14 kBMIT8 Years20 Apr 2022
got57.3 kBMIT9 Years27 May 2023
node-forge427.61 kB(BSD-3-Clause OR GPL-2.0)10 Years30 Mar 2022
koa15.21 kBMIT10 Years12 Apr 2023
etag4.28 kBMIT9 Years13 Sep 2017
content-type3.82 kBMIT10 Years29 Jan 2023
methods2.42 kBMIT11 Years18 Jan 2016
follow-redirects8.99 kBMIT11 Years13 Sep 2022

When Are HTTP Client Libraries Useful?

HTTP client libraries are useful when a web application or service needs to communicate with other web services or access data over the internet. This is a common need in modern web development, especially as more and more functionality is being moved to the client-side and to microservices architecture.

Many common tasks require making HTTP requests, including API calls, file downloads, or interacting with remote databases. While it is possible to write this code from scratch, an HTTP client library can simplify these tasks, by making it easier to create, send and process the HTTP requests and responses.

In the Node.js environment, and npm specifically, using HTTP client libraries are especially helpful due to the asynchronous nature of JavaScript. Client libraries can abstract away some of the complexities involved in handling promises, callbacks or async/await, making your code more manageable and less prone to bugs.

What Functionalities Do HTTP Client Libraries Usually Have?

While the specific features can vary between different libraries, most HTTP client libraries share a core set of functionalities.

  • Automatic transformation of JSON data: This means that the library will automatically convert data to/from JSON format, as this is a common requirement when using HTTP APIs.

  • Response handling: The libraries often provide ways to handle responses from the server, including converting them into a more convenient format, parsing headers, or handling different status codes.

  • Error handling: HTTP client libraries often include built-in error handling, allowing the programmer to gracefully handle various types of HTTP errors, timeouts, or network issues.

  • Promise support: Given the asynchronous nature of web requests, many libraries include support for promises, allowing them to be used with async/await syntax.

  • Configurable retries: In case of temporary network issues, many libraries offer automatic retries of failed requests.

  • Interceptors: Some advanced libraries offer interceptors which allow you to manipulate requests and responses before they are sent or after they are received. This can be useful for adding authentication, logging, or other cross-cutting concerns.

Gotchas/Pitfalls To Look Out For

  • Mismatch Between Server and Client: One of the most common pitfalls when using HTTP client libraries is a mismatch between what the server sends and what the client expects. For example, a server might send data in a format that the client doesn't understand, or it might expect data in a different format than what the client sends.

  • Asynchronous Errors: When dealing with asynchronous requests, errors can sometimes be tricky to handle. It's important to understand how promises and async/await work, and to set up appropriate error handling.

  • Configuration Complexity: Some HTTP client libraries can become quite complex, particularly when you start dealing with advanced features like interceptors, retries, timeouts and more. It's important to keep your configuration as simple and understandable as possible, and to use the most appropriate tool for the job.

  • Dependence on HTTP-only Libraries: Take into account that some libraries are specifically built to work only with HTTP protocol. Consider whether your application might need to work with other protocols in the future, like HTTPS, HTTP2 or WebSockets.

  • Large Bundle Size: When developing for front-end, always be aware of the bundle size of the library. Some libraries might be very feature-rich, but if you only use a few of them, the rest will only bloat your application's size unnecessarily. Always strive to keep your applications as lightweight as possible.