Kotlin HTTP client For Android

Make REST API request with Kotlin ktor client in android

Ktor is a framework to easily build connected applications, web applications, HTTP services, and mobile and browser applications. Modern connected applications need to be asynchronous to provide the best experience to users, and Kotlin coroutines provide awesome facilities to do it in an easy and straightforward way.

Ktor is a new framework for building asynchronous servers and clients. It’s 100% Kotlin and runs on Coroutines.

To learn more about kotlin, Please check

Beginning Android Development with Kotlin

Why Ktor for android?

Ktor uses coroutines for asynchronous programming to keep the code readable and clean. In addition to that, Ktor has many Kotlinx libraries to help developers with tasks like parsing the response.

Using a networking library that can be integrated into multiple platforms is a better solution than choosing platform-specific libraries. As JetBrains develop it, there will be more advanced features and long-term support.

Building the HTTP client

Ktor client provides you with an interface to make HTTP requests, however, it relies on an engine to perform its duties. For Android, you can work with one of the following engines:

CIO (Coroutine-based I/O)

Ktor has an interface to make HTTP requests that depend on the engine. Ktor provides a CIO (Coroutine-based I/O) to make it work.

Note: HTTP/2 is not supported.

//dependency implementation 'io.ktor:ktor-client-cio:1.2.2' // creating CIO client val client = HttpClient(CIO) { .... }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Android

Android which uses the usual HttpURLConnection and ThreadPool to execute requests.

//dependency implementation "io.ktor:ktor-client-android:1.2.2" // creating Android client val client = HttpClient(Android) { .... }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

OkHttp

OkHttp which depends on Square’s OkHttp client.

//dependency implementation "io.ktor:ktor-client-okhttp:1.2.2" // creating OkHttp client val client = HttpClient(OkHttp) { .... }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Configuring the client

We have to install a specific feature and optionally configure it.

Request type

Ktor HTTP client allows you to configure GET, and POST request types. let’s see how to configure the request types.

GET

//GET request - Method 1 val response = client.get<List<String>>("requestUrl") //GET request - Method 2 val response = client.request<List<String>>("requestUrl") { method = HttpMethod.Get }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

POST

//POST request - Method 1 val response = client.post<List<String>>("requestUrl") //POST request - Method 2 val response = client.request<List<String>>("requestUrl") { method = HttpMethod.Post }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Headers

We need to install DefaultRequest in the Ktor HTTP client to set the header for the HTTP client.

val client = HttpClient(CIO) { install(DefaultRequest) { headers.append("Accept","application/json") headers.append("Authorization","Bearer token") } }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Also, we can configure headers directly while requesting.

val response = client.get { url("requestUrl") header("Accept","application/json") header("Authorization","Bearer token") }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Serializers

Processes the request and the response payload as JSON, serializing and de-serializing them using a specific Json-Serializer.

Ktor supports libraries like Gson, Jackson, or Kotlinx.Serialization via their respective clients.

Gson

//dependency implementation 'io.ktor:ktor-client-gson:1.2.2' //configuring GSON serializer val client = HttpClient(CIO) { install(JsonFeature) { serializer = GsonSerializer() } }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Jackson

//dependency implementation 'io.ktor:ktor-client-jackson:1.2.2' //configuring Jackson serializer val client = HttpClient(CIO) { install(JsonFeature) { serializer = JacksonSerializer() } }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Kotlinx.Serialization

//dependency implementation "io.ktor:ktor-client-serialization-jvm:1.2.2" //configuring KotlinxSerializer val client = HttpClient(CIO) { install(JsonFeature) { serializer = KotlinxSerializer() } }
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Executing Ktor Request With Coroutines

To make a GET request, we have to use the get inline function on Ktor’s HttpClient with a response data class and request URL.

val response = client.post<List<String>>("requestUrl")
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

get is also a suspend function, so it’ll take care of executing the request on the I/O thread.

With coroutines, we can execute asynchronous requests sequentially.

We need to wrap the request with a try/catch block to capture errors and exceptions.

@KtorExperimentalAPI suspend fun fetchAllMovies() { try { val response = client.post<List<String>>("requestUrl") } catch (e : java.lang.Exception) { //handle Exception if (e.message.isNotEmpty()) { // known exception }else{ //unknown exception } } }
Code language: PHP (php)

Now, we are done with HTTP client creation and configuration. Let’s create a sample using Ktor.

Ktor Android Example

I am going to create a sample application to fetch a list of movies from API using Ktor and a list in recyclerview.

Adding dependencies

First, we need to add the dependencies for Ktor and recyclerview.

//http client implementation 'io.ktor:ktor-client-cio:1.2.2' //gson implementation 'io.ktor:ktor-client-gson:1.2.2' //coroutines implementation 'org.jetbrains.kotlinx:kotlinx-coroutines-core:1.3.9' implementation 'org.jetbrains.kotlinx:kotlinx-coroutines-android:1.3.9' //material design implementation 'com.google.android.material:material:1.2.1' //glide implementation 'com.github.bumptech.glide:glide:4.11.0'
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Setup Recyclerview

To set up recyclerview check out my other post on recyclerview.

Recyclerview Android Example [Beginners]

Also, I have used Glide to load the image from API.

Glide Library — Image Loading Library For Android

Used ShapeableImageView to make the images in a circle shape.

ShapeableImageView — Material Components For Android

my adapter layout:

set the adapter into recyclerview.

val adapter = RecyclerviewAdapter() recyclerview.adapter = adapter

Make HTTP Request

To make a request first, we need to create an HTTP client.

MovieApi.kt

class MovieApi { //Request private val client = HttpClient(CIO) { install(DefaultRequest) { headers.append("Content-Type", "application/json") } install(JsonFeature) { serializer = GsonSerializer() } } @KtorExperimentalAPI suspend fun fetchAllMovies(): List<Movie> { try { return client.get { url("https://www.howtodoandroid.com/movielist.json") } } catch (e : java.lang.Exception) { return emptyList() } } }
Code language: PHP (php)

Now make the Network call using httpClient in Dispatchers.IO and set the response into the recyclerview in Dispatchers.Main.

MainActivity.kt

class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() { lateinit var adapter: RecyclerviewAdapter override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) { super.onCreate(savedInstanceState) setContentView(R.layout.activity_main) adapter = RecyclerviewAdapter() recyclerview.adapter = adapter fetchAllMovies() } @KtorExperimentalAPI private fun fetchAllMovies() { CoroutineScope(Dispatchers.IO).launch { val movieApi = MovieApi() val response = movieApi.fetchAllMovies() withContext(Dispatchers.Main) { adapter.setMovieItems(response) } } } }

That’s it. we have successfully fetched the data from API and set it into recyclerview.

you can download this example on Github.


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