HTTP Client

HTTP is the primary protocol for browser/server communication.

The WebSocket protocol is another important communication technology; it isn't covered in this page.

Modern browsers support two HTTP-based APIs: XMLHttpRequest (XHR) and JSONP. A few browsers also support Fetch.

The Angular HTTP library simplifies application programming with the XHR and JSONP APIs. This page covers:

A live example illustrates these topics.

Demos

This page describes server communication with the help of the following demos:

The root AppComponent orchestrates these demos:

src/app/app.component.ts

import { Component } from '@angular/core'; @Component({ selector: 'my-app', template: ` <hero-list></hero-list> <hero-list-promise></hero-list-promise> <my-wiki></my-wiki> <my-wiki-smart></my-wiki-smart> ` }) export class AppComponent { }

Providing HTTP services

First, configure the application to use server communication facilities.

The Angular Http client communicates with the server using a familiar HTTP request/response protocol. The Http client is one of a family of services in the Angular HTTP library.

When importing from the @angular/http module, SystemJS knows how to load services from the Angular HTTP library because the systemjs.config.js file maps to that module name.

Before you can use the Http client, you need to register it as a service provider with the dependency injection system.

Read about providers in the Dependency Injection page.

Register providers by importing other NgModules to the root NgModule in app.module.ts.

src/app/app.module.ts (v1)

import { NgModule } from '@angular/core'; import { BrowserModule } from '@angular/platform-browser'; import { FormsModule } from '@angular/forms'; import { HttpModule, JsonpModule } from '@angular/http'; import { AppComponent } from './app.component'; @NgModule({ imports: [ BrowserModule, FormsModule, HttpModule, JsonpModule ], declarations: [ AppComponent ], bootstrap: [ AppComponent ] }) export class AppModule { }

Begin by importing the necessary members. The newcomers are the HttpModule and the JsonpModule from the Angular HTTP library. For more information about imports and related terminology, see the MDN reference on the import statement.

To add these modules to the application, pass them to the imports array in the root @NgModule.

The HttpModule is necessary for making HTTP calls. Though the JsonpModule isn't necessary for plain HTTP, there is a JSONP demo later in this page. Loading its module now saves time.

The Tour of Heroes HTTP client demo

The first demo is a mini-version of the tutorial's "Tour of Heroes" (ToH) application. This version gets some heroes from the server, displays them in a list, lets the user add new heroes, and saves them to the server. The app uses the Angular Http client to communicate via XMLHttpRequest (XHR).

It works like this:

ToH mini app

This demo has a single component, the HeroListComponent. Here's its template:

src/app/toh/hero-list.component.html (template)

<h1>Tour of Heroes ({{mode}})</h1> <h3>Heroes:</h3> <ul> <li *ngFor="let hero of heroes">{{hero.name}}</li> </ul> <label>New hero name: <input #newHeroName /></label> <button (click)="addHero(newHeroName.value); newHeroName.value=''">Add Hero</button> <p class="error" *ngIf="errorMessage">{{errorMessage}}</p>

It presents the list of heroes with an ngFor. Below the list is an input box and an Add Hero button where you can enter the names of new heroes and add them to the database. A template reference variable, newHeroName, accesses the value of the input box in the (click) event binding. When the user clicks the button, that value passes to the component's addHero method and then the event binding clears it to make it ready for a new hero name.

Below the button is an area for an error message.

The HeroListComponent class

Here's the component class:

src/app/toh/hero-list.component.ts (class)

export class HeroListComponent implements OnInit { errorMessage: string; heroes: Hero[]; mode = 'Observable'; constructor (private heroService: HeroService) {} ngOnInit() { this.getHeroes(); } getHeroes() { this.heroService.getHeroes() .subscribe( heroes => this.heroes = heroes, error => this.errorMessage = <any>error); } addHero (name: string) { if (!name) { return; } this.heroService.addHero(name) .subscribe( hero => this.heroes.push(hero), error => this.errorMessage = <any>error); } }

Angular injects a HeroService into the constructor and the component calls that service to fetch and save data.

The component does not talk directly to the Angular Http client. The component doesn't know or care how it gets the data. It delegates to the HeroService.

This is a golden rule: always delegate data access to a supporting service class.

Although at runtime the component requests heroes immediately after creation, you don't call the service's get method in the component's constructor. Instead, call it inside the ngOnInit lifecycle hook and rely on Angular to call ngOnInit when it instantiates this component.

This is a best practice. Components are easier to test and debug when their constructors are simple, and all real work (especially calling a remote server) is handled in a separate method.

The service's getHeroes() and addHero() methods return an Observable of hero data that the Angular Http client fetched from the server.

Think of an Observable as a stream of events published by some source. To listen for events in this stream, subscribe to the Observable. These subscriptions specify the actions to take when the web request produces a success event (with the hero data in the event payload) or a fail event (with the error in the payload).

With a basic understanding of the component, you're ready to look inside the HeroService.

Fetch data with http.get

In many of the previous samples the app faked the interaction with the server by returning mock heroes in a service like this one:

import { Injectable } from '@angular/core'; import { Hero } from './hero'; import { HEROES } from './mock-heroes'; @Injectable() export class HeroService { getHeroes(): Promise<Hero[]> { return Promise.resolve(HEROES); } }

You can revise that HeroService to get the heroes from the server using the Angular Http client service:

src/app/toh/hero.service.ts (revised)

import { Injectable } from '@angular/core'; import { Http, Response } from '@angular/http'; import { Observable } from 'rxjs/Observable'; import 'rxjs/add/operator/catch'; import 'rxjs/add/operator/map'; import { Hero } from './hero'; @Injectable() export class HeroService { private heroesUrl = 'app/heroes'; // URL to web API constructor (private http: Http) {} getHeroes (): Observable<Hero[]> { return this.http.get(this.heroesUrl) .map(this.extractData) .catch(this.handleError); } private extractData(res: Response) { let body = res.json(); return body.data || { }; } private handleError (error: Response | any) { // In a real world app, we might use a remote logging infrastructure let errMsg: string; if (error instanceof Response) { const body = error.json() || ''; const err = body.error || JSON.stringify(body); errMsg = `${error.status} - ${error.statusText || ''} ${err}`; } else { errMsg = error.message ? error.message : error.toString(); } console.error(errMsg); return Observable.throw(errMsg); } }

Notice that the Angular Http client service is injected into the HeroService constructor.

constructor (private http: Http) {}

Look closely at how to call http.get:

src/app/toh/hero.service.ts (getHeroes)

getHeroes (): Observable<Hero[]> { return this.http.get(this.heroesUrl) .map(this.extractData) .catch(this.handleError); }

You pass the resource URL to get and it calls the server which returns heroes.

The server returns heroes once you've set up the in-memory web api described in the appendix below. Alternatively, you can temporarily target a JSON file by changing the endpoint URL:

private heroesUrl = 'app/heroes.json'; // URL to JSON file

If you are familiar with asynchronous methods in modern JavaScript, you might expect the get method to return a promise. You'd expect to chain a call to then() and extract the heroes. Instead you're calling a map() method. Clearly this is not a promise.

In fact, the http.get method returns an Observable of HTTP Responses (Observable<Response>) from the RxJS library and map is one of the RxJS operators.

RxJS library

RxJS is a third party library, endorsed by Angular, that implements the asynchronous observable pattern.

All of the Developer Guide samples have installed the RxJS npm package because observables are used widely in Angular applications. This app needs it when working with the HTTP client. But you must take a critical extra step to make RxJS observables usable: you must import the RxJS operators individually.

Enable RxJS operators

The RxJS library is large. Size matters when building a production application and deploying it to mobile devices. You should include only necessary features.

Each code file should add the operators it needs by importing from an RxJS library. The getHeroes method needs the map and catch operators so it imports them like this.

src/app/app.component.ts (import rxjs)

import { Observable } from 'rxjs/Observable'; import 'rxjs/add/operator/catch'; import 'rxjs/add/operator/map';

Process the response object

Remember that the getHeroes() method used an extractData helper method to map the http.get response object to heroes:

src/app/toh/hero.service.ts (excerpt)

private extractData(res: Response) { let body = res.json(); return body.data || { }; }

The response object doesn't hold the data in a form the app can use directly. You must parse the response data into a JSON object.

Parse to JSON

The response data are in JSON string form. The app must parse that string into JavaScript objects by calling response.json().

This is not Angular's own design. The Angular HTTP client follows the Fetch specification for the response object returned by the Fetch function. That spec defines a json() method that parses the response body into a JavaScript object.

Don't expect the decoded JSON to be the heroes array directly. This server always wraps JSON results in an object with a data property. You have to unwrap it to get the heroes. This is conventional web API behavior, driven by security concerns.

Make no assumptions about the server API. Not all servers return an object with a data property.

Do not return the response object

The getHeroes() method could have returned the HTTP response but this wouldn't be a best practice. The point of a data service is to hide the server interaction details from consumers. The component that calls the HeroService only wants heroes and is kept separate from getting them, the code dealing with where they come from, and the response object.

HTTP GET is delayed

The http.get does not send the request just yet. This observable is cold, which means that the request won't go out until something subscribes to the observable. That something is the HeroListComponent.

Always handle errors

An important part of dealing with I/O is anticipating errors by preparing to catch them and do something with them. One way to handle errors is to pass an error message back to the component for presentation to the user, but only if it says something that the user can understand and act upon.

This simple app conveys that idea, albeit imperfectly, in the way it handles a getHeroes error.

src/app/toh/hero.service.ts (excerpt)

getHeroes (): Observable<Hero[]> { return this.http.get(this.heroesUrl) .map(this.extractData) .catch(this.handleError); } private handleError (error: Response | any) { // In a real world app, we might use a remote logging infrastructure let errMsg: string; if (error instanceof Response) { const body = error.json() || ''; const err = body.error || JSON.stringify(body); errMsg = `${error.status} - ${error.statusText || ''} ${err}`; } else { errMsg = error.message ? error.message : error.toString(); } console.error(errMsg); return Observable.throw(errMsg); }

The catch operator passes the error object from http to the handleError method. The handleError method transforms the error into a developer-friendly message, logs it to the console, and returns the message in a new, failed observable via Observable.throw.

HeroListComponent error handling

Back in the HeroListComponent, in heroService.getHeroes(), the subscribe function has a second function parameter to handle the error message. It sets an errorMessage variable that's bound conditionally in the HeroListComponent template.

src/app/toh/hero-list.component.ts (getHeroes)

getHeroes() { this.heroService.getHeroes() .subscribe( heroes => this.heroes = heroes, error => this.errorMessage = <any>error); }

Want to see it fail? In the HeroService, reset the api endpoint to a bad value. Afterward, remember to restore it.

Send data to the server

So far you've seen how to retrieve data from a remote location using an HTTP service. Now you'll add the ability to create new heroes and save them in the backend.

You'll write a method for the HeroListComponent to call, an addHero() method, that takes just the name of a new hero and returns an Observable of Hero. It begins like this:

addHero (name: string): Observable<Hero> {

To implement it, you must know the server's API for creating heroes.

This sample's data server follows typical REST guidelines. It expects a POST request at the same endpoint as GET heroes. It expects the new hero data to arrive in the body of the request, structured like a Hero entity but without the id property. The body of the request should look like this:

{ "name": "Windstorm" }

The server generates the id and returns the entire JSON representation of the new hero including its generated id. The hero arrives tucked inside a response object with its own data property.

Now that you know how the API works, implement addHero()as follows:

src/app/toh/hero.service.ts (additional imports)

import { Headers, RequestOptions } from '@angular/http';

src/app/toh/hero.service.ts (addHero)

addHero (name: string): Observable<Hero> { let headers = new Headers({ 'Content-Type': 'application/json' }); let options = new RequestOptions({ headers: headers }); return this.http.post(this.heroesUrl, { name }, options) .map(this.extractData) .catch(this.handleError); }

Headers

In the headers object, the Content-Type specifies that the body represents JSON.

Next, the headers object is used to configure the options object. The options object is a new instance of RequestOptions, a class that allows you to specify certain settings when instantiating a request. In this way, headers is one of the RequestOptions.

In the return statement, options is the third argument of the post method, as shown above.

JSON results

As with getHeroes(), use the extractData() helper to extract the data from the response.

Back in the HeroListComponent, its addHero() method subscribes to the observable returned by the service's addHero() method. When the data arrive it pushes the new hero object into its heroes array for presentation to the user.

src/app/toh/hero-list.component.ts (addHero)

addHero (name: string) { if (!name) { return; } this.heroService.addHero(name) .subscribe( hero => this.heroes.push(hero), error => this.errorMessage = <any>error); }

Fall back to promises

Although the Angular http client API returns an Observable<Response> you can turn it into a Promise<Response>. It's easy to do, and in simple cases, a promise-based version looks much like the observable-based version.

While promises may be more familiar, observables have many advantages.

Here is a comparison of the HeroService using promises versus observables, highlighting just the parts that are different.

getHeroes (): Promise<Hero[]> { return this.http.get(this.heroesUrl) .toPromise() .then(this.extractData) .catch(this.handleError); } addHero (name: string): Promise<Hero> { let headers = new Headers({ 'Content-Type': 'application/json' }); let options = new RequestOptions({ headers: headers }); return this.http.post(this.heroesUrl, { name }, options) .toPromise() .then(this.extractData) .catch(this.handleError); } private extractData(res: Response) { let body = res.json(); return body.data || { }; } private handleError (error: Response | any) { // In a real world app, we might use a remote logging infrastructure let errMsg: string; if (error instanceof Response) { const body = error.json() || ''; const err = body.error || JSON.stringify(body); errMsg = `${error.status} - ${error.statusText || ''} ${err}`; } else { errMsg = error.message ? error.message : error.toString(); } console.error(errMsg); return Promise.reject(errMsg); } getHeroes (): Observable<Hero[]> { return this.http.get(this.heroesUrl) .map(this.extractData) .catch(this.handleError); } addHero (name: string): Observable<Hero> { let headers = new Headers({ 'Content-Type': 'application/json' }); let options = new RequestOptions({ headers: headers }); return this.http.post(this.heroesUrl, { name }, options) .map(this.extractData) .catch(this.handleError); } private extractData(res: Response) { let body = res.json(); return body.data || { }; } private handleError (error: Response | any) { // In a real world app, we might use a remote logging infrastructure let errMsg: string; if (error instanceof Response) { const body = error.json() || ''; const err = body.error || JSON.stringify(body); errMsg = `${error.status} - ${error.statusText || ''} ${err}`; } else { errMsg = error.message ? error.message : error.toString(); } console.error(errMsg); return Observable.throw(errMsg); }

You can follow the promise then(this.extractData).catch(this.handleError) pattern as in this example.

Alternatively, you can call toPromise(success, fail). The observable's map callback moves to the first success parameter and its catch callback to the second fail parameter in this pattern: .toPromise(this.extractData, this.handleError).

The errorHandler forwards an error message as a failed promise instead of a failed observable.

The diagnostic log to console is just one more then in the promise chain.

You have to adjust the calling component to expect a Promise instead of an observable:

getHeroes() { this.heroService.getHeroes() .then( heroes => this.heroes = heroes, error => this.errorMessage = <any>error); } addHero (name: string) { if (!name) { return; } this.heroService.addHero(name) .then( hero => this.heroes.push(hero), error => this.errorMessage = <any>error); } getHeroes() { this.heroService.getHeroes() .subscribe( heroes => this.heroes = heroes, error => this.errorMessage = <any>error); } addHero (name: string) { if (!name) { return; } this.heroService.addHero(name) .subscribe( hero => this.heroes.push(hero), error => this.errorMessage = <any>error); }

The only obvious difference is that you call then on the returned promise instead of subscribe. Both methods take the same functional arguments.

The less obvious but critical difference is that these two methods return very different results.

The promise-based then returns another promise. You can keep chaining more then and catch calls, getting a new promise each time.

The subscribe method returns a Subscription. A Subscription is not another Observable. It's the end of the line for observables. You can't call map on it or call subscribe again. The Subscription object has a different purpose, signified by its primary method, unsubscribe.

To understand the implications and consequences of subscriptions, watch Ben Lesh's talk on observables or his video course on egghead.io.

Cross-Origin Requests: Wikipedia example

You just learned how to make XMLHttpRequests using the Angular Http service. This is the most common approach for server communication, but it doesn't work in all scenarios.

For security reasons, web browsers block XHR calls to a remote server whose origin is different from the origin of the web page. The origin is the combination of URI scheme, hostname, and port number. This is called the same-origin policy.

Modern browsers do allow XHR requests to servers from a different origin if the server supports the CORS protocol. If the server requires user credentials, you'll enable them in the request headers.

Some servers do not support CORS but do support an older, read-only alternative called JSONP. Wikipedia is one such server.

This Stack Overflow answer covers many details of JSONP.

Search wikipedia

Here is a simple search that shows suggestions from Wikipedia as the user types in a text box:

Wikipedia search app (v.1)

Wikipedia offers a modern CORS API and a legacy JSONP search API. This example uses the latter. The Angular Jsonp service both extends the Http service for JSONP and restricts you to GET requests. All other HTTP methods throw an error because JSONP is a read-only facility.

As always, wrap the interaction with an Angular data access client service inside a dedicated service, here called WikipediaService.

src/app/wiki/wikipedia.service.ts

import { Injectable } from '@angular/core'; import { Jsonp, URLSearchParams } from '@angular/http'; import 'rxjs/add/operator/map'; @Injectable() export class WikipediaService { constructor(private jsonp: Jsonp) {} search (term: string) { let wikiUrl = 'http://en.wikipedia.org/w/api.php'; let params = new URLSearchParams(); params.set('search', term); // the user's search value params.set('action', 'opensearch'); params.set('format', 'json'); params.set('callback', 'JSONP_CALLBACK'); // TODO: Add error handling return this.jsonp .get(wikiUrl, { search: params }) .map(response => <string[]> response.json()[1]); } }

The constructor expects Angular to inject its jsonp service, which is available because JsonpModule is in the root @NgModule imports array in app.module.ts.

Search parameters

The Wikipedia "opensearch" API expects four parameters (key/value pairs) to arrive in the request URL's query string. The keys are search, action, format, and callback. The value of the search key is the user-supplied search term to find in Wikipedia. The other three are the fixed values "opensearch", "json", and "JSONP_CALLBACK" respectively.

The JSONP technique requires that you pass a callback function name to the server in the query string: callback=JSONP_CALLBACK. The server uses that name to build a JavaScript wrapper function in its response, which Angular ultimately calls to extract the data. All of this happens under the hood.

If you're looking for articles with the word "Angular", you could construct the query string by hand and call jsonp like this:

let queryString = `?search=${term}&action=opensearch&format=json&callback=JSONP_CALLBACK`; return this.jsonp .get(wikiUrl + queryString) .map(response => <string[]> response.json()[1]);

In more parameterized examples you could build the query string with the Angular URLSearchParams helper:

src/app/wiki/wikipedia.service.ts (search parameters)

let params = new URLSearchParams(); params.set('search', term); // the user's search value params.set('action', 'opensearch'); params.set('format', 'json'); params.set('callback', 'JSONP_CALLBACK');

This time you call jsonp with two arguments: the wikiUrl and an options object whose search property is the params object.

src/app/wiki/wikipedia.service.ts (call jsonp)

// TODO: Add error handling return this.jsonp .get(wikiUrl, { search: params }) .map(response => <string[]> response.json()[1]);

Jsonp flattens the params object into the same query string you saw earlier, putting the request on the wire.

The WikiComponent

Now that you have a service that can query the Wikipedia API, turn your attention to the component (template and class) that takes user input and displays search results.

src/app/wiki/wiki.component.ts

import { Component } from '@angular/core'; import { Observable } from 'rxjs/Observable'; import { WikipediaService } from './wikipedia.service'; @Component({ selector: 'my-wiki', template: ` <h1>Wikipedia Demo</h1> <p>Search after each keystroke</p> <input #term (keyup)="search(term.value)"/> <ul> <li *ngFor="let item of items | async">{{item}}</li> </ul>`, providers: [ WikipediaService ] }) export class WikiComponent { items: Observable<string[]>; constructor (private wikipediaService: WikipediaService) { } search (term: string) { this.items = this.wikipediaService.search(term); } }

The template presents an <input> element search box to gather search terms from the user, and calls a search(term) method after each keyup event.

The component's search(term) method delegates to the WikipediaService, which returns an observable array of string results (Observable<string[]>). Instead of subscribing to the observable inside the component, as in the HeroListComponent, the app forwards the observable result to the template (via items) where the async pipe in the ngFor handles the subscription. Read more about async pipes in the Pipes page.

The async pipe is a good choice in read-only components where the component has no need to interact with the data.

HeroListComponent can't use the pipe because addHero() pushes newly created heroes into the list.

A wasteful app

The wikipedia search makes too many calls to the server. It is inefficient, and potentially expensive on mobile devices with limited data plans.

1. Wait for the user to stop typing

Presently, the code calls the server after every keystroke. It should only make requests when the user stops typing . Here's how it will work after refactoring:

Wikipedia search app (v.2)

2. Search when the search term changes

Suppose a user enters the word angular in the search box and pauses for a while. The application issues a search request for angular.

Then the user backspaces over the last three letters, lar, and immediately re-types lar before pausing once more. The search term is still angular. The app shouldn't make another request.

3. Cope with out-of-order responses

The user enters angular, pauses, clears the search box, and enters http. The application issues two search requests, one for angular and one for http.

Which response arrives first? It's unpredictable. When there are multiple requests in-flight, the app should present the responses in the original request order. In this example, the app must always display the results for the http search no matter which response arrives first.

More fun with observables

You could make changes to the WikipediaService, but for a better user experience, create a copy of the WikiComponent instead and make it smarter, with the help of some nifty observable operators.

Here's the WikiSmartComponent, shown next to the original WikiComponent

import { Component, OnInit } from '@angular/core'; import { Observable } from 'rxjs/Observable'; import 'rxjs/add/operator/debounceTime'; import 'rxjs/add/operator/distinctUntilChanged'; import 'rxjs/add/operator/switchMap'; import { Subject } from 'rxjs/Subject'; import { WikipediaService } from './wikipedia.service'; @Component({ moduleId: module.id, selector: 'my-wiki-smart', template: ` <h1>Smarter Wikipedia Demo</h1> <p>Search when typing stops</p> <input #term (keyup)="search(term.value)"/> <ul> <li *ngFor="let item of items | async">{{item}}</li> </ul>`, providers: [ WikipediaService ] }) export class WikiSmartComponent implements OnInit { items: Observable<string[]>; constructor (private wikipediaService: WikipediaService) {} private searchTermStream = new Subject<string>(); search(term: string) { this.searchTermStream.next(term); } ngOnInit() { this.items = this.searchTermStream .debounceTime(300) .distinctUntilChanged() .switchMap((term: string) => this.wikipediaService.search(term)); } } import { Component } from '@angular/core'; import { Observable } from 'rxjs/Observable'; import { WikipediaService } from './wikipedia.service'; @Component({ selector: 'my-wiki', template: ` <h1>Wikipedia Demo</h1> <p>Search after each keystroke</p> <input #term (keyup)="search(term.value)"/> <ul> <li *ngFor="let item of items | async">{{item}}</li> </ul>`, providers: [ WikipediaService ] }) export class WikiComponent { items: Observable<string[]>; constructor (private wikipediaService: WikipediaService) { } search (term: string) { this.items = this.wikipediaService.search(term); } }

While the templates are virtually identical, there's a lot more RxJS in the "smart" version, starting with debounceTime, distinctUntilChanged, and switchMap operators, imported as described above.

Create a stream of search terms

The WikiComponent passes a new search term directly to the WikipediaService after every keystroke.

The WikiSmartComponent class turns the user's keystrokes into an observable stream of search terms with the help of a Subject, which you import from RxJS:

import { Subject } from 'rxjs/Subject';

The component creates a searchTermStream as a Subject of type string. The search method adds each new search box value to that stream via the subject's next method.

private searchTermStream = new Subject<string>(); search(term: string) { this.searchTermStream.next(term); }

Listen for search terms

The WikiSmartComponent listens to the stream of search terms and processes that stream before calling the service.

this.items = this.searchTermStream .debounceTime(300) .distinctUntilChanged() .switchMap((term: string) => this.wikipediaService.search(term));

The role of switchMap is particularly important. The WikipediaService returns a separate observable of string arrays (Observable<string[]>) for each search request. The user could issue multiple requests before a slow server has had time to reply, which means a backlog of response observables could arrive at the client, at any moment, in any order.

The switchMap returns its own observable that combines all WikipediaService response observables, re-arranges them in their original request order, and delivers to subscribers only the most recent search results.

Guarding against Cross-Site Request Forgery

In a cross-site request forgery (CSRF or XSRF), an attacker tricks the user into visiting a different web page with malignant code that secretly sends a malicious request to your application's web server,

The server and client application must work together to thwart this attack. Angular's Http client does its part by applying a default CookieXSRFStrategy automatically to all requests.

The CookieXSRFStrategy supports a common anti-XSRF technique in which the server sends a randomly generated authentication token in a cookie named XSRF-TOKEN. The HTTP client adds an X-XSRF-TOKEN header with that token value to subsequent requests. The server receives both the cookie and the header, compares them, and processes the request only if the cookie and header match.

See the XSRF topic on the Security page for more information about XSRF and Angular's XSRFStrategy counter measures.

Override default request headers (and other request options)

Request options (such as headers) are merged into the default RequestOptions before the request is processed. The HttpModule provides these default options via the RequestOptions token.

You can override these defaults to suit your application needs. by creating a custom sub-class of RequestOptions that sets the default options for the application.

This sample creates a class that sets the default Content-Type header to JSON. It exports a constant with the necessary RequestOptions provider to simplify registration in AppModule.

src/app/default-request-options.service.ts

import { Injectable } from '@angular/core'; import { BaseRequestOptions, RequestOptions } from '@angular/http'; @Injectable() export class DefaultRequestOptions extends BaseRequestOptions { constructor() { super(); // Set the default 'Content-Type' header this.headers.set('Content-Type', 'application/json'); } } export const requestOptionsProvider = { provide: RequestOptions, useClass: DefaultRequestOptions };

Then it registers the provider in the root AppModule.

src/app/app.module.ts (provide default request header)

providers: [ requestOptionsProvider ],

Remember to include this provider during setup when unit testing the app's HTTP services.

After this change, the header option setting in HeroService.addHero is no longer necessary,

src/app/toh/hero.service.ts (addHero)

addHero (name: string): Observable<Hero> { let headers = new Headers({ 'Content-Type': 'application/json' }); let options = new RequestOptions({ headers: headers }); return this.http.post(this.heroesUrl, { name }, options) .map(this.extractData) .catch(this.handleError); }

You can confirm that DefaultRequestOptions is working by examing HTTP requests in the browser developer tools' network tab. If you're short-circuiting the server call with something like the in-memory web api, try commenting-out the addHero header option, set a breakpoint on the POST call, and step through the request processing to verify the header is there.

Individual requests options, like this one, take precedence over the default RequestOptions. It might be wise to keep the addHero request header setting for extra safety.

Appendix: Tour of Heroes in-memory web api

If the app only needed to retrieve data, you could get the heroes from a heroes.json file:

src/app/heroes.json

{ "data": [ { "id": 1, "name": "Windstorm" }, { "id": 2, "name": "Bombasto" }, { "id": 3, "name": "Magneta" }, { "id": 4, "name": "Tornado" } ] }

You wrap the heroes array in an object with a data property for the same reason that a data server does: to mitigate the security risk posed by top-level JSON arrays.

You'd set the endpoint to the JSON file like this:

src/app/toh/hero.service.ts

private heroesUrl = 'app/heroes.json'; // URL to JSON file

The get heroes scenario would work, but since the app can't save changes to a JSON file, it needs a web API server. Because there isn't a real server for this demo, it substitutes the Angular in-memory web api simulator for the actual XHR backend service.

The in-memory web api is not part of Angular proper. It's an optional service in its own angular-in-memory-web-api library installed with npm (see package.json).

See the README file for configuration options, default behaviors, and limitations.

The in-memory web API gets its data from a custom application class with a createDb() method that returns a map whose keys are collection names and whose values are arrays of objects in those collections.

Here's the class for this sample, based on the JSON data:

src/app/hero-data.ts

import { InMemoryDbService } from 'angular-in-memory-web-api'; export class HeroData implements InMemoryDbService { createDb() { let heroes = [ { id: 1, name: 'Windstorm' }, { id: 2, name: 'Bombasto' }, { id: 3, name: 'Magneta' }, { id: 4, name: 'Tornado' } ]; return {heroes}; } }

Ensure that the HeroService endpoint refers to the web API:

src/app/toh/hero.service.ts

private heroesUrl = 'app/heroes'; // URL to web API

Finally, redirect client HTTP requests to the in-memory web API by adding the InMemoryWebApiModule to the AppModule.imports list. At the same time, call its forRoot configuration method with the HeroData class.

src/app/app.module.ts

InMemoryWebApiModule.forRoot(HeroData)

How it works

Angular's http service delegates the client/server communication tasks to a helper service called the XHRBackend.

Using standard Angular provider registration techniques, the InMemoryWebApiModule replaces the default XHRBackend service with its own in-memory alternative. At the same time, the forRoot method initializes the in-memory web API with the seed data from the mock hero dataset.

The forRoot method name is a strong reminder that you should only call the InMemoryWebApiModule once, while setting the metadata for the root AppModule. Don't call it again.

Here is the final, revised version of src/app/app.module.ts, demonstrating these steps.

src/app/app.module.ts (excerpt)

import { NgModule } from '@angular/core'; import { BrowserModule } from '@angular/platform-browser'; import { FormsModule } from '@angular/forms'; import { HttpModule, JsonpModule } from '@angular/http'; import { InMemoryWebApiModule } from 'angular-in-memory-web-api'; import { HeroData } from './hero-data'; import { requestOptionsProvider } from './default-request-options.service'; import { AppComponent } from './app.component'; import { HeroListComponent } from './toh/hero-list.component'; import { HeroListPromiseComponent } from './toh/hero-list.component.promise'; import { WikiComponent } from './wiki/wiki.component'; import { WikiSmartComponent } from './wiki/wiki-smart.component'; @NgModule({ imports: [ BrowserModule, FormsModule, HttpModule, JsonpModule, InMemoryWebApiModule.forRoot(HeroData) ], declarations: [ AppComponent, HeroListComponent, HeroListPromiseComponent, WikiComponent, WikiSmartComponent ], providers: [ requestOptionsProvider ], bootstrap: [ AppComponent ] }) export class AppModule {}

Import the InMemoryWebApiModule after the HttpModule to ensure that the XHRBackend provider of the InMemoryWebApiModule supersedes all others.

See the full source code in the .